Saving Face: Healing Acne Naturally, It Can Be Done

Ok so I promised you all in my last post that I would write on healing acne naturally. This blog is kind of taking a different approach now – I’m writing more about health than Catholicism. But well, hey, a healthy body is part of spirituality, no? Ok, let’s break this down.

I was one of those really annoying girls in high school that rarely had a pimple. In fact I think I skipped the whole puberty zit phase – that’s ok, I had other problems. I never noticed any blemishes on my face until sophomore year of college – when I got on birth control. Strange, I thought. Don’t a lot of girls go on the pill to clear their acne? How did mine get worse?

After getting off of the pill (which is an entirely different story) my acne didn’t really get any better. Until recently. I delved into the causes of acne and chances are it is your body telling you something. We only need to learn to listen.

Now first off, I want to say that a zit or two here and there is normal. What might be cause for concern is repeated flare ups in specific locations on the face. SO – the real question is what language does our skin speak?


This not so lovely photo shows what flare ups in different spots in the face mean. For me – it was my liver. And in fact, because the birth control had made my acne worse, it was a good signal that my liver was not flushing out excess hormones. FASCINATING right?

Here’s a little more simple breakdown.


If it’s your forehead (1 & 3), it means your bladder and digestion aren’t happy. Other than more water, eating more alkaline foods will help and making sure this area is clean, as oil from hair tends to hang around there. Lots of vitamin C will help with cleansing your bladder. Avoid fried and processed foods (obviously). Get your gut happy with foods like kimchi, ginger, organic yogurt, and high, whole grain foods. If all this doesn’t seem to be making a difference a Vitamin B complex supplement would be the next best step.

If it’s in between your eyebrows (2) it’s a pretty good indicator that it’s your liver.  (It was for me!) Foods high in Vitamin A will help flush out your liver and rid those excess hormones. Green tea, rosemary supplement, and pumpkin seeds are all high in Vitamin A. Excess drinking can inflame this area, so keep that in mind. Garlic, beets, avocados, turmeric, and grapefruit will all encourage a healthy liver.

It it’s the far sides of your cheeks (4 & 10) it’s a good sign that your kidneys need some love. This goes for pretty much all sections, but drink more water. And cut back on caffeine, soda, and alcohol. (Here’s a hint, if you’re anything like me, you thrive on morning coffee. I go half-caf now.) Eat fish, especially salmon, for it’s healthy omega fatty acids. Avoid high-potassium foods regularly. (One isn’t going to kill you, just try to lower your potassium level, it can irritate your kidneys.) For example, swap the nectarines and mangoes for apples or cranberries.

If it’s your cheeks (5 & 9) it can mean that you either have respiratory problems or allergies. Allergies can be seasonal or food related. People that are dairy sensitive can get flare ups here. Try to cut back on dairy (especially processed dairy), and make sure you’re breathing deeply and consciously. (This is where meditation and yoga can help!)

Dark circles around your eyes (6 & 8) is pretty obvious – get your sleep and hydrate up.

Zits on your nose can mean your heart is over exerted. Flax oil and chia seeds help regulate blood pressure and are anti-inflammatory. Omega 3 fatty acids are crucial here. Think fats – but healthy fats. Nuts, dark chocolate, apples and grapes (or wine – that works too) help with blood pressure. Fish oil, cod liver oil, and sunflower seeds are also anti-inflammatory and chock full of heart healthy nutrients.

If zits keep popping up on your chin (12) it is yet another sign of your stomach and gut needing attention. A (healthy!) detox can help and add more fiber to your diet. Pretty much the same regimen as your zone 1 and 3 acne. Get a happy gut! Eat fresh greens, kale, bok choy, and chard. Not the shredded iceburg stuff.

It zits keep coming on your jaw line (11 & 13) it’s a good sign of a hormone imbalance. If necessary – get your blood levels checked to see if your progesterone deficient or estrogen dominant. Estrogen dominance is a result from the birth control pill or just your environment in general. (Plastic, lotions, shampoo, water supply, even some furniture contains xenoestrogens!) Avoid heating plastic in the microwave, eat hormone free meat, ditch your lotions if they contain parabens. If you are on hormones, consider giving your liver a break. (And if you still want to avoid pregnancy, there are natural alternatives.)

If zits show up on your neck and chest (14) it can mean an allergic reaction or your body fighting a bacteria. Up your vitamin C and get good rest and exercise.

Drinking more water will always improve any condition of health! And note that when I say eat more “x, y, z” it doesn’t mean eating an avocado and saying, “Ok, well I ate an avocado, hope that acne clears up.” Restoring and healing health takes time and energy! To make a difference, you kinda have to be vigilant – and it can take months to see any results. I take a tablespoon of flax oil every day on my morning toast. I put pumpkin seeds on my yogurt or oatmeal every lunch.

If you’re really into healing your health holistically, I would say patience is the greatest virtue you can have. We’re used to instant results, we want them and we want them now. Holistic health is anything but instant, but it is so worth it when you do start seeing your work pay off.

The message I really want to take away from this is that our bodies, the majority of the time, speak to us. Things don’t just happen. (Sometimes they do – don’t get me wrong.) Usually, our body tells us “I need more of X, I’m craving Y. I’ve had too much Z.” Learning to hone in on what language our body speaks, I believe, is at the heart of holistic healing.

And a healthy body is a happy body.

*As always I am not a doctor. These are just guidelines that I have found helpful.


2 responses to “Saving Face: Healing Acne Naturally, It Can Be Done

  1. I never heard this before, so this is fascinating! I’ve struggled with acne since high school and it got worse in college. Fortunately, now my face is in pretty good shape overall besides some occasional blemishes that pop up. Thanks for sharing!

    • I was floored when my naturopath doctor explained this to me. I thought “I’ve wasted so much money on creams and lotions and face scrubs.” But it would make sense that the largest organ (our skin) is a representation of what’s going on inside. I think it’s really fascinating too!

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