Living with acne, whether it's regular or sporadic, can create distress and a lack of confidence no one should have to endure. When clients come to my clinic to address their acne-prone skin, they often tell me they've "tried everything," from lotions to creams, washes to masks.
I love being able to reassure them that clear skin is not only within their reach, but also achieveble with relative ease. The secret to addressing acne is through food and your beauty routine, while understanding the condition stems from hormonal imbalance. This can often be an excess of testosterone, oestrogen or insulin.
Balancing these hormones and assisting the body in easily removing them creates a fail proof way to clear up your skin. Here are five key "inside-out" beauty practices you can employ to naturally and easily kick acne to the curb.
1. Stock up on fiber.
Fiber is one of the critical components of clearing hormonally imbalanced skin. When your digestive system is lacking, your body can't absorb all the wonderful nutrients your feeding it, and they never make it to your skin or help fight acne-causing bacteria. Since fiber promotes a healthy digestive system, and digestion and a healthy gut are at the root of healthy skin, it's a crucial component to acne-free skin.
My favorite skin-friendly fiber is flaxseed. Other wonderful fiber-rich foods include apples, beets, carrots, asparagus and sweet potatos. These are prebiotic-rich foods that work to sweep away toxins and excess hormones that can wreak havoc on the skin.
2. Avoid the usual offenders.
Skin is very sensitive to changes in insulin levels. You're not imagining it when your skin breaks out after a sugar- or alcohol-filled weekend. High levels of insulin will stimulate sebum production, which leads to breakouts. Insulin surges are triggered by sugar, dairy and alcohol, so if you reduce your intake of these food, your skin will start to thank you.
3. Opt for functional foods.
Upping your intake of certain nutrients through food is a wonderful way to reduce acne. Here are three of my favorites:
- Zinc: Not only is zinc responsible for balancing the skin’s sebum production, it's also effective in regulating insulin production, reducing the body’s inflammatory response to bacteria and blocking the production of unwanted hormones. Zinc-rich foods include spirulina, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and nuts.
- Vitamin A: This vitamin is crucial when it comes to healthy skin as it's responsible for the natural shedding of the skin cells. Acne can often be caused by an excess production of skin cells, so vitamin A works to reduce the clogging of pores that can result in acne. Up your dose of orange and yellow fruits (pumpkin, sweet potato, carrots, apricots, squash), as well as dark leafy greens.
- Fermented foods: Rich in probiotics which have been shown to improve skin conditions by reducing inflammation and oxidative stress, fermented foods like sauerkraut, miso and kefir are musts. You can also take a commercial probiotic to strengthen your microbiome.
4. Lather up, inside and out.
There's a misconception that eating oil, cleansing the face with oil or using oil-based products on the skin will wreak havoc. But the fact of the matter is that the opposite is true. Oil actually works to balance the skin’s sebum production so it's not overproducing oil, meaning fewer breakout!
Have your oil outside and in through omega 3s: wild-caught salmon, flaxseed, avocados, eggs, sardines, flaxseed oil, etc.
5. Get your tea time on.
Drinking tea is a very easy way to therapeutically balance hormones, flush toxins and hydrate the skin. Teas such as calendula, dandelion root, St. Mary’s thistle, licorice, chamomile and cleavers are wonderful in balancing hormones, promoting liver health and healing and regenerating the skin. Squeeze some lemon juice inside them to give the liver a little more love.
Photo Credit: Stocksy