I spent my teen years and early twenties plagued with acne. I hoped as I got older my skin would sort itself out, but my poor lifestyle choices meant it never did. In early 2014 I suffered from an exceptionally bad bout of acne which inspired me to act upon the root causes of my constant breakouts – working on my poor eating habits, negative mindset and stressful energy to achieve the clear skin I’d always dreamed of.
10 tips for a clearer complexion
Healthy diet, good sleep, plenty of water and a stress free life are some of the most basic ingredients for glowing skin. But what happens when our skin craves a boost? Everyday life can take its toll on our skin in more ways than we think so today I’ve joined forces with awesome online health site Vivo Life.
Green tea is one of my favourite skin-foods – I try to have 2-3 servings a day and I really notice in my skin when I slack off. Green Tea is really high in antioxidants which help fight bacteria and infections and has higher antioxidant levels than spinach, dark chocolate and blueberries! These antioxidants will do their bit to promote healthier skin but the main acne-busting component in green tea is a polyphenol called EGCG. EGCG can help reduce inflammation, balance out hormones and blood sugar levels which are all major factors when it comes to clearing acne.
Natural Skin Care
Mainstream beauty products are filled with toxic pore-clogging ingredients, which can lead to breakouts and skin drying ingredients, such as alcohol, which although dries the skin out temporarily, in the long run it’ll cause your skin to produce excess sebum – therefore more oil and spots! Natural and organic products on the other hand are full of skin-loving plant extracts which can actually help to balance sebum production, reduce inflammation, redness and can improve the overall tone and texture of your skin.
Did you know Thyme is considered the best herb for acne? A study by Leeds Metropolitan University showed Thyme tincture actually has a greater antibacterial effect on acne than standard concentrations of benzoyl peroxide – that nasty, chemical ingredient found in most anti-acne creams and washes! That’s right – Thyme has been scientifically proven to be more effective than benzoyl peroxide!
For gorgeous skin in your 40s and beyond, limit your exposure to strong sunshine and always wear at least SPF15 – even during the winter! A recent study by Australian researchers has shown that a daily application of sun lotion significantly reduces wrinkles and visible signs of ageing so although the skin ageing process can never be stopped completely, daily SPF protection could go a long way to helping it slow it down. My all time favourite is the Green People Day Solution SPF15!
Regular, gentle exfoliation
I’m loving the Pink Clay Konjac Sponge as it’s gentle enough to use everyday and leaves my skin feeling soft and smooth! Gentle exfoliation gets rid of dead cells that can leave the skin looking dull. It’s really important to never over-exfoliate skin with harsh exfoliants or chemical peels as this can thin your skin and make it look older over time. Gentle exfoliation stimulates circulation, promotes cell renewal, and refines the skin revealing softer, more radiant skin. As well as helping remove dead skin cells, exfoliation also helps oils, moisturisers, and serums penetrate the skin better – meaning the deeper layers of skin will also get to enjoy all those wonderful skin loving ingredients too.
Feed your gut
Long before probiotics became fashionable, in a time when there was no such thing as a fridge-freezer, our ancestors would preserve food by fermentation – these fermented foods would be full of good bacteria that would keep our inner eco-system healthy. However, with the advent of modern food science, we rely heavily on alternative preserving methods such as freezing, pasteurising and canning – meaning that are bodies are no longer receiving a regular supply of beneficial bacteria to keep our digestive system balanced. On top of this, there are other factors that cause even further problems to our gut flora. Birth control pills and antibiotics both disrupt the probiotic population in our gut and destroy all the good bacteria meaning our internal Eco system is out of balance and this lack of good bacteria in our gut means we are more susceptible to skin inflammation.
Keep you gut happy by taking a regular dose of high quality probiotics like Prescript Assist or Bio Kult and make sure you eat lots of prebiotic enriched foods (prebiotics feed the probiotics!) such as onions, garlic and leeks. Also try to incorporate fermented foods into your diet as often as possible. Fermented foods include kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut and kombucha to name a few. Kombucha is a fermented tea beverage which promotes healthy digestion, blood pressure, skin healing, detoxification, increased energy and balanced blood sugar. It’s by far the easiest to consume as it just tastes so good!
Cut the sugar
I hate to be that bearer of bad news but if you really want the best skin you can possibly have, you’re going to have to kick the sugar addiction! When you eat something sugary, your blood sugar will spike. When sugars get digested, they can cause the pancreas to produce more insulin and the insulin like growth factor (IGF-1) to help maintain the balance of blood glucose. Too much insulin and IGF-1 will, in turn, trigger a release of androgen hormones, which is one of the leading causes of acne. An excess of androgens means that our skin will produce too much sebum, which will then lead to clogged pores, blackheads and whiteheads which can then lead to further acne inflammation. As an alternative to sugar, I like to sweeten desserts, chocolate and ‘shakes’ with stevia, but be warned – you only need a tiny amount as stevia is reported to be 250 times sweeter than normal sugar but without the sugar-spike!
Omega 3 fatty acids are essential for reducing inflammation for clear, acne-free skin! Try to eat oily fish such as wild salmon at least 3 or 4 times per week, or try taking an omega 3 supplement.
Acne and other skin disorders can be associated with vitamin D deficiencies. Vitamin D is also known as the sunshine vitamin and plays a key role in healing and preventing acne by cooling inflammation, smoothing the skin, improving mood, boosting your immune system and helping to control insulin response. However, if you’re suffering with persistent acne it’s generally due to something deeper than just a single vitamin deficiency – but taking this vitamin could give your skin that extra boost you’ve been looking for whilst offering other health benefits such as healthy bones and muscle development!
I like to supplement every day with Better You Vitamin D3 oral spray – especially during the winter. By using an oral spray you can ensure than you get a guaranteed level of absorption that a tablet or capsule cannot provide.
Vitamin B3, also referred to as “niacinamide,” has been proven in clinical studies to reduce inflammation, increase the elasticity of the skin, enhance the skin barrier function, reduce hyper pigmentation and improve the skin’s tone and texture! In fact, studies have shown that 4% nicotinamide cream, when combines with a carrier oil high in linoleic acid (grapeseed, rosehip, evening primrose, hemp etc), was more effective in reducing acne than 1% topical clindamycin (a commonly used antibiotic for treating acne). In another 12-week study, 4% topical vitamin B3 reduced acne by 60 percent while topical clindamycin only reduced acne by 43 percent.
If all else fails, fake it!
You’d be surprised what a little bit of expertly applied ‘glow’ can do to your face. Applying a highlighter onto specific areas of the face can instantly make you look fresher. Simply apply your highlighting pigment onto the inner corners of your eyes, under the arch of your eyebrow, along your cheek bones and down the centre of your nose for an instant face lift!
What are your top tips for a clearer complexion? Let me know in the comments below!
Peace, Love & Clear Skin,