This article has been a long time coming, and it is hard for me to post pictures and write about my journey with acne. I started getting lots of pimples when I was eleven years old, and tried everything to get rid of it.
Finally, after years of struggling with facial and body acne, I feel like I am ready to share what I have learned to stop zits and breakouts. I’m by no means an acne expert, I share only what has worked for me.
Acne photos – before and after high raw diet
Hormonal Acne, Pimples, and Sugar
I started having lots of acne and breakouts when I was 11 years old. At that point in my life candy was a staple in my diet, and so were processed sugary foods like cakes and cookies. I also drank soft drinks left and right.
Oh, and I should mention that my favorite restaurant growing up was McDonald’s. For the toys.
Since I started breaking out at a young age (no one else had acne yet) my parents and I tried all kinds of things. I went to the dermatologist, the esthetician, and bought every type of cream and “system”.
I kept hearing “rumors” that acne was caused by chocolate, or soda, or sugar. When I asked my dermatologist, the answer was a flabbergasted – of course not! Diet has nothing to do with breakouts, it’s all hormones. (Now I know that the body is a sum of the whole, and that nothing is ever isolated!)
Nothing really put a dent into the acne, no matter how much on the spot acne treatment stuff I applied. The years went by and I continued to eat peanut butter sandwiches, lots of sugary snacks, junk food, and soda.
Acne and Birth Control Pills
Finally in an act of desperation when I was 16 I went on the birth control pill, as recommended by my dermatologist.
I saw a slight improvement in my skin, even though the acne never completely went away. Unfortunately the birth control pill would go on to affect a lot of other things in my body.
I gained about 20 pounds in one summer when I started on the pill. This exacerbated an already messed up relationship with food and emotions.
It also put my hormones out of whack. In fact when I decided to stop taking the birth control pill 5 years later, I had a hard time getting my period back.
Oh, and when I stopped taking the birth control pill my acne remained at the same level. So really, I think the pill did more harm than good… especially when you take into account the side effects and how it threw off the balance of good bacteria and yeast in my body.
Homemade Acne Treatments
So what do I think is the best homemade acne treatment? A change of diet, quite truthfully. I’ve tried all the creams, all the homemade masks, and the closest I’ve come to clear skin is by eating right.
So what do I consider to be “eating right”? Eating lots of high water content fresh fruits and vegetables, reducing or even eliminating sugar, wheat, and dairy.
Here’s a little bit of what might be going on underneath your skin, and why what you eat really influences acne and breakouts:
- You get breakouts and pimples when oil glands get infected with bacteria, causing an inflammation response and filling up with white blood cells and pus.
- Eating foods that boost your immune system will help your body fight the bacteria, thus reducing the inflammation. Immune system boosting foods include those high in Vitamin C like oranges, kiwis, and broccoli.
- Sugar causes spikes in energy and blood sugar, and generally leads to a compromised immune system, low energy, and a cycle of eating more sugar.
- Sugar also feeds the yeast, causing an imbalance of good bacteria in the body. Without the good bacteria to protect you, you are more vulnerable to breakouts.
- Stress has an impact on the immune system, essentially shutting down our digestion and other auxiliary “services” to undertake the fight or flight response. That’s why you get more breakouts when you’re stressed.
- Toxins and other unwanted substances can get lodged in the body, either through the foods we eat, the air we breathe, or the products we put on our skin. If you observe breakouts after using certain products, discontinue their use.
- Allergies and food sensitivities cause your body to go into an immune response, leading to constant inflammation, and reducing your body’s immune response sensitivity over time.
- Water is essential for flushing out the toxins, hydrating the body and the skin. Make sure you’re drinking enough water every day.
Here are some other acne tips I’ve learned along the way.
- Check out Acne.org for videos on how to wash your face to reduce inflammation.
- Picking pimples is not recommended, it causes scarring, and just encourages more pimples in the same spot.
- Be gentle on yourself – a lot of this is about mindset, and change is never an overnight transformation.
Finally, I need to say that I’m not totally blemish free. I still get some acne and pimples, but it’s much more manageable.
In fact, I usually know exactly why I am getting breakouts. Lack of sleep, too much stress, not eating right, a certain type of make up or lotion, that time of the month, etc.
