Healing Acne with Nutrition & Non-Toxic Skincare (Rebelle Nutrition)

I'm super excited to be talking about one of my favorite topics today: healing acne through nutrition and natural skincare. 

I am going to start off with some actionable steps you can take if you are already eating a paleo/real food diet and still suffering from painful acne or other skin problems. 

Make sure to stay until the end when I talk about my favorite non-toxic skincare products for acne- free skin!

 You guys know I’m all about food and lifestyle changes first and foremost. But, if you’re like I was a few years ago and already eating a nutrient dense diet-but still have acne, there are a few things I would recommend trying:


1. Heal your gut

Leaky gut is at the root cause of nearly every health symptom imaginable, and I find that repairing the gut lining is one of the quickest ways to improve a variety of skin related conditions – specifically acne. Some of my favorite gut-healing nutrients include L-glutamine, collagen peptides, plenty of nutrient rich bone broth, and DGL, and aloe vera. 


2. Get off the treadmill

The unfortunate truth is, if you have hormonal acne and you continue to do intense workouts in the form of running, cross fit, cycling, or anything that elicits a stress response in the body – this is likely to be a key player in the formation of your acne.

Intense exercise leads to heightened levels of stress in the body, causing increased cortisol output and insulin production. For women especially, this can also throw off the delicate balance of progesterone to estrogen – amplifying testosterone levels and causing increased oil production, clogged pores, and – acne.


3. Make sure you’re digesting your food

If levels of stomach acid or HCL are inadequate, not only can this cause digestive distress like acid reflux and bloating, but the kidneys and liver can become overburdened from the digestive stressed placed on them and respond by eliminating toxins via the bodies largest organ system: the skin.

Make sure to chew your food well, eliminate food sensitivities, and support your stomach acid with things like apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, or betaine HCL for more powerful help.


4. Zinc supplementation

Zinc is an amazing skin-healing mineral that most of us are deficient in, despite eating a good diet. Zinc has been shown to lower chronic levels of inflammation and prevent acne-causing bacteria on the skin to become painful and inflamed. It also helps reduce the bacteria on the surface of the skin that causes acne, reduces keratin production that leads to clogged pores, and balances hormones by keeping levels of acne-causing testosterone in check. I recommend experimenting with zinc supplementation in the form of zinc picolinate for around 3 months or so (This made a huge difference in my post- pill acne)


5. Lastly - change up your skincare routine (this is where Beautycounter comes in!)

I’m willing to bet that if you have acne, you’ve already tried nearly every product on the market, just like I did years ago.  As a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, I tried so hard to make the oil cleansing method work for me, but all it did was create a mess of my bathroom and make my skin look greasy. When I finally learned about Beautycounter, a company that aims to remove harmful toxins and chemicals from their skincare products (without compromising performance), I was sold. 


Now i’m a pretty much a Beautycounter whore;  because their products are not only something I can feel good about using because of their non-toxic ingredient list (see their "never" list below), but because they still have that Sephora or BirchBox-quality feel to them.


When I first started using Beautycounter, there were 3 products that improved my adult acne better than ANYTHING else I’ve ever tried. Seriously.

Charcoal Bar

Draws out impurities from the skin without over-drying. I cleanse with this bar morning and night (lasts FOREVER)


Charcoal Mask


I use this mask 1x a week for a spa grade facial and 2-3x a week as a spot treatment.

Balancing Face Oil

for moisturizer (I know what you’re thinking, oil on acne?!? But hear me out- Beautycounter specifically formulated this oil for acne prone skin, to moisturize and balance out levels of skin sebum and actually reduce excess oil production – how cool is that?)

If you are suffering from hormonal acne, those are the 3 I would definitely start with.

Now that i've been experimenting with different products for a while though, there are a few more new things that I absolutely love:  (***Promise!! I've bought a few things that weren't my favorite, so i'm not sharing those. Only ones I adore and use daily)

Rejuvenating radiance serum:

I mix this with a few drops of the balancing oil and use morning and night to help with smoothing fine lines and wrinkles, and even out skin tone. 

Tint Skin Foundation

I finally bought some makeup!!! Real talk, I am absolutely obsessed with this foundation. It is basically a tinted moisturizer with enough coverage to even out skin tone without feeling heavy or clogging pores. IT IS MY ABSOLUTE FAVORITE FOUNDATION I'VE EVER USED. Don't believe me? Check out this article called “The products you should actually be buying from your annoying Facebook friends”. Hah. Told ya.

If you're more into makeup than acne-healing, I hear you! (Teach me!?!) 

