Natural Skin Detox: Clear acne prone skin

Acne prone skin can be a nightmare. Have you ever felt so frustrated that no matter how well you eat, what you use and what you take, it seems to have a mind of its own? This is because the skin is a unique organ, which requires simplicity and consistency of action to get it to finally clear. Many articles and books have been written and many lotions and potions have been created to address this issue. I'm here to teach you how to truly clear your skin once and for all.

Skin Anatomy

This is an important first step to know before making any changes. The basic anatomy of the skin that you need to know at his point is that it has many, many layers (epidermis, dermis and subcutaneous tissue) and to create any real or lasting change you need to be consistent. The deeper layers of the dermis take around 4 to 6 weeks to surface to the exterior epidermal layer. This means any dietary or supplementation change you make takes at least that long to show signs of healing. For healing a skin condition, this requires around 3 to 6 months of consistent skin specific eating and supplementation.

Step 1. Detoxify and Clear

Omit congesting and heating foods from your diet

Skin congestion

Acne is caused by an over stimulated oil gland that has become infected. What over stimulates the oil glands? And why do they become infected? Excessive oil production can be caused by hormones, adrenal function, liver and digestive function and diet. The skin will only use the oils you eat in your diet. It is important that you only eat lighter, plant-based oils so they flow freely though the oil glands and decongest what is blocking them.

Congesting foods:

  • Animal fats (especially red meats and pork)
  • Dairy products (cheese, yoghurt, butter)
  • Chocolate
  • Commercial sweets (anything baked, bought, with refined sugars, white flours and hidden fats)

When the adrenal glands are stimulated it creates a stress response in the body. This causes the oil glands to flow excessively and also warm up the body temperature, irritating sensitive skin. Any redness, spots or blemishes suggest a sensitive skin type and a 'hot' condition according to traditional Chinese medicine.

Stimulating foods and substances for the skin:

  • Chili, curry, spicy dishes
  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Nicotine
  • Oranges and strawberries

You need to stay away from these foods and substances for at least 95% of the time for as long as it takes for your cells to turn over. This process is lengthy and you won't see results immediately but if you are patient, your skin will become clearer and clearer.

Step 2. Rebuild skin cells

Include skin healing foods and supplements

Omitting the congesting and stimulating foods and substances from your diet is detoxifying for your system. It encourages better digestion, elimination and the skin will become clearer. Now we need to include foods and supplements that are encouraging for healing the skin.

Skin healing foods:

You will need to include a daily salad with fresh baby greens and any combination of vegetables with your preferred vegetarian protein source and a skin healing salad dressing*. We need one raw salad a day for the living enzymes to improve digestion, nutrient uptake and elimination. The best vegetarian protein sources are organic free-range eggs, tofu, quinoa, amaranth, chia seeds or lentils.

Essential fatty acids need to be included daily; the best one for skin healing is cold-pressed sunflower oil to be made in a salad dressing. Sunflower oil is lighter oil for the skin and will encourage a smoother flow. Essential fatty acids will moisturize the skin from the inside out. This step is a must. Do not swap sunflower oil to olive oil, fish oil or hemp seed oil. Other ideal essential fatty acid sources for skin healing are; raw almonds, walnuts, avocado, sunflower seed, pepitas, sesame seeds, and tahini. Also, aim to use organic wherever possible.

Skin healing salad dressing

  • 1 tablespoon sunflower oil
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • Pinch of Himalayan salt, pepper, mixed herbs (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon raw honey (optional)


The body needs plenty of water to hydrate and support bodily function and metabolism. However, to clear the skin you only need 6 to 8 glasses on average a day. When too much water is consumed it places a burden on the kidneys and flushes out the much needed water soluble vitamins, namely the B group and vitamin C.

An important step in the skin detox program is to include lemon water first thing every morning to stimulate liver function and hydrate the body.

Useful supplementation

Zinc- hormonal health, skin repair, immunity

B complex- nervous system, digestive system, skin and metabolism

Herbal liver tonic- to improve the digestion and elimination of fats

Example: Daily menu for skin clearing

On rising

  • ½ lemon squeezed in water


  • Muesli mix with fruit
  • Eggs and rye toast with tomato and avocado
  • Green smoothie with vegan protein powder (chia seeds, sprouted rice protein powder)


  • Fresh fruit and/or nuts and seeds (see essential fatty acids)


  • Salad with your preferred vegetarian protein and *skin healing dressing with brown rice
  • Salad and egg whole meal sandwich or wrap with dressing


  • Fresh fruit and/or nuts and seeds (see essential fatty acids)
  • Low fat yoghurt with honey
  • Veggie sticks and avocado and/ or hummus dip


  • Brown rice, lentils, quinoa, with your choice of protein (see ideal sources) with salad and/ or steamed vegetables
  • Vegetable soup
  • Stir fry with plenty of green vegetables with honey and soy sauce, brown rice, rice noodles
  • Spelt pasta and lentils with tomato based sauce (once or twice a week)

Dessert (optional) dessert

  • Fresh fruit, low fat yoghurt with honey

Step 3. Heal from the outside

Use the correct skin care products

Treat your skin carefully and avoid all harsh soaps, foaming cleanser, peels and scrubs. Choose a natural and light, pH balanced skin care line and avoid moisturizing at night. Just let your skin breath and stabilize its own moisture secretions and avoid excessive sun baking and swimming in chlorinated water.

