{Eating Pretty} a quick skin story

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I have never considered myself blessed, or even somewhat lucky, in the skin department. I've dealt with almost everything, from keratosis pilaris (aka little red bumps) on my arms since childhood, to adult hormonal acne, to cystic acne due to food sensitivities from gluten & dairy. With all that, I feel pretty comfortable admitting to trying out far too many different products, both chemical-full and organic/homemade to try to remedy my issues. Some products or regimens have worked for a few months at a time, but my skin issues seem to return just when I'm finally feeling like they're gone for good. 

For some reason, it took me THIS long to realize that my most recent skin struggle probably has more to do with the food I'm eating than with the topical products I'm using (or not using for that matter). After switching to "work-from-home" status in April of this year, I significantly cut back on wearing makeup, switched over to organic and natural skincare products, AND even increased my daily water intake. You'd think all those things would do wonders for my skin. But in my case, it actually got worse! 

After a desperate attempt to cure my horrible outbreak of cystic acne (at one point I counted 15 active & painful cysts on my cheeks and forehead), I used tea tree oil as a spot treatment after reading on several sources that it was one of the best essential oils for skin issues due to its antiseptic properties. To make a long story short, I ended up with some pretty severe chemical burns all over my face and a rash on my neck/arms that took almost 2 weeks to fully heal. WARNING: please never, ever apply tea tree oil directly to your skin unless you dilute it with plenty of water first. I learned this the hard way. MAJOR eye roll.

 
 

After a solid freak-out session over the oil-induced burns and hiding in my room for 2 weeks like a monster in a cave, I came across this sudden epiphany that I couldn't believe I had taken this long to have: stop eating gluten and dairy. 

There's tons of info out there on the interwebz about how both gluten and dairy are huge causes of skin inflammation. Most people live their entire lives with these food sensitivities (bloating, indigestion, acne) and have no idea whats causing it or why its happening in general. Before going to do an official food allergy test, I took it upon myself (a-la personal challenge) to completely cut both gluten and diary from my diet for a full month. After a month and a half, I can honestly say it has done WONDERS for my cystic acne problems. I currently don't have any active cysts, and my scarring is fading pretty nicely. I also feel lighter, less bloated, and a little smaller around the waist. Although I'm not sure if I've actually lost any weight since I never weigh myself.  

 
 

I'm now on a journey to test which of the 2 (or perhaps both) food groups I'm sensitive to. I've incorporated gluten back into my diet, but still no dairy. After a month, I'll gauge my results, then try to eliminate the other to see what the final outcome is. Although I'm almost 100% convinced it's dairy, we'll see what the results bring forward. 

After all my hours of research about food, skin, and their relationship, I came across this awesome photo on Pinterest about what foods you can eat to achieve certain skin goals:

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 It's interesting to see how many of these you already incorporate into your diet, and which you might need to make a bit more of an effort to add in. My go-to (and favorite from this list) is cucumbers, what's yours?

Xx Laura