Do Skin Like The Brazilians Do

4 Things We Can Learn About Clear Skin From This Beautiful Country

Well we’re more than half way through the Rio Summer Olympics and I’ll admit, I’m not a sports fan and have not been following it one bit. But I do love Rio and have been thinking, Hey! Those beautiful Brazilians can seriously teach us a lot about clear acne-free skin.

I travelled to the Amazon and Rio last year and got to experience these natural and yummy treats for reals – no matter where you live, you can get a taste of Brazilian beauty too!
 
 

Coconut water

How Coconut Water Gives Us Clear Skin

Not to be confused with coconut milk, coconut water is the thin juice that can be poured out from inside a fresh coconut.

It naturally hydrates and moisturizes skin without making it greasy – it’s important to keep even oily and acne-prone skin hydrated, as dry skin with produce excessive amounts of sebum in an attempt to balance it out.

We’ve all heard about coconut water being used to replenish electrolytes after a workout, but those electrolytes are also vitally important for good skin. Potassium, magnesium and manganese, all available in coconut water, play a role in clear skin and help keep it alkaline (acidic skin is a hot spot for bacterial infections like acne.)

Another plus is that coconut is one of the best natural sources of cytokinins. What the heck are those?? They’re plant compounds that promote cell growth and considerably slow the degenerative process (aka: aging) of cells. This keeps our skin cells strong, helping to shed old cells that could clog pores, replacing them with fresh new cells which will also help scars fade faster. Nice!

Here’s How To Use It

  • Drink it straight if you love the taste! Avoid brands and flavours that add sugar (a single serving bottle should be no more than 9 grams of natural sugar that comes from the coconut.) Blue Monkey, Zico (tetra-pak bottles only) and Vital Juice are good ones to try.
  • If you’re not super crazy about the taste, like me, then stick it in your smoothies. All the other stuff you put in there will hide the taste but still give you all the nutrition.
  • Use it as a toner (those cytokinins work topically too!) Coconut water is antibacterial, smooths out the skin and can even enhance skin tone. Just dab some on a cotton ball and saturate your gorgeous face.

 

Açai

How Açai Gives Us Clear Skin

Açai berries come from the açai palm tree, which is native to the rainforests of Brazil.

So it any wonder that no matter where I went in Rio, there was açai in my face (in a good way)? There was even a restaurant dedicated entirely to dishes made with açai!

This Brazilian berry is one of the top antioxidant foods in the world. Antioxidants are so important for clear and acne free skin, because they fight the free radicals that damage our skin cells and clog pores (see more about antioxidants under “Brazil Nuts” below.)

Here’s How To Use It

  • It can be hard to find whole açai berries outside of Brazil (maybe try your luck on Amazon?), so the next best thing is blueberries, which have a similar nutrient profile. Add them to smoothies, sprinkle on Greek yogurt or oatmeal and add them to your homemade pancakes, muffins or corn bread.
  • Sambazon offers ultra convenient frozen and powdered açai – I love using the frozen stuff in my smoothies and it’s so easy to add the powder to anything and everything I eat!
  • Why not add the powder to your clay face mask – just stir it in and get a dose of antioxidants on your insides and your outsides!
  • Grab a ready-made açai bowl (all the rage in Rio!) at one of my favourite juice bars in Toronto, The Good Press.

 

Brazil nuts

How Brazil Nuts Give Us Clear Skin

Would you believe that just one serving of Brazil nuts (about 1 ounce) give us 767% of our daily requirement of selenium?* Brazil nuts are the highest source of this important acne fighting mineral (with a number like 767%, I would hope so!)

Not only is selenium yet another potent antioxidant, it also increases the body’s overall antioxidant levels by serving as a cofactor for other antioxidants, especially vitamin E, improving their effectiveness, helping them to fight free radicals even harder and even regenerating those antioxidants that have been previously used, so they can be used again (hello recycling!)

Antioxidants come up again and again and you better believe they really are important. Oil blocks our pores, which then oxidises when it comes into contact with gross stuff like toxins in our body, pollution, sunlight, and chemicals in body care products. These things react and combine with the oil on our face to create an ideal breeding ground for acne, with even more pore clogging and inflammatory power. Gah!

Selenium also works closely with zinc (the most important clear skin nutrient), enhancing its acne fighting ability by transporting it into cells where it can do its thang.

Here’s How To Use It

  • Eat them straight (they’re pretty tasty!)
  • Use them as a replacement for almonds in recipes like salad dressing, granola, baked goods…whatever!
  • Make this easy DIY Brazil nut milk yourself at home, courtesy of The Full Helping

* Source: http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/nut-and-seed-products/3091/2
 
 

Fresh Veggie & Fruit Juices

How Fresh Veggie & Fruit Juices Give Us Clear Skin

Little juice bars are all over Rio! I had sucos morning, noon and night while I was there.

I’m talking fresh juice, from real fruits and veggies – there’s no added sugar (provided you tell the barista not to add it!), natural flavours and other fillers.

Clearly, fresh juice is an easy way to get tons of skin friendly vitamins and minerals in one concentrated shot.

