Category Archives: DIY Heal Your Face With Food Skincare

DIY coconut oil face mask

IMG_9297I’ll be sharing at least one other DIY coconut oil face mask with you soon, but wanted to share my favorite first today:)

Coconut oil can be great for your skin.

It’s naturally antibacterial, so it will help deal with any bacteria on your skin contributing to breakouts and it’s high saturated fat content means it’s slow to oxidize, so, it lasts for a long time!).

It can also penetrate hair easier than most other oils, so you can use it as a light moisturizer in a pinch! I actually use it for “oil pulling” in the morning (I put it in my mouth and swish it around to help strengthen and clean my teeth!)

However, I love whipping up quick diy coconut oil masks every now and then, so here is one of my favorite DIY masks recipes with coconut and avocado:

Avocado Coconut Oil Face Mask

Ingredients:

  • 1 avocado
  • 4 tablespoons of coconut oil
  • 1 drop of tea tree essential oil

Recipe:

  1. Grab 1 whole avocado, and remove the “meat” (the center) and put in a bowl.
  2. Mash the avocado into a paste with a fork.
  3. Mix in 4 tablespoons of coconut oil.
  4. Add 1 drop of tea tree oil (more antibacterial properties) (1 drop! no more:) and mix until you have a really nice consistency. (Read more on the best oils for acne prone skin here.)

Apply the paste to your face and let it hang out for 15-20 minutes. Rinse your face with lukewarm water (not too hot!) and then pat it dry gently. Your skin should feel moisturized – and don’t worry if it feels a tiny bit oily.

Apply the mixture to your face and let it sit for 15 minutes. Rinse your face with lukewarm or cool water to remove the mask. Then pat your skin dry with a soft towel.

This mask is moisturizing, healing, antibacterial and soothing. Let me know how it goes!

Want another DIY mask with avocado? Grab it here.

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How to use turmeric for acne clearing

Turmeric for AcneTurmeric for acne clearing? Say wut?

When I first began to heal my skin, I learned about a ton of new – and unexpected – foods. One of them was turmeric, and after a lot of research, I realized it could be used for acne clearing. <cue excitement.>

What is turmeric?

In my experience people usually fall into two camps with turmeric – either they eat it all the time with their family, etc. or they have no idea what I’m talking about.

Turmeric, aka “Indian Saffron”, is a spice that comes directly from the turmeric plant and is usually used in Asian or Indian food as the main spice in curry.

The root of the turmeric plant is a bit different though, as it can be used to make a medicine! AKA DIY TIME. (See below for more deets.)

Within turmeric is a yellow colored chemical referred to as curcumin. Curcumin is a phytonutrient and is the super star of turmeric.

How can turmeric help acne?

Curcumin (see above) is believed to curb inflammation as it has natural antimicrobial and antibacterial properties. So it not only helps calm inflammation in your skin, but it also supports the removal of dirt and bacteria that sits on top of your skin as well.

(People use turmeric for a bunch of anti inflammatory reasons: healing arthritis and gout, heartburn, high cholesterol, chronic headaches, colitis, and so much more.)

If your skin is breaking out as it is, maybe that’s a clear signal that what you’re trying/working on right now is in fact, not working. Be open to new things, they might surprise you ;).

Here’s one dinner recipe containing turmeric/curcumin for acne healing that has a ton of anti inflammatory properties: (+a few DIY recipes below as well:)

Turmeric Dinner Recipe – Barbecue Curry Chickenturmeric for acne

Ingredients:
• 1 bunch fresh cilantro with roots
• 1 teaspoon curry powder
• 1 tablespoon white sugar
• 4 cloves garlic, peeled
• 3 small red hot chile peppers, seeded and chopped
• 3 tablespoons fish sauce
• 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
• 1 pinch salt
• 1 (3 pound) chicken, cut into pieces
• 1/2 cup coconut milk

Directions:

1. In a blender or food processor, combine turmeric, cilantro, chile peppers, curry powder, sugar, and salt, cilantro roots and leaves, garlic. Blend until it feels like a thick paste, pour in fish sauce (sounds gross but its important), and blend until smooth.
2. Put chicken in a large glass bowl. Rub the paste/marinade you just made all over the chicken. Cover it, and marinate for at least 4 hours, and if you can, overnight.
3. Preheat grill for high heat.
4. Brush chicken with the coconut milk, it’ll help it cook correctly. Lightly oil the grill and grill chicken 8 to 15 minutes on each side, depending on the size of the pieces. Turn the chicken 1X, and baste occasionally with coconut cream. Cook until browned and tender, and juices run clear.

