I cannot remember a time in my adolescence that I did not have acne. As if puberty, characterized by it's awkward physical changes and hormonal freak-outs, wasn't painful enough, add on a heavy layer of inconvenient pimples and rosy-red scars. I remember rubbing my skin, trying to peel off as many inflamed bumps as possible, attempting to cover it up with bad bangs (which doesn't work, by the way) and tinted moisturizers. Cute, right?!
My dermatologist, try though she did, piled my medicine cabinet high with prescription pills and topical lotions. My skin went from uncomfortably oily to painfully dry and peeling. Yeah, it was as awesome as it seems. And, by the way, it still didn't work. I tried Accutane, which proved to be painful and scaring, both physically and emotionally, and, eventually, I tried a hormonal intervention with 28-day birth control pills -- which, to this day, is the only prescription that ever worked.
But what if you don't want to use painful chemical prescriptions to get clear skin? What if you're looking for a more natural solution -- one that eases the pain, the embarrassment, the internal trauma of prescription dependence?
After about four years of daily BCP use, I decided that I needed to try a different path. My body had experienced dramatic change at the hands of my hormonal intervention, and I wanted to try to find a way to get the same results without paying for a prescription, both financially and physically.
Here's what I have learned, in five easy tips, designed to save you money and get you clear, radiant skin (make sure you check out tips four and five for my fave products!).
One. You are what you eat (and drink).
The easiest, cheapest and most transformational way to get clear, radiant skin is to clean up your diet! Skin care is deeply connected to liver health, which means that everything you eat and drink can have an effect on your skin. Base the foundation of your diet on whole, unprocessed, real foods - quality fruits, vegetables and meats -- and make sure you hydrate. Cut out alcohol and sugary drinks, and try replacing that daily coffee habit with nutrient-packed teas. Every body is different, so keep track of what works and what doesn't for you!
Two. Clean out your cosmetics.
Just like with processed foods, many of the chemical additives present in your cosmetics are getting in the way of your health. Many of them have been shown to lead to cancer, interfere with endocrine receptors, and have been linked to neurotoxicity. Check out the Dirty Dozen of the Cosmetic Industry and Ten Toxic Cosmetic Ingredients to Avoid. Trash the garbage in your medicine cabinet and check out Tip Three!
Three. Get the good stuff.
In addition to avoiding the cancer-causing cosmetic crap, many natural skin clearing remedies are not only more effective but are also more affordable. I mean, I've seen skin creams for upwards of $300! Ain't nobody got time for that! Check out 5 All-Natural Home Beauty Essentials for how to use common kitchen ingredients to replace those toxic cosmetics and bring a list of products to avoid when you visit the drug store!
In addition to an unprocessed diet and healthy hydration, make sure you supplement smartly. Take a quality multivitamin and check out what it might look like to add chasteberry supplements and zinc supplements to your acne regimen (always check with your primary physician or naturopath prior to changing your diet!).
Four. Three words for you. Apple. Cider. Vinegar. Get some.
My absolute favorite home remedy for clear skin is raw, organic apple cider vinegar! Combine three parts ACV with one part filtered water in a glass, resealable container. After gently and drying your face, apply the mixture to your skin using a clean cotton swab. Despite the fact that I go to bed smelling a bit like vinegar, this stuff is magic. Magic, I tell you! Check it out for sunburns, weight loss, and flea treatments for your pets!
Five. Go straight to the source.
After applying your ACV mixture, one up your average acne creams and apply some Melaleuca Essential Oil to your blemishes. Otherwise known as tea tree oil, Melaleuca is first aid for the skin - reducing acne and its blemishes with its natural antibacterial properties. It's a common ingredient in some acne washes and treatments, but applying it directly has amazing results -- including clearing up my skin recently after 4 days of beer and wine tastings. Magic. I'm telling you.
Other great essential oils for the skin include: Lemongrass, Lavender, and Geranium. Contact me if you want to learn more about how to integrate essential oils into your life (for a wholesale price). For more than just skin, Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade EO's can help treat everything from headaches to snoring, from inflammation to allergies, and more.
More than just beauty...
In many ways, I'm grateful for my acne. My skin plays a huge role in knowing my body, and I receive clear signals from my pores as to how I'm treating myself. When I'm drinking water and antioxidant-packed teas, eating whole, unprocessed foods, and utilizing the tools that nature gives me, my body is in balance and my skin is clear and radiant! But, when I'm drinking a little too much coffee, alcohol or sugary juice, eating refined sugars and carbohydrates, and relying on man-made remedies, my skin rebels, screaming at me to treat it - and the rest of my body - with respect. It's not about beauty -- though I love seeing my skin radiant with health -- it's about caring for my body long-term and treating its largest organ with respect and love.
Want to learn more about how I can help you clear up your skin naturally? Have questions about what you've read here? Contact me today!