Hi guys! Ok so, let’s just dive right in. My skin story. I feel like this post has been a long time coming! I’m honestly super nervous to be this vulnerable with you but as cheesy as it may sound, I know deep down that this will help so many people who may be in the same boat I was – struggling with…dun dun dun…ACNE.
Yes, I have talked about this here and there on Instagram or the blog and a lot with my one on one clients, but today I’m giving you my whole story of how I healed myself from a lifelong chronic struggle with acne. I’m turning 30 this fall and I’m forever going to work to manifest no more breakouts. Mark my words! But, let’s start with my background and the laundry list of things I’ve tried. I’m sure you can relate to some of these, if not ALL.
How I Healed My Chronic Acne Naturally
MY SKIN BACKGROUND
I started getting breakouts specifically of whiteheads and inflammatory acne when I was about 13 and a freshman in highschool. I know, TYPICAL. To be clear, I did not suffer from a lot of cystic acne, more so blemishes all over my T-zone. The breakouts would come and go every few months throughout the years. Sometimes really bad and sometimes not that bad, and I never quite had clear skin.
I kept thinking I would outgrow it. Over the course of the next 16 years I visited countless dermatologists, doctors, estheticians, naturopaths, and more. You name it, I’ve probably tried it- sulfur scrubs, benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, ProActiv, Retinol, Doxycycline, antibiotics, spironolactone, Accutane, chemical peels, extraction facials, microdermabrasion, multiple diets, detoxes, and more. And what’s funny is I actually have very sensitive, fair skin. Yet for YEARS I stripped it and scrubbed it dry.
MY SKINCARE HOLY GRAIL
No matter what I did I couldn’t seem to get my acne flare ups under control. That is, until I combined these three things: 1) a whole foods, gluten free and plant-based diet, 2) a natural skincare regimen, and 3) visualization meditations. I worked to improve gut and hormonal imbalances and manage stress while removing prescription drugs from the dermatologist and switching to a clean skincare routine without any sort of topical drying agents like retinol, benzoyl, salicylic acid, etc.
When I first went plant-based back in 2016, I immediately noticed a shift not only in the health of my skin but how I felt everyday in my whole body. I lost weight, had more energy, barely got sick EVER after suffering from chronic sinusitis (another story for another time), and overall felt like I had been woken up after being asleep at the wheel my whole life. There was this new found energy and feeling of purpose. I had no idea I could feel this good everyday and that I had been living my life everyday just feeling ok.
Thanks to my new diet, over the next few years my skin was better than it had been since I was 13. I didn’t have to take any medications from the dermatologist and I could handle any flare ups with over the counter cleansers containing just some sort of low dose of salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide.
WHY IT’S OK TO TAKE A PRESCRIPTION DRUG
Then, out of nowhere I got a really bad flare up when we moved to California a few years ago. I finally got so fed up that I went to a few dermatologists for the first time in over 3 years. When I finally landed on one, they insisted a low dose of spironolactone in combination with a sulfur based cleanser would do the trick. Ugh.
I really DID NOT WANT TO TAKE the spironolactone. Plus, I had already taken this drug before in the past during a bad flare up. I really did not want to take anything internally because when my Mom got diagnosed with stage 4 cancer back in 2011 (almost 10 years ago at this point!), I went full force on switching to a nontoxic lifestyle and swore I would avoid prescription drugs at all costs. No more birth control or z-packs for me. I was going au naturale.
But I think this is an important piece of my skin story that I wanted to share- hear me when I say this because it may surprise you. It’s OK to turn to a prescription drug sometimes to help your symptoms. *CAVEAT* But the long term solution to your problem needs to also incorporate nutrition and a healthy lifestyle.
HOW MY SKIN AFFECTED ME EMOTIONALLY
My skin has affected my self confidence so bad that I have experienced what I believe to be mild depression and major self esteem issues. If getting a prescription from the dermatologist is going to help clear your skin while you work on making healthy lifestyle changes, I 100% SUPPORT THAT.
On top of this, I felt some shame in turning to a prescription drug again for my skin and I know now I should not have felt this guilt. For myself and my mental health, I had to do it. I don’t want to waste one more day hiding in my house, not letting my husband hang out with me, or not going to dinner with my friends solely because I am embarrassed of my appearance.