Check out some of the best sellers here: 

Lastly, something that i've recently starting doing RELIGIOUSLY while traveling is: 

Facial Massage

Now, you totally can do this by hand (just massage and contour your face in an upward motion) to get your lymph moving. I prefer to use a jade roller tool because it feels nice and cold on my skin. The purpose of the jade roller (and any facial massage) is to promote lymphatic drainage - so, if you've ever experienced puffiness or under-eye circles in the morning, it's due to FLUID build up under the skin that needs to be drained. 

But don't worry, with some facial massage and daily lymphatic drainage you should notice an almost immediate improvement!

lymphatic drainage jade roller

I HIGHLY recommend using a serum + non-pore-clogging facial oil when doing facial massage so you aren't tugging at your skin. Also: always make sure to massage in an upward motion, you never want to be pulling down (gravity does this enough!)

Here’s how to order:

Click and of the links in this post or go here: - and each month i'm usually doing a special promo for anyone who spends over $100, so make sure to watch my daily instagram stories (or e-mail me) to stay in the know!

Shop now!

Specific questions about your skin type? E-mail me at 

Love Your Skin Salad (+ a recipe!)

Today's blog post features a guest recipe from fellow Nutritional Therapy Practitioner and real foodie, Jean Choi of What Great Grandma Ate

Hello, Rebelle Nutrition readers! It’s so nice to meet you all, and I couldn’t be more excited to talk about my favorite topics: skin care and nutrition.

A long, long time ago, back when I had zero interest in how the food we eat affects our health, I was going through various issues that I chose to ignore, like bloating, indigestion, and cramps, as well as dry skin and acne. Little did I know that the processed junk, bread, alcohol, and sugar I was eating were the cause to all those problems! It didn’t help that I was using standard drug store makeup and skincare products that contained toxins and hormone disruptors, creating even more inflammation in my body.

Fast forward to now, and with all my digestive and skin issues gone, I finally realize how much the food we eat impacts both our inner and outer health. I learned that gluten, dairy, and sugar were causing the discomfort I was feeling and the frustrating pimples that would pop up all the time on my face and back.

Our skin health reflects our inner health, and the quicker we realize this and take appropriate steps to nourish our bodies with healthy, whole foods; the faster our skin will respond and improve. By switching to quality meats, vegetables, and non-toxic skin care products, I started seeing drastic improvements in my health and skin.

Today, to give a snippet of what I like to eat for my skin health, I want to share with you a simple and delicious recipe that I like to call Love-Your-Skin Salad, because it contains all the ingredients to nourish you from inside out. Healthy food doesn’t have to be boring and this salad is proof of that! Let’s break down the amazing nutrient-dense ingredients and the benefits they provide for our skin:

Sweet potato. Chock full of vitamin C, sweet potatoes stimulate the production of collagen which help reduce wrinkles.

Chicken. Chicken contains a high amount selenium, which acts like an antioxidant in the body to protect against skin damage from the sun and environmental toxins.

Ghee, avocado oil, avocado, and extra virgin olive oil. We need healthy and nutritious fats like these in our diet to keep our skin moisturized and supple. It’s best to avoid hydrogenated and trans fats, which will further damage our health and skin, but healthy fats like these help to bring down the inflammation in our body. I think of them as a way to “eat your moisturizer!”

Kale. Dark leafy greens like kale are rich in vitamin C to reduce wrinkles, vitamin A to promote healthy cell growth, including in our skin, and vitamin K to improve skin tone!

Pumpkin seeds. Pumpkin seeds are extremely high in zinc, which plays an important role in protecting cell membranes, maintaining collagen, and promoting skin renewal!

Pomegranate seeds. A great source of vitamin C, pomegranate seeds help strengthen the skin and keep it looking youthful.

Garlic. Garlic is high in allicin, which is antifungal and antiaging. It also has skin smoothing benefits and increases antioxidant levels in the body!

Lemon juice. Another food packed with vitamin C and antioxidants! Lemon juice is also amazing for detoxification and improving circulation. I incorporate it in my water everyday!


Hope you enjoy this nourishing Love-Your-Skin salad. 



½ sweet potato, cubed

4-5 oz boneless chicken breast or thigh

1 tbsp + 2 tsp ghee or avocado oil

2 cups chopped kale leaves, stems removed

1 garlic clove, minced

2 tsp balsamic vinegar

2 tbsps raw pumpkin seeds

¼ avocado, sliced thinly

2 tbsp pomegranate seeds

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Juice of ¼ lemon

Salt and pepper, to taste



Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Coat and massage the sweet potato cubes with 1 tsp of ghee or avocado oil.

Generously sprinkle the sweet potato and the chicken with salt and pepper. Place both on a baking sheet in a single layer and bake for 25 minutes, flipping them halfway through. Cut the chicken into thin slices once finished.

While the sweet potato and the chicken are baking, heat 1 tbsp of ghee or avocado oil in a skillet over medium heat.

Add kale, garlic, and balsamic vinegar, and saute until the kale leaves are dark green and soft.

