Where I fell short with the height genes (no pun intended), I lucked out in the skin department. Most of the time, my face stays pretty clear — a little redness here, a few blackheads there, but ultimately problem-free. Then, out of nowhere, my normally clear skin starts breaking out, seemingly without any warning whatsoever. Why was my clear skin getting acne?
Up until about two years ago, I had no idea why, and I just didn’t question it. Then I started getting into holistic health, clean living, and nutrition, and the first thing I learned was that absolutely nothing your body does is merely “bad luck” or a “coincidence.” When your body reacts in such a way, it’s because it is reacting to something specific, and your skin is probably the biggest example of that theory. When otherwise-clear skin starts to break out, it’s time to listen to it, and it’s time to ask yourself some questions.
What’s causing this? What have my sleep patterns been like? Everything from hormones to the chemicals in your skincare regiment have a huge effect on the look and feel of your skin, so if you wake up one day with three new and unexpected blemishes, here are a few possible reasons why.
1. Your Harsh Daily Cleanser Could Be Irritating — Try Gentle Rosewater, Instead
Alteya Organic Bulgarian Rose Water, $16, Amazon
When you’re having a particularly temperamental skin day, regular water might not cut it, but reaching for a harsh over-the-counter product can feel drying and irritating. This Alteya organic Bulgarian rose water contains only 100 percent pure and USDA-certified organic rosewater, steam distilled from natural petals that are loaded with essential vitamins and minerals to nourish your skin. It’s also anti-inflammatory and balances the pH of your skin, and people love it as a toner or a wash because it smells incredible and leaves skin feeling silky smooth. One thrilled reviewer says, "I use this on my face as a 'toner' morning and night, after cleansing and before moisturizer. I have changed nothing else (using the same oil-free cleanser and moisturizer that I have for years), and my skin looks better than it ever has in my life."
2. Your Exfoliator Is No Match for Inflammation; Heal Skin With Moisturizing Honey
Tree Hut Shea Sugar Scrub, $19, Amazon
Honey is a great all-natural remedy for mild and occasional skin issues, as it is anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, moisturizing, and filled with vitamins that nourish the skin. This Tree Hut shea sugar scrub makes for a gentle and cleansing exfoliator, as it’s filled with real honey, shea butter, sweet almond oil, primrose oil, avocado oil, sugar grains, and bits of almond to buff away old skin and hydrate the fresh layers underneath. The ratings on this guy are incredible, and the reviews put it pretty simply: “This scrub is absolutely amazing; I cannot rave about it enough,” and “Smells amazing and exfoliates like a dream.”
3. Your Body Is Producing More Oil Than Usual — Detox Pores With Charcoal
Body Merry Charcoal Mud Mask, $17, Amazon
An oily face isn’t something that plagues me every single day, but three or four days before my period, it’s like a deep fryer up in this place. Constantly attempting to control oil production is counterintuitive — it’ll cause your body to create even more oil to compensate, but an occasional all-natural mud mask is a great way to balance skin during an onslaught of oil. This Body Merry charcoal mud mask is a number one new release because it has awesome ingredients like charcoal powder and bentonite to pull out any excess oils and impurities, as well as blackberry, raspberry, and cranberry extracts to deliver antioxidants and heal skin. A natural glow, a gentle exfoliation, and a difference after a single use are only some of the great results that are being talked about.
4. You Might Be Low On Healthy Fats — Work Coconut Oil Into Your Meals, Or Even Use Topically
Island Fresh Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, $22, Amazon
If you have sudden and unexplained breakouts, remember that meals high in healthy fats and lipids can bind to G-receptor proteins to balance hormones. If you think you’re not getting enough good fat, coconut oil is one of your best options, and this Island Fresh organic extra virgin coconut oil is some of the highest quality out there. It’s cold-pressed, virgin, unrefined, USDA-certified organic, and non-GMO, which means that it’s created in such a way that leaves all its health-giving qualities totally intact. While it’s actually incredible for topical use as a moisturizer, too, people cook with it, bake with it, make smoothies with it, spread it on toast, and some even put it in their morning coffee.
5. Your Soap Is Stripping Essential Oils And Flora — Turn To African Black Soap, Instead
Organic African Black Soap, $15, Amazon
We have two serious misconceptions in this country: First, everything needs to be sterile. Second, oil leads to breakouts. In actuality, good oils and bacteria on the surface of your skin help to keep it clean, moisturized, and healthy, and by stripping these things with harsh antibacterial soaps, you might end up with dry and acne-prone skin. This organic African black soap has nourishing and hydrating ingredients like coconut oil, unrefined shea butter, plantain skin ash, and vitamin E, all of which treat breakouts gently and without killing your skin’s natural flora. It’s got incredibly high reviews because it smells great, leaves skin feeling amazingly smooth, and treats everything from blemishes to eczema.
6. You're Allowing Stress And Cortisol Levels To Go Through The Roof; Counteract Anxiety With Aromatherapy
Stress Relief Blend, $8, Amazon
Are your breakouts and public speaking events directly related? There’s a huge chance that stress is the culprit. When you’re constantly tense, your body creates cortisol, which causes inflammation, an imbalance in hormones, excess sugar in the body, and — you guessed it — acne. Switch from sympathetic mode (fight or flight) to parasympathetic mode (resting) with this stress relief blend. This aromatherapeutic formula has a stress-relieving blend of bergamot, patchouli, blood orange, ylang ylang, and grapefruit, without any fillers or carrier oils, so you get the most potent and effective result. Put it in a diffuser for aromatherapy use, into your bath water for a spa-like evening in, or right on your skin for a therapeutic scent that follows you around all day.
7. You’ve Got A Build-Up Of Dead Skin Or Sweat; Help Regenerate Fresh Cells for A Natural Glow
Stimulite Facial Sponge And Bath Mitt, $34, Amazon
Sometimes the occasional pimple on your face or body is just a build-up of dead skin, sweat, or a lack of circulation. This Stimulite facial sponge and bath mitt set is made from a recyclable honeycomb material, and it’s absolutely wonderful for unclogging pores, getting rid of dead skin, promoting circulation, stimulating lymph flow, and helping new cells to rejuvenate. It leaves skin feeling clean without irritating it or causing rashes, and because it’s naturally antibacterial and anti-fungal, it’s much more sanitary than your typical loofa or sponge. These facial and body exfoliators dry quickly after a shower and are great for travel, and because they’re super durable, you’ll be using these for a while.
8. You’re Letting Sweat Sit On Your Skin — If You're Slow to Shower, Refresh Face With Soothing Botanicals
Basis So Refreshing Facial Cleanser Cloths (25 to a pack), $26, Amazon
When you let sweat sit on your skin directly after a workout, there's a chance the sweat mingling with dirt can clog your freshly opened pores. If you're nowhere near running water, these no-water-needed facial cleansing wipes are an awesome alternative to face washing, if you're in a hurry. Why? They're filled with natural botanicals safe for sensitive skin. One pleased reviewer said, "I use my wipes, when in a hurry, and after a long day of work to remove the day's grime and my make up. Wonderfully soothing!"
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Images: Neill Kumar/Unsplash; Amazon (8)