I was enjoying my breakfast of scrambled eggs, kale, and bacon, while watching a few minutes of the Today Show, when Adam Levine (singer of Maroon 5, The Voice, in case you live under a rock) asserted in a Proactive commercial that his teenage and adult acne held him back from doing what he loved. Since using Proactive, he can now be his stellar, handsome, confident self and create brilliant music for all his screaming female fans in the world.
He right on one thing. Acne sucks. I struggled with it as a teen. It was embarrassing. And really does a number on your self-esteem, especially when you are 16 and think the whole world is obsessed with the way you look. Your whole world crumbles when you have a zit the size of planet earth on the tip of your nose, creating a Bozo the Clown effect.
As an adult, it sucks more, because you tell yourself that this is not normal. This is something you are supposed to grow out of. And some days, you still think the whole world is obsessed with and judges you by the way you look. (The latter holding a lot of truth, unfortunately.)
What most people don't know is that your skin is the largest organ of the body and is responsible for detoxification. When your skin develops acne, rashes, Eczema, Psoriasis, and other issues, it is your body's way of telling you that something internally is off. Skins issues are a symptom, NOT the real problem!
(I discuss symptoms versus problems in this video.)
When struggling with a skin condition, most people head right for commercial topical creams and lotions. While this may temporarily mask symptoms (or give you flaky red blotches all over your face instead), you will continue to struggle until you address the issue from the inside out.
So what does cause skin woes? One word: INFLAMMATION. It is most likely your digestive system, toxic buildup (including mold toxicity), detox organ malfunction (kidney/liver), leaky gut issues, hormone imbalances, or food intolerances that are creating this. For me, it turned out to be insulin resistance, a leaky gut, hormone issues, and trouble digesting fat after years of low fat, no fat, processed foods.
Synthetic hormones in birth control pills temporarily relieved my symptoms. But when I decided this was a stupid way to manage a problem that had nothing to do with preventing pregnancy, I figured there had to be a better way. And really, was I going to be on birth control pills when I was 60? 80?
You will probably be disappointed to hear me say that there is no quick fix for this. It took a year for my skin to heal, and even now, when I eat something that I shouldn't, my skin lets me know. However, for me, knowing that I am addressing the core issue, and healing my insides, has been worth the efforts.
While diagnosing what the real problem is can be kind of tricky (visit my personal website for more information on how I can help), there are a few things you can do right now to get started. I recommend doing each thing for a month (3 months total), as an experiment, to see if your skin clears. You can always go back to the way things were before.
- Get the processed sugar out of your diet. Read labels, avoid most fruits (eat apples, pears, and berries in moderation – no more than one small serving each day), and use Erythritol (tastes like sugar) or Stevia (tastes like artificial sweetener) to sweeten your coffee or whatever you feel you NEED to add sugar to. Do this for a month and see if your skin clears some.
- Next try wheat and gluten. This is the second highest culprit that creates inflammation in the body. Try it for a month and see if your skin condition clears more.
- Next try eliminating dairy.
I know this seems daunting. The idea of giving up all these things in your diet leaves you questioning what the hell you are supposed to eat. (Hint, search for “Paleo recipes” as most do not have the above ingredients in them.) I get it. Been there, done that. If you REALLY want to try this, reach out to me for some support. I will be happy to be your cheerleader to get you started.