SKIN SERIES | When Diet Doesn't Fix Everything
This is another post about challenging those pesky expectations of yours. In a good way. I promise. This is for those of you who have diligently cleaned up your diet to no avail. You're feeling frustrated, hopeless, "the Internet/hormonal health guru/Paleo blogger said this would work!" I've been there. Some days I still am there. BUT this is not the time to give up. You are on the right track. The disconnect you're experiencing is that diet is only a piece of the puzzle. In many ways, this is where the wellness world is doing you a disservice. There is so much emphasis on detoxing your liver, fixing your gut, and avoiding certain foods that we ignore the other areas of our life that could use a little tune up. For example, if you are CHRONICALLY STRESSED OUT then your squeaky clean diet doesn't mean a damn thing. So while you're focusing on becoming the least inflamed person possible via your diet, let's troubleshoot and look at some lifestyle factors that could be sabotaging your skin.
- STRESS. I've said it before and you'll hear it again. Stress is major. Often times, we don't even realize just how stressed we are. I didn't. In fact, when I was in law school, I started experiencing debilitating stomach cramps. They disappeared as mysteriously as they appeared after a few months. It took me years to make the connection that it was just stress. I still struggle with anxiety to this day and it takes a lot of self care and downtime to keep it in check. A LOT. That's okay. Take baths, go for a walk, get a massage, and don't feel the least bit bad about it. We all have different ways of dealing with stress.
- SLEEP. Invest in an eye mask or blackout curtains posthaste. Getting 7 to 8 hours (or more!) of shut eye a night is a necessity. I'm as guilty of looking at my phone right before bed as the next guy so let's work on this one together, okay?!
- PICKING. My stress often manifests in picking behavior and I have a feeling yours might too. Stop. Touching. Your. Face. It not only physically makes the situation worse; it takes a mental toll. If you have to mess with your skin then try facial massage with a nifty tool like this. But hands off, okay?
- YOUR PRODUCTS. Sometimes a skin cleanse is in order. This is especially relevant if your skin is feeling itchy and super sensitive. Whatever you are doing is not working. I'm sorry. So ditch everything except a gentle cleanser and a simple moisturizer. The fewer ingredients the better. If the idea of a complete product detox is horrifying, then spend a little time researching the companies making your products. Your sole focus should be on optimizing the health of your skin, i.e. helping your skin help itself and then getting out of the way. And that should be your products' focus too. Avoid wild claims, trendy ingredients, and 14 step regimens. Once you find your skincare soulmates, give them time to work.
- ANDROGEN SENSITIVITY. Admittedly, this isn't really a lifestyle factor, but it's really, really important to remember why your skin is acting the way that it does. Androgen sensitivity. Remember that androgens enlarge your pores and boost sebum production. BUT, most women with acne have normal androgen levels when tested. What gives. Say it with me, androgen sensitivity. So what does that mean? It just means that your skin has a penchant for sucking up as much free testosterone as possible. So going from constant breakouts all over your face to a few blemishes here and there is a huge win. Remember how far you've come.
I know this post is a little scattered, but my goal is to offer you some peace of mind if dietary changes haven't yielded the kind of clarity you were hoping for. Hang in there. We got this!
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