We know how much a skin condition like acne can affect someone’s life and their confidence. Most of us are also aware that commonly prescribed products for acne – from topical to oral – are more often than not verging on the medical and synthetically chemical end of the spectrum, rather than the natural. So what are the options for those who want to find a holistic approach to minimising acne?
In a new blogger residency slot, we have enlisted Amy Saunders of Get The Glow, who has managed her acne naturally in what she calls “a dedicated mission to banish my blemishes for good”. Sharing her findings on her blog, it’s just our kind of read - filled with natural beauty, nutrition and lifestyle recommendations specifically for acne-sufferers. To kick off our collaboration, we thought we’d get to know Amy and her journey over the past few years a bit better.
- What inspired you to start a journey to becoming a natural beauty?
I’ve been interested in natural beauty for a long time now, probably 6 to 7 years! Working as a make-up artist in the film industry and a sales rep for an organic skin care company meant I was constantly aware of what I was putting on my clients and as a chronic acne sufferer I was also very cautious about what I used on my own skin. I spent all of my teen years using products that stripped my skin, as I was consistently told by my doctor that drying my oily skin out with topical prescriptions and over-the-counter creams would be the answer to my spot-prone skin. It was only when, at 18, I discovered natural beauty products and I was able to begin the long process of healing my skin with nourishing ingredients that offered the complete opposite of everything that I’d ever been told to look for in acne solutions!
- Your blog focuses on advice for spot prone skin. Do you find a holistic approach works better for you?
Definitely! I started suffering from spots when I was about 10 years old and spent 13 years focusing on my skin, and trying every single cream, pill, antibiotic there was. Some treatments worked for a while, but my acne always, always came back. It’s only been the last two years where I’ve stopped focusing on my skin and taken a more holistic approach to my overall health, concentrating more on diet, liver function and hormone balance instead of spot-zapping potions and serums that promise clear skin! Don’t get me wrong, a natural skin care routine is vital for healthy, radiant skin but if you’re suffering from persistent acne then no product in the world is going to help – you need to look much deeper than your skin. It’s so important to treat the root cause of your acne whilst nourishing your skin with natural products containing nutrient rich ingredients that will balance and calm. This holistic approach has not only helped to clear my skin, but it’s also improved my sleep, immune system, energy levels, moods, anxiety, PMS, hair and nail growth…the list could go on!
- What is one of the biggest misconceptions about treating acne?
That avoiding oils is the only way to go… I believed that myth for so many years of my life! We’ve all been there, it’s not our fault - it’s the large commercial companies the drum false advertising campaigns into our impressionable pre-teen brains! I used to shun anything that contained oil and stripped my skin of all it’s natural oils with bars of soap(!), harsh exfoliators and by using benzoyl peroxide cream like a moisturiser! Looking back, my skin was so dry and dull – but I still suffered from acne! I kept up with this protocol because I didn’t know any better and assumed that these things ‘just took time’. All acne sufferers need to overcome this illogical fear of oils! Yes. Avoid all mineral oils as they will clog your pores, and acne sufferers should be wary of a few natural oils such as coconut oil and avocado oil as they can sometimes be too rich for spot-prone skin types. I recommend a simple, natural beauty regime – less is definitely more when it comes to acne care. Look for cleansers, oils and serums that contain natural, cold-pressed oils such as Jojoba, Hemp Seed, Grapeseed and Pumpkin Seed oil that will nourish your skin and balance your sebum production without clogging your pores. Also, exfoliate with natural bamboo cloths like these ones from Aurelia Skincare and try spot treatments like the Suki Purifying Acne Serum which contain natural salicylic acid from white willow to help reduce inflammation.
- Acne can be a real blow to confidence for most people – what would be your personal advice for someone who also suffers from acne?
The confidence issues I’ve struggled with when dealing with my acne were on another level. I’ve had to take time of work, I’ve cancelled plans with friends, I’ve locked myself in my flat for nearly a week and avoided all mirrors and reflective surfaces, and if I caught a glimpse of my skin - I would cry. Huge, desperate, inconsolable tears. Some may think this is a really superficial thing to say and perhaps only those who have suffered with terrible skin issues will understand the pain, but I can 100% say that nothing in my life has hurt me more than acne – both physically and emotionally. There were times when I thought I would never be rid of acne or the emotional pain that comes with dealing from it. However, I found that being in control and making the conscious choice to stick two fingers up to acne helped 80% of the time! I stopped letting acne prevent me from living my life and started being really pro-active with changing my diet/health/skincare routine to a healthier, acne-friendly routine. Despite this, there were still days that I felt insecure and painfully unhappy with my skin but it’s important to remember that you’re on a healing journey, you won’t see visible changes overnight, your body is repairing all the time so for that remaining 20% of the time I just take a deep breath and remind myself over and over again: “My skin is healing. My soul is healing. I am beautiful, inside and out.”
- If there’s one thing you wish you could tell your younger self what would that be?
Stop eating all that beige food and eat your vegetables! I had such an awful diet as a child, into my late teens and early twenties. I’ll shamefully admit that my vegetable take would be a few florets of broccoli ‘now and again’ and maybe a glass of orange or apple juice. That’s was pretty much it. The rest of my nutritional intake (or lack of) would come in the form of chicken nuggets and oven chips! Obviously, this terrible diet put a huge stress on my digestive system, which in turn had a devastating impact on my overall health and wellbeing. It has taken me a long time to repair the damage. I now avoid all processed ‘beige’ food and enjoy green juices, smoothies and vegetables with every single meal!
- Natural skincare, nutrition or organic make-up: if you could only have choose one approach what would it be and why?
Ask me this question two years ago and I would have said natural skincare or make-up! But over the last two years I’ve learnt how vital nutrition is for not just overall health, but for beautiful skin too. I had a pretty immaculate natural beauty regime for about 5 years and I still struggled with acne throughout this entire time – I just refused to accept the connection between diet and skin health. Like I mentioned earlier, natural skincare is so important and will help reduce redness and inflammation but if you suffer with chronic skin conditions, it’s so important to heal yourself from the inside out through a healthy, low GI, wholefood diet rich in vitamins and nutrients and low in dairy and sugar.
Also, stay tuned for part 2 and 3 of Amy’s blogger residency, where she’ll be discussing nutrition and make-up rituals!
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