Have you ever seen those ridiculous acne commercials starring really attractive teens dancing around, lamenting one tiny blemish and think to yourself, “Are you f*%&ing kidding me??” Yeah, me too. My skin troubles started in the 4th grade. Literally overnight, I woke up to a face full of acne. At first I thought it would go away and that it was a short phase. But acne has plagued me ever since. And I’m not talking about a breakout here and there.
I’m talking deep, painful, cystic acne. I’m talking pus, deep scarring and skin that somehow manages to be both oily AND dry at the same time. When I say that I had horrible acne, I am not over exaggerating. I resembled a burn victim. People would stare. And to my embarrassment and horror, sometimes they would actually ask me what had happened to me, what was wrong with my face. There was not a single part of my face that didn’t have a pimple. I remember one time trying to find a single surface of my face I could lay the tip of my index finger on without a pimple, and I couldn’t do it. There simply was no part of my face not entirely covered.
Despite this, I took (what I thought was) immaculate care of my skin. I washed with cleansers both morning and night. I used harsh creams to dry out my skin. I applied glycolic acid and benzoyl peroxide daily. My mother even made me use rubbing alcohol on my skin, hoping that it would dry out my excessive oil production. It didn’t. It made my skin dry up and flake off in chunks (yes, chunks), and then produce even more oil. I took Accutane – twice! Nothing worked.
It was a vicious cycle. I even resorted to insanely expensive face washes, toners and creams. They didn’t help. So considering my acne developed when I was about ten, it took me roughly another 10-13 years to figure out that no amount of harsh cleansers or oil-free moisturizers would make my skin better. Because acne, like majority of skin ailments, is a sign of internal distress.
Here are five steps I took to clear my acne.
#1 – GET YOUR DIET IN CHECK.
Cut the crap.
Healthy food was not a priority when I was growing up. I often ate margarine and sugar sandwiches on white bread. My grandmother raised me, and while she did the best she could, we didn’t have a lot of spare money to spend on groceries, and my she simply did not know about healthy eating (to this day she eats cereal instead of eggs because her doctor told her it was healthier). Lunch was white bread, mayo and the cheapest ham we could find (it had hard, gelatinous chunks in it).
Switching to a vegetarian diet at 16 did not help at all, and actually further worsened my nutrient deficiencies. I still ate wheat, sugar and vegetable oils, just with the addition of processed soy. I had high blood sugar. This made my skin worse. From there I tried a typical healthy diet (low-fat, high grain, high fiber, lean meats) and my skin still didn’t get better. I tried “clean eating” and it improved a bit. It was not until I eliminated grains (except white rice), sugar, gluten and vegetable oils that my skin started to change. With my body so overloaded with the toxins I was eating, it had no choice but to excrete them through my skin. My other organs were overburdened.
Cure Nutrient Deficiencies
My diet was extremely low in vitamins in minerals. I wasn’t getting enough vitamin A & D or E, or enough zinc or selenium. These all play a crucial role in acne. Vitamins A and E help fight free radicals. Vitamin A has been shown to reduce excess sebum production. Vitamin D improves insulin response and the immune system. Zinc is often lower in people with acne and studies have shown that zinc supplementation greatly improves acne. Selenium also acts an antioxidant and reduces inflammation.
I was also not getting enough omegas-3, and was getting an abundance of omega-6. This causes severe inflammation, which results in acne, among other conditions. Acne is largely an inflammatory disease. It is important to eat a wide range of anti inflammatory foods, while avoiding foods that cause inflammation. Luckily, anti inflammatory foods are generally high in vitamins and minerals. Wild seafood, grass-fed meat and healthy fats.
Heal The Gut
Acne is strongly related to gut health. Most people with acne are also suffering from some form of gut dysbiosis, which is a fancy term meaning that the gut has been damaged and there is an altered or diminished amount of the friendly bacteria that should populate the gut. Healing the gut involves eating easily digested foods, repopulating the gut with probiotics, and healing the gut by drinking a lot of homemade bone broths. That last bit may sound weird to you, but bone broth helps strengthen and rebuild the lining of the stomach. It is also extremely rich in vitamins, minerals and healthy fats and fights inflammation.
