So a couple of weeks ago the lovely Jill from Heal Your Face With Food and myself asked you all to tell us your biggest acne questions so we could get together and answer them all in an amazing video for you all! Unfortunately, due to software complications and technical hitches – our amazing video got corrupted and the silly blondes that we are didn’t create a back up…! Don’t worry though, we’ve got the transcript for the original video for you to enjoy and we’re already coming up with some great ideas for some future videos for you! I’ll stop chatting away as this interview is pretty long – probably why it broke in the first place – you just can’t shut us two girls up when it comes to talking acne…!
Acne questions and answers with Skyn.Therapy & Heal Your Face With Food
Amy is an expert in natural beauty, and founded her holistic skincare blog Get That Glow in 2014.
Along with a ton of other beauty advice, Amy specialises in the holistic treatment of acne, like ME, so I naturally fell in love with her when I found her over on Instagram a few months ago (you can find her at @amy_getthatglow (which I’ll put under this video as well!))
I just LOVED all of her acne clearing advice as well as her gorgeous pictures, and after chatting a bit back and forth we decided to record a video about all things acne clearing and to answer some of YOUR biggest questions!
AMY: Hi Jill! How’s it going? I’m so excited to be chatting with you today! I’ve got my favourite green juice from your 30 Day Clear Skin plan with me right here so I’m full of green goodness and ready to answer everyone’s questions!
JILL: So Amy, before we get into some super specific questions, I thought it would be cool if we both kinda went through our “acne journey’s” so, when our acne first started, how it changed, etc.
Do you want to tell us a bit about your your acne story, when did it start and how you’re doing with your skin now?
AMY: I had acne from an early age, I was about 10 years old when I began suffering from very typical teenage hormonal acne. After trying all the antibiotics and topical prescription creams I was put onto a string of high estrogen contraceptive pills between the ages of 15 and 24 which improved my skin – but I was still never confident being make-up free, but I stuck with it anyway for all those years because I didn’t know better and even though my skin wasn’t amazing, my skin never got BAD BAD so I figured all those pills must be working!
During my teenage years and into my early 20s I had an AWFUL diet! I literally only ate beige food – never ate vegetables and had the biggest sweet tooth ever! No joke, I was the kind of girl who would have 3 sugars in her tea!
When I came off the pill at aged 24 the first two months were great! Then my skin literally went crazy! It started off like little bumps all on my forehead and jaw then developed into large painful cysts on my cheeks. I knew my poor diet needed to be addressed so I spent 6 months completely overhauling my lifestyle – I went gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free and even natural sugar free apart from a few low sugar fruits and bumped up my intake of probiotics and my skin improved loads but it still wasn’t 100% clear, but I thought that would just take time. The results were still huge and I thought I’d cracked it…there was a month or so when I was just dealing with the tiny bumps and scars from previous blemishes, I was so excited to be nearly clear.
Then my skin went crazy AGAIN! This time all along my chin and jaw – I’d breakout at every point of the month, I was getting pre-menstrual, menstrual and post-menstrual breakouts and on top of that my periods were like 2-3 weeks late some months, and they were so so heavy – I’d also get sooo depressed and miserable in the 10 days leading up to my period. It was awful! Prior to this my periods had been super regular, stress-free and easy so it was a total shock to the system when my acne came back full force.
I believe that although imbalanced hormones due to being on the pill for so long it the main issue when it comes to my acne, my digestive issues were something my body wanted to address immediately for my long term health and wellbeing – I’d gone nearly 15 years without eating barely any fruit or veg and eating ALL THE CARBS and processed sugar like it was going out of fashion, during this time I was going to the loo about once a week! I know, sooooo bad! The strain all extra junk in my gut would have been putting on my poor old liver… SO I’m pretty sure my body was just like ‘Hey! first priority – get pooping!’ Then once my body was in a healthier state – it was like – right, now lets get on to the root cause of your skin problems – and deal with those pesky hormones! So that’s where we’re at…I’ve literally tried everything but Accutane – and nothing worked until I started listening to my body and treating the root causes and not focusing on topical treatments and miracle overnight cures.
JILL: Right, right. And I think it’s always a learning process right?
AMY: Definitely, I mean – if the first treatment we tried for our acne worked for us, neither of us would be here sharing our knowledge with the world, right?!
JILL: I’ll tell you a bit about my story too.
Had acne when I was 9, I was in the fifth grade and I loved playing the “drums in music class because it meant that I could hold the drumsticks up to my acne to cover the zits on my face. It was that bad and that frustrating.
