Monday, June 17, 2019

How I (FINALLY) Cleared My Skin of Acne

I’ve been getting a TON of questions from those of you who are curious to know I cleared up my hormonal acne. My skin has definitely taken a very positive turn in the past few months, and it looks like you guys have noticed. As always, I’m thrilled to share what’s been working for me, especially if you want to know how to get rid of acne when nothing works. Read on to learn how I (finally) cleared my skin of acne.

Let me preface this by saying I’m not a doctor, and any research I rely upon has been done on my own through actively scouring the internet for information, reading a ton of books, and listening to podcasts. (I’m basically an information sponge. Haha!) What I’ve found is that there are sooooo many options and opinions, especially when it comes to something as finicky as how to get rid of acne when nothing else works. So, to narrow it all down, I’ve basically “biohacked” myself and now that I *think* I’ve found the secret to why my acne suddenly cleared up, I’m more than happy to share my experience with you guys! I’ll share how (finally) cleared my skin of acne naturally and without any prescription medications.

How I (FINALLY) Cleared My Skin of Acne

Feel free to watch the video below or read on for specifics!

 

 

Ok, backtracking a bit to where it all began – with my hormones! Growing up, by the time I hit puberty, my skin just went totally haywire (as it does for many). I battled acne all throughout high school, but once I went off to college, I got on the pill, and everything changed. I mean, taking the birth control pill was kind of the “cool” thing to do at the time. It was free from health services, and there was never any mention of potential negative side-effects, especially long-term ones. I had the occasion random breakout here and there, but being on the pill totally cleared my skin up and the terrible acne of my high school years became a thing of the past.

Well, fast forward to my thirties. I went off the pill to get pregnant with Quinn and after I gave birth, lo and behold, my skin freaked out again. By this point, I had become far more educated about birth control and hormones and ideally wanted to avoid jumping right back on the bandwagon. Unfortunately, my skin was just SO bad, I started taking the pill again. I ended up playing the “pill game” for a good year or so, taking one pill for three or four months only to find it didn’t work before trying another. Due to all the jumping around, my skin was probably the worst it’s ever been, and as someone with a history of pretty bad acne, that’s saying a lot!

Initially, I had some success with seed cycling and felt really great – both inside and out – but I learned that seeds will not “fix” all of your ailments when it comes to hormones and skin issues. Of course, I think seed cycling is definitely worth a try if you’re struggling with hormones or skin problems, but please know it takes time to see improvements (4-6+ months). I still incorporate seeds into my cycle, and I like to believe they’ve helped to improve my acne issues. 

By the time last spring rolled around, I started getting these huge (and painful) cysts on my neck that freaking hurt, and I was beginning to get really frustrated. I was super self-conscious about my skin, and mentally having a tough time with my appearance. I couldn’t pinpoint what the culprit was, so my skin was making me crazy! Looking back, I was in the midst of a pretty stressful time, and we know that stress = breakouts. My skin did slightly improve over the summer when my schedule became a bit more relaxed. But once fall and the holidays rolled around, that all changed and my skin became absolutely disgusting. If you guys follow me on Instagram Stories, you might have noticed that I stopped doing Instagram Live and would photoshop the acne on my face when posting pictures. It was THAT bad. 

I reached my breaking point once the acne continued to spread beyond my face and neck to my arms, chest, and back. I’ve never had to deal with random breakouts on my body before, and I felt like I could no longer control what was happening. It was around this time that I first heard about celery juice and the myriad of benefits that people have experienced from drinking it every morning. At first, I completely blew it off. The man behind the trend, Anthony Williams, is the Medical Medium who claims he can communicate with spirits to find the root cause and cures of health issues. I know, absolutely nuts, right? But so many people – readers and followers included – were constantly talking about how great they felt after drinking celery juice consistently, and so I decided to just bite the bullet and see what he was all about. After all, I had nothing to lose, right? I ended up listening to his podcast first. Despite my reluctance, I found some of the stuff he said to be so interesting and just crazy enough that it actually kind of made sense, especially when he discussed the connection between strep, acne, and eggs.

