If you want optimal skin, then you’ll need to zoom in on these 15 internal and external skin health tips.
Now listen, if it was actually as simple as this, everyone would have clear skin,
Drink more water and use xyz product for perfect skin.
But the state of your skin health does not work that way.
So, if someone tries selling you on “the thing” for clear and optimal skin, run away real fast.
Skin Health Guinea Pig
This post is being written from both a researched standpoint but also a personal one.
Like you, I thought that by doing the external thing, the internal would heal.
Take for instance when I was 13 years old (January 30, 1997). This was my first-ever recollection of Perioral Dermatitis (though I had no clue it was that back then).
The doctor at the dermatology clinic wrote on my visit notes,
Sarah comes in with a couple weeks or so history of a rash in the skin just lateral to the nares bilaterally. It seems to have started on the right and spread to the left.
The diagnosis: rash fungal vs eczema. And the treatment: Try some Lotrimin AF cream for about a week. If that doesn’t help then try 1% HC.
And then when I was 14, another similar instance. Yet again when I was 16 (twice that year).
In fact, you can read about each instance, the diagnosis, and treatments HERE.
It wasn’t until the culmination of all my health issues in 2014 (I was in my early 30’s by this time) when it finally clicked.
All the external products and medications alone in the world would never heal my skin issues.
So here was me just before implementing and researching everything I’m about to share with you.
15 Internal and External Skin Health Tips
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Ready to learn alongside me?
I’m breaking them down first with the internal, then with external.
8 Internal Skin Health Tips
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There appears to be more than enough supportive evidence to suggest that gut microbes, and the integrity of the gastrointestinal tract itself, are contributing factors in the acne process. (NIH)
Drinking at least 8 glasses a day will help rid the body and skin of toxins. Everyone will not agree that water consumption will improve skin… but it certainly can’t hurt. Many people often report that by increasing their water intake, their skin has a more radiant glow. (source)
Heal your gut
What I learned at the culmination of my illnesses, including the Perioral Dermatitis, was that it all came back to the gut. There was no magic pill in completely ridding the Perioral Dermatitis, but it began with the SIBO diagnosis which then lead to my final journey towards optimal gut health. A classic sign that my gut was off and relapsing from then on always included the PD and/or Cystic Back Acne. “Heal your gut” = convoluted. And I get that. I recommend starting HERE if you’ve never considered healing your gut.
Consume more vitamin C
Vit. C, the most plentiful antioxidant in human skin, forms a part of the complex group of enzymatic and non-enzymatic antioxidants that co-exist to protect the skin from reactive oxygen species. (source) Learn all about foods which contain the highest levels of Vitamin C HERE.
Did you know that most cell repair and regeneration occur during sleep? So, if you’re not resting enough, how can you expect to repair? At the height of my PD (as seen in my picture above), I was getting 5-6 hours of sleep per night, max. I literally need 8+ hours (and I’ve done the sleep study to prove it). Rest and repair (both your gut and skin).
Eat your omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of polyunsaturated fats. They are great for reducing systematic inflammation. And it’s this inflammation that wreaks havoc on the skin. Grab my list of favorite omega-3 fatty acids in Healthy Fat HERE.
Actually, a healthy diet is king
“Healthy diet” is subjective and since I talk about food as it relates to healing all the time, I’m not going to hammer this one into the ground. I don’t know the exact healthy-skin diet for you. I do, however, know some things it does not include processed foods, an over-abundance of sugar, and trans fats (like vegetable oils and/or anything that says, “partially hydrogenated oils.”) Beyond that, you’ll need to navigate this for your own situation. The number one tool that will help, though, is my 90-day gut healing journal. Pinky promise.
Adequate stomach acid
You must ensure you have adequate stomach acid. In fact, research shows, “that as many as 40% of those with acne have hypochlorhydria.” The idea is that that less than adequate stomach acid sets the stage for migration of bacteria from the colon towards the distal portions of the small intestine, as well as an alteration of normal intestinal microflora.” If you need a refresher on this, check out my hypochlorhydria info.
