Sara Paley Photography

Tips for Clear Skin – How to Get Rid of Acne, for REAL!

the pure life


Hello, my beautiful readers. How to get glowing, healthy skin is one of my most frequently asked questions. So, to celebrate the end of Beauty Food month at The Pure Life, I wanted to share my favourite tips for clear skin!

I get it, I’ve been there. If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ll know that I’ve struggled with many different types of acne in the past: hormonal (from various methods of birth control), cystic, sugar-related, allergy-related and stress-related. I’ve been so frustrated to the point where I would just pick and pick and pick at my face until it left large, painful scarring that lasted months. Luckily, I’ve found an amazing skin care routine that is working incredibly well for me right now, which is why I’m so excited to share my tips for clear skin. Now I need start off by saying this:

Sara Paley Photography

Sara Paley Photography

There is no one quick fix for clear skin.

Sorry. But it’s true (you should know that by now). No matter what skincare, makeup or supplement company tells you, there is no one quick fix. The most common problem areas related to the skin are hormonal imbalances, external toxins, poor diet, poor lifestyle choices, and stress (among many other things). Sure, I do believe that clean makeup companies and quality skin care companies are very important, but you have to start at the very core of the problem, and that is diet and lifestyle

Here are my tips for clear, glowing skin.

These are “rituals” that I practice everyday, simple practices that have now become hobbies to the point where I don’t even think about doing them, it’s just part of my day, just like brushing my teeth! I recommend trying to integrate one lifestyle/diet change into your daily routine at a time. Changes won’t happen overnight, but you will probably see and feel a significant positive change in your body and your skin. 

Let’s do this! Who’s with me?

Practice Going Makeup-Free

Ugh, I know. This can be super tricky, especially if you’re not used to wearing little to no makeup out in public. Trust me, it’s easier than you think – you’ll be surprised. I recommend starting to cut your makeup in half, using less product each day and eventually going down to the basics and then nothing. Something I loved to kick-start a makeup free challenge was getting false eyelash extensions. This was super easy for me to maintain because I didn’t have to think about putting on mascara in the morning, and my fluttering lashes made me focus on the beauty of my eyes versus the red spots on my cheeks. I now use only a few staple items only when doing something formal, like an important meeting or an event where I want to be more dressed up. I use a very tiny amount of tinted moisturizer under my eyes, a smudge of natural cream blush on my cheeks,  and very occasionally a bit of bronzer or highlighter on my cheekbones, and if I’m really dressing up then a bold or neutral lip colour. All of my makeup products are currently from Elate.

Gut Health

Gut health is the talk of the town in 2017, and it has its reasons. Gut health is so incredibly important, not just for the skin. Promoting good gut health and healthy bacteria in the gut help to improve digestion, which helps to improve absorption of nutrients, which can help to reduce “leaky gut”, which in return reduces inflammation and helps to keep skin breakouts at bay. I recommend a probiotic that you like, at least 10 billion, working your way up to 50 billion if you like. The probiotic I currently use is this one, and I take them 1-2 times per day. Some great natural sources of gut-healthy foods and probiotic-rich foods are fermented (raw, found in refrigerated section of health food or grocery stores) kimchi, sauerkraut and miso paste. As well as unpasteurized kombucha and probiotic coconut or almond yoghurt. 

Use a Natural Skin Care Regime

Keep in natural, friends. I’m definitely not an expert on skin care, but here’s what has worked for me.

  • this bamboo exfoliating brush to naturally exfoliate morning and night with a gentle cleanser
  • a gentle natural cleanser
  • This face oil.
  • DIY lavender spritz. My absolute favourite way to rewind and reduce stress, plus it’s nice and gentle for the skin. Lavender is antiseptic and antifungal. I spray it on my face and body once in the morning and once at night, as well as on my pillow and after I get out of the shower or bath.
  • apple cider vinegar. I use this as a natural toner to help reduce redness and swelling. Apple cider vinegar has incredible anti-bacterial properties. I love dabbing a small amount on pimples and doing an all-over tone once a week. 
  • Raw honey as a face mask 2-3 times a week.
  • I love using a natural face mask once a week. It helps reduce swelling or redness and my face feels soo soft and refreshed afterwards! I don’t recommend over-doing this as it can potentially strip your face’s natural PH.
tips for clear skin

Sara Paley Photography

Seriously, just stop picking.

