5 reasons jicama can help to heal your acne naturally (and/or calm inflammation from the inside, out)

jicama for acne
Jilly T with a large jicama in her hands

Have you heard of jicama before? I hadn’t as of a few years ago and when I discovered it I got really excited.

A crunchy, delicious, healthy new “fruit” for me to add to my diet? Um, yes PLEASE!

Jicama, scientifically known as Pachyrhizus erosus, originated in Central and South America and bears a close resemblance to sweet potato in terms of its crunchiness and delicious taste.

It’s mainly cultivated as a tuber food crop and has a white crispy flesh inside an inedible brownish skin. The roots of this plant can grow as long as 2 meters and weigh up to 44 pounds!!! Say wut.

Jicama is ideally grown in warm climates like China, Mexico, and a few other South American regions.

Let’s discuss 3 ways jicama can help support happy skin AND is great for your bod on the inside, as well!

jicama for acne

 

Reason #1: Jicama is chock full of vitamins and it’s also rich in essential minerals like phosphorus, sodium, iron and magnesium. These, along with the high moisture content, supports maximum hydration, helping to cut down on fat deposits; which also helps lower the blood cholesterol levels.

Reason #2: Jicama contains a vitamin E, which, when combined with vitamin C helps to decrease inflammation, both on the skin and inside the body.

Reason #3: Jicama functions as a natural phytoestrogen for older women, when the estrogen production stops post menopause. The loss of estrogen leads to fragile bones, wrinkled skin, and other annoying problems.

How to buy the right jicama:

  • When choosing jicamas in a grocery store, make sure to choose the ones with firm roots.
  • Check for any outside blemishes, wet spots indicate jicama is rotting inside, so please don’t buy those.
  • If stored in an open place, Jicama can last up to 2 weeks but if kept in a cold and dry place it retains its freshness for 4 weeks.
  • Once you’ve peeled and cut it, wrap it in a plastic bag and put in the refrigerator.

How to prepare jicama:

Make sure to clean the jicama skin thoroughly to remove any pesticide residues and peel the skin completely before cutting it; it’s inedible.

There are multiple ways to consume a jicama: you can either cook it as a salad or can simply eat it raw. This can also be baked, stir-fried, and stewed.

Another way of enjoying jicama’s taste is to preserve it as a pickle, in a mix of vegetables like cucumber.

My favorite way to eat jicama is to peel it raw, and then cover with lime juice. It’s SO refreshing this way!
As I mentioned earlier, Jicama has some benefits when applied topically so I wanted to share a jicama and honey mask with you.

(More on the benefits of manuka honey here.)

To make this jicama and honey mask:

  • Cut 1 jicama into small pieces and mix with 2 tbsp honey.
  • Apply properly on the face and leave it on for 2 hours.
  • Rinse off the face and pat dry.

Like every other fruit and vegetable we need to make note of some precautions in the case of jicama too. Keep the following things in mind when you eat/buy jicama:

  • The leaves, flowers, and vines of Jicama are inedible as they contain a very toxic compound rotenone, a naturally occuring insecticide in plants to defend themselves from predators. Consuming Jicama seeds can cause respiratory system failure in human beings (and death within two hours in the worst cases) (BE CAREFUL.)
  • It is advisable to steam Jicama before consuming in order to soften the dietary fiber and make it easily digestible. If you don’t do this, you may experience digestion problems like stomach-ache and constipation.
  • If you are eating a raw Jicama, always remove the outer peel. Only the white inside is edible as the outer peel is not only fibrous, but toxic as well.

Have you tried jicama before? Will you now? Let me know in the comments below as its my favorite new crunchy fruit!

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Leaky gut and acne – is there a link?

leaky gut and acneLeaky gut and acne – is there a link?

We talk about all different types of topics here, including poo and your acne – so its no wonder that we’re here, discussing “leaky gut”.

What IS leaky gut, you might be wondering, and could it potentially be contributing to your breakouts?

Leaky gut happens when the lining of your stomach becomes irritated by food; usually when you have an allergy and/or you’re eating items that are very acidic and/or difficult to digest.

Tiny microtears are made in the lining of your stomach, allowing nutrients – and bacateria, etc. – to escape and enter your blood stream, causing widespread inflammation – and overall, problems.

Let’s go back a bit in history, ruhl-quick-like-a-bunny:

In 1947, dermatologists Donald M. Pillsbury and John H. Stokes were the first ones to establish a relation between gut balance and healthy skin. They claimed to have found a solid connection between emotional stress, physical appearance and the microorganisms residing in the gut.

