If you’re like me, your bathroom cabinet is overflowing with an army of acne-fighting oils, masks, and spot treatments. But it takes more than salicylic acid and clay to win the war on pimples.
It’s like treating an ailment: Slapping a Band-Aid over a major infection won’t heal it—you have to make sure to treat the root of the problem. How exactly can you do that with such a complex (and finicky!) condition such as acne?
According to one pro, it’s all about healthy lifestyle choices.
“Acne can often be an indication that the body is not eliminating toxins properly from the system, or of food allergies, hormonal imbalances, and other lifestyle factors,” says Tata Harper, the natural beauty expert whose eponymous skin-care line has a cult following. “When toxins accumulate, your body ends up expelling them through your skin.”
To ensure your system’s able to optimally regulate itself, the glow guru points to very specific healthy choices that can help your skin achieve its natural radiance—before you even reach for a spot treatment.
Keep reading for the 6 lifestyle habits to start incorporating now to help keep acne at bay, according to skin pro Tata Harper.
1. Add more healthy fats to your diet
It’s no longer a shocker to hear that good fats are key to a healthy diet. But they’re also playing a big role in your skin’s health, says Harper. “It’s important to incorporate a lot of omega-3 from foods like fish and nuts into your diet, since it supports cellular elimination of waste,” she notes. “At the same time, you need to keep your omega-3 intake balanced with your omega-6 intake—which is common in cooking oils. In abundance, omega-6 can lead to stagnation of toxins in the body.”
2. Get in your probiotics
If you’re not already popping a probiotic on the reg (or eating yogurt everyday for breakfast), consider it for your skin’s sake. “Eating probiotics and maintaining a healthy bacteria balance can also affect your skin,” says Harper. “Healthy flora on the skin helps prevent bad bacteria from flourishing and causing blemishes.”
3. Drink water constantly
Staying hydrated is the answer to a lot of issues, from headaches to low energy levels. And it’s important in ensuring your skin is nourished enough to combat pimples. “Drinking plenty of water is essential, as it helps flush out toxins and hydrate your skin from the inside out,” says Harper. “It’s the best way to detoxify your whole system.” (Also? The most affordable!)
4. Fit in a regular sweat sesh
Working out is a proven way of detoxing your body, so that coincides with the fact that it’ll help with your skin’s glow. “Exercise helps reduce stress, an acne-causing factor, and increases blood flow, which helps oxygenate cells and boost their natural detox process,” says Harper.
5. Catch enough ZZZs
Harper stresses the fact that beauty sleep is real (something we can get an amen on from snooze pro Arianna Huffington). “Lack of sleep can lead to excess oil production and increased stress, which can both cause or exacerbate breakouts,” she notes.
6. Always protect your skin from the sun
Okay, we all know how important sunscreen is. But it really plays a big role in a clear complexion. “Sunscreen is a must every day regardless, but acne is inflammation in the skin, so inflammation from sunburn can make acne worse or cause dark spots,” says Harper. Stock up on one of our editors’ 11 go-to natural sunscreens to keep your skin safe—and less prone to breakouts.
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