Clear Skin & Non-Oily Hair

During high school, my skin (especially on my cheeks) would break out pretty bad.   I heaped on the makeup to try to hide it, which I’m sure only exacerbated the situation.  My skin was never “perfect”, but later, when I got on the birth control pill, my skin cleared right up.  I also noticed that it kept my hair from getting oily.  I got off the pill awhile ago and ever since, I’ve noticed my hair getting greasy and my skin not looking as clear.  My forehead and the area around my jawline was full of little bumps under the skin. After about two months, I ended up going to my dermatologist and he prescribed Acanya, which is a combination of Benzoyl Peroxide (2.5%) and Cindamycin Phosphate (1%), and also told me to use Witch Hazel
as a toner after washing with Cetaphil cleanser (which I’ve been using since high school).

So far, so good.  My skin is looking much clearer.  I wish I had visited my dermatologist when I was pregnant with my son- my back/shoulders broke out terribly in big, ugly blistery pimples.  We don’t have to suffer!  Benzoyl Peroxide is available over the counter without a prescription, but I would recommend finding a good dermatologist in your area.  It’s amazing how bad skin can affect your self-esteem.  Even though my break-outs weren’t terrible recently, I was still self-conscious about it.

For my hair, my dermatologist gave me samples of this DHS Clear Shampoo, but he was out of the conditioner.  The shampoo has no scent, but lathers well and seems to be working.  I couldn’t find this brand at my drug store, so I just ordered the shampoo and conditioner
on Amazon (it’s available on Prime).  I was also advised to let my hair get oily so that my hormones can balance out my oil production.  Oh man, is this hard to do?!  But, I found a cornstarch/baby powder combination at my grocery store that I love to use between washings if my hair is oily.  It’s better than straight-up baby powder because it’s not as strong-smelling.  It actually feels really cool and nice on your scalp when you put it in and just a little goes a long way!

But, before I headed to the doctor, I started researching online what I could do at home to help the acne situation.  I came across the Alkaline diet, which is supposed to help balance your hormones my keeping your body’s blood pH level slightly alkaline at 7.35-7.45.  Below 7 is said to be acidic and above 7 is alkaline.  I’m new to this info, but here are two charts that explain which foods are on the acid-forming side, and which are more alkaline.


NO SUGAR.  That’s what I’m working on eliminating.  
HEALTHY FATS– I’m adding back in healthy fats like a few crushed almonds and slices of avocado on my salad, cooking my protein pancake in a teaspoon of coconut oil instead of cooking spray.  
FRUITS/VEGETABLES– eat to your heart’s content.  I realize I hardly eat any food- instead always serving them to my son.  I need to partake in this goodness! 
WATER– Spring, river, or tap water is completely neutral.  I’m doing good on my water intake.  Keeping my insulated water bottle nearby helps. 
The biggest no-no’s on the Alkaline diet are coffee, alcohol, processed foods, sugar, salt, and red meat.  Coffee is the hardest for me to give up, I drink two cups most days.  
How do you keep your skin clear?  Have you noticed whether your diet affects your skin?  

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Meet Megan

Hi! I’m Megan, mom to a thoughtful teenager and spunky young girl. We call Houston home and recently moved into our dream home. I traded my lawyer hat to become a full-time blogger in 2010. I love sharing my passion for affordable fashion, home decor, organization, & fitness to help inspire you to take care of you!


  1. As soon as I come out of competition prep and introduce sugar back into my body, I get the "pimple beard". Totally hormonal. Sugar. Sugar. Sugar. That is the main cause anytime I get pimple. 🙁 boo.

  2. I have to admit, I have been blessed with clear skin (minus the few blemishes every once in awhile) and fairly normal hair. However, I have learned that oily, blemish prone skin and hair can sometimes be a product of over washing or too many products. The less my #1 uses on her skin the better. As a cheerleader, we did find that the main culprit (and the same goes for those who workout) was sweat and hair products running down her forehead while cheering. These products are meant for hair, not the face. My #2 always wore a wide headband while playing volleyball to prevent this problem and it worked like a charm!! Sometimes over washing, stripping the face of natural oils will cause the body to produce more in excess. Lindsay of Delighted Momma has some great info on her blog regarding skin care, and I would highly recommend reading her material. And yes, sometimes it is a short-term hormonal change that can cause issues. I know many dermatologists recommend Cetaphil, but I have also heard many who hate it! I have been using Philosophy's Purity for about a year now and with great success. I feel it removes far more make up residue than Cetaphil (which for a long time I was a fan of). I have tried several natural washes, but have had issues due to sensitivities to ingredients. I am a fan of less is more to be honest. Sometimes it is trial and error. Eliminate a product for a few days and see if the skin clears, if not move on to the next product. Similar to diagnosing a food allergy. Truth be told, I grew up an Ivory soap girl, and nothing else until my 30s. Never had a problem. I truly believe we are slathering ourselves and ingesting too many chemicals these days! Sorry for the novel!!