Over the past few decades, to take this even further, the gut has even been labelled as ‘the second brain’ because of the deep impact it’s functions have on the rest of our body.

So, the gut is linked to the brain…..and ultimately, since the brain is intricately linked to our skin (the brain tells all of our hormones to function, which tells our skin how to function/look as well….), we have a gut-brain-skin axis. What does that mean though, exactly?

What IS the link between leaky gut and your skin?

 

  • As I mentioned earlier, physical, emotional or mental stress can be a major factor in causing a “gut disaster” as well. Psychological stress disrupts the gut flora, lowering our inherent immunity and allowing toxins and bacteria to start negatively impacting our stomach lining. Have you tried meditation?

 

  • Over consumption of alcohol can have an adverse effect not just on your gut, but all other systems in your body as well. As far as the digestive tract is concerned, alcohol irritates your stomach and intestines, inhibiting the functioning of hormones that protect our gut against inflammation and eventual leaking.

 

  • Gluten. Gluten. Gluten. If you think you have a problem, start reading this gluten and acne post right now.  Gluten has a high content of amylose sugars and anti-nutrient agents like lectins. While the former are responsible for creating inflammation, the latter gets attached to the intestine and suppresses the nutrient functions in your body. This causes numerous issues in the gut.

How can you fix your belly aka leaky gut to support natural acne healing?

  • Manage your stress.
  • Ditch the antibiotics that you don’t think are absolutely necessary for you. You can also consult your doctor for an antibiotic that has a minimal effect on the probiotic bacteria.
  • Limit your alcohol consumption to once a week.

Try adding these foods in to support a healthier “gut” (I kinda love this word haha!):

  • Kefir: This fermented dairy drink is brimming with probiotics, give ‘er a whirl and see how it feels.
  • Coconut oil: The fats in coconut oil help address the gut problems and its antimicrobial properties are A+ for the skin.
  • Fermented cod liver oil: Another of those ancient foods, this oil is super rich in nutrients and a potent source of vitamin A, D and omega fats.
  • Fermented veggies: veggies like sauerkraut supplement the body with microbiomes that have a ton of probiotics and support belly-healing.

A leaky gut really could be negatively impacting your skin and your acne journey – if you really think you’re struggling, try some of the steps I’ve listed above and let me know how it goes in the comments below!

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Witch hazel and acne – how to use witch hazel for acne

witch hazel and acneHave you ever tried witch hazel for your acne?

Today there are a gajillion “products” available for acne treatments. 

It’s been my mission though, as you may know, since you’re here:)!!!, that I don’t focus so much on what you put *on* your skin, as I focus on what you eat, for natural acne healing.

However, I recognize that once inner acne healing is achieved, some outer-acne-healing-support doesn’t hurt:)

That’s where witch hazel might come in as a great addition to your acne clearing regime.

First things first, if you’ve never heard of it or tried it, what is witch hazel?

Scientifically known as “hamamelis virginiana”, witch hazel is native to North America and some parts of Asia. Its skin soothing properties were discovered centuries ago and since then its frequently been listed as a major ingredient in various health and beauty products.

Coming from the Hamamelidaceae family of plants, witch hazel also known as the ‘winter bloom’, and it serves as a wonderful natural astringent and antioxidant.

The leaves, twigs, and bark of the witch hazel plant are often used in herbal mixes to effectively reduce acne and inflammation, speed up the healing process, cure blisters, insect bites, etc.

Why is witch hazel so wonderful? Let’s discuss:

The tannins in witch hazel help prevent any excess oil formation on the skin. This is great if you’re already suffering with excessive oil – it’ll help slow down the oil process for you.

It also works as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, preventing any free radical damage to DNA because it contains an abundance of polyphenols.

Why use witch hazel for acne treatment, specifically, though?

  • I, personally believe, that you should go as natural as possible when you’re healing your acne. Witch hazel offers an advantage over other beauty products as its 100% natural, devoid of any irritating ingredients, fake contaminants, and environmental pollutants.
  • For acne prone skin, witch hazel can help to reduce inflammation, oiliness, and redness. It’s an excellent natural cleanser, controlling the bacteria growth on the skin and eventually speeding up the scab healing process.
  • It can reduce excess oil production and clogging of the pores, potentially curtailing the development of white or blackheads.
  • It has a great nourishing effect and moisturizes the skin deeply, helping you to avoid a dry and flaky appearance. If used right after a shower, it can seal in the moisture on your skin, making it super *soft* all day long. (Super useful in cold winter months when it’s close to impossible to keep your skin moisturized, #amirite?!)

