Five Simple Tips to Healthy Skin

"Healthy skin is an overall reflection of overall wellness" - Dr. Murad

Everyone wants the clear fresh-faced look. You know the look - supple, vibrant, young, glowing, rested. Generally speaking, I had this fresh face look until about 2 years ago when I started having some serious issues with my skin. The first thing I noticed was dark bags under my eyes. I have always had some darkness around my eyes, but it seemed like it was getting worse and worse by the day. Then my face started breaking out. I had pimples popping up on my nose, cheeks, chin, and forehead. It seemed that as soon as one pimple disappeared another one appeared. So I did what anyone would do, I popped them. I had lost my patience. And my lack of patience turned into little pimple sized scars all over my face. Trust, this was anything but fresh-faced, and I needed to make some changes. I have tried tons of different products and skin care routines, and ater a lot of trial and error, here are my five simple healthy skin tips:

  1. Diet - The first time I did a cleanse, I cut out sugar, dairy, and processed foods. And within a few days, one of the first things I noticed was clear skin. When I eat junk - fried food, sugar, dairy (yes, I consider dairy to be junk), etc. - within a few days I will see pimples on my forehead. Generally speaking, pimples on the forehead are a sign of a bad diet. There is no product (or pill) that takes the place of a good clean diet. That means lots, fruits and vegetables, lean proteinand complex carbohydrates; no processed foods and dairy; and minimal white flour and sugar. Studies have shown that dairy, even organic and varieties without added hormones, all contain natural hormones that can lead to acne. In addition, dairy is one of the most inflammatory foods you can eat. To take care of your skin, you want to eat as many anti-inflammatory foods as possible. If you are having issues with acne, I challenge you to cut out dairy for 10 days, and see what a big of a difference it makes for your skin. Is cheese worth acne? In addition to eating well, you need to drink tons of water. I know I talk about the importance of drinking water in like every single blog post, but really, it is a life changer.
  2. Raw African Black Soap - This antioxidant rich soap is by far the best soap that I have ever used in my life, period. The soap is made from the ashes of plantain skin, cocoa pod and palm leaves, and palm oil from leaves or kernels. Black soap protects the skin from free radical damage, which is a cause of premature skin aging, wrinkles and facial lines. It also firms and fades discolorations, improving skin texture and promotes supple and glowing skin. But probably the most important thing, is that it eases the symptoms of skin conditions like acne. Black soap helps lessen, treat and clear acne, gets rid of blackheads, psoriasis and eczema. I have been using black soap for about 6 months, and I know I will never go back. I tried drug store products and fancy products from Sephora, and nothing compares to the results I have seen with this simple, natural, and cost effective alternative. I usually get my black soap from Amazon, here is a link. Thanks to the bestie Tiffany for putting me on Black Soap! (Love ya girl)
  3. Hawaiian Toner and Moisturizer - After I had a good soap, I needed a good moistruizer. I needed something that was light with good organic ingredients but wasn't oily or expensive. My esthetician (I try to get a facial twice per year), recommend Hawaiian Aloe and Green Tea Oil Moisturizer by Alba Botanica. It moisturizers my face without leaving my oily and it smells great. It's only like 10 bucks, you can even get it from Target, and it lasted me about 4 months, so I can't complain. I also use the toner. I have to admit, I am not totally sold on the value of this toner. But it is apart of my current routine and my face is doing really good right now, so I am not going to change a thing.
  4. Wash Your Face - I know this seems obvious, but how many times have you "accidentally" fallen asleep without washing the day off your face. This is a really bad habit that you have to break. When I get home from work, and I know I am in for the day, I immediately wash my face. For one, this gets my make-up off sooner, which gives my skin more time to breath. And two, it decreases the chances that I will fall asleep without a clean face. Another tip, make sure you wash your face BEFORE and AFTER you work out. Heat opens your pores and helps to cleanse your face. Good thing. However, when your pores are opening during your work out, you are letting all of the impurities and makeup that have latched onto your face from the day straight into your pores. So before you work up a sweat, wash your face. After you are done with your workout, your pores are open and this is the perfect time to wash your face so you can get a deeper clean. So if you wash your face correctly, working out is even good for your skin! #winning
  5. Avoid Exfoliating Daily - One of the first new face washes I tried was Ambi Skincare Even & Clear Exfoliating Wash. At first, I thought that this stuff was great, because I felt like the exfoliation was giving me a "deeper clean." But after a few months of use, my face starting feeling sensitive to the touch. New studies advise to steer clear of face washes with abrasive elements such as apricot seeds, ground nuts, or other textured scrubs as these can tear the skin on your face. That tight feeling on your face after scrubbing with something abrasive is not healthy for your skin. Exfoliation every day is just way too harsh for the skin. Not to mention, the ingredients in that Ambi stuff are just awful, but I digress. Now, I only exfoliate once a week, usually on Sunday's, and I use Charcoal and Black Sugar Polishing Mask. I wash my face with my black soap, then I put this on the polishing mask while I take my shower. After my shower, I rinse it off and apply my moisturizer. This stuff is pretty great!

If anyone has any other great products or face care routines to share with us, please leave them in the comments!