Posted on March 06 2017
One of my personal goals last year was to get to the bottom of what was causing my cystic acne. What I have uncovered- piece by piece- is that there is never typically one food, cream, or treatment that will completely cause or cure your skin issues. The skin is not only the largest organ, but it is also a player in our bodies' amazing ability to detoxify itself- along with the liver, kidneys, digestive and lymphatic systems. So if the skin helps to do the same job that the lymph, gut, liver and kidneys do, wouldn't that make them all connected in some way?
Cue holistic medicine: the condition of our skin is a good indicator when assessing the state of what's going on inside the body. Think about it, if the other players in the detoxification pathways aren't working properly, the skin will have to go into overdrive to get all those toxins out. We develop things like eczema and acne and then treat them as "skin conditions" but fail to connect the internal dots. Serious question: Have you ever thought about what your intestines look like when you get all bloated? Probably worse than a few pimples, if we’re being honest!
The skin takes the brunt of the blame and treatment for the issues that arise on the surface but it’s not typically where the problems originate from.
What I found out is that I have two mutations in my detoxification pathways which make it difficult for my body to absorb certain vitamins (B complex) and break down stress hormones in the brain (catecholamines).
My skin was working around the clock to pick up the slack.
What started out as a quest to find clear skin turned into another level of self love and appreciation. All those negative things I had said and thought about my skin when all it was trying to do the whole time was keep my body healthy. This realization made me want to take better care of my skin and nourish my body from the outside in.
If you struggle with acne, you know that it can take its toll on your confidence and relationships. You become paranoid, thinking that everyone you speak to is judging your skin. You stare at your blemishes for extended periods of time in the mirror and eventually end up picking when you know sure and well that you're partaking in self sabotage.
There were things I turned down in my career because I was too ashamed of my skin and embarrassed of how people would perceive me. Just like most people with acne, I've done my fair share of silent suffering but I’m really ready to fully heal from the experience. I know that part of the healing process is to shine the light for those who are experiencing the same struggles, so here is what I attribute to be influential on my path to clearer skin!:
1. I stopped picking! (for the most part) Even though most of my breakouts are gone, if I so much as pick at a blackhead, I still to this day get a few breakouts in the surrounding area. It's not worth it so hands off!
2. I started washing my face 2x/day with the @clarisonic Mia FIT that I got from my trip to Santa Barbara with @biotherm. Feeling the bumps as I washed my face with my hands would give me such anxiety about my skin. And what I realized is the more I would stress about my acne, the more it would proliferate. Using a Clarisonic not only gave my pores a deep cleaning but it also removed a lot of the negative feelings I had about my skin. I HIGHLY recommend getting one! I also did away with harsh drying cleaners and switched to Hydrafacial's Activ cleanser on my clarisonic. After I cleanse, I use aloe + cucumber watch hazel as toner (I love the brand Thayers!)
3. Facials with @lisamiamiskin every 4-8 weeks depending on the condition of my skin. We alternated between the oxygen and hydrafacials until my skin was less active and then we started the Dermapen treatment to help with scaring.
( Lisa's contact info: 954-806-1629 LisaMiamiSkin@gmail.com)
4. @lisamiamiskin then put me on to Dr. Cristina Pena, an OBGYN who specializes in preventative medicine. Lisa and I assumed that my acne was due to hormonal imbalance so she suggested that I go get my levels tested. What I found out through a series of blood tests is that I had several vitamin and mineral deficiencies. I also did a genetic test to check my detoxification pathways and found out that I have mutations in my methylation process (has to do with the absorption of B12 vitamins) and my detoxification of catecholamines. (The chemicals of stress in the brain)
Learning what my deficiencies were gave me so much power to take control of my situation. I immediately bought all of the supplements that she recommended according to my results. (all the supplements that I take are shown below. PLEASE keep in mind that I began taking these supplements under a doctor's supervision and according to the results of my blood work.)
Here are the supplements that I recommend that everyone take but as I am not medically trained, I urge you to still consult with a preventative or functional Dr. and get your blood drawn!:
• Omega 3 (I take @nfsports_ NFsports.com coupon: nicolemejia for 20% off)
• Vitamin D3
• Vitamin C
• Vitamin K2
• Women's probiotic (contains immune, digestive, and reproductive bacteria)
Before I went to see Dr. Pena, I was seeing a Dermatologist who diagnosed me with "high testosterone" and then prescribed me birth control, testosterone blockers, and antibiotics. She never did any blood work. When I got my hormones tested with Dr. Pena, I found out that I have LOW testosterone! What a mess that wouldve been if I wouldn't have listened to my gut and sought another opinion. As a patient you have the right to refuse treatment, get another opinion, and do your own research! EXERCISE THOSE RIGHTS!
5. @Lisamiamiskin then recommended the Osmosis medical grade mineral makeup and skincare line. I have the cc cream, concealer, and powder and will never go back to wearing anything else! I also started using their vitamin A serums. I began with their "Sensitive" one then moved to "Clarify" and have graduated to their strongest formula, "Correct".
6. LOTS of water! I have a 32oz bottle and fill it 4-5 each day! (That's a galIon or more!)
I also drink at least one hot tea each day. A few of my favs: dandelion tea (good for liver and gallbladder), neem tea (amazing for your skin and immune system, ginger tea (reduces inflammation and boosts immune system), and holy basil tea (I really am obsessed with adaptogens!! Look them up!). Side note: I actually found out that green tea contains quercetin which makes my body’s ability to detox itself even more impaired! Who wouldve thought that green tea, with all of it antioxidants, would be bad for me? I was literally guzzling it before getting tested thinking that I was doing my body good! This really shows how everything is not for everyone!
7. Along with green tea, I lessened my consumption of the fruits and veggies that contain high levels of quercetin. This has been the hardest part to be completely honest! Red apples, blue berries, cranberries, red and white onion, cilantro, spinach, romaine lettuce, cabbage, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and red wine are all on that list.
8. I have fresh fruits and veggies everyday in the form of either juice in the morning or a huge salad at night- and sometimes both. I read a quote recently that said "Every time you eat or drink, you are either feeding disease or fighting it." Just some food for thought :)
9. I do charcoal + bentonite clay masks at least once a week. You guys know I love my @timelessorganicsskincare masks! (Coupon: nicolemejia for 20% off)
10. I started taking baths again and use Dead Sea salts and apple cinder vinegar as a soak. We spend ALOT of time worrying about detoxing our faces but neglect the rest of the organ! Take an hour a week to show your skin below the neck some love. :)
Everyone's skin is different so I don't want to you to think that following this exact regimen will cure your acne. I wanted to share it with you to show that it is a process of learning more about yourself and what works for you.
I do remember the day and moment when I decided that I wasn't going to live in insecurity over my skin any longer- and that's exactly when you will truly begin your journey to healing you skin as well. We need to decide that we want better for ourselves but then realize that progress and healing requires the commitment to follow through.
Today, I still get breakouts, but I've learned to love my skin regardless. Getting proactive with my skin taught my more than I ever thought I would learn on this journey and I hope that some part of it will help you on your path to clearer skin. <3
Be kind to your body and stay motivated,