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Integrative Health
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How Treating My Sinus Infection Cleared My Acne

Lily Kunin
Updated on September 10, 2020
Lily Kunin
By Lily Kunin
mbg Contributor
Lily Kunin is an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, cookbook author and business owner living in New York City. She is the owner of Clean Market, a café, apothecary and functional tonic bar.
September 10, 2020

When winter rolls in, it can seem all but inevitable to pick up the sniffles—putting a serious buzzkill on your holiday party plans. When this happens, I know my body is telling me to slow down and kick the self-care into high gear. Every year, I always seem to get a sinus infection, and my mission is always the same: Get rid of it ASAP.

Luckily, through lots of experiments and working as a health coach, I've picked up a few tricks that can help to ease the discomfort of winter health woes. They've completely stopped my sinus infection in its tracks. But what came next was totally unexpected. My stubborn breakout started to heal after a few days of dedicated commitment to this routine. My acne-prone skin suddenly looked much clearer and brighter—without changing any of my skin care products!

I mapped out what I had changed and what I was doing differently. Here's the full rundown of my sinus—and, it turns out, acne—fighting routine:

Daily steam

Steaming works wonders to relieve discomfort. I like to add a few drops of eucalyptus oil and a drop of tea tree oil to aid in the process. Eucalyptus helps with congestion while tea tree oil is antibacterial, which fights acne-causing bacteria as well.

Heat up water in a kettle and pour into a bowl with essential oils. Position your face above the bowl, cover your head with a towel, and inhale the steam for about 10 minutes. Make sure you are a comfortable distance away from the steam. This can be a bit of a commitment, so do it daily in the midst of a sinus infection (and double up with a neti pot), and scale back to a few times a week when you're feeling good.


Giving yourself a facial massage begins to moves the lymph, promoting draining and calming your entire face. I like to do a couple of minutes of facial massage each day in the shower with a bit of my face wash or a face oil. Spread the oil on your face and start making circular movements with your hands—always upward and outward. Move toward making larger circles tracing your sinuses to under your eyebrows until you feel a clearing.

Work to clear out toxins by warming up your lymph nodes. Apply the same gentle circular motions to right below your jawline and ear using your opposite hand. Then, trace your jawline from your chin to your ears and gently down your neck. Repeat this motion about 10 times. Not only does this ease discomfort, but moving the lymph drains toxins, helping to move along your sinus infection and any breakouts.

Dry face brushing

Similar to facial massage, dry face brushing awakens your lymphatic system and helps get everything going. Not only does it get rid of dead skin, but it also increases circulation, which can help boost energy and move toxins through your body.


Probiotics are an essential part of a healthy gut. In serious times of need I like to kick up my usual dose. Restoring your gut with the good guys helps to build your immune system back up. This is super important if you have to take antibiotics or a pain reliever during the course of your sickness (which always seems to make my skin worse too).

Bone broth

Bone broth is a magical elixir filled with trace minerals and collagen! It's an incredibly healing, nourishing tool (like a souped-up chicken soup) that repairs and heals the lining of the digestive tract and gut. Try starting the day with a small cup of bone broth on an empty stomach. I like to stir in a bit of chickpea miso for an easy miso soup—a very common breakfast in many parts of the world. If you're vegan, you can still make a deeply mineralizing broth like this one.

Detox bath

Hop into your bath tub every other night. Run the water hot and add in a serving of ancient mineral magnesium flakes, or Epsom salts, and some relaxing essential oils. Soak for 20 to 30 minutes and sweat it out. You'll be all ready for a deep night's sleep, which is the last important part of this routine!

Lots of sleep

It goes without saying that sleep is crucial for keeping our immune systems strong and cortisol levels regulated. Try to get as much sleep as possible when you feel run down, and aim to hit the pillow by 11 p.m.

This routine has become second nature to me, especially in the winter months. Whenever I'm starting to feel run down or broken out, I turn directly to this checklist to support my immunity and reveal glowing skin!

Lily Kunin author page.
Lily Kunin

Lily Kunin is an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, author and business owner living in New York City. She received her health coach certification from The Institute for Integrative Nutrition and created the popular wellness website Clean Food Dirty City. In 2018, she opened Clean Market, a café, apothecary and functional tonic bar in Manhattan. Kunin has been featured in and contributes to publications such as Vogue, Into The Gloss, Business Insider, and more.