I am SO excited to be bringing this post to you all! It has been a LONG time in the making (I’ve been testing products, foods, smoothies, lifestyle changes and more for months and months now!) and it’s finally here. First, I want to start out with a little disclaimer-everything, every little bit I’m writing here in this post is methods and products that work very specifically to me and MY skin only. There are a few things I will mention that will greatly help anyone looking to gain wonderful skin, but in general, you may find that something else works really, really great for you, and that’s amazing! Remember to read, listen, and always do you. That’s what will work best in the end.
A little backstory
My relationship with my skin has always been a bit…bumpy (no pun intended), I grew up having pretty severe eczema on my feet, making it downright painful to walk, and always subjecting me to wearing socks and sneakers even on the hottest days of the summer. Once I hit puberty, I had two MAJOR bouts of acne. You know, the kind that makes you want to curl up in a ball and cry. I had it all-the small red ones that covered my whole forehead, the deep, painful cystic ones that covered my chin and cheeks, the blackheads, the whiteheads, the oily skin that I was so overly conscious of in high school- I had it all. I am no stranger to the dermatologist, taking antibiotics, creams, going through tube after tube of benzoyl peroxide, going through I don’t know how many kits of ProActive and ultimately getting on birth control with the promise that it would help my skin. My two big bouts of acne happened first in sophomore year of high school, and again in sophomore year of college.
My first breakthrough with my acne actually happened when my then boyfriend, now husband, said to me, you should try just letting your face breathe, and not wear as much makeup. I had an a-ha moment, and left my face alone for awhile, not picking, popping, and just using less product. I remember after about a couple weeks, everything seemed to have calmed a bit. I still struggled with zits here and there, and it wasn’t really until I became pregnant that suddenly my skin became perfectly clear. My coverup stick got lost in the drawer, I didn’t even feel that I needed mascara anymore, and it was just so freeing to wake up everyday and not have to look in the mirror to “inspect.” After Amelia was born, this nice skin continued, and I remember suddenly waking up and having a couple zits, almost not knowing what to do because it had been SO long since I had one! At this point, I had finished health coaching school, become obsessed with learning about women’s hormones, and using totally all natural products for everything. I knew I could get to the root of it, and I KNEW that I had to share with everyone, because I think this is such a common problem that too many women face, and the thing is? It’s fixable. Not with drugs, pills, antibiotics, and certainly not birth control. Let’s break it down:
Be thankful, your skin is telling you something
You’ve heard it before, your skin is your biggest organ, and if you have zits popping up in places on your face, it directly correlates to specific organs and functions in your body that may be in need of some extra attention. We may not love waking up to see a new zit, but if you use that as a tool to look deeper, you will be more connected and know how to help your body back into balance. For example, lately, my breakout areas have been along my jawline, and on my cheeks. I know this area is linked to my liver, so I have been adding more bitter, green, and sour foods to my diet to help aid my liver in detoxifying. I also know that I tend to breakout in this area more as I am getting close to my menstrual cycle, which makes sense as the liver must process and remove excess hormones that are working through the body. If you feel that you are breaking out in the same areas all the time, do a simple Google search of skin mapping to see if your breakouts are linked to a particular organ in your body!
You are what you eat
I just want to take a moment to call out every dermatologist that told me that what I was eating did not play a role in my acne. I always found this crazy, even at the age of 15, that the chips, ice cream, bagels, donuts, french fries, school cafeteria lunches, and sugary drinks had absolutely nothing to do with my acne. Of course, my mom ALWAYS prepared amazing meals for us, homemade every day. But when we weren’t home, it was so the norm to just pig out on junk food. I am here to tell you that yes, it does matter what you eat. What you eat can be a form of medicine that aids your body in all of it’s processes that help your body to function properly. The foods you eat can aid your liver in it’s natural detoxification processes. The foods you eat can alkalize your body. The foods you eat can help nourish your hormones. What does this mean? It’s the basics we have all heard before-eat less sugar, cut out processed and fast foods, and cut out processed oils. Another big one is to aim to cut back, or cut out dairy. Dairy is a big culprit in wreaking havoc with our skin. When I cut out dairy, it helped my eczema finally go away after years and years of dealing with it. Try adding more of these foods into your diet to help promote elimination, a healthy gut flora, and proper detoxification, all factors that can help the health of your skin:
- Filtered water, and lots of it!
- GREENS. Tons of them. Spinach, kale, dandelion greens, boy choy, etc.
- Ground flax seeds (aid in detoxification of the liver)
- Healthy fats (avocado, coconut, good quality oils, nuts and seeds)
- Sauerkraut, helps promote a healthy gut flora, which in turn strengthens your immune system
- Whole foods, anything that comes from the ground, not packaged foods
Your hormones could be telling you something
I have found that my skin health is absolutely directly correlated to the state of my hormones. I am not a hormone expert by any means, but I have read tons, researched, and done a lot of work on myself to work to balance my hormones, particularly after getting off birth control. Often, when our hormones get out of whack, it shows up on our skin. The best thing I ever did was to read the book WomanCode by Alissa Vitti, and to follow the flo living protocol she created. It helped me to clear up my skin, regulate my cycle, feel like “me” again after 5 years of birth control, and even helped me to become pregnant so easily. Learning to cycle sync, and nourish our bodies through lifestyle and foods can help keep our skin in check.
