Clear Skin, Naturally!
Update: The first week of January, 2017, Lui and I took part in a 7 day cleanse with our essential oil team. The gist of this cleanse is: no meat, no wheat, no dairy, no refined sugars, no alcohol. The no meat, do dairy was already common practice for us. Alcohol was minimal. So eliminating wheat was the biggest conscious change for us. This cleanse also revolves around drinking juices or smoothies and raw soups for lunch, and giant, whole foods dinners. And lots of water.
What I noticed within the first two days, was that I forgot to take my probiotic. And my skin didn't break out. Not once. Previously, even if I was not eating dairy, I still had to take one, high quality probiotic per day to maintain super clear skin. I noticed and immediately decided not to take a probiotic during the cleanse. My skin remained lovely.
The 7 days felt so good we decided to go for another week. That turned into 3 weeks, and that turned into us eliminating wheat altogether, being very conscious of when we choose to consume alcohol (not for moral issues but because it makes us feel like shit).
Update: As of April 2017, we evolved recently from smoothies every morning to juicing every morning + blending an entire vita mix stuffed full of spinach and kale into that fresh green juice. Our $75 Breville Juicer is amazing, but it doesn't extract much from leafy greens. This smoothie/juice combo is doing us a world of good. Lou stopped taking all supplements, including liquid iron, which we both considered somewhat essential up to this point, has more energy, and says he doesn't feel the afternoon slump anymore. Lou had been making super green smoothies (with only fresh greens - no powders), but I found them to be heavy volume that I couldn't consume. The fresh green jucies (conscious effort to minimize sugary fruit/veg) + blended green leaves are awesome. I'm also forgoing the iron supplement to see if it has the same effect on me. So far, I'm loving it.
[ Note: We are totally open to sharing this exceptional cleanse program. Everyone who purchases essential oils from us, receives this 7-Day Guided Cleanse, AND a 30-Day Guided Cleanse - complete with detailed instructions, tons of recipes, and massive FB groups with live and guided support - as free, value added bonuses. The Hippie eBook, with almost 60 pages of natural health care, cleaning and beauty recipes, is yours, at no cost. Finally, we also provide a Healthy, Happy School Year eBook as another gift. ]
Here's a video that explains a lot of this if you prefer to listen and watch instead. If you love reading, scroll on!
It's taken me roughly half my life span to nail down what causes blemishes on my face. And I'm still always discovering new things as my body changes and evolves.
While my acne would be considered mild to moderate, any number of blemishes, even one, tends to make most of us feel rather self conscious. We think everyone notices it. And we think everyone is lying when they say: "Actually I hadn't noticed it until you pointed it out.". Yeah right! It's all I can see when I look in the mirror.
Until roughly 5 years ago, my skin had never been completely free of blemishes. I tried a number of prescriptions from the dermatologist during my high school and early post secondary years to no avail. They helped a teensy, tiny bit. But they didn't come close to solving the problem.
While trying to refill a prescription from my dermatologist one day, the pharmacist asked me how long I had been using this particular medication. I was informed that my dermatologist should have warned me not to stay on that one for more than 6 months (which I had already passed). Don't get me started on the pharmaceutical industry. Ugh.
I don't personally enjoy wearing makeup. I don't like how it feels on my skin, I don't like being obligated to remove it before bed. (Confession: I don't wash my face, or my hair, every day!) So over the years I allowed myself permission to be comfortable sporting my blemishes in public. I didn't always feel super confident about it, but I had a belief that we should take joy in sharing our true selves and not feeling like we should hide our imperfections under makeup. Some women enjoy makeup and that's awesome!! Do it. Whatever makes you feel great you should do. Not wearing makeup feels great for me, and that's why I do it. For me, it feels like I'm taking a stand against the established standards of beauty by not giving in to the pressure to show off flawless, immaculate skin all day every day.
This girl, yeah that isn't me. If you wanna know what I look like you can find my pic in a few places here :) I don't even know this. It's a free picture from a database of beautiful people. Kinda creepy? She's airbrushed but I still can't help but wonder if my skin would look that amazing with the right lighting...? Back to the blog now.
