Almost all of us had dealt with acne when we were younger. Whether it was the occasional pimple or severe chronic acne. One way or another, it happened to the majority of us. However, it was never an issue for me. For most of my teen years, I had very clear skin. As I was getting older, I thought for sure I was one of the lucky ones who didn’t have to worry about it, but boy was I wrong. My acne decided to hit me in my mid-20’s and not only was I breaking out, but I suffered from severe cystic acne. Like I’m talking about bright red and extremely painful. It surrounded my entire jawline, my entire neck, and even went down my back. It came out of nowhere, and to add fuel to the fire antibiotics, topical creams and dermatologist couldn’t even help me. It wasn’t until I got engaged and the thought of walking down the aisle with my bright red acne as the center of attention did I decide I needed to try new methods to figure out what was going on. For my final attempt, I sought a naturopathic physician that helped me find my acne’s root cause was gut-related, and after 2 weeks, I was acne free.
After suffering from my acne, I became a certified nutritionist. I was committed to understanding all root causes of acne and helping women like myself achieve their goal— beautiful clear skin. After helping so many clients in my Naturally Clear program, I realized that stress had been one of the biggest factors causing their breakouts. Before diving into ways to help these breakouts, we first want to understand what they are.
What is stress?
Let’s start by quickly breaking down what stress really is. We all know stress is bad, and it can affect our hormones and acne, but how? Once we understand the why and how then we can understand how to fight it.
A lot of health issues stem from inflammation, and an imbalance of hormones causes inflammation. When we get stressed out, our bodies release stress hormones like cortisol, adrenaline, and other hormones from our sympathetic nervous system. When we are relieved from stress, our parasympathetic nervous system releases calming hormones like acetylcholine to slow our heart rate and calm us down. What is happening to most people nowadays is that our sympathetic nervous system, which releases stress hormones, is on overdrive. Our bodies are constantly releasing these stress hormones while not getting enough of the calming hormones, which causes the imbalance. It’s sort of like a terrible cocktail that none of us want, but we keep drinking. This is why we can’t heal, can’t rest, and can’t digest because we’re in this stress mode.
What can we do?
Now that we know our breakouts stem from inflammation, we can now talk about reducing inflammation. Can you guess what’s one of the best ways to help combat inflammation? You probably guessed right… it’s your diet. There are certain foods we can eat to really help combat stubborn acne and reduce inflammation.
1. Wild Blueberries
Have you ever noticed how easily blueberries stain? Pigments in food are huge signals to help indicate how nutritious they really are, and wild blueberries are full of antioxidants! This is exactly what you need to fight inflammation. I like to add blueberries to my smoothies every morning, but you can also add these wild berries in baked goods, or just eat them how they are!
2. Wild Salmon
Wild-caught salmon is an amazing fish to incorporate into your lifestyle at least once a week, and more is even better. Omega 3 from wild salmon helps detoxify your liver and gallbladder. Omega 3 pills may be too concentrated and may bombard your liver. The natural omega 3 benefits in the wild-caught cold fish like salmon, sardines, and mackerel are the best when fighting inflammation.
3. Garlic & Onions
Not only do they taste amazing, but they are also great for healing and nourishing. The sulfur compounds in garlic and onions are great for yeast issues and also really amazing for detoxing your liver and gallbladder— this really helps tackle inflammation. Eat these sautéed in your food, or fresh in your salad!
As a holistic nutritionist, I’m determined to figure out natural ways to help clear your acne. Like I said before, it’s always best to first diagnose why and how this is happening, to better understand what we can do to fix it!