#2 – STOP PUTTING TOXINS ON YOUR FACE.
I’ve tried literally hundreds of products on my skin over the years. Unfortunately, the cosmetics industry is loosely regulated. Majority of ingredients have not even been tested for safety. The last time the government passed a bill regulating the cosmetics industry was 1938! These products do not work. They’re not healthy. Hell, they’re not even safe. Majority of them contain carcinogens (cancer causing), endocrine disruptors (hormone imbalancing) and obesogens (interferes with fat metabolism).
These products may work short-term, but they’re doing a lot of damage long-term. Just because you can’t see how these products are potentially affecting you does not mean that they aren’t. Whatever you apply to your skin is directly absorbed into your bloodstream. And chances are, you’re applying a whole lot of carcinogens.
#3 – STOP STRIPPING YOUR SKIN OF ITS NATURAL OILS.
One of the biggest problems with skincare products, especially for those of us with acne-prone skin and/or oily skin, is that we’re often told to use oil-free products or products that get rid of oil. It may seem odd, but this is the exact opposite of what we should be doing! Let me explain.
We use a cleanser that washes away the oil. We use a toner that washes away the oil. We use a cream that dries the skin out or an oil-free moisturizer. All of this removes the oil our skin naturally produces, which causes the skin to produce more oil to make up for it! So it causes our skin to be completely imbalanced!
Instead, we should be using oils on our skin! Using the right oils, like jojoba, mimics the skin’s natural sebum and tricks the skin into producing less or balancing dry skin. These oils penetrate the skin to clean it, to moisturize it, to kill bacteria that causes acne and deeply nourish the skin. We should all be using oil on our skin!
#4 – USE ESSENTIAL OILS.
Essential oils are potent, plant based natural remedies. They can reduce wrinkles, improve rosacea or get rid of acne. Some of my favorites are below:
- tea tree essential oil – tea tree oil is incredibly antibacterial and antimicrobial which makes it very effective at killing off harmful bacteria that causes acne, as well as preventing that bacteria from forming. It deeply penetrates the skin to get rid of blemishes quickly.
- geranium essential oil – geranium is antiseptic as well as anti-inflammatory. It’s great for hyper-pigmentation because it gradually lightens and reduces discoloration and scarring.
- frankincense essential oil – it ain’t called the kind of essential oils for nothin’. This is the ultimate essential oil. Frankincense is extremely anti-inflammatory. It kills bacteria that causes acne and is especially effective for reversing scarring and wrinkles.
- lavender essential oil – lavender is an insanely soothing essential oil for the skin. It’s anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and soothes redness and irritation. It inhibits bacteria, preventing acne and also reduces scarring and wrinkles.
- helichrysum essential oil – helichrysum is amazing for scarring and wrinkles. It’s incredible for regenerating skin cells, leaving you with youthful, smooth skin.
The oils are not only healthy, but they’re incredibly beneficial for the skin. They’re amazing actually; they’re so effective and work better over time to give you vibrant, clear, youthful, glowing skin!
#5 – ANCESTRAL ORGANICS.
Yes, I have to plug my own business here. I wrote this article years ago, but recently started my own skincare line of organic and non-toxic products for all skin types. They are exactly the products I made myself over the years that include organic oils like jojoba and tamanu for scarring, along with the amazing essential oils.
These are the products I used to clear my acne. I now have clear skin but if you’ve ever had truly severe acne, you know that even after the skin clears – it’s left scars. I had deep, pitted scars. I hate this term but after I cleared my skin through diet and natural oils, I had a “crater face.” I’ve been able to greatly reduce the scarring from using these products.
My skin isn’t perfect, but with repeated use of these products I’ve seen such a huge improvement. My skin is no longer insanely oily, I don’t have white or blackheads everywhere, my pores are way smaller and my skin tone is much more even.
With every $50 order of Ancestral Organics, I will send you a free four week meal plan that is incredibly healthy, anti-inflammatory and nutrient dense. No diets, no counting calories, just real, simple, straight forward food that will help you achieve the best skin of your life. Plus, with every $50 order you get free shipping!