How to Heal
One of my top questions that I receive in my inbox regarding my skincare line is what I would recommend to treat acne. Usually, I tell them, there are many different types of acne (cystic, hormonal, papules, whiteheads, blackheads) and although they are not all the same, my philosophy on treatment to get to the root cause is pretty universal. It is not an overnight solution (although many people see quick results in reduction of inflammation and redness with our Clarity Collection), but my approach is one that is truly skin deep. Not only will you find that your skin looks and feels clear and radiant, but these changes will also optimize your digestion, improve your mental health, allowing you to sleep deeper and have more energy in your days.
Before I get into my recommended protocol, let’s talk about why acne is appearing in the first place so you have a better understanding of how and why these treatments may work for you. Some of the root causes of acne are:
⬥ Disruption of detoxification pathways, leading to a sluggish liver or overburdened alimentary system
⬥ Estrogen dominance
⬥ Inflammatory diet
⬥ High stress lifestyle
⬥ Environment (and our exposure to pollutants such as herbicides, pesticides, BPA, phthalates found in our air, food and personal care products).
How to Heal Your Skin From Within
The protocol I am about to recommend is tried and true. I understand from my own personal experience in dealing with painful hormonal acne in my early 20’s how frustrating and impactful having moderate to severe acne can be on your physical, emotional and social well-being. You can start to feel like you’ve tried everything. You’ve dried your skin out using salicylates, you scroll the internet tirelessly looking at the million different skin care solutions, and maybe you’ve even considered or tried a pharmacological route.
My focus with eating for skin health is to incorporate nutrient dense foods that heal from the inside out. My philosophy for nutrition is more about incorporation and inspiration, less on the focus of removing, eliminating, counting,that is typically involved in diet culture. Let’s focus on what we can add into our regimes, and as we begin to heal, the foods that no longer serve will naturally appear less and less on our plates. When we are dealing with acne, my approach is actually addressing your gut health first. Your gut is an epicenter for hormonal production, absorption, assimilation, elimination… for the majority of protocols, getting the gut in balance is the foundation for healing.
Not only are your brightly colored produce loaded with phytonutrients, but they’re also one of the best sources of fibre- a crucial factor when it comes to healing acne from within. Focus on your bright orange (Carotenoid/ Vitamin A rich AKA acne healing superfoods!) such as sweet potatoes, carrots, squashes, red peppers, mango, apricots and papaya. I am also a huge fan of bitter greens such as kale, dandelion, spinach and chard, Our dark leafy greens are super high in chlorophyll- the pigmented life blood of plants that gently cleanse our blood and organs, opening up our detox pathways and saturating our cells with nourishment. The bitter flavor actually helps stimulate bile production, which in turn helps break down our foods more effectively and promoting optimal elimination. If you cant tolerate raw leafy greens, try them sauteed, added into sauces and soups, into a smoothie, or incorporate my Replenish Powder, a blend of herbal greens.
Seriously, I cannot stress this enough. Fibre is one of the most overlooked aspects of our diets- it’s how we begin to eliminate toxins, cleanse the digestive tract, feed healthy gut bacteria, and promote optimal digestion- all the things we need to incorporate to get to the root cause of acne. Beyond eating fresh or cooked fruits and vegetables, I like to incorporate slow burning fibre rich carbs such as quinoa, brown rice, millet, root vegetables, and legumes like lentils, black beans and chickpeas.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again- fats are the future. The demonizing of fats in diet culture from the 80’s to 90’s has caused SO much more harm than good and has led to an obesity epidemic (because low fat means more sugar and less satiation) as well as chronic fatigue, hormonal imbalance, cognitive decay and so much more. Focus on incorporating Omega 3 rich foods from fish sources such as salmon and sardines, nut sources (especially walnuts and almonds), avocados and olives, and seed sources, especially chia and flax seeds. Beyond consuming healthy fats, applying healthy oils onto our skin also helps to rapidly heal and hydrate the skin while reducing excess sebum and healing scarring. But, not all facial oils are the same. Make sure you are using a facial oil that is expertly formulated for the acneic skin - like our Clarity Facial Elixir. (keep reading for more information on this below!).
I hear you, I see you, and I’ve been there
After suffering with adult, hormonal acne for years- it wasn’t until I began to address the root cause of my acne, that both my skin and in turn, my mental and physical well being, began to heal.
As you might know, I am a Clinical Herbalist and Holistic Nutritionist specializing in Women’s health, but I also have my own personal experience to draw from when it comes to healing acne, especially the stubborn hormonal and cystic variety. Believe me when I say I tried everything from Proactive to some of the cleanest beauty products on the market. While some of it helped (albeit temporarily), it wasn’t until I switched to using an oil regime when by skin truly began to heal. It’s why I developed the Clarity Collection- a super minimalist, organic, simple skincare line.
The Clarity elixir
The Clarity Elixir is an herbal cleansing oil and moisturizer. You can use is to remove make up, lift oil, debris, makeup and dirt from your skin and applied again to moisturize deeply. In all of our skin oils, we use a base of Organic Golden Jojoba oil, which is biochemically very similar to the structure of our sebum. It absorbs through all 7 layers of skin, delivering with it the potent medicinal qualities of our other chosen oils and botanicals. In the case of Clarity, our key botanicals are Tamanu, a tropical nut that contains anti-inflammatory action similar to cortisone (!!) Usnea, a lichen that possess antiviral and antifungal properties, as well as skin healing Helichrysum, and decongesting Rosemary.
