For the longest time, I was frustrated with the way my skin looked. I tried so many lotions, potions and prescriptions to address the acne and itchy rash that baffled every doctor I saw.
After 10 years of frustration, I realized conventional wisdom wasn’t going to do anything and decided to try a new path. I stopped eating processed foods and began cooking from scratch. My health improved quickly, but my skin was still a problem.
When I discovered herbs and essential oils, things got much better.
While I still dealt with those skin issues, I was able to use my natural apothecary for soothing. They were much faster and more effective than the chemically-laden over-the-counter products I’d been using.
Making the switch to natural skincare and cleaning supplies helped a ton, too, as I reacted to just about everything.
But when I discovered that the problem was really in my gut, everything changed. Finally, I figured out the true source of the problem and did something about it.
When my suspected gluten sensitivity was confirmed in early 2016, I cut gluten out of my diet. My acne cleared up almost completely a week later.
Then, I discovered that the source of my horrible, itchy rash was dairy. I stopped eating dairy and my rash cleared up in a matter of days. I was SO excited and thankful.
Over time I’ve discovered that certain foods make me break out (sugar, gluten, why must it be so?) and that the more I nourish my body, the happier my skin gets.
What we put in and on our bodies matters. A lot.
So if you can relate to my story (I’m sorry!), I have some tips that can help you create a healthy gut and happier skin:
1. Remove the irritants
Healthy skin starts in the gut. Poor digestion, food sensitivities and poor diet in general all lead to issues on our skin. That’s why the first step to clear skin is to look at your diet.
This is hands down the hardest step. I knew for years that gluten, dairy and sugar made me feel gross. I’d remove it for a few days and then have a little treat. But when things got really bad and I ended up getting an EGD and colonoscopy that confirmed I really shouldn’t eat gluten, I finally took gluten out of my diet all the way.
I love bread, y’all. And cheese.
But it’s SO worth it. I can’t tell you enough how amazing it is to wake up and not be frustrated with my skin.
So what are some common irritants?
- Fried foods
- Processed foods (think anything in a box, fast food, etc.)
Crap. That’s a lot. Where do you start?
Do you react to certain foods – stomach ache, headache, stuffy nose, etc.? Eating those foods will only irritate the gut, hindering digestion and the proper absorption of nutrients.
If there are foods that make you feel like crap, I suggest starting with those. Take them out for at least a month and see how you feel. If you’re not sure what you might be sensitive to, try an elimination diet like the Whole 30 and then slowly introduce foods back one at a time. Trust me, if something bothers you, you’ll know pretty quickly.
2. Add nutrients
After removing any possible triggers, it’s important to look at nutrients going in. Most people do not get enough nutrients from food alone, especially with the Standard American Diet (SAD).
I recommend a well-balanced multivitamin and Omega 3 fish oil supplement as a minimum daily nutrient regimen (I use and highly recommend the Daily Nutrient pack from doTERRA). Digestive enzymes and probiotics are helpful as well.
I’ve recently added Hydorlyzed Collagen to my daily routine. Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body and plays a key role in numerous bodily functions, including healthy skin. It’s also incredibly nourishing to the gut, aiding in improved function and digestion.
Many attribute healthier skin, hair and nails to regular collagen supplementation and I’ve had those results as well. My hair dresser even asked what I was doing differently because my hair looked and felt nicer than ever. Just collagen.
3. Ditch the chemicals
Did you know the average woman applies 300 chemicals in her body a day – 80 before breakfast?
The top most dangerous chemicals in our home are:
- Air fresheners, like plugins, sprays or candles
- Chemical cleaning supplies, like drain and oven cleaners and furniture polish, as well as dishwasher soap and dish soap.
- Beauty supplies and personal care products – hairspray, gel, shampoo and deodorant are laden with chemicals.
- Laundry soap and fabric softeners – you wash your clothes, it sits on your skin, it outgases in your closet all night long.
What does that have to do with your gut?
Right now as you read this page, there are about 700 chemicals coursing through your body. Seven hundred. These chemicals disrupt hormones, cause cancer, irritate the digestive tract and create a whole host of problems not only for people, but animals and the environment as well.
Making the switch to natural cleaning products can go a long way toward improving your health and skin. If you love to DIY, this is my favorite resource of all time. If you prefer to buy, doTERRA has some great options (you can order here, or click the Let’s Chat button at the bottom of this page to talk about what would work best for you.)
This is a lot to try to do all at once, so resist the urge. I recommend picking 1-3 things to try and get started. Try cutting out all sugar (or gluten or dairy), have some collagen in the morning and find or make a non-toxic all-purpose cleaner.
Make sure one of those things is super easy, like the cleaner, so you don’t get overwhelmed.
You’ve got this.