But also, at that time, everyone struggled with acne right? So, it wasn’t a HUGE deal, at the time. I just thought it was a hormonal puberty thing and that I’d be done with it soon.
And as I got older it definitely became a huge, huge issue for me. Right around the time everyone else’s acne was getting better, 16-17, mine just seemed to be changing, and kinda, “moving locations”.
I had it on my forehead (you know those teeny white bumps everywhere?) I had it on my forehead other times…. I had it all over my cheeks and mouth later, along my jawline… I basically had it everywhere at various points.
Also, I should mention too, I tried EVERYTHING. I did all of the birth control pills, all of the Retin A’s, the Retin A micros, the Differin gels, the mono/dioxicycline antibiotics…. I tried everything BUT Accutane because honestly, I was just really scared of it.
And then finally when I was around 24 years old, I had my last/worst/most fateful dermatologist appointment.
She was a younger woman, maybe 30-35, and I really really thought she’d be SUPER sympathetic to my “acne clearing plight” Hahahah, and she just… wasn’t. She didn’t care, on an epic, epic level. And this killed me, to be honest. At the end of the appointment, she offered me a laser treatment that was 500$ a session and that “she couldn’t really guarantee any results for”.
I left that appointment so terribly upset, cried all the way home in my car and I just felt so, terribly lost.
But it was a HUGE, HUGE moment for me, because around that time, I was also training to be a fitness instructor, and I had been reading ALL of these books on the mind/body/food connection and for some reason, in the car on the way home, it all just clicked.
I realized that I had tried EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING, but food. and so, that day, I decided to throw everything out that I had been told about acne, and I decided to heal myself, from the inside-out.
I went home and I threw away all of my creams. Legit. I threw them in the garbage. I also flushed my stupid antibiotics and hormones down the toilet.
I marched myself the bookstore and bought- oh, 50 million books- on the link between food-health-skin-body-mind. I got certified as a fitness instructor with a specialized focus on nutrition.
And the rest was kinda history! I was able to heal my acne for good, finally, and I’ve shared the exact program that I used to heal my skin, on my website as well!
Now, Amy, I know we have some questions from some amazing people over on Instagram and we’re gonna get to those in 2.5 seconds, but first, I wanted to talk about one thing first that I know might REALLY help benefit you, our listeners, readers, and that is, Amy, what are, either the number 1 or 2 things that have helped you heal your acne the most?
AMY: For me, it’s all about loving your liver – during both my digestive healing and hormonal healing, supporting my liver and helping it to detox and function at its optimum level has definitely been vital! Liver detoxing always sounds so drastic and invasive but there are lots of ways to gently support your liver like drinking lemon water first thing in the morning, taking milk thistle or enjoying turmeric, dandelion, burdock or liquorice root tea every day!
JILL: And for me, it’s been my digestion and blood sugar. I’m super anal about eating every 2-3 hours and I’m also super diligent with my probiotic as well. I think most of my peeps know, but just for your peeps listening Amy, I’m on a worldwide trip currently and when I first got here, I didn’t have a probiotic with me. And when I tell you that my skin did NOT look good, I am not kidding. It actually really astounded me. SO, for me, digestion is #1, and blood sugar is #2. But I think it’s really important to know that everyone is different, which is why I think you and I do what we do, to help people in whatever way works for them!!!
AMY: Jill, do you mind sharing what probiotics you recommend? I think a lot of people find the whole idea of taking probiotics a total minefield! There are so many out there and all offer different thing – it’s hard to know which ones are going to be the best!
JILL: YES! Ok, so I ran out of probiotics when I first got to London and my skin, has been, I told you this before Amy, like, dying, and I was finally able to buy this brand at a pharmacy here in Spain. It’s Solgar and it has over 10B organisms so I LOVE it. Also, I used “Align” in the past when I was like, not wanting to spend a ton of money on probiotics (because they can be expensive, this bottle cost 40€ which is like, almost $50.
BUT TOO, if you don’t have the moolah, what you can always do is add in items like yoghurt and kimchi and fermented foods to help supplement if you’re feeling low on some digestive juices.
AMY: I’ve not heard of Align – I’ll have to check them out! I know you can get Solgar here in the UK and if you’re based in the UK and looking for a cheaper alternative then Bio Kult is a great shout!
JILL: OK, SO, NOW for the fun part.
