From the internet you might think that all you need to do to clear your skin is to change your diet.
Perhaps go vegan.
Or maybe go paleo.
And by doing that, your skin will magically clear up.
That used to be my philosophy too.
Although those things clear a lot of people of their acne, what if it doesn’t clear you up?
Or what if the diet that does help clear your skin isn’t sustainable or just doesn’t work for you because of non-skin related issues? (i.e. A high carb, low fat plant based diet might help clear your skin but leave you too skinny or with digestive issues).
What if you eat the cleanest diet ever, and even practice “non-diet habits” that help improve your health, yet still experience harsh breakouts?
The good news is that there’s still hope.
Let me explain the way I look at it…
My Philosophy On Acne And Health In General
I believe that healthy individuals should be able to handle different diets as long as they’re comprised of real, whole foods. I believe that really healthy individuals should be able to handle real foods and be able to bounce back without feeling like they were just hit by a bus or break out with 20 new spots (dairy might be the exception here just because of how potent of an acne instigator it is). I believe that for a lot of people, diet becomes a religion and they put all of their eggs into the diet basket, getting obsessive over everything they eat, living in a constant state of fear that holds them back from enjoying life.
Don’t misinterpret this. If we are experiencing “dis-ease” and aren’t in an awesome state of health already, then yes, we do need to be very strict with our diets and limit even the real food that we eat while our body heals. And if we want to remain in an awesome state of health, we need to remain strict with eating real foods. What I’m talking about is being “over-strict” or “over-restricting.” Like, if you’re in a pretty good state of health and you’re scared to eat a sweet potato because you think the sugars in it will hurt you…I don’t know… that seems a little excessive to me. Usually, if it’s a real food from the earth, it shouldn’t be something to be scared of. We should let our body determine what real foods we eat based off of the biofeedback it gives us. The important thing is to stay away from processed, refined and junk foods 95-100% of the time and to stick with real, whole foods.
But what if you’ve been eating real, whole foods and still aren’t experiencing that health and skin you want? And what if on top of that you further restrict your diet, but still don’t get the results you were looking for?
If that’s the case, it may be time to look at other factors that can cause metabolic dysfunction and work on them. Because if there are blocking factors in your life that are preventing you from optimal health, it doesn’t matter how perfect your diet is…You’ll always be held back by these things.
So yes, diet does play the biggest role in our health; but there are many, many other factors that can contribute to a malfunctioning system and health conditions like constant adult cystic acne. The way functional health practitioners work is by identifying blocking factors and eliminating them, while at the same time enhancing and supporting the things that create health.
By eliminating the blocking factors that can contribute to metabolic dysfunction, we are decreasing the burden on the body and giving it a better chance to heal itself, thereby giving us a better chance at living the fulfilling lives we were made to live.
5 Blocking Factors That May Hold You Back From Clear Skin And Optimal Health
This is directed more towards guys and is specific to acne on the face. You want to use an electric razor to shave. Something like this. Electric razors are better because there is less irritation on the skin and no need to put chemical on the skin. This is a basic thing that people with acne should do. If you are still shaving with a standard razor, make the switch. It’s worth it.
(2) Dirty Sheets
This one is pretty much a no-brainer. We need to clean our sheets, especially our pillow cases. We sleep on these surfaces every night and they accumulate dead skin cells, make up, dirt and bacteria. Placing our heads on pillow cases that haven’t been washed in over a week can contribute to clogged pores if we’re susceptible to acne. I know someone who got rid of his acne by simply changing his pillowcase every night. That might not work for everyone, but the fact that sweat, sebum, bacteria and other things linger on our pillow cases does make a good case to change them often. Aim to change your pillowcases at least 2-4 times a week, and change your sheets weekly.
(3) Laundry Detergent And Dish Soap
When you clean your sheets, clothes and towels, it is important to use an all-natural, preferably organic, non-irritating detergent that is free of dyes, perfumes and chemicals. We are bombarded with chemicals every day and there is no way we can tell what their compounding effects do to us. We do know that toxins can alter our hormones and increase inflammation, which are the two underlying causes of acne, so why add more stress to your body by deliberately adding chemicals to the things you wear every single day? I usually get my laundry detergent (and other non-perishables) from Thrive Market because it is less than the cost of retail. For laundry detergent I like this one (powder) and this one (liquid). For dish soap I use this. For the dishwasher I use this.
(4) Cleaning Supplies
These include sprays, wipes, artificially scented perfumes to make rooms smell good and other cleaning supplies filled with harsh chemicals. The more toxic chemicals that are in your house, the more toxins that will find their way into your system. Ninety-nine percent of these chemical concoctions didn’t exist a hundred years ago, and the rates of acne and other diseases were minuscule compared to what we see today. The thing about bacteria is that we come in contact with it on a daily basis. There is absolutely no way we can sterilize our environment to the point where they don’t affect us. Instead of waging an endless war on something that is all around us at all times, we should raise our immunity to the point where our bodies can take care of any pathogen that we come in contact with. Let’s build health instead of fighting disease. Since you still need to clean your house though, you can get chemical-free cleaning supplies and laundry detergents from Whole Foods, health food stores and online at Amazon or Thrive Market. These are my favorite Disinfecting wipes and Non-Toxic Cleaning Spray.
(5) Chemicals In Cosmetics
What you put on your body ends up in your body. When you eat something, the chemicals from foods end up circulating in your bloodstream after they pass through the intestinal barrier. When we spread creams and lotions on our skin, they pass through our pores and end up circulating in our bloodstream. If we put products on our skin that contain toxic chemicals, especially parabens, this causes our livers to work even harder, trying to filter out the foreign material. A huge issue that a lot of people with acne deal with is a sluggish or overworked liver. By decreasing the toxic load of chemical-laden cosmetics, we can help our liver which can help our skin.
The toxic chemicals in many cosmetic products can cause skin irritation, sensitivities or allergic reactions. If you use cosmetic products, choose ones made from 100 percent organic ingredients that are edible. I personally prefer to not use cosmetic products, but there are good, high quality brands out there. Annmarie Gianni Skincare, Primal Life Organics, and Tata Harper Skincare have awesome, cruelty free, toxin free cosmetics, foundation, eye creams and makeup. They also offer cleansers and other products for acne. However, there is really only one product that I ever recommend for acne. The absolute best product for the skin I have ever used is called Renu28 and you can get it here.
If you are still shaving with a straight razor, sleeping on dirty sheets and dirty pillowcases, washing your laundry and dishes in chemical-filled soaps, cleaning your house with toxic cleansers, or slathering on toxin-filled cosmetics, I hope this showed you some alternatives to try out. By sticking with the less toxic brands, you’re helping to reduce the toxic load on your body and in the earth.
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