YUM YUM YUM.

DIY Turmeric Skin Masks:

Turmeric for acne

You can make your own mask with turmeric as well! Be careful though, the color of turmeric does NOT come out easily so do NOT use your best white towel for these masks <insert laughing emoji here>.

Turmeric and Manuka Honey Milk Mask:

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons of coconut flour (you can use another type if you don’t have coconut flour readily available but I’d start with coconut if you can).
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • A few drops of honey, preferably organic and/or manuka if you have it

Mix flour, turmeric, honey and milk to make a paste.
Apply a thin layer to your face, let sit for 15-20 minutes, remove gently in the shower.

Turmeric and ACV Mask:

Ingredients:

  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 tablespoon of organic, raw, local manuka honey
  • ½ teaspoon organic apple cider vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon organic probiotic rich yogurt
  • [optional] 1 drop fresh lemon juice for additional skin brightening

Mix all of the ingredients together to make a thin paste. Make sure it’s paste-like and will actually stick to your skin.

Apply a thin layer to your face, let sit for 15-20 minutes, remove gently in the shower.

What do you think? Will you start to incorporate turmeric for acne into your diet? Leave me a comment and let me know 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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Aloe for acne clearing – what you should know

aloe for acneHave 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 the science behind this miracle plant, and aloe and acne in general?

Here are a few reasons using aloe vera might help your breakouts:

Aloe vera is highly antibacterial because it contains a ton of phytochemicals, like polysaccharides and gibberellins, these help to fight bacteria on your skin.

Glucomannan, one of the most significant polysaccharides in aloe vera, has also been known to kill the bacteria in acne and reduce redness caused by inflammation.

It functions as a natural astringent as it helps to cleanse the skin, encourage cell turnover, remove deposited sebum, and tighten pores.

Aloe Vera also has excellent anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties.

Fatty acids like campesterol and enzymes like bradykinase help to reduce redness caused by acne, while the antimicrobial properties, saponin and barbaloin, help by fighting against the mycobacterium (bacteria that causes the pimples to swell up).

Aloe vera is also full of glycoproteins, which not only curtail inflammation and soreness but also speed up the overall healing process.

It also works as an antioxidant and contains abundant quantities of minerals and vitamins such as zinc, and vitamin C, E, etc.

It can also help reduce soreness from acne, due to its high magnesium and fatty acid content because lupeol, a fatty acid present in aloe, functions as an analgesic painkiller.

Freaking wonder plant I tell you!

Now that you have thoroughly acquainted yourself with the plethora of benefits that ‘the lily of the desert’ provides, let’s have a look at some tips on effectively using aloe vera for acne breakouts with these 4 aloe recipes:

Aloe vera “gel”:

  • Cut off a leaf of the plant and split it open along the length to expose the gel.
  • Wash your face gently and rub the leaf on the affected areas.
  • Keep it on for 5-10 minutes. Rinse off using cold water and gently pat dry.
  • If you’re dealing with really bad breakouts, the gel can be left on overnight.
  • Moisturize with your favorite oil.
  • Repeat at least twice a day for best results.

Aloe vera and lemon cleansing solution:

  • Make a fine paste by adding a few drops of honey and rose water to Aloe Vera gel.
  • (For a brighter complexion, turmeric can also be added to this paste.)
  • Apply thoroughly all over.
  • Keep it on for 5-10 minutes. Rinse off using cold water and gently pat dry.
  • Repeat at least once a day for best results.

