Why do you still have acne when you’re doing everything right?
Why is your skin not clear when you haven’t had sugar in a 3 weeks, you’ve eaten 20 vegetables today and you’ve been meditating all morning?!
I get this question a lot and I wanted to give you some of my best ideas.
Because it can be very confusing and frustrating.
So, why do you still have acne, every though you’re eating/exercising/living like a champ?
Here are 6 possible reasons:
1. Your blood sugar could be messed up.
When you eat really clean, you’re most likely not eating a ton of sugar or processed foods, which means that your blood sugar is, most likely, on the lower side. (Although, you don’t have to be a saint. I cheat sometimes.)
But if you cheat consistently,i.e. when you add in an extra large chocolate chip cookie with a coke mid afternoon every day– when you’re already starving- you’re going to get a huge spike in your blood sugar, which is no bueno for your skin. SO, your blood sugar will look like this:
(beautiful, artistically drawn diagram because I am Van Gogh)
Can you read that graph? I’ve highlighted what eating really healthy looks like all morning- the eggs and veggies, a green apple for a snack and then a salad, and then highlighted the blood sugar spike in the mid afternoon.
So clean eating + 1 “cheat” a day (you might not think it’s thatttt bad right?) could actually be hurting your blood sugar a ton.
This was actually my problem for a few months before I really cleared my skin.
I ate so healthfully like – 70% of the time- but I also cheated quite powerfully with sugary treats. And it’s obviously not the same as eating a complete diet full of bad things- but it does have the same effect on your insulin and blood sugar- which in turn, negatively affects your skin. (If you want more details on how sugar impacts certain areas of your face, check out the Facemapping Guide I made for you here.)
So what you can do?:
-You want to keep your blood sugar balanced throughout the day.
-I do this by eating every 2-2.5 hours and it works brilliantly.
I’ve tried a million other ways- eating paleo (got so sick, story for another day!), I’ve tried completely vegan (also no bueno for me and my skin)… I’ve tried it all. Eating a super healthy something-something + a little protein every 2-3 hours has really helped me stay balanced throughout the day. (This helps with concentration, focus, restfullness, all the things guyz, all the thingz.)
-If you do need a treat of epic-sugar-proportions, pair it with some protein so that your body absorbs it and reacts to it a bit more slowly. So……… grab some avocado, almonds, eggs, cheese even (if you don’t have a reaction to dairy) with your treat:)
(Download this face mapping guide for more action steps!)
2. The bacteria in your belly could still be all messed up.
We all have bajillions of organisms in our belly, all the time.
I won’t gross you out too much, but this bacteria is everywhere and some of it is ruhlly, ruhlly helpful. (This is why one of the most important things I recommend at the beginning of the face mapping guide I made for you is to start taking probiotics.)
If the bacteria in your belly is still not totally figured out – you might be seeing some indication of that on your skin.
So what you can do?
-Pick up a probiotic. If you don’t know what this is, I describe/explain in my Poo and Your Acne post, here.
-Drink some kombucha.
-Listen to your body– I’m not kidding and I kinda hate this sentence because it’s so cliche but for reals- listen. After years of being super constipated, I finally started listening ot my body and it definitely gave me MUCH quieter signals (that I had to go!) than I would normally expect. Sometimes she just whispered, so you have to be listening to hear her.
3. You could have a food allergy.
Let’s say you’re trying really hard to eat really well and you’re eating a million and one amazing things BUT, you’re still having some milk in your coffee every am and you’re still adding cheese into all of your salads and on the occasional slice of pizza.
Now, these things seem so little and small, but for someone with a serious dairy allergy, they could be really problematic and cause a lot of skin problems.
So what you can do?
-Head to your doctor to grab a food allergy test, they’re often covered by insurance and can really give you some insight:)
4. You’re under way too much stress.
Haha, as you read this you’re like, YAH. Duh. OBVIO. I’m under a ton of stress. (Who isn’t?)
But as I talk about in my book, Bold and Bare, stress can have a super negative effect on your skin. Levels of cortisol and adrenaline can have quite the effect on your skin; they can affect your sleep patterns, which affects your skin, and sleep affects your hormones, which then also affects your skin….. the body is a SYSTEM.
That’s my main ish with doctors/western medicine today- is that they always try to take certain ailments (skin, etc.) and try to address them the way you would eat a slice of pizza. Your skin is not just some, independent part of your body that is completely unaffected by all other elements. Its powerfully impacted by everything you do.
So what you can do?
-You need to start to meditate. I know, I know. This in and of itself is a challenge, but start to do some research on what might be the best meditation for you.
-You need to exercise. Even if it’s just a simple, brisk walk every night after dinner- you need to bring some happy hormones into your bod. They will help.
5. Your liver needs detoxifying.
Are you chronically exhausted? Are your eyes itchy, red, bloodshot, yellow? Bad breath? Are you sick often? (I.e. implying that your immune system isn’t working well.) You might have some liver toxicity.
THAT being said – the above symptoms could be used to describe many, many different ailments, so be careful.
So what you can do?
-Head to your doctor to get some blood tests done- and ask them specifically to test your liver.
-Take a gander (i.e. do some googling and reading up) on some research regarding milk thistle – an herbal remedy that has been known to help acne. (Also, check out this post on hormonal acne as well.)
Basically – it increases the flow of bile – a fluid generated in the liver.
This increase in flow helps to remove testosterone byproducts that produce acne blemishes. In other words- it helps you flush toxins and bacteria out of your body through your digestive system, as opposed to your skin.
Also, if you’re on birth control– this CAN affect the efficacy of that- so make sure you discuss it with your doctor.
6. Your products are super irritating your skin.
Sound familiar: you use a benzoyl peroxide cleanser, followed by a salicylic acid treatment followed by a prescription cream; you’re taking birth control pills and an antibiotic pill for your skin?
If this sounds familiar- you might be doing TOO much to your skin.
When you use a ton of drying products (we all want to dry our skin when it’s oily and broken out) they WORK (most of the time), right?
But unfortunately – your skin and your body – on the whole get the message that they are dry and they want to do anything they can to NOT dry out (because ultimately your skin wants to feel hydrated and moisturized) so they send a message to your oil glands and hormones to bring some more oil to the party.
Which you’ll then attack with more drying things. And then more oil will come. And then more drying things. See the pattern? It’s a never ending cycle.
So what you can do?
Try to go a bit – cold turkey. (I discuss how to wash your face with acne here). Now, as I recommend that, I remember that if someone asked me to just “chill” on the products I was using, I would have wanted to kill them. So I get it, but why don’t we just give it a try for a little bit?
If I had to recommend a routine- just anything- I would recommend you use a mild soap at night, followed by an oil free moisturizer before bed. (Check out another post on the best oils for acne prone skin here for some more inspiration.)
Dats it y’all.
What to do now?
As we go through this list- can you see any areas where you may be a little, not up to “par” shall we say? So, you have a major sweet tooth…. or… you never go the bathroom (or you go all of the time!), or your period is totally messed up or you’re under an insane amount of stress?
Maybe just pick one item on this list and start to move forward with some of the action ideas I’ve listed for you:) and make triple sure you’ve downloaded the face mapping guide I created for you, because it’ll really help with more action steps:)