I wasn’t always this happy…and confident in my own SKIN.
(I’ll post a photo next week after I rummage through my photos in my parents house!)
In college, I developed acne on my face
all over my cheeks and occasionally,
a really embarrassingly HUGE pimple between my brows
or on the center of my nose.
I know what it feels like to feel overwhelmed with options,
frustrated and embarrassed.
I remember being self-conscious on the subway
because people could see my skin up close and in the
bright florescent light. I also remember having trouble
looking people face-on because I didn’t want them to see me…
see my skin and everything I was hiding behind my makeup.
First, I tried over-the-counter oil-free cleansers and
moisturizers. That didn’t work.
Then, I went to the dermatologist who prescribed topical
medication. That didn’t work.
So he prescribed me something even stronger. That didn’t work.
Then, I went to the gynecologist and she prescribed me
with birth control. That, actually worked.
Yes, the birth control worked, but the only reason I went
on it was to “balance my hormones” and cure up my acne,
which I now believe is not the right reason to
intake synthetic hormones.
I wish I knew back then what I know now – that there are
many more ways to heal your skin – especially through food!
Here are some tips that I wish I knew then.
If you or someone you know is struggling with
skin issues and acne, please pass it on:
1. What you put ON your skin matters, yes…
but what you put IN your body will have a direct
effect on how your skin looks and feels, too.
Why? your skin is a direct reflection of your gut
(your digestive system), so if you take care of your skin
externally AND internally, it will help and your skin will
2. What works for you and your skin may be different than
what worked for your friend, or your colleague or your sister.
Be gentle with yourself… and your skin and be patient.
3. Focus on intaking bright and vibrant foods,
which will in turn, make your skin bright and vibrant.
No, I’m not talking gummy bears or red velvet cupcakes! I’m
talking gorgeous and colorful fruits and vegetables, like beets,
rainbow chard, lemons, limes, cucumbers, pineapple and watermelon.
4. Even when you’re craving sweets, don’t turn to processed sugar
to satisfy your sweet cravings. Those will not make your skin glow,
nor will sugar-free, fat-free frozen yogurt and “gluten-free” muffins!
Think: natural sugars like raw honey, maple syrup, brown rice syrup, yacon syrup
coconut palm sugar, dates and even sweet vegetables to curb your sweet cravings.
A few dates with raw almonds makes a perfect sweet snack and so does
a carrot juice! Think whole, real foods with natural sugars, not the white stuff.
5. Eat seaweed.
Seaweed helps lubricate your intestines, boost your thyroid (the iodide positively affects your hormones) and helps rid your body of toxins. Wrap up some hummus and avocado and shredded carrots in a nori sheet or soak some wakame or arame seaweed and add to soba noodles or on top of salad or miso soup.
Or have some sushi (and ask for brown rice) and tamari(wheat-free soy sauce) on the side.
Your skin will thank you.
6. Eat coconut oil!
Coconut oil is ALWAYS in my house. It’s the perfect cooking
ingredient – you can sautee and bake with it and use it as an alternative
to butter. It’s also quite delish! Great as an alternative to butter and
processed oils- spread onto a brown rice cake or toast, or bake with it
(its a high heat oil) or sautee some kale and sea salt for a side dish for
dinner. It also can be used topically as an anti-bacterial and
anti-viral tool ON your skin (see below!).
7. Lather up with coconut oil.
Since coconut oil is anti-bacterial, it’s not the type of oil that will
clog pores – it will fight bacteria and help heal blemishes and even cystic acne.
Scoop out 1/4 tsp with a q-tip and massage onto your skin. Perfect to use as a
night-time facial moisturizer. Just be sure to put down a towel so you don’t
ruin a pillowcase! Purchase organic, virgin coconut oil like this one.
8. Eat seasonally.
When you eat with the seasons, your digestive system works optimally.
If bananas dont grow in your region (there has never been a banana tree in NY),
eating them for breakfast during the winter, summer, fall and spring, may not
be the best for your digestive system! Notice how your stomach feels when you eat them.
Try to eat with the seasons. For example, in the Northeast, we eat apples in the fall,
and berries and watermelons in the summer. Check out what fruits and vegetables are in season for
your region where you live and load up on those.
