hormonal acne

7 Acne-Clearing Foods Missing From Your Diet

Recently, I wrote a guest blog post for one of my FAVORITE websites/resources for acne-free skin. I promise you'll want to read the full post, because i'm willing to bet the foods on this list are NOT a part of your daily "healthy eating" regimen.  Here's a sneak peak:

Most of us who have been struggled with painful acne are deeply aware of the connection between the food we eat and how it effects our skin. For this reason, we get plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, healthy fats like olive and coconut oil, and make sure to drink enough water. We know to avoid inflammatory foods like dairy, wheat and soy; we move our bodies daily, and we (attempt to…) keep happy hours to a minimum.

And yet, our skin is still a funky combo of random cystic breakouts and fine lines, no matter how closely we follow the latest natural-health guidelines for clear skin...

Read the full blog post on the Skyn Therapy Blog!

Want to turn your passion for skincare into a profitable business (you can run from anywhere?)

Our Negative Thought Patterns Are Keeping Us Sick (Rebelle Nutrition)

The words you speak become the house you live in - Hafiz

If you have been reading my blog for awhile, you know that I am a firm believer that nourishment is about more than the food we put into our mouths. The way that we eat has a direct influence on our health: for example, eating in a sympathetic state (read: stressed) actually causes digestion to be impaired and stomach acid production to be halted. 

But what about our thoughts about the food we eat? Our thoughts about our health problems? Our thoughts about our bodies? Do these thoughts become self-fulfilling prophecies?

There is energy behind every thought we think and decision that we make. Whether this is energy is positive or negative, is completely up to us. 

Having worked with many people who have chronic health challenges (myself included - I was my first client!) I wonder how many of these issues would be resolved if we changed our thoughts about our food, our bodies, and even our lives. 

This is not to say that nutrient-dense food and proper supplementation don't have a place - they absolutely do - but I believe that they are only half of the solution. 

The Food We Eat

When you sit down for a delicious meal, are you focused on the fact that you have a slow metabolism and everything you eat causes weight gain?

Are you afraid to eat almost anything (even vegetables!) out of fear that it will cause six-month-pregnant-looking bloating?

Eating in a sympathetic state (caused by stress) actually reduces levels of HCL in the stomach, causing impaired digestion and bloating no matter what food you are eating. 

These are some of my favorite examples to use because in this case, because the negative outcome you are focusing on actually WILL come true if this is your mindset.  Another good example of this is how eating out-of-your normal diet foods while on vacation or surrounded by your besties will often cause no reaction; but when you bring your nutrient-dense paleo lunch to work and your co-worker won't stop talking about her marital problems, you get a stomach ache.  

Our Health

Do you walk around with the belief that you are tired, lethargic, and that everything you eat will make you break out?

Ok, so this example was actually ME. I used to (subconsciously) tell myself daily that being a low energy person was just who I was; and that I needed to monitor my food intake very carefully in order not to have any digestive or skin- related reactions. 

These issues were was partially alleviated through calming the F down with my exercise and removing gluten, but the even bigger game changer for me was starting to QUESTION these beliefs. 

  • Am I really a low energy person?

  • Does everything I eat really hurt my stomach? (Or am I hyper-focused on everything I am putting into my body, causing unnecessary stress?)

Turns out, the answers to both of these questions were NO. Instead of telling myself the self-deprecating story that I had chronic fatigue and bloating, I started to imagine what it would feel like to wake up every morning full of energy. I repeated mantras in my journal that were the EXACT opposite of everything I had been telling myself for years. Here are some examples:

  • I am healthy and full of energy
  • I am able to digest everything I eat
  • The nutrient dense food I eat is healing my body and skin
  • I have a fast metabolism and healthy hormones

I'll be honest, I felt a little crazy and "out there" when I first started doing this. How could this really make a difference in what I was feeling in my body?

Our Lives

Even if you have an amazing relationship to food and your body (which i'm guessing that you don't since you are reading this ;)) it is likely that your negative thoughts have influenced your life, whether subconsciously or not. 

