It’s been about 5 weeks since I embarked on this new journey to heal and prevent my acne. As you’ve probably read before, I’ve been dealing with acne since I was a teenager. Birth control pills helped to keep them at bay. But once I started having kids (and didn’t go back on the pill), my acne has come back with a vengeance – especially since the birth of my third son.
Initially, I thought my hormones were the issue. But now I realize that hormones played just a small role. The REAL issue is food and beauty products.
7 Natural Ways to Prevent and Cure Acne
1. Avoid gluten and other trigger foods. Even if you’re not allergic to gluten (I was tested for a gluten allergy and the results came back negative) and other trigger foods like dairy, nuts or eggs, you may still get a reaction from it. I didn’t think gluten was a trigger for me until I eliminated it from my diet and noticed that after just 2 weeks not only did I not get new breakouts but my skin looked amazing.
Gluten can wreak havoc on the gut (causing your body to not absorb nutrients properly) and cause inflammation. I’ve noticed that cutting out gluten has definitely helped to heal my skin and normalize the color from the typical redness it used to have from breakouts and irritated skin.
And of all the natural cures, eliminating gluten made the biggest difference for me – especially with my cystic acne. Try eliminating gluten, dairy, nuts or eggs to see if it makes a difference for you.
2. Cut down on carbs. Eat more fruit, vegetables and protein. I am a carb lover. Looking back at my diet from my teens through my 30s, I see that carbs were the mainstay in my diet. I’d eat a salad if it were in front of me but generally I didn’t seek out vegetables, fruit and protein. I do think eating too much carbs may have been the culprit to my acne growing up.
Now I do eat potatoes, rice, quinoa and other gluten-free grains, but I try to limit it because I have a tendency to eat a lot of carbs. I opt instead for more protein and fruit and vegetables during meals – like scrambled eggs and an avocado for breakfast or a salad with a hard-boiled egg or organic, nitrate-free turkey for lunch. I find that I can easily avoid carbs during meals, but I seek it out for snacks. So I let myself enjoy it – like a slice of gluten-free bread with grass-fed butter or a serving of plain potato chips.
3. Skip refined sugar and artificial sweeteners. These sugars just spike your blood sugar and could be a trigger for inflammation. I find that when I have more sweets (like for birthdays or special occasions), I’m more prone to smaller breakouts. I don’t get cystic acne, but I can see little breakouts on my forehead and chin. Safer sweeteners are 100% pure maple syrup, raw honey and dates.
4. Eliminate processed foods from your diet. I thought I was a relatively healthy eater, but I still had boxes of crackers, chips, boxed pasta (gluten free and organic, mind you, but still boxed), all-natural cookies, etc. in my pantry. So I’ve stopped buying most boxed food – even healthy and organic – to reduce my dependency on convenience and snack foods. The only food that doesn’t seem to irritate my skin is all-natural, plain potato chips. My kids love it too, and I’m ok with all of us enjoying it as a treat.
5. Eat more fat. Contrary to what we’ve been told, fat is actually good for you. Especially fat from grass-fed meat and dairy as well as vegetables and fruit (like avocados). I avoid processed fat from hydrogenated oil, soybean oil, canola oil, butter substitutes like margarine, cooking sprays, etc. Instead, I rely on real grass-fed butter, virgin and unrefined , and high-quality olive oil to cook or flavor my food. And I’ve been eating grass-fed, nitrate-free bacon (real bacon, not turkey bacon) at least 2-3 times a week (it’s the only meat I really eat) and I haven’t had any issues with acne.
According to the Skintervention Guide, your skin needs fat to work properly and heal. Coconut oil, for instance, can aid in digestion and kill bad bacteria in the body. Cholesterol, found in egg yolks, seafood and meat, can heal and strengthen cells and help with digestion. The Skintervention Guide is packed with information about how to change your diet to cure acne – and I especially like her section on nutrition and how foods can cause or heal acne. Check her our section on signs of healthy fat deficiency – which include headaches, dry and flaky skin, and craving (bad) fatty foods.
6. Ditch facial products with harsh chemicals and make your own. This was such a mind-boggler for me. I had been using harsh facial products in an attempt to rid my skin of acne-causing bacteria, and it didn’t work. If anything, my skin looked more red, irritated, dry and the acne was more prominent. Turns out all the products are too harsh for the skin and disrupt the normal oil balance in skin – usually causing more oil production and more greasy look.
So I ditched it all. Now I use a toner made with part water and part raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar (with the mother like Bragg’s). I use it morning and night. I’m also using oatmeal (just plain oatmeal ground into a fine powder) with a little water to wash my face. These two things have made such a difference in helping to heal my skin and bring my natural facial oil balance back to normal. I don’t look greasy anymore.
As a moisturizer, I go between a bit of virgin, unrefined or jojoba oil. For spot treatment, I like to use a dab of straight apple cider vinegar or lemon juice.
I also do a once-a-week scrub with a bit of baking soda and water too.
7. Drink apple cider vinegar. I have a tall glass of ice water and add a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. It’s a great way to aid digestion and rid the body of toxins. I have heard that some people break out initially when drinking apple cider vinegar. That might be the body purging toxins out. I did not have this experience, but you could talk to a holistic nutrition practitioner for more information.
8. Take a fermented cod liver oil supplement. I really like Green Pastures Fermented Cod Liver Oil. According to Liz Wolfe in the Skintervention Guide, fermented cod liver oil/butter oil blend is a skin health superfood. It helps to deliver skin-healing nutrients and fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K2. This supplement works great for those with keratosis (my oldest son has it and is now taking this supplement) and psoriasis.
Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional nor am I qualified to give any medical advice. Rather, this is my own story of how I was able to heal, cure and prevent my acne.
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