Category Archives: Best natural acne remedies

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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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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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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Herbs for clear skin – 5 spices for acne healing

herbs for clear skinHere in Heal Your Face With Food-Land, I like to focus on healing acne from the inside out – so naturally, I love sharing my favorite herbs for clear skin with you, along with food, workouts, etc.

Eating really healthfully can sometimes be REALLY boring. Yes, I know.

SO, I wanted to give you a list of 5 herbs/spices that I use all of the time to jazz up my healthy foods – so that you can have fun with your food AND heal your acne naturally.

Here’s is a list of 5 magical herbs that support clear skin AND make your “healthy meal plans” much more lip-smacking:

Ginger

herbs for clear skin
Ginger belongs to the “zingiberofficinale” plant family, (same plant family as turmeric and cardamom).

Here’s how this herb helps support clear skin:

The high antioxidant content in ginger is responsible for enhancing the blood circulation in the body. This cuts down on toxins and gets rid of the free radicals; helping to prevent signs of aging.

Ginger also acts as a deep cleanser as it helps unclog pores and clears them of any accumulated dirt or grime.

Ginger has a warming effect on the body and initiates healthy sweating. This helps detoxify the body and supports germ-fighting agents.

“Gingerols” are the highly potent anti-inflammatory components present in ginger.

Regularly spicing up your meals with ginger can naturally fight acne and also helps reduce pain or swelling caused by arthritis.

I love, love, LOVE adding ginger to my teas when I’m feeling like a cold is coming on for an extra immune boost!

Pesto Sauce

herbs for clear skin
Pesto sauce comes straight from Italy, which is a country that definitely owns a large portion of my heart, that’s for sure. Not a surprise that I’m also a huge fan of the foundational element of this sauce; basil.

Here’s how this herb helps support clear skin:

Basil helps to “clean” the blood and is also a great remedy for skin infections due to its antiseptic, antibiotic and antifungal properties.

Another ingredient in pesto, pine nuts, has an abundance of protein and essential fatty acids that help support muscles and skin.

Cinnamon

herbs for clear skin

Cinnamon adds a great kick to health drinks and, interestingly enough, it has more antioxidant value than a cup full of blueberries!

Here’s how this herb helps support clear skin:

The dried bark of cinnamomumloureirii is the “source” of this excellent spice.

Cinnamon is a potent antioxidant, so using it regularly can reverse signs of UV damage by the sun. (Um, say what? Sign me up please.)

It increases blood flow and improves circulation, helping speed up cell regeneration, resulting in faster skin repair.

This spice is popularly known to lighten and improve overall skin complexion and it’s also been shown in certain studies to help balance blood sugar in type 2 diabetics.

Wasabi

herbs for clear skin

A member of the brassicacae family, wasabi is a condiment found in Japanese cuisine.

Here’s how this herb helps support clear skin:

It’s extremely rich in potassium, vitamin C and other phytochemicals that help the skin in ward off free radicals.

Sulfinyl is another powerful antioxidant component found in Wasabi, and is known to reverse the aging of the skin.

It has also been shown to prevent platelet aggregation and reduce the risk of life-threatening heart attacks and strokes.

Turmeric

herbs for clear skin

Belonging to the ginger family, turmeric is popularly titled as the ’queen of spices’ as it has a distinctive earthy flavor and golden color.

Here’s how this herb helps support clear skin:

It’s predominately been used in the Chinese and Ayurvedic medicines to treat a plethora of illnesses. (For more on ayurveda for your acne, head here).

Curcumin is the primary ingredient in turmeric and is responsible for its golden color and magical healing properties.

Curcumin is anti-viral, anti-oxidant, anti-cancer and possesses pain relieving properties as well.

If you’re struggling with your skin, adding curcimin into your daily/weekly routine can help to cut down on inflammation and prevent skin damage due to acne because it prevents oxidative stress caused by free radicals.

Turmeric can also successfully treat skin eczema by reducing skin irritation, inflammation, redness and swelling associated with this condition. It keeps the skin hydrated and gets rid of undesirable dryness and flakiness.

Turmeric can be added to your tea, stews, roasted veggies, eggs or milk.

What do you think? Which of the above herbs for clear skin is your favorite? Mine is pesto, leave your fav in the comments below!

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

green tea and acneI 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 causing my acne) what do I drink instead?”

Quick review: coffee MIGHT be making your skin worse for a few reasons:

  • It may double the stress response in your body and may cause hyperadrenalism. 
  • Milk and sugar – the usual add ons – can make your acne 10X worse.
  • Coffee may mess up your sleep cycle by manipulating your cortisol levels. 
  • It’s a natural diuretic, ergo, it can cause dehydration. 

But, as I mentioned above, what are you supposed to drink instead?

That’s where green tea comes in.

Let’s shed some more light on the myriad of benefits green tea has to offer and what makes it so magical for your skin:

green tea and acne
tea fields <3 <3 <3

Green tea is derived from Camellia sinensis leaves, just like black tea and white tea. Green tea leaves are unique based on the level of fermentation or oxidization each one undergoes.

