Like most teens and young adults, I grew up with acne. I started noticing my acne when I was around 13 years old, which is pretty typical. In the beginning stages it was little pimples and zits here and there, but it soon progressed. I remember being teased in eighth grade because I had pimples covering my forehead and chin. I hated my skin, and from a young age, was majorly insecure about my face.
Since my mom knew how upset I was about my skin, we started making regular visits to the derm because that's what you did if you had any type of skin issue. The doctor continually told me, "Your skin isn't that bad; I've seen worse." I really didn't appreciate her telling me this. I wanted her to reassure me that she could heal my acne and help me achieve glowing skin.
I tried all the medications; creams, lotions, antibiotics, and pills. I had to be careful about going outside because my skin was so sensitive I would severely burn. My skin became my greatest obsession. I constantly picked and poked it until it would sometimes bleed. Once I graduated high school, my skin took a turn for the worst. I developed cystic acne on my face and broke out on my chest and back. This was honestly the worst time in my life. I never left my house, I was very depressed, and I felt that I cried more than I smiled. Being 19 years old and having large bumps and scabs on your face is awful. I scheduled another appointment with my derm, and I remember crying to her, pretty much begging her to do something, anything for me. She told me, "You will always have acne and all I can do is help you control it." That was the last time I went to see her. When I went home I researched all I could on how to heal acne naturally because if modern ways weren't working there had to be an alternative!
I remember seeing so many posts about being vegan, I had to google what the even meant. I read review after review about how going vegan internally heals you. I had never thought about acne as an internal issue until I read this. The derm always treated my acne as an external issue, telling me that food was unrelated to my skin issues. But after reading more and more, I knew I had to change my diet if I ever wanted to see changes to my skin.
I went vegan practically overnight. At first it was as much as possible because I lived at home and my parents thought I was nuts. But on November 29, 2013, I went properly vegan and have not looked back since. It was a long uphill battle with my skin once I changed my diet because I had years and years of damage, and all of that needed to exit my body. Since I was not in a healthy state and my body was overworked from taking all of my previous medications, my liver and colon could not handle all of the toxins exiting all at once. My skin broke out very, very, very badly. Was I confused? Absolutely! I thought I had done something wrong, but this was all very normal and I continued to eat a plant-based diet.
During this time, when my skin was freaking out, I went to an acupuncturist who was able to explain to me what was going on inside my body. After several sessions with him, my body was back on track and was able to dispose of toxins the correct way other than exiting through my skin. After about six months of being vegan my skin started to heal. My face started to look healthier, not inflamed or irritated, but started to regain my natural color. I still had pimples, but there were fewer breakouts. It took around a year to fully heal, but my skin never looked better, and I could finally say I had glowing skin.
The products I swear by and use are a skin brush and gloves. They help to exfoliate dead skin, which gives way to the new healthy skin. I use only organic or all natural products on my skin now—the only brand I truly trust on my face is Acure Organics. It has great cleansers that I use, and about once a week I use their green face mask. After having had acne for so long, I try to do my best to research product lines before I decide to use them. I use an alcohol-free rose toner from Thayer's because it helps to reduce redness. What I use to spot-treat is organic tea tree oil, and as long you don't mind the smell, it helps to kill and treat the pimple!
My Top Tips to Help
- One of the best things you can do if you have a pimple is to put ice on it; this helps to reduce the swelling and inflammation.
- DO NOT PICK THEM! I know this one is hard to do, but it helps to prevent scarring in the long run.
- Drink lots of water; if you aren't staying hydrated your body will suffer. Staying hydrated gives you supple and glowing skin and also helps you to flush out toxins. If you add lemon or apple cider vinegar that's a huge plus!
- Eat your vegetables and fruit (preferably organic). If you are giving your body the right fuel, you will look and feel better!
- Teas are great to help detox your body and heal your skin internally. My favorite teas for gentle detoxing are Yogi Detox, Traditional Medicinal Everyday Detox, milk thistle (great liver cleanser), and burdock root (another great liver cleanser).
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