Over this past week Amy and I have been asking all of our people on instagram your BIGGEST acne clearing questions, and we have been LOVING IT! (so fun right?) and so we wanted to take a moment to answer them now!!!
….. so ladies, these answers are for you!!!!
So, Amy, do you want to answer first, any ideas on scarring, hyperpigmentation, chemical vs. physical exfoliants?
AMY: I’d be delighted to! Scarring can sometimes be even more emotionally distressing as acne because it takes so much longer to heal than acne. I’ve actually just posted an article all abour acne scarring which you guy might want to check out! Many acne scarring treatments like peels, microdermabrasion and derma-rolling all have to be done when there is NO active acne left but I personally think that the most important time-frame for effectively reducing scarring is actually whilst you’re suffering from acne. I think the best thing you can do for acne scarring is to do as much as you can to rejuvenate and nourish your skin whilst you’re suffering from breakouts and pimples – and exfoliate gentle with something like a Konjac sponge or a bamboo cloth. I know it’s tempting to
suck all the moisture out your skin to dry those pimples up but your skin needs that moisture to repair and regenerate! Invest in some organic, cold-pressed rosehip oil and add a couple of drop of Helicrysum essential oil – also know as the Everlasting Flower due to its amazing regenerative properties! I’m also currently using a homemade concoction of MSM powder mixed with Aloe Vera to help with scarring – MSM is a natural source of sulphur which helps with collagen and keratin production and helps plump out the skin! There’s more info on my site about this particular recipe which will be put below for you all to have a look at! And as for fitting in healthy eating with a busy schedule – the best thing you can do is be prepared, take some time out during the weekend to prepare yourself for the week! Soups are my saviour at the moment, they’re so easy to make and are full of nutritious veggie goodness. You can make them in a big batch and have them for your lunches throughout the week!
JILL: Here are my thoughts on scarring;
#1. You have to know, and kinda make peace with the fact that it’s going to take a while for your skin to heal. I remember when I first cleared my skin for good, I was so pissed about my scars!!!! And, it was all I could thing of, fixing them. THAT being said, and I’ll be really honest with you, it took a good 6 months to a year for me to see a significant change. There wasn’t an overnight fix for me and I really don’t know if you’ll ever see one. So that’s first piece of advice, be patient.
#2. I think both physical AND chemical exfoliation can have really positive effect on scarring, but you have to be really careful. They keys that I’ve found with exfoliation are that you first exfoliate (chemically or physically) to remove the top layer of dead skin, and then you nourish afterwards. Sometimes skin can get a bit irritated during the exfoliation process and it’s really important to love it up.
Some ingredients that are good for exfoliation are: salycylic acid, glycolic acid and some good physical exfoliants are a few nut creams as well. I’ve also been obsessed with Kiehl’s Wild Rose Serum as I really feel like it helped a lot with some skin brightening stuffs.
Another set of questions from @simplebirdiecrafts was: Was wondering if it’s okay to eat tomatoes and other nightshades while eating for clear skin?
What do you think Amy?
AMY: Quitting nightshades was actually one of the first things I did when I tried to clear my skin, although I now just cut down on potatoes! The reasons why nightshades can cause a problem with those of us suffering from acne is because nightshades are rich a toxic compound called alkaloids, also known as anti nutrients. In nature, alkaloids protect the plant by poisoning insects and dissolving its cell membranes. Unfortunately, those alkaloids can have the same effect on humans too, increasing inflammation in the gut and over activating our immune system which can lead to an inflammatory response in the skin!
JILL: Yes, so exactly what Amy said, this group of veggies; “nightshade veggies” potatoes, paprika, and eggplant tomatoes, and peppers, CAN cause issues with your skin if you’re already having some issues around it.
The biggest issues people see with nightshades are, as Amy said, the fact that they start a reaction re: your immune system which causes inflammation all over. And actually, when I initially read about this, I was a little skeptical??? BUT, after doing some research and reading about a lot of people being able to heal their acne this way, I’d DEFINITELY recommend trying it out if you’re worried you might be having an issue.
SO, to do that, first thing, take a picture of your skin and then for 2-4 weeks, remove all night shades from your diet and keep a skin diary. At the end of the 2-4 weeks, take a gander at your skin and compare it to your picture (I think this is sometimes better than just simply looking in the mirror because it’s not always easy to judge kinda, objectively, especially when we’re talking about acne:) and that should give you a little idea if you’re allergic or not.
