Tuesday, November 17, 2015


By Katie G. 

Photo by Ted Morrison                     
I’m going to admit it. Putting myself out there is hard. In this day and age, we all rely so heavily on image-based social media to tell the story of our lives. So what happens when your skin just doesn’t cooperate? Acne. Eczema. Uneven complexion. Dryness. Inflammation. We’ve all suffered from one (or more) of these conditions in our lifetime. I've definitely suffered from all of them at one point or another. Sure, we can invest heavily in photo editing apps and hope for the best, or avoid social media altogether. But, that doesn’t address, nor does it help improve the root of our concern: the quality of our skin – achieving that oft sought-after dewy, fresh-faced, bright complexion. 

What if I told you that, by making a few simple lifestyle changes, you could improve your complexion dramatically? It’s true. Recently, I was going through some old photos and I came across one that stopped me in my tracks. Looking at the image, I was shocked to realize that the person looking back at me was, well, me. And, I realized that in one year (less, actually), I completely transformed. I looked younger, fresher, way less puffy, and, dare I say it, happy. So, I say it again. Revealing this part of myself is hard. But, I’m ready to share what I’ve learned along the way. Are you ready for great skin? Here we go!

Yikes, right? Obvious hair lightening aside, could these two women be any different? The one on the left was taken of me in May 2014, on vacation no less. The one on the right was taken of me a few weeks ago. No makeup. No filter. Same degree of sunlight. iPhone cameras.

So what happened?

Back in May of 2014 there were a few things going on. I was at the top of my game, professionally. This picture was taken on vacation that was actually part of a company-recognized award. But, I was run ragged. 12-hour, stress-filled days were a common occurrence. Sleep was not. I was in a relationship that was not right for me, which only added to my frustration My skin was suffering and I was adding fuel to the fire by drinking alcohol to “unwind,” heading to the dermatologist for potent creams and antibiotics to control “flares,” and eating whatever because – honestly – food barely registered on my priority scale. Looking back now, I needed help and didn’t even realize it.

 Fast forward to today. I am in a totally different place than I was one year ago (even more drastically different than 18 months ago). I have a new job that I love. I am in the most conscious and committed relationship, maybe like ever. I have time for fitness activities (who knew?). But, most importantly, I committed to eating, drinking, and living a cleaner lifestyle. And it is exactly that: a commitment.

One of my favorite quotes has always been: "Your life does not get better by chance; it gets better by change." That's exactly what I did. And here's how you can too:
1. Eat Your Way to Gorgeous If you're like me and you're constantly battling skin issues that won't seem to go away, pick up what you're eating and look at what's in it. For clear skin, you have to eat foods in their most natural state – preferably without an ingredient list that's a paragraph long. So what does that look like? We covered most of it in the project: CLEAN FOOD Diet, but here are some things to always remember: 

  • Cut down on the processed foods, immediately
  • Go for the greens, especially the dark leafy kinds
  • Think fruit, not sweets: refined sugar breaks down collagen which leads to wrinkles (ugh)
  • Cut down or cut out meat (this especially goes for red meat)
  • Cut down or cut out dairy; dairy causes inflammation, is mucous-producing, and can wreak havoc on eczema and acne
  • Load up on Omega-3 rich foods: avocados, salmon, tofu, flax, walnuts...you get the idea

2. Hydration is Not an Option
I know, I know. This is such a cliche. But, guess what? It's true. Technically speaking, you're actually supposed to drink half your body weight in ounces each day. For me, this feels like the ultimate chore. But, I'm committed to it. And each day (much to the amusement of my colleagues), you can find me at my desk, mixing a concoction of fresh juice and water to make it more palatable.

A really amazing way to improve your skin and give water some flavor? Add lemon. It's a strengthening agent for your liver. And, the liver is the body's best tool for detoxing. Catch my drift?

3. Do Not Drown Your Stresses or Sorrows

No matter how stressed you are, how many brunches you attend, or how many football games you watch, cut down on your alcohol consumption. Do you need a minute? That's okay.

While it may be fun in the short term, alcohol sucks the life out of your skin. How many times have you woken up from a bender with a massive headache and a puffy face? Limit your consumption to once or twice a week with a max of two drinks, preferably wine or clear liquor, like vodka. 

4. Sweat It Out 
So many of us avoid going to the gym or our favorite classes for a couple reasons: 1) we would do anything to not be makeup-free and 2) we're believe that sweat will be an irritant. I can't tell you how many times I tried to hide my bad skin by covering it up with makeup before working out. What? Was I crazy? Of course my skin was irritated afterwards!

One of the best things you can do for yourself is to sweat it out. When you get a good sweat, your pores open up, you eliminate toxins, and you feel great. All of these are key to creating better, more radiant skin (and a great bod too).

5. Catch Some Z’s

They don't call it beauty sleep for nothing. Sleep is super important and yet we all seem to underestimate just how essential it is.

The idea is simple. When we don't sleep enough, our blood doesn't flow efficiently. To compensate, we reach for stimulants like caffeine and sugar to get us through the day. All of these factors lead to dullness, dehydration, and puffy, dark undereye circles. The necessary amount of sleep varies, but a good rule of thumb is 7-8 hours. Every. Single. Night.

6. Have a Makeup Breakup

Hold on. I am not telling you to ditch your foundation and burn your makeup bag. I am telling you to pick one day a week to go makeup-free. Yes, it's so important to let your skin breathe. Some research has shown that our skin absorbs nearly 5 lbs of makeup chemicals a year. Many of these chemicals are also irritants.  

As hard as it is, commit to going one day a week without any makeup. None. At first, it will feel daunting. But as your skin quality starts to improve, you'll begin to look forward to it. Trust me.

7. Live Authentically
The final recommendation: be true to who you are. Happiness and positivity radiate from within. I know it sounds like another cliche, but come on. Do you know many miserable people with great skin? Okay, maybe I do, but they have definitely had work done.

Our nerve endings are connected to the skin, so as emotions are played out neurologically, they are often expressed as conditions such as acne, eczema, rosacea, vitiligo, hives etc. Bottom line? Our skin is a physical manifestation of our emotional state.  

So ask yourself. Are you unhappy at your job? Unhappy with your relationship? Frustrated that your life feels like it is in a rut? Change it. Commit to doing and discovering the things you love. Commit to a lifestyle that makes you happy. 


So where does that leave us? Back in 2014 I was not living authentically. I was stressed, I was frustrated, and the things I thought should make me happy were slowly making me feel worse. When I committed to discovering what I was passionate about (food! cooking! yoga! art! photography! travel!), I became more open, more receptive, and started to look a hell of a lot younger in the process (bye frown lines).
Don't be discouraged if you feel like you are doing all of these things and not seeing results. It takes time. It takes patience. It takes commitment. But you'll get there. Because you want to.  

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...