Acne & Inflammation

Podcast Episode #349: Acne & Inflammation

Diane Sanfilippo Featured, Paleo and Primal, Podcast Episodes 2 Comments

Acne & InflammationTopics

  1. News and updates from Diane [1:48]
    1. Balanced Bites podcast Facebook group
    2. Robyn Youkilis meal prep workshop
    3. Liz settles at the lake
    4. Balanced Bites Master Class
    5. Emily Schromm's Body Awareness Project
    6. US Wellness Meats
  2. Something I've been digging lately [12:39]
  3. Acne, inflammation, and pork [21:28]
  4. Topical acne treatments [30:58]
  5. WYMOI: What you missed on Instagram [36:53]

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Acne & Inflammation Acne & Inflammation Acne & Inflammation

You’re listening to the Balanced Bites podcast episode 349.

Diane Sanfilippo: Welcome to the Balanced Bites podcast. I’m Diane; a certified nutrition consultant, and the New York Times bestselling author of Practical Paleo and the new 21-Day Sugar Detox Daily Guide. I live in San Francisco with my husband and fur kids.

Liz Wolfe: I’m Liz; a nutritional therapy practitioner, and author of the Wall Street Journal best-seller Eat the Yolks; The Purely Primal Skincare Guide; and the online program Baby Making and Beyond. I live on a lake in the mystical land of the Midwest, outside of Kansas City.

We’re the co-creators of the Balanced Bites Master Class, and we’ve been bringing you this award-winning podcast for more than 6 years. We’re here to share our take on modern healthy living, answer your questions, and chat with leading health and wellness experts. Enjoy this week’s episode, and submit your questions at or watch the Balanced Bites podcast Instagram account for our weekly calls for questions. You can ask us anything in the comments.

Remember our disclaimer: The materials and content within this podcast are intended as general information only, and are not to be considered a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Before we get started, let’s hear from one of our sponsors.

Diane Sanfilippo: Today’s podcast is sponsored by Equip Foods. Dr. Anthony Gustin and his teams have created lines of supplements that are super clean and effective, no matter what your dietary needs. I’ve been blending their complete collagen into my matcha every single day. Not only does each scoop have a boost of protein, but there is no added flavor, as well. I love the texture. It’s a super fine powder, blends in extremely well. Check them out at and use the code BALANCED for 20% off all Equip Foods and Perfect Keto, their sister product site.

1. News and updates from Diane & Liz [1:48]

Liz Wolfe: Alrighty rooty. So Diane, what’s happening? What’s this lip color you’ve got on right now, on this video? We’re on a video chat right now. I like it.

Diane Sanfilippo: I think there’s something stuck in my tooth, also. That’s really cute. {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: Well I didn’t tell you about that. But that looked good too.

Diane Sanfilippo: This is called Girl’s Night. Which I thought was called Girl’s Night Out, and I kept calling it that. Maybe it was before.

Liz Wolfe: No, I don’t think so.

Diane Sanfilippo: Was never called that.

Liz Wolfe: This is a Beautycounter lipstick, yes?

Diane Sanfilippo: It is.

Liz Wolfe: Lip intense, excuse me. Lip intense.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah. It might be color intense lipstick.

Liz Wolfe: Color intense.

Diane Sanfilippo: But that was me with the color pinch cream blusher; is that what it’s called? They used to call it the pinch cream. I could not get it right. I’ve officially become my mother; not being able to say the name of something accurately.

Liz Wolfe: {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: She used to call Tommy Hilfiger Tommy Hill-finger. I’m like; that’s not a thing.

Liz Wolfe: So many people! That’s worse than Amber Crombie and Chipolte.

Diane Sanfilippo: My mom says Chipolte. She definitely can’t say Chipotle. But she’s the cutest.

Liz Wolfe: She is the cutest. Your dad is too. He’s the best.

Diane Sanfilippo: They’re cute. They're good. So, as you are doing our intro for today, I was thinking. Obviously folks can continue to ask us questions on Instagram in the comments and submit them privately if you want. But we also now have a Balanced Bites podcast Facebook group.

A couple of reasons for this. One, I was inspired by the Happier in Hollywood podcast that I was on because they have a really engaged Facebook group and community where their listeners can go talk to each other. Which, I love that. Every episode of this show has a podcast post on But a lot of times, people are having a conversation or they want to ask follow-up questions. But the reality is, those only go to me and my team. They don’t really go to the person who asked the question. And obviously you don’t have visibility to what’s on my website.

So for the most part, it’s really for you guys. It’s for you guys to check it out. Talk to each other. Maybe if we’re answering a question and you have either some follow-up information or you just want to kind of chat about whatever it is. So check that out.

