Roadmap to clear skin

Good Skin comes from the inside out, not the outside in !

Before I go in to details about what I mean by this, I want to tell you about my own experience with acne.

I never had it.

I had flawless skin, until I moved to a city with hot and humid climate at the age of 32. The climate changed, my stress levels were elevated at the thought of starting over, my food habits became different and exercise routine non-existent, because of the new environment I was in. 

Troubled by the occasional acne, which over time became deep and cystic, I recall going to a renowned Dermatologist, and when I mentioned to her that I believed Dairy was causing me to breakout, she stated there was absolutely no connection even though my body was telling me otherwise! I tried all sorts of topical treatments, facials, ran from pillar to post. Rock bottom came when the new dermatologist that was treating me for over a year and eventually asked me to get on Accutance, it usually a last resort drug when one is no longer sure what to do! It is a very powerful derivative of Vitamin A, during the course of which you are advised not to fall pregnant for atleast after 6 months. This shook me. Not that it was in my horizon, but anything that can potentially harm a fetus, should certainly not be going into your body and harming you either! I bought the medication because I felt so desperate, but after holding onto it for 3 days and not being able to take it I returned it, and knew I had to get to the root of my acne. Treating the symptom, rather than addressing the cause was not going to help me in the long run!

So what did I do?

I decided to take matters into my own hands! I started by cutting out dairy. I also evaluated everything else I ate. I healed my gut issues which I had dealt with ever since I was child, but didn’t think much of. I identified my food allergies and sensitivities, reduced inflammation, reincorporated exercise into my life, rebalanced my stress hormones and incorporated active relaxation into my life.

My acne cleared, I lost weight, felt energized and discovered my best self !

A miracle? Hardly!

Beautiful, vibrant, clear, healthy skin comes from the inside out, not from the outside in.

Here are some of the key things I learnt:

  • Diet matters
    • While your dermatologist may not specifically point this out, some newer age ones do. 
    • Acne is linked to foods which cause inflammation, therefore oxidative stress and eventually cellular damage.
    • Sugar raises insulin levels, which promotes the production of testosterone, inflammation in general and therefore acne
    • Saturated and processed fats compete with omega 3 in the body for absorption. The former promotes inflammation, the latter reduces it. 
    • Milk and dairy products are linked with acne, in part owning to IGF-1 growth hormone in dairy products and also the saturated fat content.
  • Gut health matters
    • While you may be eating “healthy”, certain foods may not necessarily be healthy for you. Allergens & food sensitivities disrupt your gut microbiome, can cause leaky gut and therefore cause acne. Common allergens are gluten, dairy, soy, eggs, corn and nuts.
    • Strengthening the gut lining that is disrupted, is key to maintaining healthy skin
    • Excretion of toxins daily is a must for healthy skin
    • Pre and Probiotics help with acne
  • Hormonal balance matters
    • Whether it is your sex hormones being out of balance, thyroid hormone or even your cortisol levels, balancing these out is imperative to clearing skin
    • One of the biggest factors affecting these hormones is the glycemic load of your diet, i.e. the rate at which your blood sugar and therefore insulin rises when eating carbohydrates
  • Nutrient optimization matters
    • Vitamin A, E and C are critical for skin health
    • Zinc, Iron, D3 and other deficiencies as well cause poor skin health
    • Antioxidants that fight free radical damage such as Glutathione, CoQ10, Astaxanthin are important
    • Omega 3, balancing omega 3 and 6 helps reduce inflammation
    • Anti-inflammatory foods are essential for reduction of inflammation caused by food
  • Lifestyle matters
    • Keep your stress levels in check, as it raises cortisol levels and therefore inflammation. Raised cortisol also depletes magnesium, zinc and selenium which contribute to skin health
    • Sweating it out helps
    • Lymphatic system stimulation helps, through dry brushing, cold showers, massage or exercise
    • As hard as it is, Not focusing on the acne helps!

Skin health is linked to everything as you can see! It’s so much more than slapping on a cream and hoping it does its thing ! You need to play your part. Your skin in distress is a sign of deeper imbalances. Pay attention and see what you can do to bring yourself in balance.