TOP: Striped Beach Tee (only $28!), more colors here, sleeveless here | JEANS: Cropped White Jeans, also love this pair and this pair | SHOES: Bridge Sandals (only $88), more colors here | BRACELETS: Fiji Bracelet and Linear Bracelet | NECKLACE: Taner Bar Necklace
One side effect of my wellness journey that was unexpected, but wholly welcome? My skin is clearer than it’s ever been in my life. No, it’s not perfect, but for someone who has struggled with breakouts, acne and oily skin their entire life, this is a like a mini miracle!
About a two years ago, I’d gone into the dermatologist, yet again, complaining about bumpy, blemished skin. When the doctor’s only recommendation was Accutane, I was floored, but also disappointed. She claimed it was the only option. How could this extreme measure be my only choice? I was dumbfounded, but took the papers and left. Before I even got two blocks away, I’d decided that it wasn’t the right choice for me and threw the papers away. But what was next? I’d been on so many different creams and pills over the years and here I was, nearly 28 years old with the skin of a teenager. Immediately I hopped on the computer and started my search for natural and holistic ways to clear skin. My run with prescription face medicine was going to over!
A part of me has always been a little bit holistic—I’ve seen the power of diet and food for healing other diseases firsthand, but at that point I hadn’t made the connection between my diet and my skin. But that first Google search gave me hope that healthy, clear skin was possible without prescription drugs. To be honest, I didn’t do that much about it that first year. I tried a honey cleanser and apple cider vinegar toner and eventually got sick of the mess and the smell and went back to my normal products. I’d come to terms with having oily skin and just assumed that this was going to be part of life forever. But, when I made drastic changes to my diet and lifestyle this year, some amazing things happened.
The breakouts are less frequent, less intense and overall, my complexion is smoother and my skin looks more vibrant and full! I’ve also discovered so many new beauty products that don’t disrupt my body’s natural rhythm. It’s given me so much more confidence and I find myself wearing less and less face makeup as the months pass, which I never thought would be possible.
So, I wanted to share my top tips for clearing your skin! Here they are:
1. Cut Back on Caffeine
Caffeine dehydrates your body, which causes inflammation and early aging—no one wants that! Coffee does have antioxidants and isn’t all bad, but just make sure you’re not over-indulging! Last year, I was drinking 2-3 cups a day, and I’ve backed down to one. If I’m craving something warm after my single cup, I’ll make a cup of water with the juice of half a lemon and 1 Tbsp of apple cider vinegar. The citrus in it is actually very invigorating and detoxifying too! Since I only get one cup a day, I really savor it. I pick out my favorite mug and instead of just drinking it mindlessly, I stop and try to enjoy every sip!
2. Use Clean Skin Products
As I learn more about how many toxic chemicals are in so many skincare lines, I’ve been paying far more attention to the ingredients in my beauty products. While my beauty cabinet isn’t 100% safe, it’s getting there! A few months ago, I was surprised to find that some of the brands that I really love and that are well-respected for their quality also contained parabens, sulfates and other toxic ingredients. Lately, I’ve been loving everything I have from Tata Harper, BeautyCounter (click here for $10 off your first order!), Juice Beauty, Pacifica, and Herbivore. I’ve noticed a huge difference in how often I break out and I think these products are to thank. They work incredibly well, but are so gentle and kind to my skin!
3. Cut Back on Sugar
Candy has always been my weakness. Especially things like gummy bears and anything sour or fruity. Ironically, I’ve never been a big fan of chocolate! For a few months, I went cold turkey on my candy obsession and replaced it with more fresh fruit which really curbed my sugar cravings. But, why should you cut back on sugar? It causes your insulin levels to spike which can in turn cause inflammation in your body. Inflammation in your body can cause all sorts of problems, so it’s best to ingest as little as possible. Of course, it’s impossible to avoid sugar completely, and you shouldn’t—fruits, veggies and whole grains are broken down into glucose (sugars) slower than simple sugars like candy or greasy potato chips and don’t cause those crazy insulin spikes! Skip the white pasta, white rice and other simple carbs when you can! I had a week where I ate a whole box of these Sugarfina Sugar Lips and Sour Patch Kids and days later my face was so broken out! But damn, those Sugar Lips were sooo good! As soon as I made that connection and cut back on my sugar it calmed down within a week.
4. Cut Back on Alcohol Intake
Well, this one is easy for me now, but before I was pregnant, not so much! I almost lumped this one into the above, because alcohol is full of sugar, but I think it deserves it’s own category, because the sugars in alcohol aren’t the only negative effects. Alcohol also dehydrates your body, leaving your skin looking sullen, dry and tired—hello, hangovers! Overtime, heavy alcohol intake can be terrible for your body, but you guys already know that, so I won’t go into detail. Red wine is full of antioxidants, so (again, before I knew I was pregnant), I opted for red wine or clear liquors with soda with fresh lime or lemon juice. The latter does take me back to my college days, but when it’s mixed with high-quality booze, it’s much better than I remembered!
5. Drink Collagen
Say, what?! You’ve heard of collagen and probably know that as we get older, our bodies start to naturally lose it. A few months ago, I added Vital Proteins to my daily routine and I’m obsessed! They have a bunch of different products and flavors, and they dissolve into liquid—hot or cold and make getting extra collagen (and protein!) super easy. When I’m drinking collagen mixed into my coffee every day I notice that my skin looks fuller and more vibrant! I love adding it to my coffee because it’s easy to remember every morning.
6. Exfoliate Regularly
If you’re like me and wear makeup on a regular basis or live in a city, it’s easy for toxins to build up on your skin and clog your pores. I make sure to exfoliate several times each week to help with breakouts. I use this exfoliating face wash everyday (this one is amazing too) few times a week and also love this exfoliating mask from TULA! Exfoliating on a regular basis has helped with skin tone and scarring in a big way. If you currently have very broken out skin, be careful with exfoliation as it may cause more damage than good.
7. Mask Often
This one could fall into the category above, but they’re really two separate things. I exfoliate in the shower several times a week and also use a mask 2-4 times a week. I like switching it up between masks that are hydrating, deep cleaning, resurfacing, brightening and deep cleaning. The mix gives my skin different benefits and it’s one of my most relaxing beauty habits and is the perfect way to show yourself a little self love each week! A few of them only stay on for about 5 minutes, but for any that stay on 10-20 minutes, I’ll make a cup of tea, apply my mask and enjoy my tea while it does its thing—bliss!!
8. Drink More Water
Since January, my water intake has skyrocketed and I think this is one of the biggest reasons my skin looks so much better! When you’re not drinking enough water, toxins can build up and get caught in your skin, which can cause breakouts. Drinking plenty of water naturally helps flush your skin. I bet if you drink at least 8-8oz. glasses of water everyday this week, you’ll notice a change in your skin by the end of the week. Don’t underestimate the power of water!
9. Get More Sleep
Did you know that getting more rest can actually help with your complexion? I’ve gone through periods of my life where I relied on very little sleep, and you can quickly see what it does to your skin. Not only do dark circles and bags form under eyes, but skin look dry, dull and, well, tired! Your body goes into detox mode when you’re in deep sleep, so if you’re not getting there, or not getting enough of it, it’s going to show.
What tips do you have for naturally clearing your skin?