Take a minute to think about the biggest goal you have in your life right now - Now, take a minute to write down the first three things that come to mind when you consider achieving this goal. Most likely, the first 3 things that come up will be reasons why this goal will be difficult for you, or why you can't do it, or why someone else has already done it better than you. Why? because we are human, and the human mind is programmed to see the negative as a protective mechanism.

But this doesn't mean that we need to accept these thoughts as truth and settle with a mediocre life because we aren't rich enough or young enough or pretty enough. 

It means that we must recognize these thoughts and replace them with reasons why we WILL achieve this goal, HOW we will do it, and WHY we are capable right now. 

At this point, what do you have to lose? If you can't seem to get rid of your bloating no matter how many supplements you take, or have been feeling negatively about your body no matter how many books you read on the topic, why not start trying to shift your mindset around food and body (easily and cheaply I might add) and see how it spills into every other area of your life?

I guarantee that changing your thoughts around food, your body, and your life will not only help you create more positive habits and feelings, but will actually leave you feeling more inspired than ever.

For this reason, I created a super awesome (printable) worksheet to help you get started and make the process of shifting your mindset around food and your health an easier one. Just click the button below to download!

How I Healed My Cystic Acne (Rebelle Nutrition)


Acne sucks. There’s nothing else quite like having a big insecurity (on your face) that you can’t get rid of.

In my early 20’s I had painful, cystic acne, mostly around my mouth and jaw. I tried everything from Proactiv, to face masks, to toners, to the oil cleansing method, to a prescription that forced me to avoid sun exposure. At one point, I even remember wishing my doctor would prescribe me Accutane so that I could at least have some relief from the painful blemishes that would not let up.

Now that my cystic acne is healed, I have so much empathy for others who have the same problem. I know how hard it is to feel extremely self-conscious, out of control, and in physical pain because of your skin.

Here are the things that did work for me:

1. Balanced my hormones

I was prescribed the birth control pill at age 16 due to irregular periods, and stayed on it until about age 22 when I started to notice severe cystic acne all over my chin and jaw. I've never had more than a few small zits before, so I knew something was totally out of whack with my body. Looking back, this all began around the same time I started experiencing a multitude of other symptoms like hair loss, fatigue and mood swings. At the time, I blamed everything on the pill. This was also around the time I started to become interested in natural medicine and nutrition, so going off of the pill felt like a natural progression to me. When I went off of the pill, my acne improved for a short period and then came back with a vengeance which led me to step 2, reassessing my diet.

2. Changed my diet

During a majority of college, I was on the Kashi go-lean, Splenda, skim milk and booze diet. As you can imagine, these foods didn’t do my skin any favors. This meant I was consuming tons of processed soy and wheat, artificial sweeteners, and dairy on a daily basis. These foods contributed to a leaky gut due to consistently eating them despite signals from my body that I was intolerant to them (severe bloating and acid reflux). To this day, I will almost immediately start to break-out if I eat soy, artificial sweeteners or dairy.

***Sometimes dairy is worth it for me though 😃

Another thing that was severely lacking in my college diet was essential fatty acids. Once I began to add in egg yolks, avocado, and coconut oil, the quality of my skin improved drastically and I noticed that the oil production and tone of my skin began to normalize. I also began to slowly shift towards more of a paleo-style way of eating that included lots of vegetables, fruits, sweet potatoes, eggs, and meats. I focused on eating more slowly, in a relaxed and parasympathetic state to aid digestion.

3. Healed my gut

Like I mentioned in step 1, after I went off of the birth control pill, I began to get really interested in finding natural cures instead of turning to prescriptions. Another medication I had been on for over 4 years was Prilosec (a Proton Pump Inhibitor prescribed for acid reflux that essentially turns off the production of stomach acid). I knew that Prilosec was “working” for me (read: no acid reflux) , but the more research I did, the more I felt intuitively like I needed to ween off of it. I was still experiencing some mild acne despite making dietary changes, and noticed that the days I skipped my Prilosec I noticed immediate breakouts and skin irritation. To be honest, weening myself off of the medication was a painful process and took a long time. One of the biggest things this signaled to me was that my gut still needed healing, and I needed to slowly increase my stomach acid production in order to digest and absorb nutrients again. There was a lot of trial and error involved and I wish I could go back and help myself with the knowledge I have now, but here are a few things that really worked for me:

