By Esthetician & ambassador Aomi Coelho
With so many articles telling us what products we need in order to achieve clear skin, how do we know what really works? The thing is, the answer is often not found in a product. Here I'll break down how to get gorgeous skin naturally- from the inside out.
DIET IS #1
Probably the biggest factor in achieving clear skin is what you are putting in your body. Here's a sad fact- the skin, while being the largest organ, is also the LAST organ to receive nutrients. So if you are already consuming a low nutrient diet (one of refined grains, processed sugars and artificial sweeteners), your skin is not going to fare very well. On the other hand, if you are eating a diet of varied fruits and veggies, consuming lots of water, healthy fats, and avoiding processed foods, it's safe to say your skin will still get the nutrients it needs.
If you are struggling with breakouts or other skin irritations, my first suggestion is to cut gluten, dairy, and sugar out of your diet. I know that can seem daunting, but it doesn't mean it's forever. I spent years battling eczema, only to discover that it was triggered by gluten. Once I cut it out of my diet, my skin cleared very soon after. Now that my body has had a break from gluten and it's not a regular part of my diet, I'm able to have it in small amounts with no problems. Sometimes the body just needs a break from an irritating food so it can reset, and then it can be okay to gradually reintroduce that food.
Aim for a primarily whole foods diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, plenty of water, and carefully sourced meats and fish. Organic and/ or local is always best, but if that is not an option at least look for foods that are free of additives and preservatives. Learn to cook and prep most food at home! It's healthier, cheaper, and you know exactly what is going into it.
Some of my favorite beauty foods are:
Green SmoothiesI usually have one each day made with banana, pineapple, mango, raw kale, lemon juice, and water.
I often add sauerkraut to my salads for its probiotic benefits. Other options are fermented salsas, miso ( I'll buy miso paste and add it to homemade salad dressing), and drinks like kombucha and kefir.
Salmon and sardines are amazing for the skin! Aim to add them to your diet at least once a week, but more often is even better.
Nuts and Seeds
These are a great way to add in protein and healthy fats to your diet, and they're great on salads or alone as a snack.
Tea is great because you can target other issues while enjoying a cozy warm beverage. Tulsi tea is one of my favorites and it's also an adaptogenic herb, meaning it can help in balancing the hormones. Chamomile is one of my favorites in the evening. Bonus use! Soak two cotton rounds in your brewed tea, squeeze out the excess and let them cool, and apply to the eyes for a little pick me up!
STEER CLEAR OF ANTIBIOTICS
For many experiencing breakouts, doctors prescribe antibiotics- ranging from the very harsh Accutane to lower, more long term ones like Spironolactone. My opinion on all antibiotics is simple. Don't take them unless you have a severe infection or are close to death. Antibiotics wipe the entire digestive tract free of all the beneficial enzymes that keep us healthy, in fact, the majority of our immunity lies in our gut. If you visit a doctor or dermatologist they will likely prescribe antibiotics without much thought. If you visit a holistic esthetician or naturopath however, you are more likely to actually get to the root of the problem because they will take the time to work with you in diet adjustments, supplementation, and will treat the body as a whole rather than simply isolate and treat symptoms.
HORMONES PLAY A HUGE ROLLNearly all skin problems, essentially, stem from hormonal imbalances. Whether it's stress, diet, or medication, internal issues can and will come out through the skin. In my experience, beginning hormonal birth control in my late teens was one of the worst things I did for my body. It seemed convenient at the time, but in retrospect it was the beginning of years of skin woes paired with unnecessary emotional stress. It's unfortunate there are not more hormone-free birth control options out there for women, but I encourage everyone to speak to their doctor about what the options are and see if one of them might work for you. A clean diet, regular exercise, and adequate sleep are all important for hormone balance as well.
SKIN CARE PRODUCTS: BE A SKEPTIC
It's no coincidence that I'm leaving this topic for last. I may be the only esthetician to ever tell you that purchasing a bunch of products is probably not going to clear your skin. Yes, products have their place and we all need them. But a great skincare routine does not have to be a complex or expensive one. After seven years in the skincare industry, I've just seen so much hype and marketing around products. Don't forget that this is a multi billion dollar industry, and the markups, power of branding, and sales incentives for estheticians and spas is insane.
So how do you know what to buy? Learn your ingredients. Silicones like dimethicone are hands down my most despised ingredient. They always break me out, and they are found in most serums, moisturizers, and makeup. They are also cheap and an easy way to fill up space in a product, so companies can sell you less of the actual quality ingredients. If I see dimethicone in a product, it is a deal breaker for me. Also look at the order in which ingredients are listed. The most prominent ingredients are listed first, and it goes down from there. So if you see some fancy botanicals listed on the front of the product but they're way down at the end of the ingredient list, you can be assured they are just buzzwords to add appeal, and your skin will be receiving little if any of that ingredient.
Now on the other side of the spectrum, you don't need to go 100% granola. Please do not put coconut oil on your face! I love coconut oil. I put it on my body, in my hair, in my food, but it is simply too pore clogging to be used on the face. There are better oils out there for that. Rosehip seed oil makes a beautiful serum and just a few drops can easily double as a moisturizer. It's healing to the skin, and naturally high in Vitamin A and antioxidants, making it great for anti-aging as well.
In general, you can trust most skincare products found in health food stores, while most drugstore and beauty supply stores should be a last resort.
So there you have it! This information should have you well on your way to creating a lifetime of healthy skin by nourishing your body as a whole. Keep in mind that my approach to skincare is holistic and may be different from what you have heard elsewhere. Different approaches work for different people, and there is not necessarily a right or wrong way. In my experience I've seen the best results by focusing closely on diet and the inner workings of the body.
I love hearing from you guys so feel free to comment here or send me a DM on Instagram and I'll cover more topics in future posts!
Holistic Nutritionist. Trainer. Esthetician. Mom.