My Skin Story
I have always been extremely active and healthy — health and wellness has always been a big passion for me. I was the kid who grew up playing every sport possible (basketball, soccer, track and field), and trained in a Russian ballet conservatory. I was always on the move! I grew up thinking I would have a career that involved a lot of physical activity.
When I was 16, my twin sister and I were standing in a line for a movie and were discovered by a major talent agent. We both began working immediately in commercials like ESPN, Target, Nintendo, and JC Penny. The first job we booked was for Justin Bieber, and that was pretty exciting for a couple of 16 year old girls! During that period, I never worried about my skin or health. I sailed through my teenaged years with the occasional “normal” breakout, but nothing alarming.
When I was in my early twenties, acne struck, and it struck bad. And it wasn’t casual acne, either. It was extremely painful cystic acne, the kind that can’t be concealed with makeup. My whole life came to a halt. I stopped booking callbacks for commercials, and my agent even told me that he couldn’t even send me out on auditions until my skin cleared up. I was so embarrassed by my skin that I stopped seeing my friends. My social life, career, dating life, and my self-confidence was stripped from me. I became a depressed hermit version of myself. I felt like I had no control over the acne. I couldn’t start living my life again to the fullest until the acne was gone.
This began the long journey of trying many different remedies to clear my skin. As someone who has always been very enthusiastic about health and wellness, I had a hunch that diet could be part of the equation with my acne. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a lot of good information on the connection between diet and acne available. I tried a low glycemic diet (a low carb diet,) but it didn’t improve the acne at all.
I visited numerous dermatologists who prescribed me harsh topical treatments and oral antibiotics. The acne would clear, but it would always come back with a vengeance. These treatments were like a band aid treating the symptom, but not the cause. I spent thousands of dollars on different remedies, products, and facials, but nothing would ever make the acne go away. It was always temporary relief, followed by a more severe breakout.
At my wit’s end, I ended in the office of a UCLA dermatologist specialist — it had taken months to even get an appointment with him. The only help he offered was the Accutane, a drug with potentially very serious side effects. I did not want to take that risk. Luckily, I was able to cure my acne through a specific diet.
How did we discover an acne-clearing diet?
When my twin sister and I were babies, my mother was diagnosed with a serious autoimmune disease. With the advice of diet and lifestyle expert Dr. John McDougall, she was able to put the disease into remission. My mother’s inspiring story is part of the reason I have always been interested in healthy living. My father, remembering my mother’s success, suggested that my sister and I look through Dr. McDougall’s website to see if he could help us with the acne. I found this on his website: “Acne is a preventable disease not a normal condition… Follow a very low-fat diet; keep your skin free of dirt, oils, and oil-based cosmetics.” He mentioned that there are people in the world who never get acne, because they follow a low-fat plant based diet.
As someone who had already tried every acne protocol (except
Accutane), my sister and I thought that we had nothing to lose.
Trying A New Diet
We began following Dr. McDougall’s dietary guidelines. Within three days, we noticed our skin was significantly less oily. I remember thinking to myself, “It’s working!” But I was worried to get my hopes up because every time an antibiotic would work, it provided only temporary relief. My sister and I both stuck with the diet. Within six weeks, the acne was almost gone…. It took some time for the hyper pigmentation on the skin to completely fade away, but it did. Our skin has been clear since then.
We decided to create a Youtube video on how we cleared our skin through diet — and much to our surprise, it went viral! Hundreds of people tried the diet and started sending us photos of their skin and telling us their success stories. We decided to track results officially, and ran a medically supervised pilot study with 130 participants. Many of them saw great improvement in their acne. My sister and I, realizing we were onto something important, decided to write a book about our skin journey. The Clear Skin Diet was published in 2018, and is a top-seller on Amazon. People can take control of their breakouts through food!
What is the Clear Skin Diet?
The Clear Skin Diet is a plant-based diet comprised of whole grains, starches, legumes, fruits, and vegetables. It is naturally lower in fat and unprocessed. Foods higher in fat like avocados, soy, nut, meat, and dairy are to be avoided as the skin clears. Many of our participants have been able to add back in “trigger foods” once their skin is fully healed. But we always recommend consuming as much whole foods as possible to maintain a healthy diet.
There is Hope
If you are suffering or know someone suffering with acne, know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. If you too have tried every treatment, and nothing seems to work, there is hope. What you put in your body can greatly impact your life, and this one small change can make all of the difference.
My Favorite Snack Recipe
As someone always on the go, working out a lot, and busy with many creative endeavors, I love having easy snacks. I don’t spend a lot of my time in the kitchen because I’d rather be outside! I’ve found that a lot of pre-made sold snacks are processed, filled with added oils, and aggravate my sensitive acne-prone skin. One of my favorite wholesome snacks is a TUSOL banana smoothie! I’ve found that many plant-proteins upset my stomach or turn my skin red, but TUSOL is the only product I’ve found that agrees with my digestion, leaves me feeling light and energized, and tastes delicious.
Banana Smoothie Recipe:
- TUSOL Illuminate smoothie mix
- 1 banana
- 1/2 cup oats
- handful ice
- Fresh blueberries
Blend and serve! I love adding fresh blueberries on top!