When your skin's breaking out, you reach for the salicylic acid and detoxifying masks—but don't forget to pile up on the leafy greens, too, in terms of what you're eating or drinking. Because the secret to healthier skin comes from the inside out, after all.
Those times when you're faced with a zit call for less fried and processed foods and more veggies and anti-inflammatory meals, according to all the skin experts. But just because you're ditching those sweet potato fries (for the time being!), doesn't mean you can't sip on some delicious, skin-boosting smoothies.
When no amount of clay and concealer can bring your blemished complexion back to life, you can sip on a glow-getting smoothie at the first sign of a zit, chock-full of anti-inflammatory and skin stimulating ingredients that work as a quick boost to the healing of your breakout. The experts—from Joanna Vargas to Juice Generation's VP—are weighing in with their favorite recipes for your worst skin emergencies—so bust out your blender, gather your ingredients, and sip your way to a clearer, healthier complexion.
Keep reading for 6 expert-approved, acne-fighting smoothies and juices (and print for your fridge ASAP).
The protein-packed smoothie
1 cup plain organic whole milk kefir or yogurt
1/2 cup frozen organic mixed berries
1 banana (choose a green, raw one for prebiotic fiber)
1/2 teaspoon raw local honey
4 stalks organic kale
1 stalk of celery
1/2 tsp sunflower seeds
1/2 tsp pumpkin seeds
1/2 tsp honey
1/2 tsp mushroom powder
1/2 tsp hemp flax seed blend
1/3 cup water or coconut water to liquify
Organic dried rose petals (topping)
Pinch of Himalayan salt
“This is one of my go to smoothie recipes because, other than the kefir and celery, I can always have the ingredients on-hand by freezing them ahead of time and stocking my pantry," says Jessa Blades, natural beauty expert, makeup artist, and herbalist. Since probiotics are known for reducing inflammation in the gut that is linked to acne, she makes sure to load up on them in a time of skin crisis.
“Prebiotics in the green banana and soluble fiber of the kale, plus the probiotic quality of the kefir in this smoothie are great for gut health," explains Blades. "I love adding mushroom powder and raw honey for an extra boost of immunity, antioxidants, energy, and digestive properties.” Of course, if you can't resist putting your glow drink on Insta, she advises to decorate with dried roses. "The finished result has a slightly sweet with a hint of savory," says Blades.
The dairy-free detox
2 cups almond milk
1 tablespoon collagen
1 tablespoon Jem Organics Berry Almond Butter
1 tablespoon Philosophie Berry Bliss Superfood + Protein Blend
1 tablespoon Philosophie Coconut Bliss Coconut Butter
1 tablespoon Sun Potion Tocos
1 handful of ice cubes
Granola and shredded coconut (toppings)
Raw food chef Sophie Jaffe's recipe works best at resetting your skin when you’ve indulged a little too much."Usually a breakout is caused by processed food with too much salt or too much sugar," she says. "Keep your skin clear of breakouts and blemishes with this nourishing superfood smoothie.”
She notes that eliminating dairy from your diet and upping your intake of tocotrienols can also perform magic on your skin. "And if your skin needs detoxing, fuel your body with high-vibe organic ingredients such as lemon, water, probiotics, and collagen to soothe it," says Jaffe.
The ginger-green drink
4 leaves of Romaine lettuce
1 celery stalk
1 whole cucumber
1 handful of spinach
1 handful of parsley
1 handful of kale
1 whole apple
Joanna Vargas, celebrity facialist and founder of Joanna Vargas salon and skin-care collection, is the woman behind the best skin in Hollywood—but she believes in feeding your skin from the inside-out, too. Her fave recipe? An all-green juice. "It instantly hydrates the skin while encouraging lymphatic drainage, so you're de-puffed and glowing," says Vargas. "Greens contain nutrients and vital minerals to feed the skin so it'll perform better.”
She also recommends adding ginger because “it’s a natural antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and an antiseptic ingredient, which is great for both anti-aging and keeping breakouts at bay." Then there's lemon, a natural antibacterial, and apples, to keep your digestive system healthy and skin more clear.
The green glow beauty smoothie
1 cup spinach
1 cup arugula
1 cup choy sum (or romaine)
1 frozen banana
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup water
½ green apple
¼ of a lemon
1/5 of a pineapple
1 tsp. blue green algae or spirulina (optional)
This nutrient-dense green smoothie full of enzyme-rich fruits and micro algae heal your skin by releasing "trapped" nutrients within the cell walls of your body, according to Holly Harding, AADP, INHC. “A big boost of antioxidants and nutrients are released from plant cells when they're blended into a creamy consistency,” she explains. “By releasing these nutrients within the cell walls, your body can absorb a much larger number of antioxidants, which contributes to glowing skin."
Then the combo of greens and pineapple (full of enzymes) act as a one-two punch that allows your body to release toxins and waste that have been creating sludge in your digestive track, says Harding. And sludge is the enemy of a glow.
The tropical skin-booster
8 oz. liquid (nut milk or coconut water)
1 cup diced papaya
1/2 cup diced pineapple
1/3 of an avocado
1 tablespoon of pumpkin seeds
1/2 oz. lemon juice
1 teaspoon of manuka honey
Simone Shepard, VP of product development at Juice Generation, is a pro when it comes to delicious and good-for-you smoothies. She opts for something tropical and full of enzymes that fend off irritation in the complexion. “Papaya's an inflammation-fighting powerhouse can help reduce symptoms of acne while supplying your body with 2 to 3 times your recommended daily dose of vitamin C," she says. "Pineapple on the other hand is one of the best solutions for your complexion as it has the ability to enhance your glow and keep your skin blemish-free with its high concentration of manganese, vitamin C, and vitamin A.”
As if that wasn’t enough, Simone adds, “avocados and pumpkin seeds are rich in vitamins, fatty acids, and antioxidants which keep your skin youthful, soft, and radiant." Plus, the dash of Manuka honey soothes irritation and redness. So basically it's a pina colada that gives you good skin.
The leafy juice
4 stalks of kale
1 handful of spinach
2 leaves of collard greens
2 leaves of Swiss chard
4 leaves of mustard greens
4 leaves of bok choy
“Green, leafy vegetables are an extremely rich source of vitamins and minerals that are rich in a variety of anti-inflammatory nutrients," says Jessica Rosen, co-founder of Raw Generation and certified holistic health coach. "So they're a great defense against the detrimental effects of chronic inflammation.”
Pop these leaves in a juicer for a juice packed with all the essentials that'll calm your breakout down. "Greens are also highly alkalizing," adds Rosen. "The pH of your body can fall anywhere from alkaline to neutral to acidic, and you want to be slightly alkaline. When your body is alkaline, it is impossible for chronic inflammation, including breakouts to thrive." Besides that, this juice has antioxidants and vitamins C and E to help detox your body of harmful toxins that contribute to acne—cha-ching.
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