We will also; we know that tons of you, as listeners and our alumni have gone through the Balanced Bites Master Class. You’re like; I will correct your grammar.

Liz Wolfe: That’s ok. Alumnus; never mind. It doesn’t matter. Alumna is a female graduate. Alumni would technically be a male graduate. No, alumnus would be a male graduate and alumni would be the plural. Never mind. Now I’ve butchered it. Don’t worry about it.

Diane Sanfilippo: Ok. So our previous Balanced Bites Master Class students {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: {laughing} Our graduates.

Diane Sanfilippo: Our graduates. Could tell you that most of them came from being podcast listeners. So we know that those of you who listen to the podcast would love to come learn from Liz and myself. Do a deep dive on a lot of the topics that we’re always talking about. And the Master Class is where we will do that.

So we will definitely let those of you who are in the podcast Facebook group know about that as it’s coming up for enrollment very soon. We want to make sure you have information on that.

And also, as a side note, we’re going to be doing a few live videos in that group surrounding that class opening. So I just wanted to let you know. It’s not where we will share content for it. But just wanted to let you know that that will be coming up. What else?

A lot of you guys absolutely loved my interview with Robyn Youkilis, and I know many of you got to meet Robyn on book tour for her brand new book, Thin from Within. Which I know the title was very triggering for some of you. But we heard from so many listeners that when you sat down and actually listened to the episode, you really connected with the content that she was sharing and it really was not about this idea of just losing weight. Or just “getting thin”, I’m saying with air finger quotes.

So I wanted to let you guys know that Robyn has a meal prep workshop that she’s running. I think you can check it out through her website. I guess well probably have a link to it in our show notes. So if you're curious about it; we don’t have a link or anything now. But we will have a special price for our listeners that you guys can get. Because she absolutely loved chatting with you guys, and connecting with you. So stay tuned for that. I think her approach to meal prep is really unique, and I think you guys will really love it.

And then just last quick notes about spices are ready. If you guys were looking for spices, they’re definitely there and available. And 21-Day Sugar Detox is in Costco. So keep looking for it there. I know a couple of you have said it’s been sold out, or you saw the last one or two copies. Which, hey you guys, that’s not a bad thing. If they sell down in a lot of stores, maybe we’ll be able to get more going everywhere. So that would be amazing. So thank you guys so much for your support on that.

What’s going on over at the lake? I thought we were going to say something like that. Wait, what? {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: What, what.

Diane Sanfilippo: Like, what’s happening over by the Bay? What’s happening over by the lake?

Liz Wolfe: Oh, that would have been funny.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah. Ok next time.

Liz Wolfe: I totally would have done that, if you had told me that I was supposed to do that. {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: These are the things I think of. Anyway, what’s going on?

Liz Wolfe: I take instruction well.

Diane Sanfilippo: What’s going on at the lake?

Liz Wolfe: Well, we totally skipped spring in Kansas City. Which is my biggest pet peeve. Every year, I forget about it and I get the first 72-degree day, and I’m like; “Ah! This is so perfect!” And then within two days it’s like 89, 91 degrees. It just makes me so angry. So we went straight from 42, 60, 42, 60, 72, 85, 89.

Diane Sanfilippo: Is it humid, also? Because you look very glowy and dewy.

Liz Wolfe: Yes. It is indeed. Thank you. You mean sweaty, but thanks.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughing}

Liz Wolfe: Yes. It is extremely humid, and there’s rain coming in. This is also kind of tornado season right now where you’ve got, every once in a while, a tornado watch and whatnot. So that’s fun.

But we are living at the lake. We bought a janky little pontoon boat with my parents. It’s about 10 years old, but it runs and it floats, so that’s good. And that will be fun for the summer. Fourth of July is pretty big out here.

I actually grew up here at this lake. My grandma lived here, and my parents live here now. So I’m very familiar with it. Just working on meeting people. Not being completely awkward. It’s hard. It’s always hard to meet new people. But generally, my MO is to sit back and wait for somebody to decide I’m cool enough to hang out with.

But now I have this; given I have this 3-year-old daughter and I want her to have friends. I’m really, really trying to put myself out there. Which is not native to my personality. There is no way for me to put myself out there in a situation that is just awkward for me, and strange to me, and not feel like; I was saying this the other day. Like a 10-year-old kid that just moved to a new school. Where I’m like, “Hi! Um, hey. Uh, so, uh, do you like Star Wars?”

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: You know? There’s nothing elegant about it at all. So I’m really grappling with that right now. Should I open my mouth and be thought a weirdo? Or should I close my mouth and maybe wait 3 years to make friends? {laughs} I just can’t decide.

