Episode 070: Four Crucial Skincare Mistakes to Avoid to Clear Up Your Skin
Contrary to popular belief, skincare doesn’t start at Sephora, nor does it start with Beautycounter. Skincare begins with what you’re feeding your body and what your body can with what you’re feeding it.
Because your diet and lifestyle habits - sleep, stress, and even the beauty products that you’re using -influence how your internal systems and organs in your body function - and your skin is the largest organ in your body.
In this episode, Part Two of this four-part mini-series on taking a Functional Nutrition approach towards skin health, we’ll examine four common mistakes that you’re making in your skincare and a better approach to take instead.
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Welcome back to The Live FAB Life Podcast. I’m your host, Naomi Nakamura
And today is Part 2 of our four-part series on taking a Functional Nutrition approach towards skin health!
So in the last episode, Episode 069, I talked about how skincare really starts with your internal health. Contrary to common belief, it doesn’t start at Sephora. And it doesn’t even start at Beautycounter. It begins with what you’re feeding your body and what your body can with what you’re feeding it. Because your diet, along with your lifestyle habits, your sleep, how you manage stress - in all the different ways your body experiences stressors, how much water you’re drinking and even the beauty and other skincare products that you’re using - all of these things influence how the internal systems and organs in your body function - and your skin is the largest organ in your body.
So if you’re having issues and problems with your skin, then something internally isn’t working the way it’s intended to be and those skin ailments are a message to your body that something is wrong.
But for many of us, we’ve been taught to believe that when we have skin problems, then we need to look to skincare products to correct them.
And that’s partially true. Using safer skincare products can help your skin heal because when they’re safer, that means they’re free from harmful ingredients that can disrupt your endocrine system and contribute to the confusion that’s going on internally.
So let’s dive deeper into this and examine four skincare mistakes that you’re making
Mistake 1 - “I’ll outgrow my skin problems...eventually”
How many of you started having breakouts in puberty? Those years are brutal, aren’t they?
I started puberty really early and started having breakouts when I was just ten years old.
These days, we now know from several studies that early puberty is a red flag, a sign of endocrine disruption from a number of things, including environmental toxins.
In hindsight, this should have been an indicator of more things to come for me in the timeline of my health. But it was the 80’s and back then, we didn’t know what we didn’t know.
During my pre-teen, teenage and college years, I, and I’m sure my parents did too, firmly believed that my complexion would clear up when I got older and that eventually, my breakouts would go away once I hit my 20’s.
And having many friends with pre-teen girls and boys, I know many of them believe this too! And for some people, some very, very lucky, lucky, lucky people, it happens!
But for the rest of us, we’re not that fortunate and our skin problems can even get worse as we age.
I struggled with breakouts and really bad cystic acne well into my 30’s and I know I’m not the only one. So this notion that you don’t have to do anything for your breakouts because “it’s normal and you’ll eventually grow out of it” is simply a myth, especially for those with chronic skin problems.
I know I tend to speak about skin problems with regards to acne and breakouts, but there are so many other conditions as well, many of which symptoms don’t manifest until someone is well into their 20’s, 30’s or even 40’s and older.
I struggle with keratosis pilaris from time-to-time which didn’t happen until my 30’s. In fact, up until four or five years ago, I didn’t even know what it was! I just knew that the backs of my arms looked terrible and at first I tried all kinds of lotions and ointments for it. But that is really rooted in nutritional deficiencies.
Other skin problems like eczema, rosacea, psoriasis, and melasma are rooted in gut and hormonal health, all internal problems that manifest externally.
Mistake 2 - Thinking that pharmaceuticals are the only way to treat skin problems
So you finally decided that you can’t take it anymore. None of the over-the-counter treatments have worked for you and you’re done. You’re so tired and frustrated that you go to see a dermatologist.
Now I first saw a dermatologist back in the 8th grade when I was just 13 or 14 years old. This was back in the 80’s and back then my doctor put me on erythromycin and Retin-A without proposing any other options or any discussion on the possible ramifications of long-term use. In fact, when my mom asked if we should make dietary changes he said that food had nothing to do with it.
