24 May done with acne
As an early teenager I had great skin. Then ironically, in college through my early thirties, it was the worst. I can’t think of a time during that period I didn’t have at least one pimple. Often it was painful, cystic acne along my jaw. I didn’t understand. Wasn’t I supposed to be past this? There is nothing more embarrassing or frustrating than dealing with a bad complexion. I was embarrassed to leave the house without make up. So much money was spent on skincare products, specialty makeup, and facials. Despite all the money, make up, and skin care routines, nothing seemed to make it completely go away.
acne – beyond skin deep
When I began to change my diet, an unexpected result was a total transformation in my skin. I realized that although my acne was on the surface of my skin, the solution was deeper. The key to glowing skin starts inside the body. Not on the surface.
Symptoms are like little warning lights letting us know there is an imbalance in the body. Acne is one of those warning lights. It doesn’t mean you need a better moisturizer or face wash. It’s a sign that it is time to guide your body back into balance.
balanced blood sugar
Why would blood sugar effect your skin? Insulin. It’s the hormone that is released to help glucose (sugar) get moved into your cells after you eat. It also stimulates oil glands on the surface of your skin. If your blood sugar is spiking throughout the day, your body must release high levels of insulin to manage it. Therefore, it will leave you with oily skin prone to acne.
Unless you are focused on maintaining your blood sugar daily, chances are that it is out of balance. It requires consciously choosing low glycemic, balanced meals and snacks each day that include healthy fats, protein, and fiber. This will stabilize your blood sugar, reduce mid-day energy crashes, and keep your system balanced.
Eating a diet high in vegetables including broccoli and dark leafy greens, healthy fats, healthy proteins, and berries is both anti-inflammatory and low glycemic. It will improve both your skin clarity and overall appearance. This is one of the many reasons I love smoothies. You can start your day with greens, berries, healthy fats, and healthy proteins in one delicious glass or bowl! Also, it’s important to remember eat breakfast daily & consistently throughout the day (every ~3-3 ½ hours) to support stable blood sugar.
It is equally important to avoid refined (processed grains) and sugar. To dig deeper into balanced blood sugar, download my 5 Strategies to Healthy Living.
Nutrients impact your body’s ability to perform many key processes in the body, including detoxification. Potential reasons your body may be missing the micronutrients it needs:
- A diet low in diverse plant-based sources & fiber and/or high in processed foods.
- A unbalanced microbiome “neighborhood” that impacts the body’s ability to digest & absorb nutrients. To learn more, read my prior blog post.
- Low stomach acid reducing the body’s ability to digest food.
If you simply need more diversity in your diet, that can be an easy fix. Important micronutrients to include in your diet for skin health, improved detoxification, and improving acne include:
Carotenoids. First and foremost, these phytonutrients are great for the skin & acne. Carotenoids give foods yellow, orange, or red color (such as carrots, sweet potato, tomatoes, squash). Try to eat with high quality fats like avocado, olive oil, nuts/seeds since it will improve absorption.
B vitamins are incredibly important for detoxification. These are found in a variety of foods including spinach, legumes, eggs, broccoli, beets, asparagus, and many more.
Vitamins C & E. Antioxidants that protect against free radical damage. Think almonds, sunflower seeds, and citrus fruits.
Selenium protects cells from damage. Two to three brazil nuts a day will provide you with the selenium you need.
Zinc acts like an antioxidant protecting against aging & UV damage, heals & rejuvenates skin, and may protect against future flare ups. Legumes are a great source of zinc, plus they are packed with fiber and are low glycemic.
Omega 3s for their anti-inflammatory effects. Best sources include wild caught fish including salmon, cod liver oil, and mackerel. Plant-based sources include walnuts, chia seeds, and flaxseeds.
Support your liver and rid your body of toxins that can cause acne. First, replacing a diet high processed foods with the whole food sources and nutrients discussed above will boost your detoxification. Simply feeding your body to less toxins & sugars and more nutrients is key. Other ways to support detoxification:
- Get your sweat on. Sweating from regular exercise and saunas helps to release toxins. Be sure to shower soon after to rinse and clean the surface of your skin to prevent breakouts.
- Epsom salt baths. A 20 minute soak in warm water allows the epsom salt minerals to draw toxins out of your body. I also recommend adding a few drops of lavender essential oil which will help you relax and destress.
- High fiber & quality proteins. Sound familiar? Many habits impact various systems in the body. Following many of the steps above will also improve detoxification.
- Drink lots of water. Staying hydrated is crucial. Drink up.
- Eat a colorful diet. And varied diet. Different colors of the rainbow offer different vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. Switch it up to expose your body to a variety of foods and colors.
Lastly, don’t get overwhelmed. To improve your skin appearance and done with acne doesn’t require that you do all of these steps. Find a few that speak to you and try those first. Once they become part of your routine, reevaluate to see if you need to take your routine up a notch further. Don’t underestimate your ability to determine which steps are right for you, right now.