I have struggled with acne for years. It started when I turned 12 and got worse from there. I went to a dermatologist for years and went from one topical medication to another. They would work for a while and then my skin would grow a resistance toward it and fight back. It was so frustrating! I didn't understand why my skin had to be so stubborn. "Just give in and leave me alone!" I would say while looking in the mirror. Ugh... it was terrible.
When I turned 21, I went off of birth control because I started to become weary of pumping all those hormones into my body. My emotions were out of control and I just wanted to be me again. What I didn't realize was that going off of the pill was about to completely throw my hormones off course in such a violent way that it left me with cystic acne. I thought I struggled with acne before; I was dead wrong. For about a year I wanted to hide in my house and never leave. I would put on a pound of makeup just to get the mail because I was so mortified. It's hard for me to think back to that time because it was such a dark place for me. But now that I am in the light, I want to share with you how I have been able to win in the battle against my skin. I always read about people's success stories and wondered "why isn't that me??" I thought I had tried every product out there. Nothing worked. I even tortured myself with a chemical peel. It felt like my face was on fire. Don't ever do that to yourself! When I finally realized that my problem wasn't topical but rather was stemming from internal problems, I was able to see results.
I was never a believer that what you ate could really affect your skin. I thought the belief that sugar consumption could cause acne was a myth. And maybe for some people, that's true. The problem with acne is that everyone suffers for different reasons. What helps one person may not help another. The trick is figuring out what works for you. In my case, I truly believe that I was suffering from Candida, a condition where the natural candida bacteria (or yeast) in your body is overgrown in your system. This can cause a huge number of side effects, such as abdominal gas and bloating, dizziness, headaches, fatigue, constipation or diarrhea, and acne! This is only a short list of side effects. It also causes you to crave sugar because the bacteria needs sugar to thrive. I know it isn't easy to cut sugar out of your diet, but try cutting down at least. I started by reading labels and becoming familiar with how much sugar was in everything I ate. I became strict. If I knew for a fact that I was going to a social gathering where there would be sweets, I would not allow myself to eat anything sugary the rest of the day and only pick one treat at the party. I got used to eating this way, even though it isn't always easy, and before long my skin got better! Not perfect by any means, but good enough that I didn't feel embarrassed anymore. A pimple here or there was nothing that I couldn't handle after what I'd been through.
Years later I became even more health conscious when it came to food. I switched to organic and eventually started eating Paleo. If you've tried every product out there and nothing works for you, eat a strict Paleo diet for 2 weeks and see what happens to your skin. I do fall off the wagon and eat a Gluten Free diet instead of strict Paleo and I see the difference in my skin after a while. Although not terrible, so long as I watch my sugar intake, it still doesn't compare to the glow my skin has when I eat Paleo. When I eat Paleo and skip sweet snacks, my skin is FLAWLESS. For the first time since I was 12, my skin glows with not a raised bump in sight. There simply are no words to describe how happy that makes me. I mean I could seriously run through a crowded street naked singing "I feel pretty, oh so pretty! I feel pretty and witty and bright!" but then I would probably end up in the nut house for a while and that would ruin my good mood. I guess what I'm trying to say is that although it's not always easy, if you're on the verge of a breakdown, give it a try. If it works for you, it's worth it!! And when you're dying for a sweet treat, refer to my post about Paleo Chocolate Brownies!
Okay, so I know this post is already super long, but I can't end a post about healthy skin without sharing a stupidly simple topical solution that I've found works amazingly well. When my skin isn't glowing and I'm experiencing PMS hormones, nothing works better to clear my skin in a flash better than a simple home made concoction of half water and half apple cider vinegar. This easy and super affordable toner is like a miracle in a bottle! The apple cider vinegar helps to balance and restore your skin's pH levels. I use half and half and it seems to work great, but depending on your skin type, you may need more or less apple cider. Experiment with it and see if it works for you. As for me, I'm in love!