And if you’re out there right now, in that place, please know I am here for you and I know what you’re going through. Trust me when I say it WILL get better and you WILL come out the other side.
Phew, okay, serious moment over LOLZ. But I had to go there if I’m going to tell this story with complete honesty! Also ugh please do not at all feel sympathy for me when reading this- it’s so not what I want. I’m only doing this to help other women and get my saga off my chest. I am all good peeps! Ok, let’s move on, shall we? 😉
PLANT-BASED AND GLUTEN-FREE
After visiting the dermatologists, I started working with a new functional medicine doctor at Parsley Health. Through a blood draw, I learned I tested high for sensitivity to gluten. Up to this point I had been 100% plant based but was still eating mostly sprouted, organic gluten. I then slowly transitioned gluten out of my diet and replaced any gluten I was having with gluten-free options- like brown rice breads or almond flour tortillas.
This seemed to improve my overall health and the health of my skin even MORE. I also worked with Parsley to follow a gut healing and hormone balancing protocol through certain supplements.
However, I recently have fully cleared my skin and have remained clear the past almost 6 months by incorporating these additional two things with my plant-based gluten-free diet. 1) Using only a natural skincare line for topical product application and 2) daily visualization meditation (aka manifestation). I know, soooo woo woo- but hear me out because this shit fucking WORKS. And I am living proof. There’s also so much science behind this I had no idea! Your body listens to your thoughts, and what you tell your brain, for real.
NATURAL AND NON-TOXIC SKINCARE
For the first time EVER I gave up my topical anti-acne solutions. I have been a long time proponent of toxin free living and it’s what my business is based around in addition to a more plant-based diet. But skincare was always the one thing I couldn’t find a suitable super nontoxic option for.
I had tried DIY solutions like castor oil and jojoba cleansing along with brands like True Botanicals, Doterra HD Clear, and many others- nothing worked for me. That is, until I found Averr Aglow. This is not a plug but I had to shout them out because they have been a huge part of my clear skin success story. Now, this may not work for you and maybe another clean skincare brand works better- great. You do you. I think the important thing is to give your skin a break from the traditional chemical treatments prescribed for acne. Especially because of my 15+ years of use! (PS I feature this brand and more in my Clean Beauty Guide.)
After about 2 full weeks in on my new skincare regimen, I was APPALLED my breakouts had not worsened and were actually almost completely GONE. I felt like I was looking at my 12 year old self in the mirror. I was enthusiastic about my newfound secret weapon.
VISUALIZATION MEDITATIONS AND MANIFESTATION
It’s very important to note that in addition to using Averr Aglow products I started doing daily (and sometimes twice daily) clear skin meditations. I have meditated for a few years now but I never heard of being guided to envision your face without any blemishes. Needless to say, I was hooked. Plus, I was shocked at how it actually started working. And I credit this technique the most to keeping my skin the clearest it has been since I was a pre-teen over these past 6 months. I originally heard Melissa Wood Health talk about how she used meditation to heal her acne. Unfortunately, I had a really hard time actually finding a meditation. I eventually came across this one on YouTube. The guys voice is really soothing. I also used Mimi Method meditations. Eventually, I think I will create my own!
SO TO SUM IT ALL UP
My story is a perfect example of why we HAVE to look at the body and the person as a whole- both physical and emotional health is important and we have to find balance with BOTH. Just as I learned back when I was getting certified to become a holistic health coach- you can eat all the kale in the world and a 100% perfectly “clean” diet but if you are not addressing the health of other areas of your life you will never achieve optimal well-being.
And this is how I work with my clients too. I always say- food is the foundation. Once we get that under control, we have to dive in and explore all these other areas of your life that make up YOU. How is the health of your daily work and career? What are your relationships like? Are you going to a job everyday that sucks your soul out of your body? Are you in a toxic relationship? Then we have to dig to get to the root cause of some of the physical symptoms you may be experiencing. It’s not one size fits all and I hope my story can inspire and motivate you to use this new year to dig deep and get CLEAR.
Are you struggling with your skin? I would love to know in the comments below. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading!
Until next time,
XO – Dani