In order to really ward off skin problems for good, you have to work with your whole body to make sure that it stays in balance, healthy and functioning. When we have imperfections of the skin (dryness, redness, itchiness, acne, flakiness, etc.), it is generally an indication of an internal imbalance. To create truly healthy and radiant skin, cleansing must begin from the inside.
Foods to Eat for Clear Skin:
Swiss Chard, kale, spinach and other leafy greens are full of vitamins A, E and K, which reduce inflammation and help to cleanse the blood and remove toxins.
Almonds contain vitamin E, which is one of your skin’s best friends when it comes to staying clear.
Chia seeds and pumpkin seeds both contain zinc, omega-3s and fiber, which fight inflammation, improve elasticity and ward off free radicals in the body.
Fennel aids in digestion, reduces swelling and flushes impurities and fluids out of the body. It’s a great cleansing root.
Garlic is full of a naturally occurring chemical called allicin, which kills off many harmful bacteria and viruses your body might be fighting.
Berries are antioxidant powerhouses!
Avocado is full of healthy fats, and its potent doses of vitamins E and C keep the skin moisturized and help with elasticity and improve its tone and texture.
Peppermint aids in digestion and relieves stress, a common cause of acne. Peppermint tea is calming, soothing and healing.
Green tea is full of antioxidants, which fight inflammation, and it balances the body’s insulin, creating a healthy blood sugar level.
Burdock is a natural antibacterial and antifungal herb, killing the source of acne from the inside.
Brown rice is a great source of skin-healing selenium and magnesium, as well as B vitamins.
Coconut oil is full of those fatty acids and is a wonderful skin moisturizer, and a healthier alternative to vegetable oils.
Lemon is one of the easiest and most effective ways to cleanse the body of toxins. I squeeze half a lemon into warm water first thing in the morning, sometimes coupled with ACV or cayenne, and it helps to kickstart digestion, cleanse the blood and liver, and remove impurities before they show up on your skin.
WATER is so vital to skin health, and overall health. Staying hydrated assures that your body is adequately cleaning itself, flushing out unwanted toxins and keeping the skin moisturized. Feeling thirsty is a sign that you are already dehydrated. It helps to keep a refillable water bottle with you at all times.
Raw apple cider vinegar is incredible for alkalizing the body and balancing its pH levels, which plays a major role in calming the skin. It works topically, too! Which brings us to…
Natural topical acne treatments:
Honey is naturally antibiotic and moisturizing. Great as a cleanser or mask.
Cinnamon cleanses pores and is a great exfoliant.
Essential oils like lavender and rosemary have anti-inflammatory and healing properties and are great to mix into moisturizers.
Neem oil is antifungal, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory. It kicks acne’s butt topically, or taken as a supplement (I use both!)
Apple cider vinegar (again!) is a wonderful toner to tighten skin, kill lingering bacteria and remove excess oil. (Mix ACV, lemon juice and water for a perfect toner/ acne scar fading treatment!)
Aloe vera tones and hydrates the skin beautifully.
Bentonite clay removes impurities that are hidden deep in the pores, purging the skin of all that gunk that accumulates over time. Great for controlling oil long-term and shrinking the appearance of pores.
Supplements for Clear Skin:
Probiotics are something that everyone, acne-prone or not, should take. Supplying the body with beneficial bacteria is wonderful for digestion, and replenishing necessary bacteria that are destroyed with the use of antibiotics (which should be avoided unless absolutely necessary!)
Fermented cod liver oil (sounds gross, but it is a miracle for skin) is full of omega-3 fatty acids, and rich in minerals and vitamins that retain skin’s radiance and clarity.
Borage seed oil is moisturizing, contains omega-6 fatty acids, maintains a youthful complexion, and helps to restore damaged skin.
Antifungal supplements help to balance the body’s yeast count (candida), which can create acne when there is an overgrowth.
Things to avoid when dealing with acne:
I mentioned alkalizing the body. A balanced pH is so important when striving for clear skin (and health in general! Funny how the two go hand-in-hand). Acidic foods such as sugar and dairy are your skin’s WORST enemy, and acne’s best friend. Replacing simple white flour with rich whole grains or sprouted grains is a good idea, because foods like white bread and flour are broken down and digested the same way sugary snacks and candy are. It doesn’t benefit the body at all. Dairy has been linked to acne in many studies–specifically milk; the hormones the cows are fed are going into your body, too, and throwing your hormones off-balance, causing flare-ups. There are great alternatives to cow’s milk, like coconut milk, almond milk, rice milk and oat milk.
Many people often find that soy is a cause of their acne, because it acts like estrogen in the body, throwing off hormones the same way milk can. Not everyone has this reaction to soy, but oftentimes a food allergy can show itself in the form of acne and people don’t even realize it.
I hope this helps anyone who has been struggling with skin issues. Adopting these habits have benefited me greatly, and made me realize that slathering my skin in chemical products has done me no good over the years. Natural is the way to go!
And now, as promised, some of PETA’s worst ads. I have to put this under a read more, because many of their ads are just pornography. And I don’t mean “like” pornography, or “kind of NSFW”… (Is nudity always sexual? No - but judging by these ads, you’d think PETA wasn’t even aware of that)