As a Holistic Nutritionist and Acne Coach, acne is an incredibly passionate topic of mine. I have helped hundreds of women clear their acne. I have had my fair share of acne struggles (see image below) and I understand the pain, frustration and confusion that comes along with suffering from acne.
If you’ve found yourself googling “how to clear my acne” or throwing hundreds of dollars on skincare products – look no further. I’ve got you covered!
How I Cleared My Cystic Acne
I personally have suffered from cystic acne, rosacea, hormonal acne and more. I get it – I’ve been there. These are some photos of me at age 21, during one the most mentally challenging and transformative years of my life. My acne clearing journey not only helped clear my skin, but it also helped me grow into my most beautiful self and allowed me to discover my full potential in all areas of my life. It’s a journey I’ll never forget.
The photos below document the day I decided to start my acne clearing journey (it truly had been way worse than this). The photo in the middle documents about ~2 months into my acne clearing journey. The photo on the right is around ~4 months into my journey, the clearest my skin has ever been.
I want to share with you some lessons I learned on my acne clearing journey. Here are some of the best tips that I give my readers and clients.
What is the Best Diet for Acne?
As a Holistic Nutritionist, I am incredibly passionate about fighting acne through food & nutrition. Food plays a beautiful role in body balancing and clear skin. Here’s what you need to know.
- Avoid restrictive dieting: food fear plays a big role for many who suffer from acne. Restrictive dieting could actually make your acne worse. Instead of removing food groups or trying the newest diet trend, instead, consider this…
- Eat real, whole foods. Focus on a plant-heavy diet with lots of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, healthy fats and protein.
- The worst foods to eat for acne are conventional animal proteins (high in hormones like cortisol), dairy (increases sebum production), refined/processed sugars (damage the microbiome) and inflammatory oils like canola oil (increase inflammation).
- Some of the best foods to eat for acne are plenty of organic vegetables, seeds, healthy fats like avocado and fruits high in Vitamin C.
- I love using herbs and superfoods to help support acne, like green tea and turmeric.
To understand more about the best diet for acne, be sure to check out The Acne Protocol Bundle, which includes a list of acne-fighting foods and 33 unique tried-and-true recipes designed to promote clear skin and fight acne.
What are the Best Supplements for Acne?
This is a very important part of clearing your acne. Have you found yourself purchasing a supplement online late at night because you saw an influencer raving about how it “changed their life” and “cleared their acne”? Yup, I’ve been there too. However, this can often be more dangerous for your skin than good.
- Do a supplement audit – why are you taking the supplements you are? Is it because you saw someone post about it on Instagram or because you truly have a good reason for taking it?
- Make sure your supplements are good quality. Poor quality supplements like this one and this one are almost always loaded with unnecessary additives like sugars, artificial flavours and harmful ingredients that could make your acne worse. Plus, the actual supplement will likely be difficult for your body to utilize or absorb due to its low-quality sourcing. Make sure your supplements are third-party testing & from a reputable, well-researched brand. With supplements, usually, you get what you pay for.
- Avoid these supplements (usually triggers for people with acne-prone skin) unless recommended to you by a practitioner: Vitamin B12, algae-derived omegas & biotin
The Best Supplements for Clearing Acne
The best supplements for acne are the ones that will support the unique root cause of your skin problems. So, this will look different for everybody. However, here are a few of my favourites that might work for you!
- Probiotics are essential for healthy skin. The research around the gut-mind-skin connection is outstanding and really shows us how important our gut microbiome health is for fighting acne and keeping skin clear. Choose a probiotic that is third-party tested, human strain and high quality, like this one.
- Magnesium is a supplement all women should be taking! Some studies show that around 80% of women in North America struggle with meeting their magnesium requirements. For example, If you drink tap water with fluoride in it, you are more at risk for magnesium deficiency. Magnesium is essential for hormone balancing, healthy sleep and more. These all play a huge role in clearing acne. I recommend this one.
- Zinc is a popular mineral used to fight acne. Instead of supplementing with zinc, my best tip is to include lots of zinc-rich foods in your diet, like pumpkin seeds (my favourite!), chickpeas and when you’re feeling fancy, oysters.
If you want to learn more about which supplements you should take to fight acne, depending on your specific root cause, you can find all the information you’re looking for in The Acne Protocol Bundle.
What is the best skincare for acne?
Skincare for acne can be confusing, but it doesn’t have to be.
Our skin contains an outer layer called the skin barrier, which helps to protect the skin and maintain a healthy level of hydration. On the skin (around your hair follicles) your sebaceous glands secrete sebum, your skin’s natural oil production, needed to keep your skin’s biome regular and blemish-free.
If your skin is too dry or too oily, this means your skin barrier is weak. This also means that your sebaceous glands are either under-producing or over-producing sebum. This can cause problems in the long run, like blocked pores which lead to inflammation of the skin and acne.
The most common mistake I see with my clients is people “overdoing” their skincare routines. Here are some things I recommend avoiding:
Which skincare products to avoid when you have acne
- Avoid using too many harsh ingredients like acids, exfoliants and chemical peels as to not damage the skin barrier.
- Just because a product is natural and organic does not make it acne-safe.
- Just because a product is acne-friendly does not make it non-toxic or safe for your hormones.
- Keep your skincare routine simple – avoid using too many products at once. This can overwhelm your skin and weaken it’s ability to function properly on it’s own.
What is the best product for acne?
My favourite skincare product of all time is raw or manuka honey. I love honey because it is gentle on the skin. It’s also packed with nourishing properties that help fight acne & keep your skin’s natural balance.
My favourite way to use honey is as a gentle face cleanser or a quick honey mask (10-30 mins once per week).
Are Stress & Acne Linked?
To keep this answer short – 100% yes.
When our stress levels are high, cortisol (your stress hormone) is high. Cortisol triggers an androgen spike which causes an increase in sebum production, which can trigger breakouts.
Stress also impacts the gut microbiome and immune health, which both play a role in skin health. It’s honestly crazy how much stress affects the skin!
Here are 3 of my favourite ways to reduce stress to help clear acne:
- Jogging – this helped me immensely in my acne-clearing journey. A light jog around the neighbourhood boost endorphins helps to clear the mind and supports the lymphatic system (helps keep skin clear).
- Deep breathing – take a few deep breaths throughout the day significantly lowers stress. These deep breaths signal our parasympathetic nervous system (our “rest and digest” mode) which helps our body slow down, absorb nutrients in the food we eat and manage cortisol.
- Chamomile tea is my favourite calming herbal tea when I’m feeling stressed. It’s a great one to sip on before bed when you’re feeling anxious or overwhelmed. Psst- it’s also a wonderful anti-inflammatory if used topically on the skin (use the cooled down tea bags on your face after drinking the tea!).
Like I said, acne is complex, but the journey to clear skin doesn’t have to be!
If you’re interested in learning my step-by-step guide to clear your acne, make sure to check out my signature ebook, The Acne Protocol Bundle.