For the eight years since I graduated college, a pink, pixelated rash had been more or less taking up an annual residency on my face. Every time perioral dermatitis reared its ugly head (on, er, my ugly head), I’d pop into the dermatologist’s office for a few painful steroid injections, some medicated cream, and potentially a round of antibiotics.
These tactics usually forced my skin to return to its manageably flawed state within a few days. But eventually, in the winter of 2015, the shots and the creams and the pills stopped working altogether. Which is how I found myself one January morning shoving my coffee beans, chocolate bars, and half-opened wine bottles to the back of the fridge, in preparation for 30 days without my three favorite vices: alcohol, caffeine, and sugar.
After getting fed up with the crazy panoply of pills my dermatologist had put me on—none of which made any difference that lasted longer than a week—I eventually found my way to a more holistic practitioner who suggested that there could be something wrong with my liver.
The liver’s role in our digestive system is comparable to that of a sanitation worker. It processes everything—both emotionally and physically—that we put in our body, treating food the same as supplements, Stoli, and stress. In addition to sorting through what’s coming into the plant, this scrappy organ also manages the storage of sugar and its conversion into energy, produces a vast reservoir of the body’s proteins, regulates hormones, and cleans your blood. And when all the junk piles up, it doesn’t have as much manpower for all these other necessary chores.
As I later learned, when our main organ of detoxification isn’t working properly, it’s only natural for some of those excess toxins get eliminated through the next best escape hatch: our pores! This can cause sensitive skin like mine to react in horror and devolve into what my childhood idol Cher Horowitz would call "a full-on Monet."