Remember, the skin needs consistent care though diet and lifestyle. Commit yourself to a skin clearing regime like this one for a minimum of 12 weeks and you will notice acne clear and blemishes soften, revealing a clearer and healthier complexion.

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richi_leroux, posted on September 28, 2015

OMG I wish I would have came across this article years ago! I have been struggling with acne and cyst since I was 16... I am now 25 and still struggle. I was often told growing up food had nothing to do with pimples.. always such a mystery. I had my family doctor even prescribe me Acutane and other very very strong medications to fight acne and dry my skin... Thank you so much for the information. It really tied in together many concepts I have come across about the true reason of acne and the process of healing. Cheers

Ulyana, posted on February 20, 2016

I hope this information has helped you. Indeed the skin is a mysterious organ! Knowledge is empowerment :)

Huston, posted on August 13, 2013

Hi I'm 61 years young and a few months ago I started to have acne breakouts high on my cheeks just below my eyes. These also get puffy. I eat a healthy diet. Greens, vegies, fruit, very little meat and bread. I have been using 100% Organic Raw coconut oil, Jojoba Oil, a diluted solution of ACV and several different masks. Most times I break out on both sides and sometimes one side clears and the other side doesn't. But they never go away completely. I've never had acne this bad before even as a teenager. Can you give me some ideas what I can do or what may be causing this?

Ulyana, posted on February 20, 2016

I would use the salad dressing recipe in the article every day (with a daily salad), plus lean sources of protein (eggs, fish or chicken if you are not vegetarian) and whole grains such as brown rice and oats, daily. Along with the veggies and healthy diet you would normally eat.

If you have been checked by your doctor and there is no underlying condition then it sounds like you could be over-stimulating your skin.

The oil treatments, ACV and masks are all nourishing and beneficial when the skin is in a normal state. The extra stimulation with these products "beautify's" the skin but can exacerbate it when the skin is in an unbalanced condition. When healing the skin it's best to use minimal products at the most being once or twice a week. Good healing mask suggestions being; honey masks (healing and hydrating), diluted lemon juice (toning and mildly exfoliating. ACV can be too strong with sensitive skin) and natural yoghurt (balancing and nourishing).

Otherwise trial an error with various skin care products, I have suggestions but these are Australian brands.

mylady1376, posted on January 8, 2013

Awesome information! Since I have started my cleansing process this afternoon, I will incorporate this! Thanks

777suzannaduffy, posted on November 1, 2012

simple as akaline water and lemon..........................
keeping your body akaline.......................
i keep licorice,burdock,dandelion,and horsetail aways on hand for keeping my skin clear,and my body detox..i am a believer in regular detox,eat foods that detox,spices that detox,and greens,greens,greens and chorella.i drink a homemade detox tea regularly.keeping ourselves healthy should be creative...........

777suzannaduffy, posted on October 20, 2012

i love this article,becuz i truly believe if we listen to our bodies,they will take us in the right direction.mine did.treat your temple well,and it will do incredible work for want to keep thing simple to detox,
la 'vie detox & yoga bar

jinxmebaby, posted on July 10, 2012

I have rosacea and coconut oil has done wonders for my skin. My face used to be extremely red with broken capillaries and red oily "blisters" which have 95% gone away. I still have the occasional break out (which seem to be spicy food or stress related) but it is SO much clearer. You can eat it by the spoonful or apply directly to your skin (a TINY amount goes a long way). My understanding is that it works because coconut oil is antimicrobial, antibacterial and antifungal. I was skeptical (afraid it would make my break outs worse) but I am REALLY glad I took the risk.

Sveta5, posted on May 14, 2012

Hi Ulyana. I am confused about yoghurt. You included it in congesting foods and in optional dessert as well.