Later, when I was in college in the 90’s, and again later in my 20’s in the early 2000’s, those prescriptions stopped working. I didn’t go back to see a dermatologist, but I saw two different primary care physicians. Each time it was the same thing - either put me on another antibiotic and topical cream and then eventually birth control.
Now don’t get me wrong, those things worked, but if I went off of them at all, the cystic acne and breakouts came back. So the medications were merely just a prescription to mask and manage the symptoms. They didn’t address the root cause - what was causing these things to happen in the first place.
The problem with this conventional approach is that prolonged use of antibiotics and birth control pills can affect other areas of your health and can cause more widespread problems. You may not see or connect the symptoms to each other for a long time, as was in my case, but so many other health problems can stem from use of these kinds of pharmaceuticals which I’ll go more into in next week’s episode.
Mistake 3 - “Thinking (or ignoring) that your diet has nothing to do with your skin”
My friends, this is a big one. Because in this day and age, many of us already know that diet is a big factor in health.
You’ve likely heard of the “food is medicine” movement. So, why wouldn’t your diet play a role in your skin’s health too?
But you’re a smart cookie and you know this already.
You know that things like sugar, gluten, dairy and highly processed, fined cooking oils not only compromise your health, but they also affect your skin.
And yet, even though you know this, and despite the fact that you’ve tried so many products, treatments, regimens and brands in hopes of clearing up your skin, none of which have worked in the long-term, a part of you is UNWILLING to make or at least try to make dietary changes that can improve the health and appearance of your skin.
I get it. As someone who has known my entire life that dairy is problematic for me, like seriously, I’ve known since, like before kindergarten, but I still ate it for years and years, because - cheese and ice cream. Enough said, right?
I used to get jabs from people all the time who pointed out that I would refuse to drink milk, especially with my school lunch (because I had a doctors note that allowed me to have juice instead), but yet I still ate cheese and ice cream.
And while I ate all the cheese and all the ice cream, I faithfully filled my limitless prescription of Erythromycin and Benzac and stocked up on Oxy-5 and Stridex pads in hopes that my skin would clear up.
And then layered MAC’s Studio Fix to cover up the blemishes.
Well guess what my friend…
After almost 30 years of doing this, I was finally compelled to change my diet. I won’t go into the details but what compelled me, but let’s just say that I had a bad experience having dairy while shopping in downtown San Francisco and am super grateful for clean, public restrooms. Narrowly avoiding that disastrous situation was enough to finally get me to give up dairy for good.
And guess what? Within months all THOSE skin issues, things that I had been struggling with for almost 30 years, from the time I was ten years old, they went away!
I couldn’t believe it. Years and years and hundreds of dollars spent on things that didn’t work and then I clean up my diet and within months, no more acne, breakouts and oily skin?! It was a trip!
Unfortunately, I was left to deal with the ramifications of almost 30 years of antibiotics and birth control pills, but that’s a topic for another day, which as I mentioned, I’ll get into next week.
But the point I’m trying to make here is that for years, I was so desperate for clear skin, yet knowing all that I knew, I had been unwilling to make dietary changes that I knew would help, or even give them a try, a chance to see how it might help.
In hindsight, I realized that I was giving that those things, the things I was willing to give up, more power over what I claimed that I desperately wanted.
So make no mistake, your diet is a big factor in what’s going on with your skin and shouldn’t be ignored or discounted.
Mistake 4: Using products with harmful ingredients
I remember back in 2014, which I can’t even believe is almost five years ago, I sat in my functional medicine doctor’s office upset and frustrated because I wasn’t seeing the results that I so desperately wanted in my health.
I’d been working so hard, eating gluten-free, dairy-free and had even transitioned to a grain-free diet (which I did not want to do, but ultimately helped). As a side note, do you realize that there’s a difference between a gluten-free and a grain-free diet? That was a big eye-opener for me at the time.
But I digress….
I had followed my doctor’s supplemental protocol exactly as she had prescribed and while I was seeing some improvement, it wasn’t as quickly as I had hoped for.
So during that visit, she said to me, “Well, how’s your home? Your beauty products? All of those things have toxins you know, that affect the balance of your hormones and how they function.”