Sleep, de-stress, and get some sunshine
These few lifestyle factors are also key to achieving healthy skin as well. First up, is sleep. I always find that if I haven’t been sleeping well, it shows on my skin without a doubt. Not only does my skin look dull, but I tend to start breaking out. Sleep is when your body has a chance to repair and rest, without this, free radicals and oxidation run rampant, not allowing your body’s detoxification processes to work quite as well. Re-evaluate your nighttime routine, and how many hours you are getting. De-stressing is huge in having bright, glowing skin. We live in a world where stress is the norm, so it’s no wonder it shows on our faces. My current favorite way to de-stress is to spend some time in the woods, reading a book, or laying in the sunshine…which brings me to the last lifestyle factor here. Getting a healthy dose of sunshine is amazing for your skin. It helps to give your body a dose of vitamin D, which is crucial for healthy skin, and it helps to fade old acne scars. Don’t bake for hours, but a little sun exposure here and there is wonderful for your skin.
My current favorite skin care products
Ok now that we have covered some lifestyle factors, let’s talk products! These products have worked for me, and may not necessarily work for everyone, but they are definitely worth checking out. I have found over the years that the more natural a product, the better the skin likes it. The skin on our face tends to be delicate, so it’s best to treat it well, rather than use harsh chemicals that could also be disrupting our endocrine systems (hello out of whack hormones!) I am going to bring you through a typical day of skin care for myself, when I use each products, how I clean my face, and how I treat zits when I get them:
The very first thing I do in terms of skincare when I wake up is I wash my face. I wash my face with room temperature water only. I wash my face in the evening so I don’t use any soaps or cleansers first thing in the morning. I then use a teeny tiny drop of Now Vegetable Glycerin as a facial moisturizer. I’ve been using this for YEARS after a friend suggested it to me. It’s the only thing that doesn’t make my skin feel greasy, doesn’t clog my pores, and it super duper affordable. After I have that on, I use a jade roller that I keep in my fridge. I roll it over my skin, and it helps to reduce fine lines, gets your circulation moving, and stimulates the lymph to drain. I find that it helps de-puff my morning face, smooth my skin, and even reduces breakouts. After breakfast, if I have a pimple, I will roll on some Burt’s Bees Herbal Complexion Stick right on the zit, sometimes reapplying throughout the day. I then will do a swipe of my Cocokind MyMatcha Stick under my eyes, to help depuff and brighten.
After a workout, or in the evening (whenever I shower) I wash my face while showering, with the SallyeAnder Complexion Soap. This bar is my favorite-it’s handmade locally, and it’s made of only natural ingredients, nothing harsh, nothing chemical about it. It slightly exfoliates my skin as well, which is a must especially in the summer. I usually wash with a washcloth in a gentle circular motion to exfoliate dead skin cells, sweat, makeup, or dirt off my face. After my shower, I will pat my face dry, and use a tiny drop of the Now Vegetable Glycerin, followed by a spritz of Thayer’s Witch Hazel , or a floral hydrosol, whichever I have on hand.
Once a week, I’ll use a mask on my face, and I usually use some sort of clay mask (I find they work the absolute best!) and lately my fave mask is the Franklin & Whitman Oak Lane Mask. You guys, it is SO GOOD. It really clears up my face, exfoliates, and doesn’t leave my face feeling overly dry afterwards. For makeup removal, I use a little coconut oil to remove any eye makeup. I don’t wear any foundation, or blush at this time of year, so I don’t have anything to remove on my actual face. I try to drink a lot of water, and eat a large amount of green and whole foods, mostly plant based. I had tried oil cleansing over the winter, and I found that it was making my skin breakout in zits, BUT it was also eliminating blackheads. So, instead of oil cleansing everyday, I do it every once in awhile, as a way to maintenance my blackheads. For this, I’ll use The Ordinary Rosehip Seed Oil, which I love, it’s super affordable, and is wonderful for repairing skin. Here is a link on how to oil cleanse properly. For myself personally, I find that the better my hormones are in balance, the better my skin. I find also that the amount of sleep I get, and the amount of stress I am experiencing directly correlates to the health of my skin. Therefore, I try to get enough Z’s at night, and do things that release tension for me, such as running, acupuncture, chiropractic, hiking in the woods, deep breathing, and using essential oils. There are some supplements I take as well for my overall health that also make my skin glow as well, but that’s for another post soon!
Skin Food Green Smoothie
I wanted to include a little green smoothie recipe that I’ve been drinking lately as a way to help my body’s natural detoxification systems, as well as to help my liver flush excess hormones out of my body. Here is some of the reasons why I chose some of the ingredients for this smoothie:
- Pineapple: boosts collagen production
- Flax Seeds: help move toxins through the liver, particularly excess estrogen, improves liver health
- Avocado: healthy fats = glowing skin
- Ginger: aids in digestion, good digestion = less stagnation in the gut, less breakouts. Also, anti-inflammatory
- Spinach: rich in carotenoids, which help reduce breakouts. Full of fiber.
Makes 2 servings
1 green apple
1 cup spinach
2 tablespoons ground flax seeds
2 inch knob of fresh ginger
1 small banana
1-2 tablespoons green powder (I love and am using Vitamineral Green Powder)
Take all of your ingredients, and blend in a high speed blender until smooth. Drink right away, store any leftovers in an airtight glass jar for one day.