  3. I've been doing the oil cleansing method for washing my face. A mix of castor oil & organic olive oil. Works really well at cleaning my face & removing everything but not over drying my skin. I've also switched to organic, gluten free mineral makeup. Not heavy stuff. Seems to be making a difference as well. Thanks for sharing your tips!

  4. Have you tried "dry shampoo" yet? I used to use baby powder until I found dry shampoo. I have super fine hair so I spray dry shampoo in my clean hair too. It adds texture and totally soaks up any oil. Smells great too!

  5. I've always used noxema on my face and I've never had a skin problem. I feel like I'm 13 when I tell people what I use on my face but I say if it's not broken, don't fix it. I have always had an oily scalp. It's disgusting. My stylist told me that I am just one of those people that has to wash their hair every day. I try to go a day on the weekends and not wash it. But I've found that not washing my hair makes my face super oily and normally I don't have terribly oily skin.

  6. My son had severe acne and dandruff and I took him to a dermatologist (he's special needs). They had prescribed an antibiotic and a retinol however it was too harsh for his skin so we stopped that. He was on this antibiotic for years and I worked hard to get his skin clear. Ironically, a few years back, I changed his diet. He eats with a feeding tube and was on formula and most brands consisted of high fructose corn syrup. Over three years ago I took him off of that and gave him a blenderized diet of whole foods, mostly organic, and mostly superfoods. His skin changed almost immediately. We were shocked! As soon as I changed his diet, he no longer needed the antibiotic and we've never been to the dermatologist since. He went from severe acne to virtually no acne (once in a while he get a pimple). His dandruff disappeared too. I get compliments on his skin all the time. My neighbor and I were chatting one evening and my son was inside and she said she wanted to tell me how great his skin looked. We weren't even talking about it! I should also say that when he was a little boy his skin was amazing and now it looks just like that. The only time he got all the acne was from the high fructose corn syrup in the formula.

    Due to his issues, I feed him pretty healthy; he gets 3 small fruits/day (one per meal), lots of vegetables (4 cups of leafy greens at lunch and again at dinner, plus 1 cup of cooked vegetables at lunch and dinner), all organic protein sources (org chicken breast, org chopped sirloin, high quality org eggs, org black beans and albacore tuna or ahi tuna. He gets kefir, organic ground flaxseed, some nuts and Now Foods organic coconut oil every day (prevents colds, flu and pneumonia and is great for people with neurological issues). I make nearly everything from scratch-all bread, pasta sauce, etc. I use butter and organic coconut oil as the main fats (rarely olive oil, never canola oil because it's genetically modified, and no other oils of any kind), I use all organic spices and I don't use regular salt. I use Celtic Sea Salt, Fine Ground, Vital Mineral Blend. The main thing is I never use sugar with him since sugar is an anti-nutrient and it weakens the immune system and he's medically fragile. Instead of sugar, I use organic evaporated cane juice by Wholesome Sweeteners (Costco sells a 10 pound bag for $10). It looks similar to sugar and is a beige color. It's delicious and I use it in my pasta sauce and my bread. I never use anything with soy in it. He eats mostly all of the fruits and vegetable on the alkaline diet and he virtually never eats much on the other side of the chart you posted.

    Personally, I am convinced it's the sugar. I give my son 20-21 meals a week from scratch but one lunch a week, I usually give him formula which has the high fructose corn syrup in it and the next day his face will be broken out from it. My ex-husband was the first one to notice that his whole foods diet cleared up his face.

    As for the oily hair, I used to suffer from that as well. I just washed it every day. LIke you, it drove me crazy to try to let it go. It only seemed to make things worse. I also used the Cetaphil for oily skin for many years as well. I have pretty good skin now although I eat fairly well. I use Now Foods Organic Coconut Oil every night and morning and it really makes my skin nice. I was shocked when I first started using it because I thought with the oily skin, it would make things worse but it was just the opposite. Good luck. It's not easy.

  7. Thanks for posting this! I am going to try the witch hazel toner. I already use Cetaphil, but have been having breakouts lately and I am OLD (53) to be getting them!!

  8. Oh my goodness….I am so glad you wrote this!! So many people have no idea how much diet effects their skin. Your skin is the FIRST representation of your "gut" and what's going on inside of it. My trigger is dairy. Sadly…it's really hard to remove ALL dairy. But it's usually a choice. Do I want that snickers bar treat…because it always comes with a side of bumps 🙂 ha ha ha ha. Great read!!!

  9. As soon as I got off my birth control pills a few months ago, I started getting breakouts. I'm 37 and felt like I was 13 again! I'm convinced it's all hormonal, which stinks because I don't want to go back on the pill (I have the IUD now). I've been taking a supplement for a month that has helped A LOT with that awful cystic acne (those under the skin big bumps on the chin and jaw line). It's called GLA: (gamma-linolenic acid), omega-6 fatty acid, sunflower seed oil, and vitamin E.
    For me personally, I don't see a correlation between food and breakouts, but everyone is different. As far as oily hair, I only wash mine every 3 days, unless I get super sweaty from working out. I use Suave's dry shampoo in between and I love it!

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