Another question topic came from @graciieking and @sophiieet about blackheads, large pores and essential oils.
What do you think Amy, do you think it’s possible to shrink large pores? And, what are the best essential oils for your skin?
AMY: Gentle exfoliation can help reduce the build up in your pores as enlarged pores are often kept large and visible by an accumulation of dead cells around their opening, removing these allows the pore to gradually return to a more normal size. It’s important to also understand that the reason people get a higher amount of build up in the pores is because of too much sebum production caused by hormones being slightly out of whack! Drinking 2 cups of spearmint tea a day has been scientifically proven to reduce the level of androgens in women suffering from Polycystic Ovary Syndrome after a month so that could be an inexpensive and hassle-free way of reducing oil and sebum production!
And for Sophie, I love simple, old oil cleansing to keep my skin healthy and balanced – the OCM also helps with nourishing the skin so can help prevent scarring too! My favourite essential oils for acne-prone skin are Thyme Linalool, Tea Tree, Frankincense and Copaiba but I tend to use these oils in a facial oil blend after my oil cleanse – for cleansing, I keep it simple with Hemp or Grapeseed oil! I’ve listed all the best essential oils for fighting and healing acne on my site which may help you decide with ones are most suited for you!
JILL: YES! I just put a big blog post up too over on my website about oils and moisturizers for your skin, and I started the list with hemp or grape seed because those are so gentle on your skin.
Now our last question, which is often a really big one about PMS breakouts, these questions came from: @kirstyemma90 @poppygaunt and @charlie_robinson
What are your thoughts on PMS breakouts Amy?
AMY: This is such a common issue I’m seeing in more and more in my friends, colleagues and followers. It’s such a hard one to overcome as our endocrine system is SOO complicated! Unfortunately, it’s not a one-answer fits all! When I was struggling with my hormones at their worst – I was having constant breakouts during my whole cycle along with THE WORST PMS EVER, even though my diet was IMMACULATE! SO I knew for a fact that my hormones needed a major overhaul! I started taking my temperature everyday to work out when I ovulated so I could determine whether my follicular or luteal phases were too long or short (blahblahblah I could bore you for hours with this stuff!) so that I could work out whether it was my estrogen, testosterone or progesterone which were causing me problems! If you’re suffering from typical hormonal breakouts that crop up round your jaw and chin in the days leading up to your period or suffering from lots of tiny bumps across your forehead and jaw then my first recommendation is to cut down on the sugar intake – sugar is such a clear-skin killer! But… if you’re already doing all you can with your diet, then you might find taking the herbal tincture Agnus Castus could be the miracle product you’ve been looking for. You simply take 20 drops in water morning and evening – try taking your morning dose as soon as you wake up as that’s when your pituitary gland is most receptive! It can take a 2-3 months to fully kick in but keep with it because it’s one of the most effective supplements for balancing hormones. The only downside to this supplement – and this is mainly for you Kirsty and anyone else watching who is on the pill – is that Agnus Castus can interfere with the contraceptive pill so is not a good idea to take! For those who are on the pill I would take a good quality Vitamin B complex, Zinc and Magnesium supplement to achieve similar benefits – when I added Vitamin B complex drops to my daily routine I saw major PMS improvements the following month!
JILL: Yes, I completely agree with you Amy, I find hormonal breakouts to be the most difficult to kinda, solve? and I know that’s not like, haha, the best answer, but if I had to give someone a “start to heal your hormonal acne today guide”, I’d focus on a lot of the items you just mentioned #1 and #2 I’m going to give some kind of… simple advice? Like…. I actually think getting yourself on some type of regular “life schedule” is really really important, so going to bed around the same time every night and waking up around the same time, also getting in a good sweat every day and making sure you’re dealing with stress in a way that works for you.
Ohmygoodness and that concludes our chat for the day. This has been, basically, the greatest day of my life, to be honest, hahahhaha. Amy, thank you SO much for chatting with me, I’m so happy to have you in my life now (godbless the interwebs right?) and as a fellow acne sufferer it’s so good to have people you can talk to and chat with right?
If you want more natural and acne clearing holistic advice from Amy, check out her website Get That Glow. and follow her over on Instagram @amy_skyntherapy. If you want more from me, be sure to head over my site to download my Facemapping Guide and you can always find me over on Instagram @healyourfacewithfood 🙂
Again, we are so happy you are here and that you are watching, we wish you so much love and acne clearing and can’t wait to talk to you soon!
Peace, Love & Clear Skin,