Its no secret that I, still at age 27, have the occasional acne outbreak. A couple of years ago I had constant acne on my chin while my body slowly processed the 1 years’ worth of depo-provera, a contraception injection high in progesterone that I took long before making informed decisions about my health was important to me, because I was terrible at taking the pill every day. My chin was constantly erupting in painful blemishes and “whiteheads” surrounded by purple, scarred skin and at that point it didn’t seem to matter what I did – it had been a good year since I had an acne-free day, and it sucked.
Today (and for at least the last year or so) my skin is doing heaps better. I still get acne occasionally, and it still sucks, but its nowhere near as bad, and it occasionally occurs in places different to just my chin. I have learnt what works for my own skin (FINALLY) and I now know that when I do get a break out, its time to take a good hard look at what I’ve been doing to my body, because I treat the breakout as a cry for help. In natural medicine, we look at skin as a reflection of health on the inside, and acne in certain areas can show distress to certain systems on the inside. I know my own causes for acne, and my own areas of nurture when it comes to my health. So when I’ve got another breakout, I treat it as my body saying, “Hey you! Shit is getting real down here and you’ve been letting yourself get away with this for too long!” because the realisation that I’ve been a bit too indulgent of late is literally smacking me in the face.
So this is my skin today 11th November 2014:
As you can see, there is a breakout near my chin, and I have a few random guys on my nose and my cheek. I have oily/combination skin so some of these tips may not necessarily work for you, but I feel like most of these tips can be applied to most people, but, just in case.
I get real with myself
Like I said, acne is a slap in the face of realising I haven’t been as kind to my body/I’ve been letting myself indulge more often than is good for me on a physical level. So I assess. I think about the things I have been doing lately and why these awful pustules feel the need to attack my face. Sometimes, its overindulgence, sometimes its stress and sometimes it’s the stress of taking something out of my diet that is causing me to break out. Either way, I have to figure it out without being cruel to myself. Its very possible to do this without scalding yourself. God knows, if you do scald yourself, instead of just being realistic, you are going to be binging on one of those Cadbury blocks of chocolate that have a million random sugary things in them before the day is through (you know the ones). So be honest, but don’t be mean. Talk to yourself like a best friend, because you really should be your own best friend.
I cut out the crap
It seems so obvious but sugary, processed foods will certainly have something to do with your current breakout. Currently I’ve just realised how often I’ve been allowing myself to eat sugar every single day and I’ve become addicted again. The cravings are real and I’ve been so dismissive, conveniently forgetting that the last time I ate sugar was only the previous day. When this happens, I know exactly what to do, I be strict with myself, but I usually need to consult Sarah Wilson and her ‘I Quit Sugar’ stuff for snack ideas, I eat whole foods and wrestle with the part inside of me that wants the sugar – No Miranda, come on, it’s only chocolate. Oh but it’s only a little bit. No really, stop. But this is the only sugar I’ll have all day. JUST SAY NO. Mmm… chocolate. I know it’s delicious but you don’t need it. OH GOD I WANT IT SO BAD!!!! For god sakes Mira, shit happens, you aren’t going to eat the damn chocolate and life will still go on! Urgh… Fine! … Sound familiar?
Also in this category I put in cheese, because while I can have it occasionally (read: once a week TOPS), if I have it too often I breakout. I also put in chemicals, specifically skincare chemicals; makeup, shampoo, deodorant, cleansers, etc, etc, can have chemicals that put extra pressure on your liver, causing your skin (another organ of elimination) to try to expel the toxins causing acne.
I myself am slowly working my way through my own skincare and bathroom items, converting them to chemical free versions one-by-one. I certainly feel better now that I’ve started doing this, and at the very least, by choosing chemical-free, you’re doing something good for the environment.
I hydrate myself
Basically this means I drink at least 2.5L of water every day. I fill up my recycled passata bottle and drink water all day long. Keeping yourself hydrated helps your body to eliminate toxins; through your liver, through your kidneys, through your perspiration and your exhalations. It also helps your body to deliver nutrients to your whole body, via the blood, such as zinc and vitamin C, nutrients that repair the skin (including acne lesions).
I get out the pamper kit
There are a few different products I use to pamper my skin. I aim to have a nice long bath once a week and get all my pampering done in one hit. But didn’t have the time to last week. These are the products I usually use:
My skin absolutely adores a good mud mask. They draw out impurities and help to reduce inflammation. I like the Lush Fresh Face Masks because they are chemical free, are made from vegan ingredients, are really effective and smell delicious!
Have you tried the Frank coffee scrub? I could get down and dirty with Frank any day! Frank is an organic coffee scrub filled with essential oils and is the best darn scrub I’ve ever used! My skin is so smooth whenever I use it and the essential oils leave a nice layer that slowly soaks into your skin. Again, it’s chemical-free and smells amazing, but also, Frank is quite the flirt if you follow him on Instagram 😉
I also make sure to cleanse and moisturise morning and night with my Clarisonic Mia2 (I’ve been a bit slack at it lately, so I’m picking up that habit again this week).
I embrace oils
Extra virgin olive oil and avocadoes are full of monounsaturated oils, and fat soluble vitamins such as vitamins E and A that are great for the structure of the skin. Best of all, they are delicious – especially when paired with salmon, which provides omega 3 oils to reduce inflammation. Inflammation is a normal part of the healing process, but its also the cause of swelling, redness, pain and damage to the area. Damage, which, if left untreated causes scarring.
I eat a bucket load of vegetables
Well, I eat a lot of vegetables already, but this certainly reaffirms the importance of vegetables in my diet, so I might eat a few more salads and cut bread out of my diet in exchange for more vegetables, including legumes like chickpeas or lentils. Vegetables provide nutrients that improve skin quality, like vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin E and zinc, while providing antioxidants which not only have anti-cancer and anti-aging properties, but protect the omega 3 oils that reduce inflammation, from damage.
How do you know when your body is out of whack? And what do you do to fix it? What do you usually use when your skin breaks out?
Let me know in the comments below