You know it. You’ve been there, done that. A week filled with stress and chaos and next thing you know – boom – acne erupts. This is because stress changes microbial flora, increasing the likelihood of intestinal permeability, which in turn sets the stage for systemic and local skin inflammation. This is, by far, the most overlooked piece to healing.
Seriously, living with this face wasn’t just cosmetically no fun, but it was also painful.
This face both hurt and itched.
7 External Skin Health Tips
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These are super important, too. Whatever you put on your skin gets in your blood stream. Not only can they irritate the skin, but also raise the toxic load in your body.
This is why when someone says to me, “Okay, but my xyz product is not actually toxic.” Since the dose makes the poison, that argument is right. But since dose makes the poison and we are inundated from every single angle of our daily lives with toxins, then this does actually matter.
The small things add up.
The Never List
I learned during the Gut Health Course that, “skin is the largest organ involved in the elimination of toxins and waste.” Let that sink in. Is it any wonder why I push so hard for you to pay attention to The Never List? You can print off this list to take with you wherever you go HERE. Let The Never List be your guide when choosing external products.
Instant Blemish Control
While I don’t believe anything instant is a long-term strategy, I do believe they work for those last-minute quick fixes. A new one I recently tried is the NOW® Solutions Blemish Clear Spot Treatment. It is a spot treatment that uses key extracts and botanicals to reduce the signs of redness and irritation caused by blemishes. Clinically tested Psoralea corylifolia & Grenadys diminish imperfections and dark spots while brightening skin tone. Willow bark, licorice root, and cucumber work with tea tree oil to soothe blemished skin. You could opt to give this a try.
Exfoliating helps remove dead skin cells. Whether your acne is mild or more severe, regular exfoliation will smooth and soften the skin and brighten your complexion. It also helps reduce breakouts by keeping the pores from becoming clogged with the pus of dead cells and sebum (skin oil). I started exfoliating on a regular basis post-PD. Not only does it feel good on my skin, but I think it has helped keep my skin clear.
Choose the right skincare regimen
This one is very important. Just because a brand or product is popular, doesn’t mean it is for you. My best piece of advice here is to find one regimen and stick with it for 30 days. If it’s not working, consider changing. You have to understand your skin’s tendencies in order to stumble upon the right skincare regimen. Dry, scaly skin needs a different regimen than oily skin.
Use vitamin C-containing products.
A new vitamin C-containing product I’ve been exploring is the NOW® Solutions Vitamin C + Ferulic Acid Serum. This serum contains high concentrations of vitamin C + Ferulic Acid. It effectively helps brighten the complexion, minimizes the visible signs of aging, and improves skin texture, all while offering antioxidant protection. This serum is uniquely formulated with vitamin C and ferulic acid, along with clinically tested Grenadys for brightening and hyaluronic acid for moisturizing.
Deep clean with a mask
Face masks are great for overall skin health. For acne, a mask can treat your whole face at once (vs individual spot treatment) and help prevent future breakouts at the same time. According to Mona Gohara, MD, a dermatologist and professor at Yale University, “Acne medications can be irritating, and masks provide that sweet spot wherein the active ingredients can stay on the skin for a bit longer without as much risk for causing a flare up.”
Stop touching your face!
First, especially in this day in age, avoid touching your face for overall health reasons. Dr. Shamban states, “What touching can do is spread existing P. acnes — the culprit behind red inflammatory acne papules, pustules and cysts — on the surface and beneath the surface of the skin. Beneath the skin is where it does the most damage because it can spread to other pores and manifest in yet another pimple.”
The only thing that remains of the once awful Perioral Dermatitis is a little scarring. But it’s nothing a little (non-toxic) makeup can’t fix.
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Disclosure: This post is a paid partnership with NOW Foods. All opinions stated here are 100% my own. I appreciate your support, as this compensation helps with expenses to keep this website up and running, and for me to continue sharing all that I can with you. For my full disclaimer and disclosure click HERE. Thank you for your support!
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
You will heal. I will help.