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How To Get Clear Skin Naturally

By: Brandi Black, RHN

Imagine having clear, flawless skin that glows from the inside out. You no longer need makeup or cover up to hide blemishes before you leave the house, and the last thing you think of when you're out with friends is sneaking off to the bathroom to check on a spot.

Part of feeling confident and comfortable in your own skin is having a clear complexion. And while it can seem impossible to get radiant and clear skin while you're suffering from acne breakouts, learning how to get clear skin naturally may be easier than you think, and it all begins by improving your internal health.

I believe that acne is an inside job. And by this, I mean that breakouts can be a sign that your primary organs of detoxification are overburdened with toxins especially your liver.

Now, of course, acne breakouts can be triggered by certain skin care products that clog pores or irritate the skin. But from a holistic perspective, acne breakouts that are beyond the occasional spot are a sign your liver is overburdened with toxins.

Since toxins come at us from all directions on a daily basis (from pollution in the air we breathe, chemicals in our food and water supply and even natural metabolic waste products), the liver certainly has no shortage of work to do. And when your liver becomes overburdened, toxins can begin to get eliminated through your skin, which is your largest organ of detoxification.

These toxins can sneak their way through your pores and manifest as blackheads, whiteheads, pimples and rashes. This is why supporting your internal health through your diet and lifestyle is just as important for treating acne breakouts - if not more - than a topical skin care routine. So how can you get clear skin naturally? It starts by looking inward at your lifestyle choices.

Other Common Causes of Acne Breakouts 

Acne breakouts can also be a sign of underlying food sensitivities, in particular, to dairy, wheat or gluten. While it's not entirely clear exactly how these foods cause acne, besides that they're pro-inflammatory foods, many people report a significant improvement in their skin and a reduction in breakouts when they remove them from their diet[1].

White or refined sugar found in baked goods, pasta, cookies, candy and soda is also a common clear skin offender. This is because white sugar causes a rapid spike in your blood sugar levels when it enters your body, and triggers the rapid release of the hormone insulin. Insulin helps bring sugar out of your bloodstream and into your cells to be used or stored as energy.

Now, blood sugar regulation is a natural process. However, it's not natural to have your blood sugar levels erratically spike and crash due to refined sugar consumption. You see, refined sugar is void of fiber and other essential nutrients such as protein and healthy fats, that help slow the release of sugar into your bloodstream and keep blood sugar levels stabilized.

Since hormones work so closely together, your natural hormone balance can be thrown off when one hormone is being overproduced, such as insulin. In fact, it's been shown that when insulin is overproduced, it can cause your androgen hormone levels to spike[2]. And androgens trigger the production of sebum (or oil) through your skin, which can result in clogged pores.

That being said, any food or substance that disrupts blood sugar levels can trigger acne breakouts, including caffeine and stress. This is why managing your stress levels and avoiding caffeine is often recommended as part of a clear skin protocol.

And while acne breakouts can have several causes (and often more than just one), there are universal solutions that can help you get clear skin naturally by supporting your internal health. So, if you're wondering how to finally achieve clear skin, here are 6 natural ways to do so.

1. Drink a Green Smoothie First Things in the Morning 

As previously mentioned, the health of your liver can directly impact whether your skin breaks out, or whether it glows. For this reason, it's important to incorporate several liver supportive foods in your diet, such as dark leafy greens and antioxidant vitamins, such as vitamin C.

One of the easiest ways to get an abundance of liver supportive nutrients in your diet is by drinking a green smoothie each day. I recommend having a green smoothie first thing in the morning on an empty stomach so that the digestion and absorption of the nutrients in the smoothie aren't interfered with by other foods.

If you're looking for a delicious green smoothie recipe that incorporates plenty of liver supportive nutrients, I recommend this Chlorella Pina Colada Green Smoothie Recipe.

The dark leafy greens and vitamin C from the pineapple help support liver detoxification, while the fiber and healthy fats from the avocado slow the release of natural sugars into your bloodstream, which keep blood sugar levels stabilized. And as you now know, it's essential to keep your blood sugar levels balanced to prevent acne breakouts.

2. Replace Refined Sugar With Natural Sweeteners 

Now that you've received the 411 on how refined sugar can wreak havoc on your blood sugar levels, it only makes sense to begin replacing refined sugar with natural sweeteners. Natural sweeteners such as green leaf stevia, xylitol, raw honey or pure maple syrup have less of an impact on your blood sugar levels because they aren't as concentrated as white sugar.

