Acne is one of those things that affects most of us at some stage of our lives. Whether you had a bad case during high school, or developed it later in life, it’s definitely an unpleasant experience and can have a crippling effect on self esteem and confidence. From severe acne to hormonal breakouts, it can be difficult to manage and can take a toll on the way we view ourselves. I’m by no means an expert on acne, however I want to share my personal experience with you and how I manage my hormonal breakouts.
Recently I’ve been undergoing a slight transformation, in regards to my diet and what I put on my skin. I’ve always been a pretty healthy eater, and adopt the ‘everything in moderation’ mantra. Growing up in a Mediterranean household, we were always eating cheese, olives, salami; all the tasty stuff! This never affected my weight, as I’ve always been on the thin side . However, as I got older, my skin began to break out. This only happened later in life, around 19, and I could not understand why. My high school years were blemish free; to be honest, I had completely flawless skin. So I began to wonder why I was breaking out, and why I still continue to break out to this day.
Hormones are usually the main culprit, but I firmly believe it’s what we put in our bodies and on our skin that determines the severity of acne. There are some foods that trigger acne, especially around that time of month for us females. I started to notice that when I ate a lot of cheese and dairy, my skin would worsen. There were times that I would not leave the house because my skin was so bad. Just to clarify, I never have severe acne; it was definitely hormonal and I would get large sores around my mouth and chin/jaw area. In Chinese medicine and face mapping, this area of the face is linked to ovaries and the reproductive area, so it made total sense why my breakouts would flare up around those areas during that time of month.
When I was younger, I was convinced that a proper skincare routine would cure my breakouts. While some products can help to decrease the number of breakouts you get, and treat them, there is unfortunately no ‘magic cure’. Also, many products targeted towards acne prone skin can be very harsh and drying to the skin. I finally went to my doctor, as I was extremely frustrated that nothing was ‘working’ for me. She prescribed some antibiotics, and a topical treatment to apply every day. Over the next few years, I did notice a change and my skin really did clear up (although I did get the occasional breakout here and there, usually stress related).
As I got older, I really wanted to heal my skin naturally and not have to rely on medication to treat it. I just didn’t like the idea of having all of those chemicals inside my body. So I started to pay attention to what I was eating, and also what I put on my skin. Altering my diet was probably the hardest one to do, as I was so used to eating whatever I felt like and not feeling guilty about it. I began to cut back on cheese and on cured meats (salami etc). I incorporated more nuts into my diet, and swapped regular milk for soy/rice milk. One thing about me; I have no problem quitting things cold turkey, as I know I’ll get used to not having it. So that definitely came in handy! I also cut out most sugar, however I’ve never had a sweet tooth so this wasn’t a big problem for me. I also upped my vegetable intake, and reduced my intake of meat. I’ve always enjoyed a big steak, but meat was not something I ate everyday anyway. Which brings me to my next point.
A friend recently gave me some information about the vegan diet and the benefits that it can give you. While I know I will never totally go vegan, it definitely changed my perspective on food and realised that you don’t need to eat the foods that you think you should. As a matter of fact, it’s totally okay to cut some foods out. Vegan living is about respecting all living creatures, and adopting a plant based diet. Vegans do not eat meat, chicken, fish, dairy, foods with preservatives and any kind of food that is not raw or has been altered in any way. Nuts, organic fruit and vegetables, seeds, legumes (just to name a few) make up the majority of their diet. It does seem a bit unbelievable that humans can exist on these foods alone, and it did take me awhile to adapt. However, I was very interested in cutting out those foods that I found triggered acne. As mentioned above, I reduced my intake of meat and dairy and replaced it with nuts, seeds, more vegetables and fruit. It’s only been about three weeks, so it’s probably too early to say, but I have noticed that my skin has calmed down a lot and my breakouts aren’t as severe.
I’ve also been really conscious of what I put on my skin. I’ve found that a great product to use is pure organic coconut oil. It’s moisturising and does not cause further breakouts. I also purchased some organic makeup, as there isn’t really any point in eating healthy but putting chemicals all over your face! The products are from a makeup brand called Ere Perez and I will blog about my first impressions very soon. There aren’t too many reviews out there on her products, so hopefully I can help others make an informed choice.
I will keep you all updated on my progress, if you’re interested.
Have a great weekend!