Yes, I’m talking to you. We all pick at our zits – it’s so hard not to! I’m here to tell you to please, please leave them alone. The more you pick, the worse your acne will get – trust me. Instead of popping a zit (especially one that is definitely not “ready), dab a little apple cider vinegar on it in the evening. If you need to use a stronger zit cream for big guys occasionally, I encourage you to try that if that will kickstart healing in a natural way afterwards. Picking at your face will only spread bacteria and cause inflammation. Leave your face alone.

Detoxing Foods

Surprise, surprise. Acne is often a huge sign that your body is desperately trying to detox toxins from your body. It’s screaming “help me, somethings wrong!”, whether it be excess or unbalanced hormones, external chemicals like cleaning products or pesticides or excess refined foods like sugar and white flour.

Some detoxing foods I love to include in my diet daily are:

  • cruciferous veggies (broccoli, cauliflower)
  • clean protein like pumpkin seed powder or chickpeas (avoid canned), chia seeds and spirulina
  • citrus fruits like lemons, limes and grapefruit
  • hydrating foods like cucumber and watermelon
  • fresh veggies like carrots, celery and sprouts

It’s also incredibly important to support healing at this time to repair damaged skin and promote a healthy balance.

Some healing and supportive foods I love to include in my diet daily are:

  • antioxidant rich foods like dark berries and raw cacao nibs
  • vitamin C boosting foods like citrus and leafy greens to boost natural collagen in the skin
  • healthy fats like avocado, flax seed oil, coconut butter
  • high-enzyme fruits like papaya and pineapple

I also recommend avoiding these foods when you can, especially in the beginning stages of healing, and then slowly re-introducing them once you feel comfortable that you are no longer experiencing flare-ups

  • coffee 
  • nightshade veggies (high inflammation) such as red peppers, tomatoes and eggplants
  • refined sugar
  • soy (unless fermented)
  • gluten (unless heartier grains like rye)
  • alcohol (opt for cleaner sources of liquor like tequila with lime and soda)
  • dairy – Dairy is a HUGE no for me, especially when it comes to clearing up the skin. I recommend cutting out dairy completely from your diet. Dairy causes inflammation in the body and actually can contribute to osteoporosis; it is essentially a “dead” food due to high pasteurization methods and frankly, it is not our milk to drink – would you drink dog milk? Didn’t think so.

Meditation (even if it’s just 5 minutes a day)

With meditation, there is a whole other level of therapeutic work going on in our bodies. It is an open space for healing, self-love, safety and reassurance, confidence, trust, happiness and relieving stress. A lot of these emotions and experiences are linked to skin issues, and it’s important to dive into them and take the time to relax our minds. I love incorporating 15 minutes of yoga/stretching and 5 minutes of meditation per day (preferably in the morning to start the day on a good note). 

Nature does us good

I make a commitment every day to walk at least 15 minutes with our dog, a friend or myself. I almost always leave my phone at home and explore the forest near our house. I also love swimming in the ocean, salt water is absolutely magical, therapeutic, calming and even antibacterial. It also has an unimaginable energy that we don’t have the opportunity to connect with enough. 

Epsom Salt Baths

One of the best things I added to my lifestyle this year – magnesium Epsom salt baths. Taking a bath is ultra-relaxing, but adding some magnesium sulphate (Epsom salt) to your bath takes it that much further. Most of us are hella magnesium deficient, the salts help to remove toxins from the body, reduce aches and pains in the body and are incredibly stress relieving. Less stress = clear skin. I also love adding a few drops of lavender essential oil to the bath or using a natural bubble bath.


  • Artifical hormones from birth control methods (like IUD, The Pill, etc.) can put your hormones seriously out of whack – consider alternatives if possible.
  • Artificial hormone disruptors are real and they’re toxic to our bodies. These may include conventional dairy, meat, pollutants, chemicals in cleaning products, and so much more.

So, how can we balance hormones easily in our day-to-day lives?

I love:

  • adaptogenic herbs like maca and ashwagandha
  • mushroom teas like reishi, which is also stress-relieving and studies have shown it is also great for digestion.

Dig deep…

Look within. Take diet, lifestyle and spiritually into consideration. This is what living The Pure Life is all about! 

Love always,