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Natural Awakenings Greater Boston - Rhode Island

Clearing Up Skin from the Inside Out

Apr 30, 2011 01:20AM ● By Casey McAnn

Dillan DiGiovanni

When battling breakouts, many adults exacerbate the problem by picking at, obsessing over and abrading the skin with harsh cleaners. Instead, says Somerville Holistic Health Coach Dillan DiGiovanni, they’d do better to leave their skin alone and use that same energy to explore both what they’re eating and what’s eating them.

“Rarely will applying anything help the situation improve, because it’s coming from the inside,” says DiGiovanni. “It’s really about getting in touch with the cause of the underlying anxiety or imbalance and working with that, because whatever’s going on inside will start being written all over your face.”

A holistic approach to clearing up skin also involves cleaning up one’s diet, DiGiovanni says. He recommends drinking lots of water to flush the body; eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables for their fiber content, among other skin nourishing benefits; and avoiding dairy products and sugar. “Sugar is a leading cause of inflammation in the body, and anything erupting on the skin, whether rashes or acne, is caused by inflammation,” DiGiovanni explains. “Dairy can trigger allergic reactions that manifest as skin problems.”

DiGiovanni recalls his own struggle with adult breakouts during an emotionally stressful time in his life. After trying a host of approaches—including antibiotics—over several months, he ultimately cleared up his skin in three weeks by developing his own treatment plan. “It was eating fresh veggies, thoroughly grieving the end of a relationship, moving on, drinking more water and celebrating life,” says DiGiovanni.

Keeping the liver happy with a diet of natural foods (versus processed and chemical-ridden) and adequate fiber is another part of the plan for radiant skin, DiGiovanni notes. An overstressed liver can’t properly process toxins, which may then exit the body through the skin. Herbs that help to tone and detoxify the liver include milk thistle and dandelion, he adds.

DiGiovanni’s final recommendation is getting enough of what he calls “primary nutrition.” That includes supportive and validating relationships, work and spiritual practice, along with enjoyable exercise.

“When those things are out of balance, you’re likely to make bad nutritional choices, which can affect the quality of your skin,” says DiGiovanni. “So, while a hug itself won’t change your skin right away, it will increase your endorphins, which then inspires you to do right by yourself.”

For more information about Dillan DiGiovanni’s coaching and spring specials, call 617-510-2534 or visit