This is a fantastic, detail filled interview with reader Milica on what worked for her in regard to finally healing the dreaded breakouts.
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What was your experience with acne? How many years did you have it and how did it make you feel?
My experience with acne was an emotional rollercoaster. There was cystic acne, whiteheads, blackheads, and redness all over my face as well as on my back.
I had an unhealthy relationship with myself, with food, and with my friends and family. I was always insecure about my skin and how it looked.
Not a day went by where I did not look in the mirror and hate myself even more.
However, I am blessed to say I defeated my battle with acne after 5 years, through research, experimentation, and devotion to health.
What kinds of things did you try prior to holistic healing that didn’t work?
With my desire to “cure” my acne, I tried all sorts of diets and topical treatments
For the topical treatments, I used salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, tea tree oil, refined coconut oil, Cetaphil, and calamine location. I even tried rubbing my face with banana peels (although it smelled good, I was an emotional wreck at this point).
These things only made my face worse.
In terms of food, little by little I cut out foods that I thought would “cause” acne, little did I know that eating a food cannot cause acne but the continuous intake of dairy, gluten, sugar, etc, can.
I also went vegan for about a month and ate mostly grains, beans, potatoes, vegetables, and no fat. I thought this diet would work because “the holy internet” said meat and fat caused acne.
Well, unfortunately, the internet was wrong and grains spiked my glucose levels and not eating fat drastically altered my hormones. Now I understand the importance of healthy fats for skin and hormones.
How did you discover that acne could be treated holistically?
After losing a significant amount of weight eliminating “acne causing foods” I decided I cannot live this way, as I was down to 90 pounds.
At that time I came across The Love Vitamin, Acne Einstein, and Clear Skin Forever blogs and religiously read evidence based articles that could help me along the way. I read diet, heath, physical, and emotional advice; all which entail a holistic approach.
It all started to finally make sense and I knew the root cause of acne lied in the holistic aspect of health.
I had to change my lifestyle and implement multiple factors to promote my overall well-being and clear my skin.
I discovered internal causes of acne like inflammation and hormonal imbalance. Luckily, I was able to control these two chronic conditions through lifestyle changes and diet adjustments. I particularly paid attention to the inside out approach to healing.
What were the specific things that made the biggest difference to your skin? What worked for you?
At that moment, I knew I had to be kind to myself and others.
I regained my healthy relationship with food when I decided to go paleo. With the paleo lifestyle, I was able to eat nutrient dense foods that kept my glucose levels at check.
No refined sugar, dairy, gluten was the best decision by far. Another positive aspect that made a difference was the addition of supplements. Fermented cod liver oil (FCLO) and magnesium oil spray did wonders for me.
FCLO which is high in Vitamin A, D, and Omega 3’s are vital for health which prompted my skin healing. Magnesium oil helped decrease my stress levels, promote sleep, and improve digestion (which is crucial for clear skin).
As for my diet, I increased my fat intake, adding more avocado, coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, soaked nuts and seeds, and of course salmon and sardines.
I used unrefined extra virgin coconut oil for cooking because the oil can sustain the heat and will not go rancid easily. Extra virgin olive oil is good on cold foods, so I used it over salads.
Besides focusing on the inside out aspect, I wanted to hydrate my skin to improve its texture and glow.
Were there any obstacles? Things you found difficult about the whole process?
I talked about emotional and mental health, but I believe this was a major obstacle along the way. As a shy, introverted person I had always felt as if I had no one to open up to.
“Milica what’s wrong?” “Why don’t you eat?” “Here I bought you some creams, they should help!” “What are you doing to your face?”
I felt as if I was trapped by the constant questions, and there was no escaping.
When I eliminated refined oils sugar, dairy, and gluten, I would fear to have anything which contained these ingredients and I would never go out with my friends to restaurants.
However, after I regained a healthy relationship with food, I would go out to restaurants, but I would center my meal around paleo options: a source of protein, side of vegetables, and some fat was my go to.
I would no longer freak out over the oil that my meal was prepared in, but concentrate on a positive state of mind and balance.
How did you feel once your skin cleared up?
They say some things are a blessing in disguise and I truly believe this about my acne. I would probably still be eating junk food, gluten, loads of sugar and not taking care of myself if I had never had it.
Acne was a sign my body had an imbalance, for it was not healthy. I have become a more holistic based person with a desire for health and well-being as a result.
I thought I would never say this, but…. thank you, acne!
Milica is a health enthusiast who loves reading health and wellness blogs. She desires to share her experience as a hope for others to take action on their well-being.