Ulyana, posted on February 20, 2016

Full fat dairy can congest the skin further. Low fat dairy (even though higher in natural sugars) is less likely to. Depending on how may break outs and how inflamed the skin is depends on if you should include yoghurt. I should have made that clearer in the article :)

sushineboulevard, posted on April 22, 2012

Hi Ulyana, I suffer from a pretty bad case of frequent acne vulgaris breakouts. My diet right now is not too bad, in the sense that I do not eat fried stuff, and spicy food, and get regular exercise. However, I have polycystic ovarian syndrome, and hence my hormones are all over the place. How should I go about it? Do I get treatment first to regularize my period or will the acne take care of itself by following a healthy routine?

Ulyana, posted on February 20, 2016

With an underlying condition such as PCOS your treatment approach needs more consideration. I suggest you see a Naturopath/ herbalist and an acupuncturist for treatment and in the mean time follow this regime, which will help but as you can imagine the cause of your acne is more complicated. This plus daily yoga practice and you might be feeling and looking better than ever :)

proprr, posted on February 23, 2012

Stress is definitely a contributor as well as hormonal imbalance. I hit my forties and was laid off. I had acne all over my face. Once I have accepted my situation and became destressed, followed an antibiotic and regular cleansing regimen along with contraception. My face cleared. I still have breakouts from time to time. I go back to destressing - meditation, yoga and exercise and proper dieting and I noticed an improvement again.

rimple, posted on January 23, 2012

use herbal methods

babyblues, posted on January 3, 2012

My understanding of acne is that it is caused by a bacteria called steptococcus pyogenes. So, my understanding is that antibiotics work for this. I just learned this in microbiology. I have never had luck getting rid of it with diet? I've had it for 12 years. I would like this to be the case! I will definitely take what you say under consideration, though. Thanks.

Ulyana, posted on February 20, 2016

Sometimes the acne is so severe the person really needs antibiotics because the infection causes cysts deep within the skin which causes scaring. Often the infection comes back and repeated scripts are necessary. Depending on the severity and cause of the acne depends on if this program will work. For example if there is a hormonal imbalance, diet will help but it won't be able to address the cause. In this case more intervention either natural or medical is needed to prevent further damage. This is why teenagers often experience acne. Their hormones are changing (plus the junky food doesn't help).

rzulich, posted on November 10, 2011

A fall natural beauty tip from Ole Henriksen on tv is to mix 1oz grapeseed oil, the contents of 3 vitamin A capsules (about 25,000 IUs) and 10 drops of lavender oil. Use this under your moisturizer.. so cheap, and your skin just glows! Also, it's a nice aromatherapy before bed, enjoy!

rzulich, posted on November 10, 2011

Isn't it also a possibility that skin erruptions come along as a chakra issues? I've heard Dr. Mona Lisa Schulz explain how people who have breakouts and or psoriasis may have some unresolved family issues, or lack a sense of belonging.

Ulyana, posted on February 20, 2016

Doesn't every imbalance come with a chakra issue? We are all multi-faceted beings made up of light and sound and then some. Although I can't confirm what Dr. Mona Lisa Schulz says of the deeper personal or energetic beliefs of what might cause skin problems. I do agree that our beliefs play an integral role in the healing process.

Talia_2, posted on May 19, 2011

What about high-dose vitamin A? I hear taking 20,000 IU of vit A daily until the skin clears up is a good method. What are the side effects of it? Vitamin A makes the skin sensitive to the sun, should I avoid this therapy during the summer or does applying sunscreen take care of this problem?

Ulyana, posted on February 20, 2016

High doses of Vitamin A should only be taken while under the care of a doctor or naturopath. Vitamin A will store in the body tissues and build up to toxic levels if using high doses for longer periods of time. It is a fat soluble vitamin so will not easily be released by the body like water soluble vitamins, which is why toxicity is a risk. You can still get excellent results from vitamin A when taking the recommended dosage, within the healthy range. Plus it should be noted vitamin A should be avoided before or during pregnancy.

sweetsully, posted on April 3, 2011

I think it is really good to try as many natural ways as possible to improve one's skin, but the bottom line is that many people see little or no improvement from dietary / exercise modifications. I stayed away from pharmacological treatments for years and suffered from terrible skin which ruined my self esteem, personal relationships, job confidence, etc.

It wasn't until a volunteer medical trip to the Himalayas (where I wouldn't have access to running water for over a month and would be living out of a tent) that I stumbled up on the thing that cured my acne. I decided to take 2 months straight of oral contraception to regulate my cycle and avoid menstruating at 14 000 ft. Within a few weeks of starting the pill my complexion *completely* cleared up. And stayed clear.

I kicked myself afterward for avoiding all the medical advice which had told me to try oral contraception, as my way to stay 'healthy' and 'hormone free'. I would have saved myself so much heartache and embarrassment. I am off the pill again now and my skin is perfect.

I only add this comment so that readers can be aware that when other attempts fail it is OK to seek medical intervention, it doesn't make you a failure (which is how I saw taking medication for my acne).

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