Aloe vera mask with sugar and milk:

  • Take 1/2 tbsp. of milk (make sure it is all organic and all natural milk!) and keep mixing 1 tbsp. of sugar in it until it completely dissolves.
  • Add 2 tbsp. of fresh Aloe Vera gel to this mixture.
  • Stir the ingredients and apply properly on the affected area.
  • Keep it on for about 25-30 minutes, till it dries.
  • Rinse with lukewarm water and gently pat dry.
  • Moisturize with your favorite oil.

Aloe vera with walnut:

  • Take 5 walnuts and blend them to obtain a fine powder.
  • Add 2 tbsp. of Aloe Vera gel to this powder and blend again.
  • In a bowl, add 1/2 tbsp. of honey to the above mixture.
  • Apply the paste thoroughly on the affected area.
  • Keep it on for about 20 minutes.
  • Rinse off with warm water and pat dry.

If you’re feeling frisky, AKA adventures, you can add aloe to any of the following ingredients for a nice mask: honey, tea tree oil, apple cider vinegar, cinnamon, garlic or turmeric. (More turmeric love here:)

Some precautions to take care of while using aloe vera for skin:

  • Wash the leaves carefully before you use it.
  • While the use of aloe vera soap daily helps to reduces acne and pimples, make sure it has glycerine as an ingredient too, that’ll help you avoid flaky and dry skin.
  • Before actually using it, always chat with your dermatologist. ( I am NOT a dermatologist, please read my disclaimer here.)
  • If you are allergic to latex, aloe vera may cause you some irritation. So, always be sure to do a “patch test” first, for allergies.
  • Freshly extracted aloe vera gel (from the plant itself) is much more effective than the one purchased from stores.

So what do you think? Will you try some aloe topically for some natural skin clearing? Let me know in the comments below!

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Acne and Sugar – does eating sugar cause acne?

acne and sugarAcne and sugar.

This is a tough one, my love.

I’ve got quite the long standing relationship with sugar myself – and to be completely honest with you – it hasn’t always been easy.

I’ve been known to struggle with an oreo addiction and/or have one too many sour patch kids on a bad day.

And I know you might struggle with the same thing – and I can’t blame you!

The abundance of sugar in our daily life; sodas, fruit juices, ice cream, cake, cookies, bread, ketchup, the list goes on… makes it really hard to remove all together.

However, I know you might suspect that it’s really impacting your skin, so I wanted to share a few tips that I’ve learned about how to slowly remove it from your diet, and also, what happens, exactly, when you eat sugar.

But first, because a dear reader (thank you Yelena!) asked me to clarify a bit for you, I wanted to go over what I mean when I say “sugar”, below.

I do NOT mean naturally occurring sugars that you’d find in fruit. I mean artificial sugar – the white sugar found in all of our processed foods, white breads, pastas, cookies, cakes, chips, etc.

The bad type:)

NOW. While I’m giving you the following overview of what exactly happens when your body ingests sugar – do NOT, by any wild stretch of the imagination – think that I am “sugar shaming” you if you happen to have a doughnut today.

That is SO not the goal here. Making big food changes like removing sugar is HARD and it takes TIME and oh, you just happen to be a human, in the meantime, so, immediate change is usually quite impossible and quite unrealistic.

One day at a time:)

(If you’re on the #healyourfacewithfood challenge you are “technically” off sugar for the next 30 days, but again, you’re human, I get it, buh-LIEVE me.)

SO. Without further ado, let’s discuss Acne and Sugar – and what exactly happens when sugar enters your blood stream:

  • The second you take a big bite out of a doughnut – aka glucose – your body sends a signal to your pancreas that it will need to be on “insulin duty”. Meaning, very soon, your blood sugar is going to rise (a little or a lot, depending on how big that doughnut was) and your pancreas will need to secrete insulin to manage your rising blood sugar levels.
  • Once insulin has successfully performed its job, your blood sugar levels will slowly lower and stabilize. Now. This process is all well and good – and kinda beautiful if you think about it – but where we can get into trouble is if and when we ingest TOO much sugar, too quickly – too often.
  • If and when you continue to eat a ton of sugar over a long period of time (think: decades, not, months) you can start to develop “insulin resistance”. This means that your cells may not be able to use insulin correctly anymore and as a result – your blood sugar rises – a lot, and dangerously. As insulin struggles to be absorbed by your blood, your pancreas naturally gets tempted to produce more insulin (because its getting signals that its not being used properly and knows there is a problem…) and the circle goes around and around until you get into some serious trouble.