Ok, so what do we do now that we have all of this fabulous information on witch hazel?

You can use alcohol-free witch hazel to make DIY face masks in combination with other natural ingredients like honey, cinnamon, apple cider vinegar etc. The following recipes are super soothing and support healthy skin.

Here are 2 recipes for witch hazel on acne prone skin:

Witch hazel, honey and cinnamon face mask recipe:

Ingredients:

Witch hazel, preferably alcohol-free

Honey, 2 tbsp.

Cinnamon powder, 1 tbsp.

Instructions:

Blend honey and cinnamon powder nicely. Add more honey, if the mixture is thick. Using fingers, apply it on the face. Leave it on for 15 minutes, until dry. Rinse off and apply a toner. 

Witch hazel and lavender toner recipe:

Ingredients:

Witch hazel, preferably alcohol-free

Lavender essential oil, 6 drops

Tea tree essential oil, 6 drops

Instructions:

Take a mini spray bottle. Add both the essential oils to it and fill in with witch hazel. You can either use a cotton ball or spray the contents directly on the affected area.

Note:

  • The essential oils in the toner will help in healing bruises, acne, surface wounds and overall skin repair.
  • You can also dilute hazel extract with jojoba oil or coconut oil and apply it directly on the skin.

One precaution if you’re trying witch hazel for the first time:

While most people react positively to the external or internal applications of witch hazel, some of us can, unfortunately, be allergic to it. ALWAYS spot check an area of your skin, first, before using.

What do you think? Will you start to use witch hazel as an astringent/cleanser? I’ve just bought a new bottle, I’ll let you know how it goes!

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4 green smoothies for clear skin

green smoothies for clear skin“Green smoothies for clear skin.”

Doesn’t that sentence have a nice ring to it?

I love smoothies. You love smoothies.

We all love freaking smoothies.

When I first started drinking them though, I have to tell you, I wasn’t too sure.

Green juices, around the time I first heard about them, were really only being made as the SUPER potent-type.

Most of the green smoothies I was introduced to were ALL kale and broccoli. They were hard to choke down. <ahem, gag down>

However, over time, they became one of my favorite ways to fill up on health ingredients, without feeling bloated/overly full.

I think too, once I started really getting into them, I just started tailoring them to my unique needs, and voila, I got on the smoothie train for good.

So for example, on the days that I’m really hungry, I’ll add in an avocado, instead of romaine. The avo helps fill me up when I need it.

OR, if I’m craving sugar in a really bad way, I’ll add some pineapple for that extra zing (and to help me avoid eating something I shouldn’t). It usually takes care of the craving immediately.

SO, because I know you like using smoothies for clear skin-lovin too, I thought I’d share 4 green smoothie recipes that support clear skin with you. I love sharing the “smoothie love” :)!

Here are 4 of my favorite green smoothie recipes for clear skin + a bonus list of 4 of the best ingredients you can blend in your smoothie to get that “talk-of-the-town” skin:

1. Avocados:

Avocados have a ton of monosaturated fatty acids in them, which play a key role in moisturizing.

The omega-9 fats in avocado also help to maintain a healthy balance of moisture levels in the outermost layer of skin, aka the epidermis. The oleic acid in avocados reduces any inflammation and soreness caused by acne and helps to repair damaged cells.

Apart from this, avocados also possess a high antioxidant and vitamin C and E content as well. Not only do these components improve the skin’ general appearance, they also reduce the effects of sun’s UV radiations and help to  maintain the firmness and structure of skin cells to prevent wrinkles.

(For a yummy avocado mask, click here.)

As I mentioned above, I love using avocados in my smoothie when I’m feeling extra hangry (that’s hungry + angry which happens to me often ;).

Here’s a green smoothie recipe for you with avocado in it:

Avocado and Melon Smoothie:

green smoothies for clear skin

Ingredients:

1 avocado
1 cup melon slices
1½ tbsp. lemon juice
1 cup milk
1 tbsp. honey
1 cup yogurt

Instructions:

Add all the ingredients in a blender and blend nicely. Can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.

2. Kiwi

Kiwis are rich in vitamin C which functions as an antioxidant and boosts collagen production. It also has great anti-inflammatory properties, which helps to soothe some inner and outer inflammation. It also restricts the excessive sebum production, helping to cleanse the pores and prevent further breakouts.

Adding kiwi in your smoothie can add a little extra zing, so I’d give it a try today!