Eliminate Food Intolerances
There's been a pervasive rumour for years and years that the food we eat is not responsible for the quality of our skin. Wrong! Simply drinking lots of water each day will improve your skin, which blows that theory out of the water. So, you've heard it before, for many reasons: drink up! Add some lemon juice or lemon oil that specifically states on the bottle 'for internal use' to your water and help your body cleanse itself of toxins. The skin is the largest organ of our body, and thus it makes perfect sense that it is merely one avenue by which our body may choose to eliminate waste.
A few years ago I began working with an amazing naturopathic doctor. After taking care of the more pressing issues (like naturally regulating my hormones), I said, 'Donata, I want to have beautiful, clear skin!'. Without missing a beat, she suggested a food intolerance test. I didn't immediately understand the connection between the two, but I trust her wholeheartedly, as she is a brilliant and intuitive ND.
When the results came back, I wasn't surprised that dairy was top on the list. I had already eliminated dairy from my diet years ago because a friend suggested it might help my skin. And it did. More than the dermatologist's prescriptions ever did. But I still didn't have blemish-free skin all the time. Number 2 on the Food Intolerance list was onions and garlic. I know! Try eliminating those from your diet completely. Especially when raw garlic was my go-to for strong immune support. But I was willing to give it a shot. Donata had never failed me, so I trusted in her and in the process. Third on the list was not combining fruit and refined sugar. That was easy. Just eliminate refined sugar. That's a super-healthy choice on its own, and a win/win in this scenario.
The connection between food and the skin isn't crystal clear. In fact, it's just starting to be understood. Chris Kresser does an amazing job of summing up the current research that demonstrates a clear correlation between the gut and the skin. Many aspects of skin health, not just acne, but psoriasis and eczema also, for example.
For me, the proof is always in the pudding. I'll always try things for myself to see if they work for me. Everyone's body chemistry is different, so what works for me, may not work for everyone. I can say with certainty that the quality of my skin is directly related to what I put in my body. In a way, it's awesome, because it's simple. And because I don't eat perfect, I can simply be aware and prepared for the consequences if I don't eat amazing all the time.
Support Strong Digestive Health
If you haven't heard it already, take note of the fact that the majority of our immune system resides in our digestive tract. Most importantly, taking a probiotic is the number one most effective step in ensuring my skin stays clear. I wish I could explain why this works, but it's pretty complex and there's no simple, short answer. At least not that I've found yet. If you've stumbled upon research about this, pleae share with me.
Finally, at the age of 32, most days I rejoice that I have clear skin. I do still get pimples occasionally, but it's usually because I either forgot to take a probiotic, or I have indulged in one of my 3 food intolerances (it's pretty tough to eliminate garlic and onions from your diet completely).
Update Side Note: I now get blemishes when I drink alcohol! And cheese doesn't have this effect on me. Proof, to me, that our body is always evolving and changing as we grow and evolve as well. I try to take a probiotic, or drink our homemade kombucha, if I've had a couple drinks, hoping to minimize the consequences. Apparently kombucha also helps with the feeling that even one or two drinks goes straight to my head. (As if I needed a clearer signal from my body to tell me alcohol is garbage.)
From eating at friend's and family member's houses, to eating in restaurants, to pretty much every single sauce or seasoning in a jar, I feel far more flexibility now that ever. But I do a pretty good job managing my intake, and we cook the majority of our own meals. I'm fortunate, grateful and lucky to have a fab BF who is as dedicated (amore so) than I am, about (or making me a little separate dish without them when he really wants to include them :).
I always have a essential oil roller bottle handy for spot treatments. It not only stops most pimples from coming to the surface completely (I apply it when I first notice the small circle or redness on my skin), it also speeds the healing process for those that do come to a head.
It's definitely worth doing a food intolerance test if you have struggled with your skin for a long time. There is an almost instant response when I eat any of the things on my 'no-no list' - I get pimples within a day or two. Though, in all honesty, you've got to be willing to do the work to eliminate those things from your diet, whatever they turn out to be. As with most things, they'll only make a difference in your life if you truly and wholeheartedly embrace them.
I'd love to hear what's worked for you!
❤ Mel, xo
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* All statements are my own, not endorsed by any organization or institution.
** Please take care to note: I'm not a health care practitioner. I'm simply sharing the experiences and results I've had on my personal, natural health and healing journey. You should always consult a trusted health care practitioner for advice specific to your body, well being, and needs.