I healed my skin, SO CAN YOU!

For many years I struggled with problematic skin, and when I say years, I mean from the age of 12 to 25! That’s an incredibly long time if you ask me.

I meet so many people who are struggling through many kinds of skin concerns and this is where my passion for skin health came from - to help you heal from the outside in, and the inside out, to feel comfortable and happy in your own skin.

There are so many things that I have learned and there has been a lot of trial & error, however I am now 29 (almost 30) and I now finally feel confident in my own skin.

When it comes to choosing skin care and having treatments it can be really time consuming and super confusing. I found myself jumping from clinic to clinic, doctor to doctor, product to product and even though sometimes I felt a slight improvement, the methods I had trialled never seemed to give me long term results.

That was until I decided to start living more holistically.

At first, taking this approach seemed a little hocus-pocus, I didn’t fully understand what holistic meant so of course in the beginning I would find myself questioning it. People I guess have their own view of holistic living however I am ready to share my experience.

What a holistic approach really means to me is thinking about the big picture and addressing the whole issue including the physical, mental and emotional health, not just that once concern that we usually band aid for a while only to have it reoccur.

Diet and Lifestyle

When I was 19 I found this really cool book called ‘The healthy skin Diet’ which taught me the basics of common foods that contribute to acne and other skin conditions.

The main culprits were, Diary, Refined Sugars and Processed Foods. I went cold turkey and cut out all of these things for three months and saw a significant improvement in the inflammation that occurred when I broke out. I still got pimples, however they were no where near as bad as they usually would be, not to mentioned I felt so much better in my gut!

But as life went on, I slowly found myself back to my old habits of eating take away and sweets. I did however cut out the dairy stables such as full cream milk and cheese. It’s been years since I have had dairy milk and I actually really dislike the taste of it all together.

It wasn’t until I was 24 that I really started to learn that I needed to truly change my habits.

Learning from people, like Tony Robbins, how to create lasting change and implementing habits that would serve me better took a little while to get my head around, however the most affective way I learned to create change was to choose something each month that I would substitute in my diet.

Things like what kind of sugars I would use, changing from white or raw sugar to coconut or rapadura sugar which has a lower GI (slower release) and would not spike my insulin causing me to crash an hour after.

I went from drinking dairy milk to soy, however later learned that soy contains estrogen-like compounds called isoflavones which in some findings have suggested that these compounds can mess with your hormones such as your thyroid and other hormonal functions, so I switched to almond milk.

My gut health has still been up and down – however I have made some alterations to my already healthy diet including de-cluttering my stress levels. I’ve always known that stress is a huge factor to gut and skin health however I didn’t know that large amounts of adrenaline caused by just living a busy life was the main cause of my poor health!

According to Anthony Williams, (Medical Medium) when we are stressed or constantly running off adrenaline it slows down the process of something called ‘hydrochloric acid’ in our stomachs which helps break down our food! There are different enzymes etc that help with food breakdown, however as explained in his book, ‘The Medical Medium’ that if our food is not broken down, it can sit and rot in our large intestines and can cause all types of harmful gas and acids.. I say no more – that’s actually really gross to think about. Reading his books has open my mind to other forms of alternative health, so I highly recommend giving his materials a read.

So now my life is caffeine free, (as caffeine spikes adrenaline), alcohol free, dairy free, refined sugar free and semi-stress free.

Giving up coffee was a struggle, I cut down to one a day, making it half strength and then eventually trained by body to live off decaf if having a coffee was absolutely necessary. It’s was all in my head, a mental habit I had created over the years that if I was tired that I NEEDED a coffee. Alcohol wasn’t hard to give up, although in saying that I find the social aspect of it a little difficult now. As everyone starts to get tipsy and ready to party, I’m relaxed and ready for bed.

I still treat myself with dairy free, Ben & Jerry’s ice cream from time to time however I find myself snacking of fresh fruit, dates and celery throughout my days which actually keeps my blood sugar stable and I never feel I need to reach out for sweets.

Being able to manage stress I believe is an art and takes time. I read loads of books on personal development and mental health. I feel other peoples ideas and knowledge can somehow be implemented into your lifestyle, its really just about finding what it is that relaxes you and what helps you enjoy life, the stress just fades into the distance. Things like walking, reading and cooking relax me. Yoga and getting massages/ facials is also soul soothing.


Unfortunately my diet alone wasn’t enough to clear my skin, a friend has suggested that I see a naturopath and that I did!

I learned more about my gut health and that my hormones were also imbalanced.

It took 90 days to see results after taking herbal medicine and I was incredibly compliant with taking my supplements each day, twice a day. I did this for three years under the guidance of a trained naturopath.

