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Photo courtesy of Kristin Sjaarda.
Photo courtesy of Kristin Sjaarda.

3 Surprising Reasons You Might Be Getting Breakouts

4 min read

The dreaded pimple. Whether it’s a long-term struggle or an occasional nuisance, acne can range from incredibly annoying to impactful on your self-esteem. But, conventional treatments for calming pimples can be super harsh on skin, causing dryness, flaking, irritation—and ultimately, more blemishes. Thankfully, holistic skincare has a few tips for treating acne at home, including three surprising reasons you might be breaking out in the first place.

“Acne is stagnation in the skin or body,” says Julie Clark, founder of Toronto-based holistic skincare line and clinic Province Apothecary. “By finding the cause [of that stagnation], we can help treat the acne.” While a skin and nutrition consultation in person or online is often key to determining how your skin responds, Julie also has a few tips you can try at home right now.

3 Things to Try At Home To Stop Breakouts

1. Make sure you’re getting at least eight hours of sleep.

Yep, “beauty sleep” is a real thing, says Julie. “When we recharge through sleep,” she says, “we help heal the body. It’s between hour four and six that that healing starts.” Your body won’t get the chance to heal, she says, if you’re not getting that full, uninterrupted sleep. Eight hours is what’s really required to reduce your body’s inflammation, which can be the root of acne on the skin. What’s more, she continues, “If you’re not sleeping enough, you can take all your supplements, eat the best foods for you and it still won’t have an impact. You need sleep first.”

2. Drink enough water.

Feels like another “no duh” reason, right? Yeah, but are you actually drinking enough water? “Water hydrates your skin from the inside out,” says Julie, “and often, blackheads or congested skin can be easily eliminated by making sure you’re drinking more water.”

While how much you need daily varies based on your height, weight and physical activity level, a good rule of thumb is to drink between half an ounce and one ounce of water for each pound you weigh, every day. So, if you weigh 150 pounds, you should strive to drink between 75 and 150 ounces of water per day.

3. Hit the bathroom at least once a day.

“Your skin is an organ of detox,” says Julie. If you’re not getting rid of toxins, unnecessary food particles, dead bacteria and other waste via your colon at least once a day, there’s a good chance you’ll see it come out on your skin instead. “It’ll show up on your skin as congestion,” Julie says. “Small bumps that hold oil can be because you’re not having a bowel movement every day.”

Drinking enough water, eating enough fiber and determining if you have any food sensitivities or allergies can help balance your digestive system and encourage necessary daily elimination.

What to Do If You Still Struggle With Acne

If you’re good to go on all of the above and you still struggle with regular pimples, Julie says looking at what you’re putting on your skin topically is the next step. “If you’re using traditional soap as a cleanser or you’re doing harsh exfoliating treatments that deteriorate the microbiome of your skin, you could be causing acne more than you’re healing it,” she continues.

As someone who struggled with sensitive skin and eczema her whole life, Julie knows that using all natural products is key to calming, soothing and treating skin issues. Ensuring that all your skincare products are nontoxic, natural and safe for skin is key. “Read your ingredient lists,” she says, “and get familiar with what you’re actually putting on your skin.” (Hint: You can check out what ingredients you should avoid here.)

If you’ve already made the swap to naturals, Julie suggests cutting back on products that contain coconut oil, shea butter, cocoa butter and rosehip oil. These are traditionally used in a lot of natural products, she says, but they can irritate sensitive or acne-prone skin. She suggests plant oils like calendula, turmeric and jojoba oil in their place. Province Apothecary also offers customized skin serums that can help soothe inflamed skin. You can fill out their online questionnaire, which will help their holistic estheticians determine the best ingredients for you. Then, they’ll blend a serum just for you. “It’s a great way to get a product tailored to you,” says Julie.

Want a few other DIY treatments to try at home? Check out this at-home makeup remover, or this easy rose face mask.

About The Author

Nicolle Mackinnon

Nicolle Mackinnon

Stemming from her personal journey to treat her celiac disease and Hashimoto's thyroiditis, Nicolle serves as a writer and editor for several leading publications helping women understand how important, stylish and fun it is to commit to clean beauty. By way of her contributions to No More Dirty Looks, Thoughtfully Magazine and numerous beauty brands' blogs, websites and social media, Nicolle has become a trusted voice on the correlation between health and beauty. Follow her journey on Instagram and connect with her via nicollemackinnon.com.

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