9. Drink water.
It will hydrate your skin and lips, it will flush out toxins and bacteria to clear up your skin, and it will help add glow to your skin. Half your body weight in ounces in the recommended amount.
Buy a nice bottle to inspire you to drink up. I love this one.
10. Lay off alcohol, gluten, white sugar, dairy and corn, when possible.
Don’t go crazy, but these are toxic skin triggers for most people.
Check out my recipes for inspiration.
11. Take a probiotic.
Veggies, fruit, whole grains and seeds are necessary for fiber,
digestion and revving up your metabolism. To increase healthy
bacteria in your digestive system so you’re able to ward off bad
bacteria that may cause flareups, I like to supplement my diet with a probiotic
once a week or every other day. I don’t recommend taking it everyday, as
you don’t want your body to get used to it. Drink on an empty stomach, with water,
first thing in the morning right when you wake up.
I like this brand.
12. Use natural skin products.
Sometimes harsh products that are marketed for skin with acne
is way too harsh and ends up causing more inflammation, redness and more flareups.
And P.S. Just because something is oil-free does not mean that it won’t make you breakout.
In fact, there are other reasons, as noted above, that your skin flares up- not just from oil.
I have dry skin so oil-free products make my skin even more dry, causing even more breakouts.
I like Aubrey Organics skincare line.
13. Use natural makeup.
Don’t mask your pimples with loads of makeup – it will just mask them,
not clear them up. If you are going to use makeup to conceal them, go all
natural and steer clear from chemicals that often are way too harsh and cause even more flareups.
Not to mention, makeup seeps into your skin and into your bloodstream. So
have natural products seep into your skin, not chemicals.
I like Tarte Cosmetics.
14. Wash your makeup brushes.
If you’re fancy and use makeup brushes, wash them regularly
with natural soap to ensure you’re getting rid of bacteria.
And if you apply your makeup with your fingers (I do!), make sure
your hands are CLEAN before you apply anything to your face.
15. Change your pillow cases every week (and use non-scented
detergents and fabric softeners). Often laundry detergents and softeners
are made with scents that are made of chemicals that can wreak havoc to our skin.
16. Look up how taking evening primrose oil and cod liver oil according
to the moon cycle can affect your hormones and menstrual cycle, and
in turn, how it can affect your skin. More info here.
17. Eat good-for-you fat to make your skin glow.
Sprinkle some flax oil on salad as dressing with a touch of lemon and sea salt or
try a sprinkle of some chia seeds in your smoothie or
add avocado slices to your sandwich for a perfect dose of
healthy fats that will help hydrate and beautify your skin from the inside..
18. Use apple cider vinegar.
It cures colds, clears up acne, dries up fat and oils in the body and is like natures pepto bismol! Put 1 tsp in cold water and drink. It can also be used as a toner applied directly to skin and onto each pimple or blemish (just beware- your face may smell like vinegar after!).
19. Focus on eating whole, natural and clean foods. Try to eat organic fruits and vegetables when possible (pesticides in non-organic produce may have an effect on skin flare-ups). ALways try to opt for organic, hormone-free dairy (milk, eggs, yogurt) and meat (chicken, beef and wild fish).
20. If it says fat-free, sugar-free, carb-free, skip it! Read the ingredients and be a smart consumer. Just because something is fat-free, sugar-free and carb-free, doesn’t necessarily mean its “healthy” and may not be good for glowing, clear skin. Focus on the whole versions of foods like coconut milk ice-cream, buckwheat soba noodle, brown rice pasta, etc.
In short, think of everything that touches your skin and that goes into your body.
And don’t forget to sleep well and breathe! In fact, take a deep breath now. Being stressed out about your skin will not help it clear up. And in fact, breathing will actually help add oxygen to your body, which will help your skin look better.
Oh, and remember your skin doesn’t define who you are. It doesn’t!
be confident. be clear. be well.
P.S. If you’re looking for additional inspiration on how to clear up your skin and clean out your body, check out my Rejuvenation E-Cleanse. I also am available this summer to meet with you one-on-one for private coaching. Click here for more information about scheduling a session.
Sending you (and your skin) love.