Got Any More Acne Treatments or Tips?
I’d love to hear your acne story. If you found a natural way to reduce or stop your acne, let us know in the comments!
We’re all in this together and the more we share, the better for future visitors who are in need of advice.
One of the things you’re bound to encounter along your raw food faerytale is detox. In this article I’ll explore the concept of detox, the common symptoms, and even the magick that happens during a detox.
Raw Food Detox Video
(Click here if you can’t see the video.)
Is Detox a Myth?
Take a look at this fictional scenario: You increase your intake of raw food or cut out certain things like processed sugar, processed starch, and/or meat and dairy.
Suddenly, you can feel yourself getting edgy. It’s as if someone took away a drug addict’s stash. All you can think about is food, and you crave a spoonful of that sugary cereal, pretty please.
That’s detox. That’s withdrawal.
Okay, Nathalie, so where does the myth come from? The truth is that sometimes people use detox as an excuse to ignore their body’s signals.
For example, maybe your skin breaks out because you’re eating nothing but dates and raw sweets. (They’re good, but you still need to balance sweets out with other stuff, like greens.) The danger creeps up when someone brushes off these signals as a sign of detox.
Common Detox Symptoms
Here is a short list of possible detox symptoms to help you recognize detox when it happens.
- Skin breakouts
- Bloating, stomach pains
- Food cravings
- Trouble sleeping, nightmares
- Diarrhea and constipation
- Fatigue, drowsiness, low energy levels
- Congestion or Mucus that feels like a cold
Photo by Kathleen
The short version of detox: when you eliminate or cut back on certain foods, your body eliminates toxins. Your body will try to expel toxins in any way it can: from your liver, via bowel movements, and through your skin’s pores.
While you are detoxing, your body focuses on releasing toxins, so you might feel under the weather because you have all of this garbage traveling throughout your body.
Think of it as deciding to clean a very dusty house for the first time in years. When you start sweeping the dust, it’s going to get into the air and make it hard to breathe. You’ll feel better when you’ve gotten all the dust out, of course.
The same goes for trying to brush away toxins in your body, you will feel the ill effects of drudging toxins up and out. Once they’re out you’ll feel better, but the process is not so peachy.
Why do we need to Detox?
You might be wondering what it is you need to expel exactly?
If you’ve been eating a fairly processed diet for many years, you might be surprised to find that a lot food might have gotten stuck, turning toxic.
In addition to left over food matter in the body, we are all constantly bombarded with modern day chemicals and toxins in the air, water, and products we use.
I believe every one of us could use a little detoxing.
Caution: I do want to caution against getting “detox fever” and constantly wanting to fast, cleanse, and detox. At some point you need to give your body a chance to rest from eliminating toxins.
Photo by Kenna Takahashi
Now that I’ve thoroughly scared you, I’ll put on my Good Witch’s hat and discuss the magickal aspects of detox.
If detoxing is so uncomfortable, why should you do it? The simple answer is because you’ll feel so much better afterward.
Going through bouts of detox really makes you grateful for those times when you’re just humming along. Plus, every time you detox, you reach a new level of cleanliness. Imagine a car running on the cleanest fuel without any impurities slowing it down.
Assuming you don’t revert your detoxing efforts, you’re going to continue to operate at such a higher level of energy and cleanliness, you’ll be grateful for detox.
Benefits of a Cleansing Detox
- Clearer sinuses
- Weight loss
- Clearer skin
- More energy
- Regular bowel movements
- Mental Clarity
- Emotional stability / eliminated depression
Every time you detox, you peel away one layer of the onion. If you’re not ready to experience a full on detox, simply add a bit of the foods you’re cutting out.
For example, if the headaches of your detox are killing you, just add back a bit of cooked grains or dairy, if that’s what you cut out. It will slow down the detox, and make it easier for your body to adjust to the changes you’re making.
You can control how fast you want to detox. I recommend you detox slowly, unless you give your body the support it needs to eliminate toxins: with hydrocolon therapy, dry skin brushing, or a supportive system for detoxing.
What Detox Symptoms have you Experienced?
I’d love to know if you’ve ever had a bout of detox, and how severe it might have been. Let me know in the comments!