In the beginning of my years-long quarter life crisis, I dropped out of the college in Illinois that I ended up getting my degree from and ran away from my life-plan and major to Napa, California. I was a broke emotional eater with a California-sized rent… and lots of emotions which I chose to avoid. How did I avoid them? My favorite way was brownie batter I kept stocked in my fridge and with Starbucks pastries. Getting a job at Starbucks saved my life back then – met tons of great people, loved working there, and holey moley did I need that cash. Napa-natives (and visitors, probably) are great tippers, so plenty of people had hands in the pot that kept me afloat. But yeah, I kinda overindulged in the delicious pastries that stared into my face every day. That face got pretty pimply with all the sugar I was consuming.
Adding severe acne to my life did not help my emotional state, but I already knew the power of nutrition in healing the body from my past experience getting off medication and in remission with Crohn’s Disease, so that’s where I started. Fortunately my body gives me other warning signs I’m on the wrong track health-wise before I get Crohn’s flare-ups, and I’ve learned (the hard way) to listen. In no-time, my skin had cleared up with loads of other perks to boot using only some of the tips I share below. That was just about ten years ago, and I’ve gotten a lot older and wiser since then.
Pick and choose what feels most doable and exciting from the list below, dive-deeper if you’re so inclined, and let me know how it goes!
Remember, you’re sweet enough already
Consuming artificial sweeteners, sugar, and simple (or too many) carbohydrates starts a cascade of hormones that hurts countless bodily processes. You know that cyst-like acne that appears most often on your cheeks or back? To clear that up, you need to get your hormones under control, and this is where I’d start.
Additionally, high blood glucose levels (broken down sugar from all the foods mentioned above) that you can’t burn through with activity gets stored – as fat and attached to collagen in the skin. Read: sagging skin and accelerated aging.
But wait, there’s more! Habits that create whacky blood sugar levels create inflammation in your body. Again, this negatively impacts your health in a variety of ways, but where skin is concerned it not only prevents proper absorption from skin-boosting vitamins and nutrients, it also breaks down collagen and elastin in the skin.
ACE your nutrition profile
Sorry, that was my creative way to tell you to get vitamins A, C, and E on the daily. Nerd alert! Here’s what they each do:
- Vitamin A assists in cell production and turnover so you can slough off the skin you created with less healthy habits and let your new, healthy skin shine bright (like with that glow). Bonus: vitamin A helps prevent sun damage. Find it in orange-colored foods, spinach, broccoli, and grass-fed butter.
Vitamin C is essential in collagen production. Combine it with vitamin E to better absorb both. This vitamin is water soluble, so any you don’t use right away gets peed out. Feel free to nosh on vitamin C laden foods all day long: strawberries, citrus (lemon water), broccoli, bell peppers, and tomatoes.
Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant found in a high concentration in your outermost layers of skin. Antioxidants in general protect your cells from damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals beat on us all day long in the form of air pollution, charred food, cigarettes and their smoke (even second and third-hand), fried foods, and chemicals that are in most everything. Coffee and chocolate are my favorite sources of antioxidants, but they’re also found in teas, herbs, spices, and like all fruits and veggies. Vitamin E is special, because it’s also moisturizing and healing for skin if you want to have more hydrated, plump skin. (You do.) You can find it in many nuts like almonds, avocados, mango, and salmon.