Here’s a green smoothie recipe for you with kiwi in it:

Kiwi and Banana Smoothie:

green smoothies for clear skin

Ingredients:

5 peeled and cut kiwis
2 peeled and cut bananas
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup sugar

Instructions:

Add all the ingredients in a blender and blend nicely. Add ice and enjoy cold.

*This green smoothie packs quite a sugar punch, so I’d recommend it only if you’re not worried about your sugar intake.

3. Cucumber

Cucumber is a wonderful vegetable for acne support because its soooooo hydrating.

Cucumbers are made up of 90% water and help keep the skin moisturized. It also works as an astringent, when applied topically, to speed up the acne healing process and help to lighten any scars.

Cucumbers are rich in silica, aptly titled ‘the beauty mineral’ as it contains nutrients that assist in the quick replenishment of skin cells. Adding this natural skin cleanser, moisturizer, and toner in your smoothie will give you an A++ in the smoothie game.

Here’s a green smoothie recipe for you with cucumber in it:

Yogurt and Cucumber Smoothie:

green smoothies for clear skin

Ingredients:

1 cup yogurt (green, natural, no sugar added)
1 cucumber
1½ tbsp. lemon juice
5 mint leaves
1 tbsp. honey
½ cup almond milk

Instructions:

Add all the ingredients in a blender and blend until a smooth texture appears. Add ice and serve cold.

4. Carrot

There is a ton of beta-carotene in the form of vitamin A in carrots, which really helps you fight the good fight against acne, naturally.

The carotenoid component functions as an antioxidant and prevents the skin cells from any free radical damage, which helps to eventually slow down signs of premature aging.

Potassium exists in high levels in carrots as well, which helps your God-Pod (aka, body) maintain a healthy electrolyte balance.

Here’s a green smoothie recipe for you with carrot in it:

Carrot, banana and pineapple smoothie:

green smoothies for clear skin

Ingredients:

1 peeled and sliced large banana
½ tbsp. ginger
1 cup pineapple
¼ tbsp. turmeric
½ cup carrot juice
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1cup almond milk

Instructions:

Add all the ingredients in a blender and blend until a smooth texture appears. Add more carrot juice if blending is difficult. Tastes best when served cold and fresh.

(Also, if you want more details on the potent power of turmeric, click here:)

Want a few ideas for other awesome ingredients in your green smoothies for clear skin?

I love adding in coconut oil, parsley, almond milk, kefir, aloe vera juice, grapefruit, orange, lettuce, kale, spinach and honey.

You can mix and match these ingredients, depending on what you’re feeling like!

Now. This isn’t our first rodeo on the smoothie train (that analogy doesn’t make sense but WORK WITH ME HERE).

If you want more smoothie lovin’ than there already is above, please head over to this post for more skin loving’ smoothie recipes.

 

What do you think? Which smoothie will you try first? Let me know in the comments below:!

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Candida and Acne – 4 reasons your acne might be caused by candida

Candida and Acne, is there a link?Candida and Acne – is there a link?

First of all, lets go over a few details because you might be super new to these here parts.

What is Candida?

Is there a connection between acne and candida yeast?

Let’s discuss.

What IS Candida?

Candida albicans is a kind of yeast, a natural microflora, that occurs in all human bodies. All of us carry yeast in our skin and digestive tracts.

Its population is normally kept in check by the other good bacteria in the body. Candida is generally harmless, until an imbalance crops up leading to Candida Overgrowth Syndrome – which can lead to a whole host of problems.

Now there can be many reasons for this yeast overgrowth, ranging from high antibiotic or birth control pill consumption, stress, and/or a depleted immune system. (The list kinda goes on and on….) but….

Let’s go over the 4 main reasons candida could be an acne causing culprit for you:

1. Chronic antibiotic use:

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When I had acne, I took every freaking pill known to man. And I had NO idea what it was doing to my skin.

If you’ve been taking antibiotics for a long time for your acne, it might be helping your skin a bit, in the “now”, but it is (most likely) causing significant damage to the bacteria in your belly – and ergo, your skin.

Tetracyclines like minocycline and doxycycline are a few of the major antibiotics prescribed by dermatologists. These flush the “bad bacteria” out of your body, but unfortunately can’t distinguish the bad bacteria from the good bacteria; so, the good bacteria goes BAI, as well.

As a result, candida levels continue to increase.

Once a yeast overgrowth is registered in the body, the immune system activates chemicals that fight off “infections.” This ends up in causing even more inflammation in the previously affected area. It’s a vicious cycle.