It seems random, I know, but the connection between these three is something I had seen manifested in my own health journey, though I had never really paid super close attention to it. For starters, I’ve had strep not once, not twice, but FIVE times since last year. Sadly, regarding eggs, I was already well aware that I had some sort of sensitivity to one of my most beloved foods before even tuning into the Medical Medium. Anytime I ate eggs, I’d subsequently break out. I’d take sporadic breaks here and there. I’d see my skin improve a bit, but once I’d give in and eat eggs again, I’d be right back to square one. So I decided that if I wanted to really see a change, I’d just have to permanently give eggs up. It was around the same time that I began incorporating celery juice into my daily routine. High-Protein Vegetarian Breakfasts (That Aren’t Eggs)

Lo and behold, after about a month-and-a-half of drinking celery juice every morning, my skin really improved! I absolutely think dedication and consistency played a huge part. I invested in a high-quality juicer to get the most bang for my buck as well as to motivate me to juice every day, and it was so worth it because my skin legitimately got better. Why? I feel a bit silly even saying it, but the “science” behind celery juice is that it contains celery salts. Apparently, the celery salts aid in breaking down the pathogens and bacteria in your liver, and your liver operates as your own internal detoxification system. Think about it – the liver processes everything, including hormones, so it makes sense that if it isn’t functioning internally as optimally as it should be, issues will begin to crop up externally as well.

I know that common consensus is that your body detoxes on its own and doesn’t need any additional help, and while I agree to a certain extent, I definitely don’t think it hurts to do our best to help our gut and liver health function at its peak. Since discovering the connection between the liver and the rest of the body, I’ve thought back to my childhood and realized I kind of had liver issues my whole life – from jaundice to other issues that now seem to be falling into an “aha!” moment. I think my liver has never been the healthiest, and now that I am on Entyvio, it’s kind of always processing and detoxifying something, so I want to do my best to take care of it where I can. In addition to drinking celery juice (I’ve weaned myself down to 3-4 times a week), I’ve been taking milk thistle (discovered this at a boozy girls trip to Martha’s Vineyard), adding liquid zinc drops to my water, Vitamin B12 lozenges, and drinking lemon water on the days I don’t drink celery juice. I also try to limit gluten and dairy, although I am a bit more lenient with these two because I’m not totally sure that they contribute to my hormonal acne. In recent months, I’ve been incorporating a little bit of whey protein powder (peanut butter cookie flavor) back into my diet to further experiment – and so far, so good!

I’m a firm believer that health begins internally, and no matter how much work we put into it externally, if we don’t take care of the inside, our results will be subpar (kind of like you can’t out train a bad diet). The same notion extends to skin. Think about it – our skin is our largest organ, so it makes sense that internal issues will let themselves be known on the outside. That being said, I do believe that once we make lifestyle changes, we need to calm the inflammation in our bodies, so topical skin care products can absolutely aid the process and improve our results.

You guys have heard me talk about my love of Beautycounter before, and I truly believe that their products have helped my skin to just chill out and do what it’s supposed to do. I’ve been using their products consistently for about two years, but recently I’ve felt as if they’ve really stepped up their game. Prior to switching to Beautycounter, I tried A LOT of different products in my quest for clear skin. What I found is that the harsher, chemically-laden stuff (even OTC) did more harm than good. Sometimes, these products irritated my skin to the point where it literally felt like it was being ripped off my face. I remember having dry, peeling skin that was oily too. My skin was a mess and FAR from balanced. But Beautycounter’s products are made with all-natural ingredients and only the good stuff. For the first time (perhaps ever), I feel like my skin is saying a big fat thank you! “Keep it simple” is my motto now when it comes to skincare, and Beautycounter’s products are not only simple but effective! 

