If you’ve ever experienced a breakout, you’re familiar with the frustration, embarrassment, and anxiety you feel when those pesky bumps seem to materialize out of nowhere.
Now, if you’re like me, and you’ve struggled with consistent acne for years, you can 100% relate to the emotional rollercoaster and difficult journey it is battling this chronic issue.
I used to be right there with you. Painful, inflamed, cystic acne covered my cheeks and jawline throughout my teenage years and into my twenties. Sometimes it would clear up for a while miraculously, but it would always return. I cried often, felt angry at my body, hated my skin, and experienced low self esteem. Intellectually I knew my identity is so far beyond my physical appearance, but it was so hard to believe that other people weren’t only seeing my acne and not ME.
After trying countless remedies, nothing was a long-term solution and I just felt like giving up. I was tired of the false hope and inevitable disappointment every time I tried the newest product “for acne-prone skin” which claimed to magically zap away pimples. I used Proactiv for years — it was so strong that it would bleach my towels and sheets — and it left my skin feeling dry and irritated. I’d never tried Accutane, but I was nervous about the side effects I’d researched, and really didn’t want to take such an intense medication. I’d all but resigned myself to the fact that I would have bad skin forever.
But still, I was hungry for any new information I could learn, and I’d constantly sign up for email lists in exchange for skin detox plans, acne-fighting tips, and similar content. I started to pick up on little things that I’d never heard before… I distinctly remember reading for the first time that certain foods could potentially trigger acne, and I was completely surprised. Willing to try anything, I was curious about this new clue and where it could lead.
At one point I went in to a dermatologist for a routine mole checkup, and she pointed out my acne, asking what I was doing to treat it. I said I was trying different natural methods like changing my diet and cutting out foods to see if that would help, and without skipping a beat, she said, “No, it’s not due to a food allergy,” and proceeded to write me a prescription for a handful of different medications I couldn’t pronounce.
I left feeling frustrated and unseen. I was just another patient, treated with little thought or personal attention. Everyone is wildly different in the genetic makeup of our bodies, and what will be effective for one person might not work for someone else. I knew there was something missing in the one-size-fits-all approach, and I was desperate to get to the bottom of it.
One night when I was feeling extra defeated, my sweet now-husband (boyfriend at the time) stayed up late researching with me, and we stumbled across a blog post that changed the course of my life. It was a treasure trove of knowledge that opened my eyes to a whole new way of seeing the world and gave me the tools I’d never had before.
From that point on, I started to view my body in a different way…
i realized my acne was my body’s way of communicating.
Something was out of balance within, and it was manifesting through my skin. Acne is a sign of inflammation and imbalance. Instead of trying to treat the symptoms of the problem, I needed to go to the source and find healing from the inside out. It was like a switch had been turned on and I’d been given the secret.
The skin is the body’s largest organ, and is often a window to what’s going on inside. There was something wrong WITHIN me, and no amount of products slathered on my face would be more than a band-aid over the deeper wounds I needed to address.
This discovery set me on a beautiful path to discovering rich knowledge and new understanding about how our entire bodies are affected by the gut, or the digestive tract. I learned that food is one of the most powerful determining factors of our health, in more ways than most of us realize.
I decided to go on an elimination diet and cut out a large number of foods. The goal was to reduce inflammation and give my body time to heal before I slowly reintroduced foods to see which ones affected my skin. It was a fairly extreme method, and looking back I can see that although certain aspects were helpful, that approach may not be right for everyone. It took me to a restrictive, anxious place and I was constantly overthinking and obsessing about food.
My journey was not linear. Eventually I got swept up in the keto diet and intermittent fasting craze. This was a dark period of disordered eating for me. Although these diets can have beneficial effects for certain people, they also can be extremely detrimental (especially for women) if not done under the guidance of a qualified practitioner. At this point I didn’t really know what I was doing — I was just experimenting to see what worked.
It got so bad that I was basically starving myself all day, surviving on nothing but coffee, and binging at dinner as I tried to consume enough food for the day in a single meal. I was eating nowhere near enough calories or nutrients, and I was feeling the effects. I started experiencing heightened anxiety and depression. I felt shaky and weak. I was losing my hair. I started losing an unhealthy amount of weight. But people were complimenting my “thinness” so I figured I must be doing something right.
I remember standing in my pantry, hungry and counting the number of chips I was eating because I could only have a tiny amount of carbs per day. Looking back, I see how much my body was starved for nutrients and craving nourishment, and I’m so glad I came out of that place.
In 2020, I decided to follow my passion for health and food, and go to college for the first time in my life to pursue a degree in Nutritional Sciences. As I learned more about the body and continued my research, I started to see how unhealthy my eating patterns really were. I increased my calorie consumption, learned how to balance my macronutrients, and found a healthy ratio of protein, carbs, and fat.
Now I’ve adopted a lifestyle of nourishment, and I’ve never felt better! My acne cleared up, but beyond that — I feel harmony within my body. I used to think frequent stomach aches or painful acne or extreme mood swings were just a normal part of life, but now I realize that it’s possible to feel genuinely GOOD in my body! I also feel more balanced, at peace, and grounded in my spirit.
Food is a joy for me now! If you relate to this story and are pursuing healing yourself, I know it can feel intimidating or like you don’t know where to start. I want to encourage you that I have never felt more freedom! I appreciate food and see it as a gift — not only is it an enjoyable experience, but I know that it’s nourishing my body and giving me exactly what I need to thrive and live a healthy life.
SO… If you’re in the same boat I was, it’s never too late to take a step towards health! Want more specifics? Check out this blog post to learn 5 easy steps to transform your health (and your skin) starting today!
I’m here to help and support you in any way I can, starting with my insider group of people just like you who are getting encouragement, pep talks, and tips for healthy living sent straight to their inbox! Just scroll down and enter your email below and you’ll be officially IN!
Thanks so much for reading my story. I hope it encouraged you and gave you hope! Can’t wait to connect with you more, friend!