(I used all of these medications (and then some, btw) and the bacteria in my belly was ALL messed up.)

2. Unhealthy diet habits:

acne and sugar

Diet changes can cause a serious imbalance of candida yeast in the gut.

If you’re eating a ton of carbs daily; i.e. a bagel in the morning, a sandwich for lunch, pasta/pizza for dinner….you’re going to have pretty elevated levels of insulin.

This disrupts a critical balance of hormones (I go more into the effect sugar has on acne here), eventually causing skin probs.

Also, if you have a high fat diet, one where omega6/omega 3 ratio is greater than 2, it will render your immune system weaker in fighting acne or candida.

3. Long-term use of birth control pills:

Research has indicated quite a significant link between candida overgrowth and estrogen dominance. For women ages 35-50, who are on oral contraceptives, the risk of candida yeast overgrowth is much higher. This leads to a hormonal imbalance which is super hard to correct.

For more information on how to treat acne naturally after coming off of birth control, click here.

4. Candida overgrowth can intensify “leaky gut”:

We’re going to go over what leaky gut is in depth soon, but suffice it to say that candida can both cause or intensify inflammation and leaky gut.

Candida disrupts the healthy bacterial balance in the gut and can cause inflammatory bowel syndrome. The high level of antibodies in your blood cause leakage from the gut, resulting in chronic inflammation.

Ok, so, with all of that wonderful (ahem, scary) information on candida, what can I do? Here are 3 steps you can take if you suspect a candida overgrowth:

1. Replenish your gut with healthy bacteria.

Screen Shot 2016-05-09 at 7.01.35 PM

It’s time to repopulate your intestines with the good bacteria that will keep tabs on the their numbers.

To start working on this problem ASAP, grab a strong probiotic supplement. Foods like goat’s milk kefir and sauerkraut also help a ton.

I won’t go into the power of probiotics here, because I’ve already done that in a few other posts.

To learn more about poo and your acne, and probiotics in general, head here.

To learn more about why your belly bacteria may be causing your acne and what to do, click here.

2. Cut the SUGAR.

4 Steps to Heal Large Pores

Yes, I know. Cutting out sugar is like trying to cut out a drug. I know. But you still have to try.

Yeast thrives on high sugar levels in your bloodstream. So, cutting back on all sugar-laden foods like honey, fruits, dairy products, carrots, and beets etc. for a period of time will cut down the “food supply” for the yeast, giving it a “tough fight for survival”.

3. Inhibit the yeast growth with herbal supplements:

Several natural substances, which are known to counter the surplus yeast growth such as caprylic acid, garlic, oregano, olive leaf extract etc. can be added to your daily diet. However, don’t forget to keep replacing and rotating them from time to time, so as to avoid yeast mutation and eventual resistance to them.

Some more “precautions” before you go:

  • Clean your medicine cabinet once in a while and say goodbye to the drugs that you think aren’t absolutely necessary. (But always, always, always discuss with a doctor first. I am not one, see disclaimer here.)
  • To keep your immune system working like a well oiled machine, maintain a proper balance of essential minerals like zinc and multi-vitamins.
  • Drink plenty of water, get the same amount of sleep every night, and exercise regularly to naturally detox your body.
  • If you feel candida might be behind your breakouts, consult a doctor immediately. There are also reliable tests available in the lab nowadays for easy diagnosis.

So, what do you think? If you suspect that you’re struggling with a potential candida overgrowth, try to follow a few of the steps that I’ve outlined and see how it goes. Balancing my belly bacteria was HUGE for my acne clearing journey, so I’d love to see it have the same effect for you too:)!

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Aloe for acne clearing – what you should know

Have you ever tried using aloe for acne clearing? Aloe vera is a pretty amazing plant. If you’re new to aloe in general, quick overview; it’s basically is a short succulent plant with thick green leaves, kinda like a cactus. The healing abilities of aloe vera have been recognized for over 2000 years now. So, what’s… Read More

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Lentils instead of meat – a skin-healthy meat substitute

If you participated in the #healyourfacewithfood challenge recently – winners coming soon! – we ended the challenge with a few “meatless weeks”. I could go on and on about the negative effect that meat might be having on your skin, but every body is different. If you think that the meat you’re eating might be negatively impacting… Read More

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Green Tea and Acne: Is drinking green tea good for acne?

I talked about coffee and acne here a few weeks ago – because I know exactly what it’s like to have a slight java obsession. Today, I wanted to talk about Green Tea and Acne – because I know that might be your next question. “If I quit coffee (because I think it might be… Read More

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