Some of the supplements that I was taking included:

· Zinc

· Vitamin C

· Custom Herbal Tonics

· Magnesium

· And other hormonal balancing and liver detoxing vitamins.

However in sharing this information, please understand that I had a customised prescription which suited my health needs. Everyone is so different so before thinking about taking a supplement I stress that you consult a health care professional and not to self-diagnose.

It has been 6 years since this time and I still seek out guidance from my naturopath when I get ill instead of running to my doctor.

Medication and Periods

I was on the contraception pill from the age of 12 – 24 .. that’s 12 years!! And a very long time to be taking synthetic hormones.

Now I am not recommending that we all stop using this form of contraception, lets just put that out there now, I am speaking from my experience.

The pill/implanon/marina have their place in the world and treat/ manage all kinds of hormone related concerns, however with me – not so much.

My experience with this drug was quite intense. Crazy mood swings, adrenal fatigue, bloating, irregular periods, just to name a few. I guess I decided that it was not for me and with the guidance of my naturopath I was able to get off the pill and re-balance my hormones. I now experience regular healthy periods without the drug – and well I’m happy with the old school methods of contraception. (lol)

When I was 12, I had just started high school and remember a morning when mum drove me into school I just burst into tears as she drove in. I told her that I didn’t want to go to school, my face hurt from my pimples and I felt so ugly and embarrassed. At this point the only thing mum knew to do was take me to the doctors where they prescribed me doxycycline, an anti-bacterial prescription that was recommended to treat acne. I took this for 4 years.

Common side effects of Doxycycline are:

· Loss of appetite

· Nausea and vominting

· Diarrhea

· Rashes

· Sensativity to the sun

· Hives

· Temporary discolouring of teeth

· Anemia

· And yeast infections…

Looking back now, there’s no wonder by the time I hit my early adulthood my gut health and skin was in trouble.

Doxy never worked, for the first month or so I noticed a little difference but my skin stayed the same. I was only on it for so long because I was being monitored by my doctor who also diagnosed me with depression and anxiety due to my low moods and loss of appetite.

At 17 I went on a course of Roaccutane for 12 months, which is an acne drug that is said to stop your skin from over producing sebum (oil).

Within 6 months my skin had completely changed! No more acne. However! My skin had changed from a glowing olive complexion to pale white, my hair was dry and brittle and my skin, even though it was clear from acne, was so dry my lips cracked when I would talk.

About 2 years later – it all started again. My Acne had retuned so I tried a second course which lasted about 6 months and I gave up all together.

Synthetic medication and anti-biotics have so many side affects on our bodies. The way that I view them now from my experience is that they only offer a band aid approach, sure they offer somewhat of relief for some time, but finding the root cause of an illness ultimately gives you the best results.

Skin-Care and Treatments

My cystic acne had finally budged however it was still red and really inflamed. I had so many scars and pigmentation from the trauma that I became more conscious of.

I started having two sessions a week of blue light LED and used a dermal clinic skin care brand – however – I didn’t feel as though my skin was getting better and healing, it just didn’t feel healthy and I was still unhappy and insecure covering my face with make-up.

Once I had learned about Dermaviduals and Corneotherapy I felt relieved that there was hope for me to rebuild my skin. I had 8 months of regular facial treatments. I also started using the skin care range that was tailored for my specific skin condition and I could not believe how much my skin had improved.

It’s now been 3 years – I have not used any other brand of skin care/ make-up other than Dermavidals, I have had at least 15 sessions of skin needling and 4 session of IPL in this time.

I still have a monthly Nutrition Facial and 2 -3 sessions of LED a week.

Now, remember I am a skin therapist and I live and breathe for skin nutrition, my whole working life I am surrounding by it all. I am confident however, that if I missed a few months of treatments my skin would hold up well as I have rebuilt my skin barrier with Dermaviduals and I have finally figured out what triggers my poor gut health. (I still get a few pimples from time to time – I’m not perfect.)

Taking a holistic approach saved me. I guess this approach does not suit everyone as everyone has different beliefs and needs, but I swear by it – I live and breath it.

If I healed my skin – so can you!

Start by making a pledge to yourself that you want to create lasting change!

Choose a skin care brand that is nourishing and free of toxic synthetic ingredients.

Get on top of your gut health – educate yourself on what your digestive system does and what it needs to serve you well.

Seek advice from real professionals!

Listen to your body! If that glass of wine make you feel tired, gives you muscle aches and stirs in your stomach, learn how to eliminate it from your life.

If you would like to learn more about how you can heal your skin, visit our clinic.

Written by: Jess Chapman, SJM Skin Aesthetics Senior Therapist

Suzanne Smedley