How To Get Clearer Skin, Naturally
Want the secrets on how to get clearer skin? These are the tips we wish we’d known a long time ago!
Whether you’re dealing with acne, eczema, oily skin, dry skin (the list goes on…) there are some universal hints that remain somewhat of a secret in the conventional beauty industry.
And while we all know it’s as much about what we put in our bodies as what we put on our skin in the form of cleansers, serums and treatments, there are actually some pretty specific things you can do internally to help achieve clearer skin.
How to Get Clearer Skin – Gut Skin Connection
It’s no coincidence that three of our four skin-clearing tips focus on the gut. There’s a lot of advice out there about simply ‘drinking more water’, ‘eating antioxidants’ or cleansing acne-prone skin twice per day. But based on the current research, and my own personal experience, looking at your gut health will be a far better use of your time and effort in the quest to achieve beautiful, clear skin!
Personally, healing my gut has worked miracles for my skin. I was a little hesitant to post the oh-so-flattering before / after pics below, but I want you to see the power of this stuff in action. These two pictures were taken about 6 months apart. In the before shot, I was miserable with all that eczema. After 6 months of intensive gut healing, I think the results speak for themselves!
FYI this all started about a year ago, when my leaky gut (then unknown to me – no gut symptoms!) got to the point where I broke out in eczema all over my face, neck, arms and legs. It’s quite a long story, that actually has a post of its own. But as you can see, healing my gut has made a night and day difference to my skin.
My 4 Tips for Naturally Clearer Skin
In the 4 tips below, I’m sharing with you my TOP strategies for how to get clearer skin.
Don’t worry – you certainly don’t have to be suffering with skin conditions like eczema or acne to benefit. As a matter of fact, I’d recommend these tips for anybody who wants to healthy, glowing skin!
#1 Stop Feeding Bad Bacteria
When healing the gut and the skin, a good place to start is to stop feeding the bad populations of bacteria and yeast in the gut.
Bad bacteria and yeasts tend to thrive off refined simple sugars. These should be the first things you eliminate from your diet if you want great skin! We’re talking sugary snacks, soft drinks / soda, and processed foods. That includes processed foods you may not suspect like bread, pasta and cereals (no matter how they are branded!).
When my gut was at its worst, I also needed to avoid some more complex whole food carbohydrates – in particular starchy polysaccharides – for a time. In the case of an impaired or leaky gut, these starchy carbohydrates can be difficult to break down and become food for bad bacteria and yeasts. Some common starchy polysaccharides include sweet potato, potato, legumes and rice. I wouldn’t recommend you start avoiding these foods without a diagnosis – but if you’re working with a functional practitioner or naturopath, they may advise avoiding these carbohydrates while the gut heals.
#2 Introduce Probiotics
It’s one thing to starve out the bad bacteria and yeasts in the gut, but you also want to rebuild the good populations and add diversity. Introducing good strains of bacteria helps to control populations of bad bacteria, soothe inflammation, modulate the immune system and – in turn – improve the skin. This is where probiotics come in!
You may be familiar with probiotic pills, but there are also many natural sources of probiotics available in fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kim chi and kefir. These guys can be pretty potent – since the bacteria are actively thriving on their food source, unlike bottled probiotics which are in a more dormant state.
It’s up to you which type of probiotic you use – in fact, it’s good to switch it up! Having said that, I would warn *from experience* that if you suffer with eczema, you may want to tread carefully with fermented foods. Fermented foods are high in histamine and salicylates, which can in some cases flare eczema. In my case, when my gut was at its worst, a teaspoon of kefir was enough to swell my eyes shut!
Related: How I Healed Eczema Naturally
When working with probiotics, I’ll also say that your skin may get a little worse before it gets better. This of course depends on the state of your skin, and the state of your gut. Combined with Step 1 above, introducing probiotics will start to cause some big changes to the conditions and ‘landscape’ of your gut. Detox symptoms (e.g. fatigue, mood swings, skin breakouts, night sweats, etc) can be expected. This is ultimately a good thing, but remember – there’s nothing wrong with going low and slow!
#3 Feed Good Bacteria with Prebiotics
Not to be confused with probiotics, prebiotics are another crucial part of promoting gut and skin health. Put simply, prebiotics are the food for good bacteria in the gut. They are carbohydrates that contain soluble fibre – a type of fibre that good bacteria love and thrive on.
Without prebiotics, taking probiotics alone won’t be too much use. While you will get benefits of the healthy bacteria moving through your gut, without a source of food it’s unlikely that any real shift in the balance and diversity of bacteria will happen.
Here are some great sources of prebiotics:
- jerusalem artichoke
- sweet potato
- resistant starch.
#4 Manage Stress (as if your life depended on it!)
Stress can really wreak havoc with our health – from our hormone balance to our gut permeability. In fact, stress alone is one of the major contributors to developing a leaky gut and other gut conditions.
The funny thing is, I used to think that managing my stress levels was optional! I indulged in crappy moods, allowed myself to dwell on negative thoughts and put up with bad situations. I had NO IDEA it would have any consequences for my health.
I’ve since learned that stress, especially long-term chronic stress, can certainly undo a ‘perfect’ diet. During the many months that I worked on healing my eczema, I realised that flare-ups often occurred following a period of stress. Even an afternoon spent worrying about something silly would seem to undo days’ worth of adhering to a strict, clean diet. Getting my stress levels and mind under control finally had to become my top priority – if I wanted to heal, I simply had no choice!
I don’t suggest you let it get to that stage! But if you want to help improve your skin (and overall health), you must develop strategies to manage stress. This can be the hardest tip of all to implement because you may need to adjust the way you look at life – which is a tad bit more challenging than taking a probiotic!
Our favourite ways to de-stress are to go out in nature, practice mindfulness / meditation and get enough exercise. We find these are all great ways to stay grounded, maintain perspective and best of all – get out of the head and into the body!
Start Healing Your Gut Today!
Healing your gut is the #1 thing you can do for your physical health + wellbeing, so don’t leave it a day longer!
If you’re ready to start putting all these tips into action, be sure to download our FREE Week 1 Plan. It includes all our essential tips and tricks to start the gut healing journey, plus a detailed Meal Plan outlining breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks for your first week!