Have you ever had a big plate of pasta/bread/cookies, etc. and felt exhausted afterwards? That’s your blood sugar/insulin at work.

  • This cycle of spiking your blood sugar (by eating a ton of sugar) and then drastically dropping your blood sugar (your pancreas releasing insulin), is what creates that feeling of exhaustion and depletion.
  • Your liver also plays a role in regulating your blood sugar levels. It stores excess glucose from the bloodstream to be used later (let’s say you go on a long run tonight, you’ll need some “reserves”). But, like any other organ, the liver also has a limited storage capacity.
  • Having excess sugar in your blood is an overall-bad-thing; it even affect tiny blood vessels in many of your body’s organs like your heart, brain, kidneys and eyes.

NOW. How does this chain reaction of sugar-insulin impact your acne? I talk about it in depth in my Clear Skin, My Way Program (coming soon!) but here are just a few of the ways it impacts your skin:

  • The spike in blood sugar levels leads to skin inflammation and acne breakouts. It increases other hormone levels of insulin – specifically Insulin Growth Factor 1 – that encourage an overgrowth of cells in your body. This is NOT good because having an overgrowth of cells at your pore is usually the first step in a breakout – without too many cells at the pore – you’re less likely to have a zit. MUY importante, mi amor.
  • Excess sugar in your blood stream also depletes the collagen in your skin on the cellular level. Collagen is essential for “aging gracefully” (notice I didn’t say “not aging” because I think you can be stunningly beautiful at any age) and it allows your skin to stay supple, elastic and vibrant.
  • The imbalance in blood sugar levels can make you a bit moody; kinda like when you feel super anxious in the morning and then exhausted in the afternoon? That’s most likely due to imbalanced blood sugar levels and believe me – this up and down moodiness is happening on a cellular level – which deeply impacts your hormones. (For more info on how to treat acne after stopping birth control, head here).
  • Studies have shown that there’s a relationship between high-sugar diets and free radicals in the body. Free radicals are not good as they’re responsible for creating cellular inflammation. To ward these babies off, try to always opt for fruits and/or veggies instead.
  • Too much sugar can also lead to an overgrowth of yeast in your body – which can cause a candida problem – which can cause rashes and redness on the skin.

SO. What can you do if you’re completely-utterly-totally addicted to sugar and really want to stop eating it?

Well, my first advice is to always take things day by day – but after that, I’d recommend starting to substitute fruits in for artificial sugars – as it’s been the most pain-less way for me to remove sugar from my diet.

What do you think – will you remove sugar from your diet completely? Leave me a comment below and let me know!

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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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Does alcohol affect acne? A Happier Hour for your skin

You LOVE your social life. You like partying and going out and meeting people…. you organize the happy hours for work. But, I know you’re having trouble with your skin and I think you might feel a teeny bit of guilt every time you do go out and party a bit. What if what you’re eating and… Read More

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Do peanuts cause acne? Nuts for clear skin

If you’ve done some research online (and I know you have, that’s most likely why you’re here:)! you may be wondering to yourself… “…do peanuts cause acne?”  I wanted to help you answer that question today. However, first, full confession: I used to think raw nuts were basically one of the most boring foods, EVER.… Read More

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5 acne clearing food recipes

I LOVE sharing my favorite acne clearing food recipes – because changing how I ate truly and completely transformed my skin. SO, I wanted to share even more acne clearing recipes that I know are good for your skin! Below you’ll find 2 green juices, 1 sandwich, 1 salad and 1 dinner recipe, all with ingredients… Read More

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