This was the first time I’d ever heard such a thing. I had no idea that really popular, department store beauty products had ingredients that did this. And I was shocked to learn that it was perfectly legal in the United States for this to happen because we are seriously lacking federal regulations of the personal care and beauty industries. It was all very mind-blowing at the time.
So that was my first introduction to toxic beauty and personal care products, at least a good year or more before I even discovered Beautycounter.
After this particular doctors visit, being who I am, I came home and dived into researching and trying to find information on this and what brands were safer to use - it wasn’t easy at that time. Everything I found was about “cruelty-free” which is great, but not the same thing as safer. Cruelty-free for animals, but not always humans.
What I’ve learned over the years since this first introduction to this is that there a lot of skincare and beauty products that promise to give you clear, glowing skin, but these products have ingredients that not only disrupt hormonal function and are linked to things like fertility and cancer, but also allergies. In other words, causing disruption to your internal health and possibly ultimately, undermining what it promises to do.
And I’ll give an example of this.
Back in the day,, I didn’t have a skincare regimen other than the pharmaceuticals from my doctors and a cleanser - Neutrogena’s Deep Clean oil-free gentle scrub. The one that comes in the pink tube.
So when I learned about the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database that rates the safety of beauty and personal care products, of course, that’s the first thing I looked up.
And I found that it was rated Moderate to High for allergies & immunotoxicity.
Now, when we have an allergic reaction that’s our body’s immune system (which our hormones are a big part of) reacting to something. And when that happens, typically we get hives, rashes, our face swells - internal things that manifest externally.
So why in the world would a skincare product be rated moderate to high for allergies?
It doesn’t make sense to me.
And that’s when I my first realization that the ingredients the products that I was using could be doing the reverse of what they claim to do and undermining all the dollars, time and efforts I was putting into trying to clear up my skin!
So let’s quickly recap the four mistakes that you may be making when it comes to your skin health:
Mistake 1 - Thinking that you’ll outgrow your skin problems...eventually I was well into my 30’s and still struggling with acne breakouts and oily skin. I know some people who are a lot older and still deal with things! And other skin conditions can happen at any age! Skin problems are free from age discrimination!
Mistake 2 - Thinking that pharmaceuticals are the only way to treat skin problems Pharmaceuticals may help for a short-term but they typically don’t address the root cause of why these things are happening and can ultimately cause larger health issues.
Mistake 3 - Thinking (or ignoring) that your diet has nothing to do with your skin Food is medicine and if you’re putting foods in your body that your body can’t tolerate it can cause chaos and disrupt your internal systems and internal problems manifest externally
Mistake 4: Using products with harmful ingredients That can be undermining your health and doing the opposite of what it’s intended and promise to do.
Now if you can relate to any of this, then you’ll want to head on over to the show notes at www.livefablife.com/070 and download my free gift to you. It’s a 30-page guide that I wrote outlining these mistakes, the root causes of skin issues and how to start addressing them.
It’s called “Clear Skin from Within: A Functional Nutrition Approach to getting clear skin.
When you click on the link you’ll be taken to the home page for that guide. After entering your name and email, a copy of it will be sent directly to you.
And if you’re not sure what the root cause of your skin issue might be, I have a short quiz that can help you with that, and I’ll link to that quiz in the show notes as well.
Now this episode was Part 2 in this mini series on skincare, and next wee, in Part 3, I’ll be diving into how your gut health and hormones are connected to your skin health.
So don’t forget to head on over to the show notes and download the Clear Skin from Within free guide, and if you have any questions on any of the things we’ve been talking about, feel free to reach out via my website, or on social media. Instagram is the best place to find me at @naomijnakamura.
That’s it for this week and I’ll see you right back here again next week!
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Naomi Nakamura is a certified Holistic Health Coach who takes a holistic approach through functional nutrition. Through her weekly show, The Live FAB Live Podcast, coaching programs, and safer skincare solutions, she helps people with acne and other chronic skin issues clear up their skin by teaching them where food meets physiology and how food, gut health, stress, and toxins are intricately connected to the health and appearance of our skin. Naomi resides in the San Francisco Bay Area and can often be found romping around the city with her puppy girl, Coco Pop! Connect with Naomi at: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest.