Obtaining clear skin can be a difficult task.
There are so many different things to try. So many opinions. So many steps to clearer skin.
If you want clearer skin and a healthier body, there are plenty of things to do. In this 3 part series I’ll go over a few of the steps you can take to get clearer skin.
The way I like to view it is that if we increase our health and decrease our stressors, then the innate desire of the body to heal itself will take over and your skin will clear and your other symptoms of not-so-optimal health will lesson or fade away. This doesn’t mean I’m a vitalist (someone that thinks the body can repair itself solely on its own without any intervention) because I do believe that supplements are necessary in most cases. But supplements should be used in conjunction with diet, rest, exercise, and stress reduction.
Since diet is usually the easiest for us to change, that’s where we’ll start. There is only one thing (step 1) that needs to come before changing your diet.
Keep reading to find out what that is, along with 4 other steps to take to increase your health and clear your skin.
Just a fair warning: The following list is a very fundamental list of things to do in order to be healthy. You ave probably heard of all of these things and you are probably following all of these steps. If you are, then great! There is a LOT more in store. If you aren’t, then begin here. The more steps we cover, the deeper we will go into how we can use nutrition and functional testing to obtain clearer skin and optimal health.
With that out the way, here are the steps.
STEP 1: HAVE THE RIGHT MINDSET
This is the most important step for clearing your skin. In order to attain clear skin, you must be mentally prepared to do what it takes. You must understand what is going on inside of your body whenever you eat certain foods. You must have a basic understanding of healthy foods and unhealthy foods and you must have a strong enough mindset to eat the healthy things and to avoid the unhealthy things. This comes with time and becomes easier as you continue to learn more and more about how different foods affect your body. This also has to do with how you view yourself. Do you believe that it is worth it to feed your body nutritious foods? Do you feel that you deserve to eat healthy? Do you want to live your life to your fullest potential? How much are you willing to do in order to get clear?
Every action has to come from a place of self-love. You just believe that you are worth having clear skin and awesome health, because you are. The way I thought of it when I had acne is that I am awesome right now, and I want clearer skin show that my awesomeness can become even more awesome. That is completely different than saying that I’m ugly and worthless because I have horrible acne, and once I get clear skin I will feel so much better. That isn’t always the case. There have been too many instances where people have gotten clear and yet they still feel like crap and have low self-worth. You need to own your awesomeness and realize that acne is only making it difficult to really express how awesome you truly are. You have everything you need in you already. You aren’t searching for anything to feel a void. You’re searching for clearer skin to enhance what you already have.
Notice that the very first thing to I put down is your attitude and mindset. Henry Ford, the creator of FORD Motors, once said “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right.” So think, or better yet, know, that you can get clearer skin.
STEP 2: STOP EATING ARTIFICIAL, PROCESSED AND REFINED FOODS.
You’re probably already doing this, but it needs to be said. These “food like substances” provide no nutritional value and lower your health and vitality. Things such as candy, cupcakes, cookies, prepackaged foods, frozen foods, cereal, imitation foods, conventional muffins and breads, pasta, waffles, pancakes, crackers, sport’s drinks and sodas are all disease promoting and shouldn’t be a part of any diet. Eliminating these foods is the most important step if you want to achieve clear skin because when we eat these foods, they get broken down into sugar in the body. Sugar is a huge problem for those with acne because when too much sugar is consumed, it causes our pancreas to release the hormone insulin. Insulin transports sugar into our cells. By eating processed and refined foods, too much sugar gets released into our bloodstream, which results in spikes of insulin. Constant spikes of insulin eventually lead to insulin resistance in which our cells become desensitized to insulin. When we have insulin resistance, the sugar in our bloodstream has a much harder time entering our cells. This leads to higher amounts of sugar circulating in the blood, which leads to inflammation. Acne, like nearly all diseases, is one of excess inflammation. Getting the inflammation down is absolutely critical for clearing the skin.
Processed and refined foods have no nutritional content in them. They are what we call “empty calories.” When we consume real, whole, natural foods, they contain nutrients which help slow down the absorption of sugar, help our cells function and actually build health. The nutrients in real, whole foods like kale, ginger, purple potatoes, squash, and leafy greens fight inflammation instead of causing it like processed foods do. That’s because real, whole foods have things called phytochemicals in them. These phytochemicals are a class of nutrients other than protein, carbohydrate, or fat, and they help to reverse and prevent disease. Getting in as many phytochemicals as you can will help clear your skin.
STEP 3: ELIMINATE TRANS FATS, ALSO KNOWN AS HYDROGENATED OILS.
I know that you have heard of trans fats before. These fats are made by injecting hydrogen molecules into unsaturated or saturated fats under high heat and pressure to create a more stable molecule. Food manufacturers use this to extend shelf life for their products. Trans fats have been implicated with heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis, inflammation and acne. Trans fats have known toxic and inflammatory affects on the body. They raise bad cholesterol, lower good cholesterol and increase inflammation.
Even though trans fats, aka hydrogenated oils, are banned in other countries and certain states, they are still found in our food supply today. The negative effects of trans fats cannot be overstated. Many processed foods may claim that they are “trans fat free” but that means nothing, as federal laws allow foods to contain 0.5 or less grams of the stuff per serving, which they label as “hydrogenated oil” on the ingredient list. You can pick up a bag of chips that says “trans-fat free” on the label yet they can still contain hydrogenated oils due to this loophole. (You shouldn’t pick up a bag of chips regardless, but this is an example :p). That is why it is crucial that you read every ingredient label on everything you buy. That’s also why eating real, whole foods is easier. You don’t have to worry about that if you eat a real food. If you pick things with one ingredient and cook your own food, you know exactly what you’re getting.
We should never consume artificial trans fats ever. This is one of only half a handful of ingredients that is allowed in our food supply that we should never, ever eat. The others are conventional dairy products and synthetic, artificial ingredients. Luckily, nearly all trans fats are found in processed and refined foods, so by following the second step (eliminate processed and refined foods) you’ll be staying clear from trans fats.
STEP 4: DITCH THE DAIRY.
You probably have already heard of or made the connection between dairy products and acne. Dairy is hands down the most notorious aggravator of acne. There are a multitude of reasons for this. Dairy products contain dozens of hormones. These hormones set off chain reactions in the body which leads to inflammation that directly affects the acne process. Dairy contains precursors to a hormone called dihydrotestosterone which increases sebum in the sebaceous gland. Dairy products also increase insulin and another hormone called insulin-like-growth-factor-1 (IGF-1). IGF-1 creates a hormonal cascade in the body that leads to increased cellular proliferation, or reproduction, of skin cells (called kerotinocytes). So when you drink milk, your keratinocytes start to build up on one another.
IGF-1 from dairy also causes the dead skin cells on the top layer (called corneocytes) to stick together instead of following their normal cycle of shedding off. This blocks the pore and creates a perfect breeding ground for bacteria, especially p. acnes, the “acne bacteria.” This then grows out of control. Even just one glass of milk has been shown to increase insulin levels by over 300%!(1) Not only that, but dairy products increase androgen, or sex hormone levels in the body, which increases sebum production. Increased sebum plus increased cellular proliferation plus blocking of the pores equals acne.
STEP 5: SHUN SUGAR
This one should be pretty obvious. Sugar raises insulin and IGF-1 in the body, which both lead to increased sebum production. If you have dysbiosis (bacterial imbalance) in your gut, sugar will contribute to that. Sugar can feed candida. Sugar increases inflammation, the cornerstone of acne and nearly every disease. Studies have shown that diets with lower glycemic loads help to reduce acne.