After enjoying a relatively blemish-free puberty and clear-skinned 20’s I thought I had side-stepped spots forever. I mean zits are a teenaged thing… right?? Wrong. At the ripe old age of 28 I started developing cystic acne on and around my chin - at the time however, I didn’t know it was cystic.. I just thought it was a by-product of living in London and partying my arse off (which, in hindsight, was probably a huge part of it…) But it kind of came and went and I didn’t really pay much attention to it until I fell pregnant at age 33.
After the rollercoaster ride that is pregnancy, my skin went ballistic so I decided to delve a little deeper. Turns out I have PCOS (Poly-Cystic Ovarian Syndrome) - a pretty common condition that can have a plethora of side-effects, including (in my case), cystic acne. For the next 5 years I tried it all - every lotion, cream, oil and serum under the sun. I was peeled, poked and prodded. I even did a course of Roaccutane (which I DO NOT recommend at all peeps…). In the end, all I found was that although after each “treatment” my skin would somewhat clear up, I never felt I was getting to the root of the problem. It would always return. Cystic acne comes from the inside. It’s not a speck of dirt that clogs up a pore. It’s a largely hormonal condition that varies from person to person. And since everyone is genetically different, a lot of the generic skin “fix-its” just didn’t work for me. So I decided to take a more holistic approach and look at what I was feeding my body. Because doesn’t it make sense to treat something that originates FROM the inside ON the inside??
GETTING DOWN TO BUSINESS
A lot of today’s health issues - from skin problems to back pain - actually stem from poor digestion and an unhealthy gut. It makes total sense… a sluggish digestive system means that toxic waste product is not being properly passed.. instead it’s being re-absorbed back into your system. And where, pray tell, is some of this lovely stuff be redirected to? YOUR FACE OF COURSE.
I mean YUK.
I marched myself straight to a naturopath and had a full consultation. Hormonal imbalances, food intolerances, heavy metal toxicity, bacterial & fungal levels, vitamin deficiencies… THE WORKS. I am now on a daily regimen of different herbs, vitamins and minerals that have been specifically designed for me. I’ve eliminated some foods that were highlighted as “stressors” on my body and the results have been astonishing. Not only has my skin cleared up, my whole body feels amazing. My gut health is in check and I am literally bouncing off the walls!!!!
I guess my point (and I do have one…) is that in order to begin what is RIGHT for you, you need to really know what is WRONG for you. In the mean time though there are a few general things you can add to your every day diet to get you on you way to great skin and even better gut health!
LEAH'S TOP 5 DAILY DIET ADDITIONS FOR GREAT SKIN
1. Fermented Foods
Kimchee, sauerkraut, yoghurt.. just 2-3 servings of fermented food per week will help to balance your gut microflora which is one of the keys to optimal gut health and clear skin. Throw a pro-biotic into the mix every day too and you will really be looking after your gut!
2. Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Walnuts and oily fish (salmon, sardines, mackerel etc) are your best bet here. These good fats help to keep your cell membranes strong and supple which is great for letting the good stuff in and the bad stuff out!!!
3. Greens, Greens and MORE GREENS
Get it where you can!! Green tea, green leafy vegetables, green herbs, seaweeds etc.. these foods are packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.. all vital for happy, healthy skin.
4. Zinc & Selenium
I actually add a few drops of these bad boys to my giant bottle of water that I drag around with me every day. Zinc is essential for normal sebaceous oil gland function and selenium is key for sun damage and skin cancer protection.
5. Stay Hydrated
I know, I know.. how many times have we vowed to drink more water. But seriously guys it’s the key!! Your body is made up of about 65% water which means every cell needs the good stuff to stay healthy and functioning! 2L-3L of good quality water per day is the recommended amount.
THE BUCK STOPS WITH YOU
At the end of the day, it’s a constant work in progress for me. Some people are just blessed with great skin no matter what their lifestyle and everyone is different. Which is why not everyone sees the same results.
But gaining a better understanding of what WORKS for you is the first step to really being IN CONTROL of your body. And CONTROL gives you the ability to make PERMANENT, POSITIVE CHANGE.