When speaking to people about their acne, a common complaint I hear is, “I eat well and I exercise. I’m pretty healthy, so why is my skin still bad?”
I’m always happy to hear that people are beginning to understand their overall health has an affect on their skin. The problem seems to be that people think being healthy is just about eating well. When they don’t see complete improvement in their skin, they keep thinking they must not be eating healthy enough. They’ll keep fine tuning their diet, trying to figure out what else they should cut out, or look for some super food they need to add in.
If you already eat healthy (lots of colorful produce, good fats and proteins, minimal processed food and sugar), you’re doing fine. You aren’t going to heal your skin more by continually trying to eat “better”.
There comes a point when improving the things you’re already doing well has diminishing returns. Polishing a strong point is only going to help so much.
And sometimes it can turn into a detriment. As someone who almost developed an eating disorder trying to heal her own skin, I can now tell you that enjoying what you eat is just as important as what you actually eat. If you analyze every bite, obsess about whether or not it’s helping your skin, or if you stress about what else you should cut out of your diet – it’s time to try a different approach. Eating well is a big help, I always encourage it, but it’s not the only work that needs to be done.
Healthy skin comes from wellness – physical, mental and emotional health. If you feel physically healthy, eat well, get good exercise, don’t have digestive problems, then you’ve probably got the physical side covered well enough for now.
It’s time to start digging deeper. How is your mental health? Are you stressed a lot? Anxious? Are you moody? If so, it’s probably time you started focusing on healing that side of your health.
Look for ways to cut out stress where you can. List out things that cause you stress or anxiety and ask yourself if there are ways to avoid or change these stressors. For the things that cannot be changed or ignored, find ways to help manage your stress load. Take up yoga, learn a breathing exercise, try meditation, or do anything else that calms and relaxes you on a regular basis.
Or maybe it’s your emotional side that needs some healing. How is your confidence? Your self-esteem and self image? Do you like yourself? Do you like being you?
If your gut response here is to say, “well if my skin were better, I’d have more confidence!” I need to be honest with you. If you’re someone who hides from the world because of your skin, it’s pretty likely that with or without acne, there is a deeper insecurity issue. It’s easy for a fragile ego to hide behind acne, and then blame the acne for the problem.
You may think acne causes you to feel bad about yourself, but sometimes feeling bad about yourself causes the acne.
Getting to the heart of the problem, learning to love and appreciate yourself regardless of how your skin looks can be the most empowering experience and can do wonders for your skin.
Start by treating yourself like you would a friend. You would never tell a friend she looked bad, that she’s ugly, that she’d be better if she had better skin. So stop saying those things to yourself. Catch yourself when you start thinking these types of thoughts, and tell yourself right out loud, “Stop. This isn’t helping.”
I will have much more to say on this in posts to come, but that is a very good start.
Just remember – when it comes to holistically healing your skin, don’t keep fixing what you’re already doing well. It’s often the area you’re avoiding or not working on at all that needs the most attention, and will bring you the most results.
If you’re still not sure where to start, reach out and I’ll try to help.