In Rio, it’s super easy to get cool exotic fruits like caju, passionfruit, caja, lychee and graviola (I feel so tropical just writing these down!), but any type of veggie and fruit will do – they’re all packed with amazing nutrients for our skin.

Here’s How To Use It

  • Invest in a juicer and make your own at home (look out for my upcoming blog post about how to build a proper acne fighting juice!) Use organic produce as much as possible to avoid toxic pesticides. Access to exotic Amazonian fruits is limited in other parts of the world, but no worries – juicing any and all fruits and veggies will make your skin happy!
  • Check out your local juice bar (click here for some of my favourites in Toronto)

Four Things We Can Learn About Clear Skin From The Brazilians

 

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PS – if you haven’t heard yet, I recently released the second edition of my eBook “Food For Your Face: Clearing Your Skin From The Outside”, full of easy DIY beauty product recipes that you can make at home with food that’s probably already sitting in your kitchen. Food For Your Face eBook Sample and buy it now by clicking here!

Food For Your Face: Clearing Your Skin From The Outside

 

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Post Binge Acne Breakouts: How To Deal

So you’ve been on the right track, eating a clear skin diet and taking extra special care with your skin care routine.

But then something happened……

A little “sitting at home alone and no one is looking” binge perhaps? Or maybe you were out and just couldn’t resist the greasy apps and social pressure?

Either way, you’ve taken in some not so great skin foods and your overindulgence is starting to show on your face, and maybe even your shoulders, back and other parts of your body. Awwww man!

I know the feelings of frustration, embarrassment and negative self-talk this brings up. It’s just not fair! Why is everyone else able to indulge without fear of a breakout, but you’re not?

First of all, please be kind to yourself. Everyone gets a breakout now and then, we just happen to notice our own spots through a microscopic lens.

Second, there are lots of things you can do to help clear your skin faster following a bender (aka: junk food spree or hard core nosh) and maybe even reduce the severity of a breakout in the first place.

Here’s your post-binge to-do list – it’s ideal to get started right away, like the morning after, but incorporating these practices at any point in the breakout timeline will speed up the acne clearing process!

Lemon Water

Drink lemon water first thing in the morning on an empty stomach for some serious health benefits:

  • Despite being an acidic fruit, lemon increases alkalinity within the body, helping to balance out the acidity of the acne promoting foods
  • Stimulates digestive juices in the gut, which in turn improves elimination of toxins and other waste products in bowel movements
  • Cleanses the liver and increases its detoxifying enzymes
  • Concentrated source of vitamin C which helps to fight infections such as acne

Just squeeze the juice of one lemon into a large glass of warm water. If you’ve never done this before, it’s a good idea to start with a little less juice (1/4 or ½ of a lemon) and you can increase to as much as you can handle! It’s preferable to use filtered water and organic lemons to avoid irritating toxins such as pesticides.

Clay Mask

This is a powerful way to draw out impurities, dirt, toxins and buildup from the surface of the skin. With absorbent, astringent and exfoliating properties, clay gets to the root of all our acne woes; it will help to balance oil production, clean clogged pores and smooth out rough, irritated skin.

Bentonite clay is a popular choice and Redmond Clay has some great products that are already hydrated and ready to use straight from the bottle. Green clay powder is another great choice for acne prone skin – NOW Solutions is one brand that sells the powder, which you just need to mix with water.

Before going to bed, wash your face with a gentle cleanser and follow it up with a detoxifying clay mask. Let it sit for about 10 – 20 minutes and rinse off with warm water. Masks are best used only once or twice a week, so go ahead and use it two nights in a row after your bender, but take it easy after that and spread out the clay love.

Fibre

If you really want to show those acne producing toxins who’s boss, increase your fibre intake!

Fibre will literally bind to and eliminate unwanted waste products through our bowel movements. Gross, I know, but better they’re eliminated there than through our skin.

Have some fibre rich foods like oatmeal, chia seeds, ground flax seeds, berries and avocado (notice that fibre is only found in plant based foods!)

Hydration

Yes, you’ve had your morning lemon water, but it’s important to stay hydrated throughout the whole day. Feeding our body plenty of liquids will help to flush out pore clogging toxins through the liver and kidneys.

This can come in the form of pure water (try my Mint Cucumber Infused Water recipe), eating whole fruits that are rich in water like apple and watermelon, veggie juices and antioxidant powerhouse green tea.

 

How to deal with acne and breakouts after a binge

 

Hang In There

No matter what you’re thinking now, or how you’re feeling about your skin, let me tell you that you will move past this breakout! Get back into the habit of sustainable and delicious clean eating and your skin will thank you.

Are you dealing with a breakout right now? When was the last time you had one? Share your experience below – you’ll see that you’re not alone.

 

PS – if you haven’t heard yet, I recently released the second edition of my eBook “Food For Your Face: Clearing Your Skin From The Outside”, full of easy DIY beauty product recipes that you can make at home with food that’s probably already sitting in your kitchen. Food For Your Face eBook Sample and buy it now by clicking here!

Food For Your Face: Clearing Your Skin From The Outside

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