This is probably the hardest thing for me to share, but I am sharing this post with you today because I wish I had advice like this to help me through my struggle with how to cure acne. Finding real, honest resources such as youtube bloggers or friends (vs. skin care companies) was always the best advice. I learned how to take this advice from others and turn it into my own “self-healing” program!
First of all, I want to say that I understand. I understand how you’re feeling; having acne is really tough! It’s so easy to feel down and feel “embarrassed” and “ugly”. My face was hurting all the time and my skin was completely damaged. But after some time, I turned it all around. Here’s how I did it:
When I first left Canada and moved to Europe, I noticed a rash on my face which I later was told was rosacea. Basically this consisted of an itchy, red spotty rash on my eyelids, chin and forehead area which was stress-induced. I ignored this and hoped it would go away.
When I arrived in Berlin, I also broke out into cystic acne. This is where I really had no idea what was going on. I picked at the zits, scarred my face and encouraged more breakouts. I went to several doctors, who all prescribed me weird rash creams that just seemed to make things worse. At this time, I was on the birth control pill (low dose), used drug store makeup, ate cheese, eggs and wheat bread and didn’t exercise very regularly. I was also constantly stressed and lonely. I was angry and confused because I had never had any real problems with my skin in the past.
SO, I decided to take action!
Here are the following things I changed in my lifestyle that have helped cure my cystic acne and rosacea:
Organic, plant-based all natural make up.
Trust me on this one. Most makeup plugs up your pores, so choosing a pesticide and hormone free makeup is always a good option. Here are some of my all favourite all-natural makeup products if you’re having trouble finding some!
Try and avoid wearing makeup whenever you can (lounging around the house, at the gym, hanging out with friends). You really want to focus on letting your skin breathe and heal.
This is so, so important. Your body can deal with the acne/virus on it’s own, and picking and popping your zits will only cause scarring, cuts and infection. Some cystic acne actually spreads beneath the skin, so once you pick at one, it can spread to all different parts of your face. If you’re struggling with scarring, I would suggest rubbing a little coconut oil on the scars every so often.
I used to think sweat was my skin’s worst nightmare, but I’ve actually found it is the complete opposite! Getting a good sweat on really helps your skin rid of any built-up toxins. I always make sure to wash my face with a gentle cleanser and exfoliant right after my workout to avoid any bacteria build-up or clogged pores. Taking a steam shower also does wonders. Also, do yourself a favour and remove all makeup before hitting the gym (do you really want your skin to absorb all that makeup!?)
Plant-based, whole-foods nutrient dense diet.
I definitely notice a huge difference in my skin depending on the foods I eat. Certain foods at different times can trigger breakouts or rashes. Since eliminating animal products from my diet (except honey), I have noticed such a huge difference. Consuming dairy products was a huge trigger for me, as well as wheat products, so I definitely recommend avoiding those and see how your skin/body reacts in return (don’t mistake this for “detoxing”). Also incorporating lots of skin-friendly foods can help loads (leafy greens esp. dandelion greens, wheatgrass, turmeric, beets, asparagus, avocados, mangoes, papayas, cabbage, grapefruit, berries, lemons)
Using all natural cleansers and light exfoliants.
I love using all natural cleansers from companies like Lush or Kunye. You can find the products I use also here. I found that charcoal-based products did wonders for my skin (this is because charcoal has detoxing properties and can actually pull toxins from your skin).
Maintaining a positive, stress-free environment.
I think this ties into the whole topic of self-love, which really is the centre for everything! In this post, I talk about my 5 Healthy Habits which help me live a happy and stress-reduced lifestyle. Surrounding yourself with positive people, lots of love and a happy work environment can actually drastically change your skin’s appearance for the better.
Sea salt and sunshine.
I was really lucky to return to sunshine and the ocean (Vancouver, Canada) after 8 months which really helped my skin recover from living in a polluted city (Berlin, Germany). I tried to dip into the ocean at least 3 times a week and used a gentle all-natural SPF moisturizer or a bit of coconut oil on my skin whenever I was in the sun for long periods of time. Salt water is naturally anti-bacterial, so go makeup-free in the ocean as much as you can!
Water (are you surprised?).
We all know this one, so why do we ignore it!? Drinking 2L of water a day has helped keep my skin hydrated and nourished. Water helps eliminate toxins from the body, so it’s sort of a no brainer. Find a good sized water bottle and drag it with you everywhere you go, you will see (and feel) such a difference!
I know this isn’t what you want to hear, but noticing a difference in your skin can take anywhere from a few days to a year! For me, it took a total of 4 months to see a drastic change. Be patient, persistent and positive! Staying positive will truly affect everything else around you (including your diet, wellbeing and skin!).
Here is a photograph showing my transition from unhealthy skin to glowing, happy skin! The photographs on the left were not taken at the worst point, but they show clearly how damaged and upset my skin was at the time. In the middle photograph, I was dealing with lots of rashes and breakouts, heavily depending on the foods I ate. The photographs on the right was about 2 months after following all my tips above!