This post contains affiliate links to resources I've found helpful during my journey to healthy skin.
For a long time, acne broke my heart. It cast a shadow over everything – my work, my finances, my social life, even my marriage. It doesn’t matter how many times the person who loves you tells you you’re beautiful. If you don’t believe it’s true, nothing and no one can convince you otherwise.
I spent so many tears, hours, and dollars on acne treatments.
Nothing worked. I was well into my thirties, had a happy marriage, a beautiful son, and a thriving career as a chiropractor, but I had the painful, swollen skin of a hormonal teenager.
A dermatologist offered to prescribe spirolactone, which is a diuretic typically used to treat high blood pressure, or Accutane, the side effects of which were as bad (if not worse!) than my acne symptoms.
As a health professional, I have very specific ideas about the types of products I am willing to use. I was not going to put something in my body that required me to monitor my liver function! I decided that prescription medications were not the right choice for me.
I spent countless hours researching alternatives to medication.
The more I began to understand about my skin, the more I realized that the products sold at the store are not safe. Here I was slathering these products all over my body. When you consider what the skin does and how it functions, and knowing that it is the largest organ that the body uses to remove toxins, it was no wonder I was having acne.
It became clear that I was going about my acne treatment all wrong. I needed to heal my body from the inside out. I’d had acne since I was a teenager. It took me a long time to get here, it was going to take some time to heal.
I determined I was going to do it naturally.
My healing journey started with a book titled The Adrenal Thyroid Revolution, by Dr. Aviva Romm. I learned so much from Dr. Romm’s research and advice. As I followed her plan I began to feel much better mentally. I felt less fatigued. Unfortunately, not only did my acne not improve, it got a little bit worse!
I was so frustrated. I was eating the cleanest I ever had, yet I still had acne.
Next, I went to see a naturopathic doctor who recommended a liver detox. Again, I don’t think this was a bad experience, but this time my cystic acne became worse.
I continued my research.
I decided to try the autoimmune protocol diet, which is like a strict version of paleo. My husband supported me every step of the way. He followed every diet and never stopped reassuring me that whatever happened, I was beautiful.
We were on the autoimmune protocol for about three months when we went on a vacation and didn’t have any paleo options. For lack of options, I ate some chickpeas – only chickpeas! – for lunch. By that evening I had new breakouts.
I was stumped.
I thought legumes were supposed to be good for me, but this was not what I was experiencing. I’d been snacking on carrots and hummus like it was going out of style thinking I was doing right by my body.
Today, I am so thankful this happened. Since then I have followed a fairly strict paleo diet, with no legumes, and it has helped. I now understood why my symptoms became worse when following the previous dietary advice I had been given.
Once I’d stumbled upon a possible solution, I could target my research.
I came across a post from someone dealing with similar issues to mine. We’d had similar struggles, but she was further along in her healing. I learned that my deodorant or shampoo where possibly part of the cause of my acne. This seemed crazy to me, but I was willing to try anything at this point.
I went all out and detoxed my entire environment. We got rid of all the plastics in our kitchen. I changed my shampoo to an SLS free version (more on this later), changed my deodorant to a natural one (more on this later), started making my own body butter, and best of all I started using Beauty Counter makeup and skin care products.
Miraculously, my skin started to clear up.
I was no longer putting crap on my body that my skin had to figure out how to get rid of. This helped so much, but I was still having a little cystic acne, which for me has been hormonal. The cherry on top was the addition of collagen protein powder (vital proteins).
Collagen has so many benefits, from healing your gut to helping to balance your hormones. Finally, I have found a way to treat both my acne and cystic acne naturally.
And finally, I have clearer skin that I am not afraid to show the world. It is not perfect but it is so much better than it was. I do still have the occasional break out, but they are much fewer and farther in between. Best of all I don’t feel like I have to hide behind my makeup.
Hi! I am Ammie Chapman, mother, wife, chiropractor and clean living fan. I have had my struggles with health issues that I have been able to treat with diet and lifestyle changes. I am hoping it may help you too.
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