So what products do I recommend? If you’re dealing with active acne and breakouts that just won’t quit, I’d definitely start with the Countercontrol line, which is dedicated to acne-prone and oily skin. I’ve never personally used the whole regimen, but have heard from clients who have that when they use the regimen together, it works tremendously well. Plus, by purchasing the whole line, you will save money!

Personally, I use the Countercontrol Clear Pore Cleanser (on my face and upper body) as well as the Rejuvenating Toner Pads, usually as soon as I get out the shower. I love the cleanser because it’s super gentle, but has exfoliating beads so it gets all of the gunk off your face in a non-abrasive way. With the pads, if I’m feeling really lazy, I’ll just give my face a quick swipe and go. It takes seconds to feel refreshed! 🙂 Long-term readers know that I’m absolutely obsessed with the Overnight Resurfacing Peel and have raved about it many times. If you haven’t tried this product, it’s time to jump on the bandwagon! You apply it at night and when you wake up in the morning, you will find that all of the dead junk is off your face. Trust me, it exfoliates your skin in the best way possible. I also like to layer the Recovery Sleeping Cream on over the peel after about 15-20 minutes later, which feels super luxurious and locks in moisture. I typically use the peel every other night or sometimes multiple nights in a row. The more you use it, the better it works! Last but not least, I use the Balancing Charcoal Mask about once a week. This mask is excellent for cleaning out your pores. For a little coverage, I’ll apply the Dew Skin tinted moisturizer (which has SPF 20 in it) and a little brow gel – that’s it!

So there you have it, in nutshell – how I finally cleared up my acne. Keep in mind that this is what worked for me, and it most definitely was not an overnight process. It took years of experimentation and testing out different lifestyle changes and products to find a regimen that truly worked. If you’re struggling with acne or another skin issue, my biggest piece of advice is to do your own research so you can come become your own advocate. Focus on making long-term changes such as reducing stress, identifying food sensitivities or triggers, and assessing internal health before jumping straight to a topical solution. It might take some trial, error, and patience, but once you make lasting lifestyle changes that impact your wellbeing as a whole (instead of just targeting a specific problem), you might just find that your skin looks better than it ever has! I hope you found this post helpful about how I (FINALLY) cleared my skin of acne! 

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Strawberry Picking at C.N. Smith Farm

Quinn and I had quite the fun afternoon picking strawberries at C.N. Smith Farm in East Bridgewater, Massachusetts. We picked apples there in the fall a number of times in the past, so we were excited to learn that there was also strawberry picking at C.N. Smith Farm. (The farm also has other pick-your-own fruit options!)

Quinn and I had such a great afternoon together. It was a lot of fun, and I love that we have so many farms near us on the South Shore. The drive was less than 30 minutes, and the pick-your-own strawberries was the perfect activity for kids. Plus, there’s quite a bit to do and see for families at C.N. Smith Farm. There is a great farm stand, farm animals, special events/festivals, and more!

Strawberry Picking at C.N. Smith Farm

The strawberry patch just opened last week (June 14th), so we were one of the first customers… and, my gosh, the strawberry selection was awesome! They were perfectly ripe and so delicious! FYI: The harvest dates and crop conditions change each season, so be sure to call before you visit for the most up-to-date information.

Strawberry Picking at C.N. Smith Farm

Quinn had a blast strawberry picking at C.N. Smith Farm. The pick-your-own strawberry option has a 3-pound minimum ($5/pound), so it took us about 20 minutes to gather enough in our pints. It’s actually a lot of strawberries!

C.N. Smith Farm strawberry picking in East Bridgewater, Massachusetts

Now, what am I going to do with so many strawberries!? Please send me all of your favorite strawberry recipes!

pick-your-own strawberries in a pint on South Shore, Massachusetts farm

After strawberry picking, Quinn and I enjoyed a picnic lunch that we brought from home. It was a beautiful day, so I’m glad he suggested it! 🙂

strawberry picking and picnic at farm on South Shore, Massachusetts

After lunch, Quinn played nearby in a playground sandpit. He was a complete mess by the end, but, hey, he had a great time strawberry picking at C.N. Smith Farm!