Remove from skillet and transfer to a serving plate.

Heat 1 tsp of ghee or avocado oil in the same skillet. Add pumpkin seeds and cook for 5 minutes while stirring constantly, until puffed and golden.

Add toasted pumpkin seeds, sweet potato cubes, and chicken on top of the kale.

Top with avocado slices and pomegranate seeds, and drizzle everything with olive oil and lemon juice.

Serve warm.

Want more skin tips? 


Jean Choi is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, sugar detox coach, and the Owner and Founder of What Great Grandma Ate. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her fiancé and 2 dogs. As a former sugar addict who found true health by switching to real, whole foods, she is a strong believer that the food you love should love you back! She loves cooking, photography, and traveling, and her biggest passion is to help others discover that healthy home cooking can be fun and easy. Follow her recipes and adventures on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest.

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?)

What Are Collagen Peptides? An Intro To My Favorite Supplement


*This post contains affiliate links*

If you have been reading my blog for awhile you probably know that I am not a huge fan of marketing gimmicks like ‘miracle’ protein shakes and ‘skinny’ teas.

I’ll also be the first to admit that the reason these products don’t sit well with me now is because i’ve been allured by them in the past and wasted a SHIT TON of money on them.

I am very careful to only recommend supplements and products to my clients that I have personally had great success with, and in my opinion are worth the price tag.

Since healing my gut, there are only a few supplements that I take religiously: a daily probiotic, HCL with protein-heavy meals, and my favorite: collagen peptides.

What are collagen peptides?

from the vital proteins website:

"Collagen peptides are short chain amino acids naturally derived from pasture-raised, grass-fed collagen protein. Unlike gelatin, these peptides are soluble in cold liquids as well as hot. Collagen peptides contain the same amino acids as gelatin which are identical to the protein found in skin, nails, hair, bones, cartilage, and joints. Gluten Free, rBGH Free, Non GMO.”

I decided to start using collagen peptides during a time when I was suffering from horrible acne, digestive problems, and hair loss. Needless to say, I became intrigued for vanity reasons but continue to use this product on a daily basis because I have noticed SO many improvements in my health.

What are collagen peptides useful for?

Hair/skin/nail health - Collagen supplementation has been proven to improve skin elasticity and rejuvenation. I believe that supplementing with collagen was one of the most important factors in healing my cystic acne. I have also personally noticed an improvement in how fast my hair and nails grow since starting to use it.


Bones/ joints - Did you know that 90% of our bone mass is collagen? Research has shown that in addition to vitamins and minerals(calcium, vitamin D, k2), collagen supplementation has been shown to stimulate bone formation. Collagen has also been proven as an effective treatment of osteoarthritis and joint pain. (source)

Gut health - the amino acid profile of collagen is similar to that of bone broth, and provides a healing and soothing effect on the digestive tract. It also contains glycine, an amino acid that improves nutrient assimilation and stomach acid production.

Metabolic function - High levels of tryptophan occur from primarily eating the ‘muscle meats’ of animals which is a common practice in our diets today. This can be problematic by causing the amino acid profile of our blood to contain increased cortisol - a stress hormone that interferes with healthy thyroid, hormone, and metabolic function. Collagen contains the amino acids cysteine, methionine and histidine which help to balance out the high levels of tryptophan - ultimately leading to improved metabolic function.

Protein - if you are someone who has a hard time digesting whole-food sources of protein, collagen peptides are an excellent source of bioavailable protein (18 grams per 2 scoop serving). I often recommend collagen as a replacement for other processed, sweetened protein powders.

Added bonus: collagen peptides are completely flavorless, so you can add them to any smoothie, cold/hot beverage, or soup! I personally love using them in my nightly banana soft serve - they give it an extra creamy texture :)


- 1/2 cup almond/ coconut milk (more if consistency is too thick)
- 1-2 frozen bananas
- 1-2 tbsp nut butter (optional)
- dash of salt
- 1/2 tsp vanila
- 1 cup ice
- Stevia/honey to taste (optional)

Blend in Vitamix or other high powered blender until “soft-serve” consistency

- add toppings: chocolate chips, fruit, nuts, whip cream

This is the brand of collagen peptides that I use and recommend:

Vital proteins - I love that they are transparent about their sourcing, and all of their products are from pasture-raised animals.

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

Collagen Peptides vs. Gelatin

Both options are great, in my opinion! Collagen peptides (blue container) dissolve easily into hot or cold drinks, making them a great option for smoothies, soups, baking, you name it!

Gelatin (green container) has all of the same properties as the peptides, but will gel if mixed into cold liquids - so this one is better for hot uses or making gummies :)

Do you use collagen? What improvements have you noticed?

Some of the links above are affiliate links, which means I get a small amount of commission (at no additional cost to you!) if you use them to make a purchase. I appreciate your support!