I don’t think it’ll surprise you too much to know that there’s even been a book written about tea, called, haha, the Book of Tea, written by Zen priest Eisai. He certainly believes in its magical powers; he describes how drinking green tea can have a significant effect on five vital organs of the human body. Um, amazing, ok, yes please, sign me up. (Sounds a bit like a guy who might like some Ayurveda, no?)

So, is drinking green tea good for your acne?

Green tea might be good for your acne because….

It has a ton of antioxidants.

green tea and acne

Green tea has a ton of antioxidants. Like most fruits and berries, green tea is also rich in polyphenols, which are a storehouse of powerful antioxidants.

According to research, green tea has a potent amount of catechin, (–)-epigallocatechin -3-gallate (EGCG).

ECEG is found to be 25 to 100 times more effective than most vitamins like Vitamins C and E when it comes to comparing individual antioxidant potentials.

Another study has demonstrated that 100 ml of green tea has almost the same antioxidant power as 1 kg of fresh fruit. Ergo, regular green tea consumption can help keep inflammation at bay.

It helps to maintain blood sugar levels.

green tea and acne

As we discussed last week in our sugar and acne post, if your blood sugar and insulin levels are unstable, it’s bad-news-bears for your skin. Full Stop. (Read more on the link between acne and sugar here.)

Consistent consumption of green tea has been shown to help moderate glucose control.

Here’s how:

Green tea targets the pancreas and works towards repairing the beta cells that are responsible for insulin secretion; it helps to stop any excess glucose production. All of this can lead to more balanced and stable blood sugar, on the whole.

It helps manage your hormone levels.

Green tea has been shown to help balance sex hormone levels in the body. These hormonal levels, if consistently in flux, can create mayhem for your skin.

EGCG (a compound in green tea) works to prevent the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which is one of the most detrimental hormones behind acne breakouts.

It has been shown to stop candida infections.

Candida infections can lead to systemic inflammation and acne. EGCG upsets the yeast’s metabolism and destroys the overpopulation.

If you think Candida has become resistant to medications in your body, teaming the antifungals up with green tea is a good idea.

Also, make sure you grab a big ol’ batch of probiotics to start to balance your belly bacteria, that will help:)

How can you use green tea to help with your acne?

Grab a nice cup of green tea instead of coffee in the morning. I know. I know, believe me, I KNOW, it’s very difficult to go cold turkey on coffee (we discuss it here) but if you put your mind to it, you CAN start to change your habits around coffee.

Green Tea DIY Recipes:

green tea and acne
dry tea leaves <3

Green tea toner:

Brew a batch of green tea, let it steep for 10 minutes and apply it over the affected area using a cotton ball. Once it dries completely, rinse thoroughly and pat dry. You can also apply the used green tea bags on the acne breakout for 5-10 minutes.

Green tea mask: 

  • Pestle the contents of a used green tea bag and grind them to a fine powder.
  • Add 3 drops of tea tree oil and enough amount of grapeseed oil to the powder and obtain a paste.
  • Massage this paste on the affected areas.
  • Leave it on for 15 minutes.
  • Rinse with mildly warm water and gently pat dry.
  • Repeat at least twice a week for best results.

What can you do if you want to add more green tea for acne healing into your life?

I’d recommend going out and grabbing a bunch of different green tea varieties and trying them out over the next few weeks to see how you like them.

Will you start adding more green tea into your daily routine? Leave me a comment below and let me know!

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7 low sugar fruits for your worst sugar cravings!

If you’re doing the #healyourfacewithfood challenge with us, I wanted to offer you some good choices of low sugar fruits that you can grab if you’re having any bad sugar cravings – they usually hit around 5-7 days in! I’ve talked about this about, oh, five gajillion times, but fruit played an integral role in… Read More

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Manuka Honey and Acne: Does Manuka Honey Help Acne?

(Sign up for the 30 day acne healing #healyourfacewithfood challenge here!) I’ve been hearing about “manuka honey and acne” foreverrrrrrrrr. And to be honest, I was always VERY confused by the whole thing – do I put it on my FACE? Am I supposed to EAT it? I didn’t get it. So I’ve done some research… Read More

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Coffee and acne: does caffeine cause acne?

(Sign up for the 30 day acne healing #healyourfacewithfood challenge here!) Here are a few questions I get all of the time about coffee and acne: Does coffee cause acne? Does caffeine cause acne? Or just… in general…. What is the link between coffee and acne? Before we go any further though my dear, I’ve got a… Read More

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5 all natural flu remedies – that are also good for your skin!

(To sign up for the 2017 Heal Your Face With Food New Years Challenge, head here😉 I may or may not have found myself sick on my birthday a few weeks ago (#woof), but I was absolutely determined to heal as quickly as humanly possible. That meant, for me, using all of the possible all… Read More

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Treat acne after stopping birth control – how to heal hormonal acne naturally

I know that if you’re reading this, you’re most likely dying for a way to treat acne after stopping birth control, naturally. Believe me, I hear you. I tried all different types of birth control over the years before I healed my acne for good. I tried ortho tri cyclen, ortho tri cyclen low, yaz…. All… Read More

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