C.N. Smith Farm playground sandbox for kids

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Primal+Keto Cooking Made Easy: Tex-Mex Fajita Veggies

The last couple weeks I’ve grilled up some great Primal+keto meat dishes: steak and marinated chicken. But I’m a big believer in above ground, non-starchy vegetables for a Primal and keto diet. One of the things I love about this recipe is that it shows how vegetables—even cooked ones—never need to be a bland afterthought. These mixed peppers and onions are flavorful all on their own, but the seasonings and dressings turn this into a great side that will hold its own against any meat dish.

Tex-Mex Fajita Veggies

Servings: 2

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion, sliced into ½-inch pieces
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced into ½-inch strips
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, sliced into ½-inch strips
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced into ½-inch strips
  • 1/2 cup Primal Kitchen® Italian Dressing
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Juice of ½ lime

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 425º.

Place all sliced veggies on a sheet pan. Toss with Italian Dressing and seasonings.

Roast in oven for 20-25 minutes or until lightly caramelized. Remove from oven and toss with lime juice.

Nutritional Information:

  • Calories: 292
  • Total Carbs: 17 grams
  • Fat: 49 grams
  • Protein: 4.7 grams
cilantro_lime_640x80

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HBD & HFD

Before I celebrated the Fathers on Sunday, I sang Happy Birthday to Lauren!

Friday Happy Hour + Dinner

On Friday night Lauren and Sarah came over for a little birthday get together. We had cheese, cherries, and rose on the porch.

And Thai peanut chicken salads for dinner.

We watched the sun set and then caught fireflies with Mazey at dusk!

The Tooth Fairy Visited Again

Mazen had his second tooth pulled out on Friday. He only had one tooth that “needed” to come out, but they had to do both sides to keep the spacing even so his midline didn’t shift. He did very well, and I’m really hoping this dental stuff is behind us. At least until those top two teeth (naturally) fall out – they are both loose! The Tooth Fairy needs some side jobs to replenish her bank account!!

Saturday Workout + Brunch

I was up early on Saturday to head to the gym for athletic conditioning class. Afterwards, I showered there and went to brunch with two of my girlfriends. We walked through the farmer’s market to kill a little time beforehand.

I bought this wearable Turkish towel from Michael Turk + Co. Isn’t it perfect for the beach!?

I had a mimosa and this delicious egg/bean/avocado/tortilla/chorizo dish at The Bebedero! This was breakfast + lunch. (I also had a big coffee before class and some more after, plus a few little snacks throughout the afternoon.)

Back at home Mazen and the neighbors were gearing up a lemonade stand.

Birch had French toast strips, avocado, and raspberries for lunch. He’s doing so well with the self feeding!

B and I hung out on the porch for a while until naptime.

Date Night In

T and I debate having a babysitter come sometimes and it’s really just as relaxing to have a date night in. Aka do something a little special.

I made an appetizer plate, poured some wine, and we enjoyed gorgeous weather. T fired up the grill with some cedar plank salmon and asparagus. And we made cornbread!

We put little B to bed in his new baby shark jammies!

And for a special treat, I brought out my new stash of Wonderment Ice Cream. Toasted Marshmallow and Birthday Cake (with sprinkles and buttercream) are the two best ice creams in the world! Stephanie makes them custom for me. Locals: inquire on her site if you’re interested!

We watched more Handmaid’s Tale with dessert. I swear if it goes the direction I think it’s going I’m going to faint with frustration for Offred. I mean Ofjoseph!

Sunday + Father’s Day

Thomas woke up to cards and Counterman! (He is excited.) Men need to take care of their skin too!!

He went for a hike with his dad, brother, and nephew during Birch’s morning nap. And spent the rest of the day hovering over the Big Green Egg (smoking pork!), playing with Birch, and watching golf! Total dad heaven right there.

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