Clarity Exfoliating Botanical Masque
The Clarity Exfoliating Botanical Masque is a skin treatment you can use up to three times weekly to help slough off dead skin cells while delivering naturally occurring salicylates to help treat white and black heads. We use organic Willow Bark extract as well as oil balancing French Green Clay. Just mix with a few drops of water, tonique, tea or even plain yogurt and smooth onto your face in concentric circles.
The Clarity Tonique is a herbal facial toner that combines the power of plants and the healing vibration of crystal therapy. In our tonique, we focus on using decongesting and clarifying botanicals such as Eucalyptus, Rosemary, Copaiba to reduce inflammation and redness. We also put a chunk of Amethyst crystal into each bottle to emit protective vibrations to encourage the skin healing process.
The Clarity Remedy Roll On
And lastly, our blemish wand, The Clarity Remedy Roll On, whom I lovingly refer to as the ‘green juice’ of serums- it is powerfully detoxifying and anti-inflammatory to active breakout, Just dab onto the areas in which need focused healing- including areas of acne scarring. This blemish wand works hard on not only reducing the size and appearance of blemishes, but also fading acne and discoloration.
Botanicals and Supplements
Click on the headings below to learn more.
A crucial component of supporting inflammation modulation- sadly, in our diets we are not incorporating enough healthy Omega 3’s in our diet. On top of incorporating the omega rich foods above, I would also recommend supplementing with a balanced DHA/EPA Omega 3 oil. Keep in mind that not all supplements are the same- it’s really important that the company you choose does their due diligence to ensure a clean product that does not contain heavy metals or contaminants. That’s why I personally use Nutrasea Liquid. It contains pure Omega 3 oil without a ton of fillers, traceable batches ensuring a clean product, and great flavors (not fishy at all!). And if you would prefer a vegan source, they have a plant based oil sourced from nuts and seeds as well.
In addition to incorporating more fermented foods such as yogurt (dairy or plant based), kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi and miso which are all high in living, healthy bacteria, it may be wise to incorporate a probiotic, especially if you have underlying gut issues. Many probiotics range anywhere from 1 billion to 100 billion, and with hundreds of varieties of bacterial strains- its understandably very overwhelming when shopping for the right one. My philosophy on probiotic supplementation is actually utilizing a round of supplementation quite like ‘sowing seeds’ within our gut. Everyday supplementation is not always necessary, especially if we are consuming probiotic rich food and not experiencing any underlying gut impairments. It’s important to aim for a probiotic of at least 50 billion. There are so many great probiotics on the market, but I like Genuine Health (their entire line is focused around gut health). This particular probiotic is shelf stable, meaning it doesn’t require refrigeration and sits at 100 billion with many diverse strains. I would recommend cycling with this one every 3 months (only taking it once, every 3 months) and then in the meantime, focus on feeding your microbiome with the probiotic and prebiotic foods listed above.
As we discussed in our nutrition highlight on incorporating bitter greens is one of the best ways to support our alimentary system which involves opening up detoxification pathways allowing for toxins and stored excess estrogen to be released from the body. By stimulating our gallbladder and liver, we also improve bile production which helps break down and assimilate food in our guts. Now maybe you’re wondering- how does this connect to skin health? Well, folks (especially women) who experience common, yet unnormal GI symptoms such as bloating and constipation are 37% more likely to also experience acne. By optimizing our gut health by addressing all the systems involved in elimination, the higher the likelihood of addressing the root cause to heal our skin, hormones and digestive issues, for good. Here are some places to begin in the world of plant medicine:
Try incorporating a herbal bitters tincture - one that has roots such as gentian, oregon grape, artichoke or dandelion root. You can add this herbal extract to water, tea, or juice.
The Glow Elixir Tea for skin, hair and nails contains skin loving Nettle, bitter root vegetable Burdock root, hormone balancing Spearmint and collagen promoting Hibiscus.
Harmonizing Tea, a nourishing and balancing women’s elixir contains adaptogenic botanicals such as Holy Basil and Nettles that help to modulate your body’s response to stress, by lowering cortisol and helping you get out of a state of fight or flight and into a space of calm. Calm mind, calm skin. It has a beautiful and sweet chai flavor and is absolutely delicious as an afternoon pick me up.
Rituals and Spells
Mirror Gazing is a powerful practice where you challenge your inner narrative by sitting, naked in front of the mirror. To do this exercise properly, put on a timer for 5 minutes so you can really go into a meditative space without thinking about the time. The practice is similar to a meditation, where you gaze deeply into your own eyes, into your nakedness, raw and vulnerable form to see yourself as you are. As thoughts arise, challenge any negative narration with gratitude instead. Look deeply into your own eyes and repeat loving affirmations, whatever comes up. This can be a really vulnerable ritual- often times, I open up the space for my Inner Mother to show up and I send loving words to all the pieces and parts of me that feel broken, ugly, or not enough.
Let your skin breathe. At once a week minimum, I suggest going completely make up free for an entire day, letting the sun kiss your skin, too! Don’t forget to remove make up, cleanse and moisturize every night as well- our skin detoxifies and repairs itself in our sleep so we want to ensure a clean foundation to allow for that process to unfold.
Create your own Masqueing Alchemy at home! Using our Ritual Bowl, mix our Clarity Masque with a medium such as honey, plain yogurt, or our Calming Tea, The Glow Elixir or Well Belly tea- brewed and warm.
At the end of the day, my loves, give yourself time and grace. Remember that you are more than just your skin and that healing is not linear. Everyones acne will heal at their own rate- some women experience results within a few days and for others it can take several months. Be patient with yourself and keep in mind that these changes are not only for the good of your skin, but for your whole body, too.