- Apple cider vinegar and bitters with meals (both act as a digestive aid, increasing stomach acid production and lowering stomach ph)
- High quality probiotics and fermented foods (I like prescript-assist) kombucha, sauerkraut and kefir (if you tolerate dairy) are all great options.
- Nutrients to help heal and seal my gut lining (bone broth, aloe vera, licorice - this product is a great combination of all gut-healing nutrients and I still use it as needed)

To this day I continue to use all of these things as a preventative measure against acid reflux, acne, and any other stomach issues.
I do notice that if I am traveling, or forget to do one of these things, my acne and acid reflux begin to slowly creep up again.

4. Stopped intense exercise

After my skin had cleared up a bit, I started to make a correlation between when my intense workouts, and having cystic breakouts within 24 hours. Stopping intense exercise one was the most difficult for me, as I have always been an athlete and look to fitness as a great stress reliever. However, over time I continued to make my workouts longer and more intense, which eventually left me completely wiped out. The more research I did about hormonal acne (cystic acne generally around the jaw and chin- what I had) the more it became clear to me that my exercise routine might be contributing to my painful, blemished skin. Unlike most of the other tips i’ve listed which were slow and gradual, the changes to my skin from NOT exercising happened almost overnight. Once I stopped running long distances, sprinting, or doing any movements that caused adrenal stress (the fight or flight) response, my skin calmed down immediately, became less painful, and looked more vibrant. Another positive side effect to this was that stopping the intense exercise also helped eliminate any lingering acid reflux symptoms. I found this super interesting and finally made the connection that skin and digestive health are closely linked, and my troubles were stemming from the adrenal stress of working out too intensely.

That said, even if you aren't an exercise-addict like I was, but are still experiencing cystic acne, it is important to look at other areas of your life that may be causing adrenal stress, i.e your caffeine habit? Lack of sleep? Work/school stress? Food allergies? Relationship stress? etc.

5. Changed my skincare routine

I am all about natural foods, skincare and beauty products, but the oil cleansing method, apple cider vinegar shit did NOT work for me. Discovering BeautyCounter products was a complete game-changer for my skin, and the icing on the cake after doing the internal healing that needed to occur.

Here is what my skincare routine looks like these days:

-I wash my face morning and night with the detoxifying charcoal bar.
(I also NEVER go to sleep with makeup on. That's a big one.)

- I use this mask 2-3x a week over my entire face. I also use it as a spot treatment when I feel a pimple start to form on my jawline or chin - and voila! The next day it is nearly gone, and much less painful.

- Despite having acne-prone skin, I experience a lot of dullness/dryness - and I also have acne scars that I am trying to heal. I use this balancing face oil twice a day after cleansing, and the blend of pure plant oils absorbs quickly into my skin without being greasy. To be honest, I was terrified of putting MORE oil on top of my acne-prone skin, but if anything, this oil has improved any current acne breakouts, while continuing to heal any past scars or redness.

I tell you this not because I think my routine will be perfect for everyone, but because sometimes you have to try a million different products before figuring out what works for you.

For so long, I thought that the ONLY way I was going to heal the external appearance of my skin was through toxic skincare products - especially because the "all natural" solutions made my skin worse.

Beautycounter products provide the look and feel of expensive department-store brand skincare products, but WITHOUT any of the toxic ingredients. Win/ win? I think yes.
(And no, i'm not being paid to say this - I am just f*ing obsessed with their products. Anyone who has had acne will understand my excitement here.)

*If you can get away with washing your face less than 2x a day- that is ideal! The natural oils produced from your skin can be very beneficial in preventing wrinkles, so you don’t want to wipe them off! Unfortunately for me, washing less than 2x a day causes me to start breaking out again.

Want to learn how to turn your passion for skin/acne prevention into a profitable business you can run from anywhere?

I want to hear from you! What changes have you made to your diet, lifestyle or skincare routine that have improved your acne? Or are you still struggling?