While stevia and xylitol contain no sugar at all, raw honey and maple syrup are less concentrated in sugar than refined sugar, which doesn't have as negative of an impact on blood sugar levels.

3. Take a Probiotic Supplement 

Improving your digestion by replenishing your levels of healthy gut bacteria can also help prevent acne breakouts. We all have a delicate balance of good and bad bacteria in our gut, as both varieties are needed for our health and wellness. But when the bad bacteria outnumber the good bacteria, it can create extra toxicity in your digestive system.

An overgrowth of bad bacteria can be caused by several factors, including stress, frequent antibiotic use and a diet high in refined sugar and processed foods. If left unresolved, an overgrowth of bad bacteria can lead to a condition called candida, or yeast overgrowth. One of the most common symptoms of candida is persistent acne breakouts.

When your digestive system is full of unfriendly bacteria, it not only adds an extra burden of toxicity to your liver, but it can also impair your body's natural ability to eliminate toxins. For this reason, taking a probiotic supplement each day can help clear up your skin by preventing the overgrowth of bad bacteria, while increasing your levels of good bacteria. In short, the healthier your gut is, the better your skin will look on the outside.

4. Increase and Track Your Water 

Water is one of the best natural remedies for achieving clear skin. After all, water is the most important substance your body requires to help flush acne causing toxins from your system. Water also helps keep your skin hydrated, which promotes a more youthful looking appearance.

Now, it's one thing for me to recommend increasing your water intake, which can be achieved by incorporating extra fresh fruits and vegetables into your diet, having a glass of water as soon as you wake up and keeping a full water bottle with you to drink from throughout the day. But it's also important to track your water to see how much you are drinking on a daily basis.

Due to the nature of our busy schedules, it can seem like we're getting enough water during the day, but by the time we go to bed we've only had 4 or 5 glasses. Furthermore, coffee, alcoholic beverages and exercise dehydrate us, which require us to further increase our water intake.

For this reason, tracking your water consumption by using an app such as Waterlogged (or by documenting it on a note in your smartphone) is important to show you exactly when you need to be drinking more water, which directly helps improve the appearance of your skin.

As a general guideline, the amount of water you should be drinking (without factoring in dehydrating beverages or exercise) is ½ your body weight in pounds, divided by two, which equals the approximate ounces of water you need each day. For example, if you weigh 160 pounds, your daily water intake should be roughly 80 ounces. An extra glass should be added for each alcoholic or caffeinated beverage consumed.

5. Befriend Healthy Fats 

Fats were once thought to be the enemy of health, but it's now becoming common knowledge that healthy fats are needed by your body for several reasons— from cognitive function to skin health.

Healthy fats, such as omega 3 essential fatty acids, are the building blocks of healthy cell membranes, which directly improve the appearance of your skin.

Omega 3 essential fatty acids are found in wild caught salmon, hemp hearts, chia seeds and flaxseed. Having wild salmon in place of chicken, beef or other sources of animal protein can help increase the omega 3's in your diet, and hemp hearts and flaxseed make a great addition to smoothies, oatmeal and salads. Chia seeds also taste delicious as a snack or breakfast pudding, as they form a jelly-like texture that can be customized with your favorite fresh fruits. 

6. Take Chlorella 

Chlorella is an amazing green superfood that contains several nutrients that promote cellular health, as well as digestive health. Chlorella contains fiber to promote digestion and elimination of toxins, as well as antioxidant vitamins such as beta-carotene that help support the liver's detoxification process.

 Chlorella also contains the unique nutrient Chlorella Growth Factor or CGF, which provides the body with nucleic acids. Nucleic acids help cells repair and regenerate, which naturally improves the appearance of skin.

ou can take chlorella as a nutritional supplement with Sun Chlorella tablets, and add chlorella to your favorite juice or smoothie recipes with Sun Chlorella granules or Sun Chlorella Absolute, pure pulverized chlorella powder.

But juices and smoothies aren't the only recipes chlorella pairs well with. You can also receive the skin supportive benefits of Sun Chlorella by adding it to raw food recipes. We've compiled a recipe book with our favorite raw chlorella dinner, lunch, smoothie and dessert recipes called Chlorella in the Kitchen. (The Chlorella Lime Pie is a personal favorite!)

About Brandi Black, RHN
Brandi Black is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist from Vancouver, B.C. Experiencing her own health challenges at a young age led her to become passionate about educating on the healing properties of food, and how to achieve hormone balance, clear skin and sustainable weight loss naturally. In her spare time you'll find Brandi writing in her blog and hanging out with her teacup chihuahua, Coconut.

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[1] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3705319/ 
[2] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18615851