Diane Sanfilippo: I do not envy that situation. I don’t like to make new friends, so I pretty much sit back. But I also don’t have a child that I’m trying to help make friends.

Liz Wolfe: It’s all good. I’ve actually met a couple of people out here who are super awesome. And actually, I should shout her out, because she has my book. And she actually recognized me from that when we first saw each other out here, and she’s super sweet. Her name is Shayla. She’s awesome, and I know she listens to the podcast sometimes.

Diane Sanfilippo: Hi Shayla!

Liz Wolfe: So She’s been a big connector for me, which has been extremely helpful. It’s always nice to know one or two people that can kind of plug you in and give you some encouragement. So that’s been pretty huge. I definitely would not have joined Thursday night ladies golf if it was not for Shayla encouraging me to do it.

Diane Sanfilippo: Wow. Ok. I like Colleen, and I like Shayla. This is good.

Liz Wolfe: I know. This is good. So that’s kind of the personal stuff. Professionally, the Balanced Bites Master Class enrollment is opening up again in June. So the 18th through the 28th of June. Just stay tuned to the podcast and the Instagram and the emails and the websites for more information on that. But right now, if you know that you want to get on the wait list, we’ll link the wait list in the show notes. You can go to this episode 349 and look for the wait list.

Other than that, I wanted to also shout out our friend Emily Schromm’s Body Awareness Project. You and I both did interviews for the Body Awareness Project. You can find it at This is a super cool project Emily Schromm is putting together. She’s a huge advocate for self-love, and self-care. Particularly for younger women and girls. Which is wonderful. We all need this, but in particular, young people need it as well. So this is a great project to look into if that sounds interesting to you.

Finally; I wanted to make sure everybody knows about my partnership with US Wellness Meats. You can get a discount on any order under 40 pounds; 15% off with the discount code Liz. These guys are my favorite. I order from them all the time. This is where I get my liverwurst, and my braunschweiger to make sure my kid gets some organ meats in her diet. They’ve also got a ton of other good stuff.

The thing I love about US Wellness Meats is they have scaled really, really consciously and really well. It is impossible to be a company that sources only locally. They source a ton locally. They’re pretty close to me, out of Canton, Missouri. But as demand has risen for this type of meat all over the country, they have scaled in a way that is incredibly conscientious. They’ve done a wonderful job.

And I can tell you, of all of the companies that I’ve observed in this real food space that we are in, there have been a ton of problems with scale. And sometimes these other companies will make compromised based on that. I have not see that with US Wellness Meats. And that’s not a spiel they gave me to say. This is just why I love them so much, and why I have for so long. That’s it!

2. Something I’ve been digging lately [12:39]

Diane Sanfilippo: Yay! Alright, why don’t you tell us, you know our favorite segment, something new that you're digging lately?

Liz Wolfe: So we both were at the Beautycounter leadership summit in Minneapolis recently. And we were just #blessed.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughing}

Liz Wolfe: {laughs} I’ve never said that before in my life. To see Maria Shriver as one of the keynotes at the summit. And that was incredible. She is an absolute force. She’s an elegant, well spoken, community minded woman. She’s incredible. And she talked about some really fun personal anecdotes in her life about the idea of service, and the idea of activism and community and all of that. So it was just incredible to see her speak. I just greatly enjoyed it.

So, as a result of that, while I was sitting there listening to her, she mentioned her Sunday paper email series. So I went right over and I signed up for Maria Shriver’s Sunday Paper emails. I’ve only gotten one so far. It was her musings on Mother’s Day. And I’m really, really enjoying it.

So I’ve been looking for somebody to deliver a little bit of good news for me, you know? And Maria Shriver is very aware of what’s going on in the world. She’s had a long career in journalism. But the way she spins the things that she covers is very much; I think she calls it architects of change. So she’s really covering people that are going forward and making a difference in the world. Which is just like what I need to hear right now.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah. I think she is a female voice as a leader that we can look to in a way that’s not; I don’t know. She’s super grounded. She comes from one of the most famous families and lineage that we can ever even know about; from the Kennedy family. And so I think it was interesting; a lot of the younger women who were there with me were like; “I actually don’t know who she is.” I was like; oh my goodness. This is so crazy!

Liz Wolfe: Oh my gosh.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah. I’m feeling the 40 over here. Even though, I know, every day Scott and I are like, “It’s the 40 report. In today’s report, this new aching thing. In today’s report, I was surrounding by a bunch of women who did not know who Maria Shriver was.”

But yeah. I found her extremely inspiring. I don’t know; I would want her filter on the things that are happening. And that lens. I’m like; wait. Why didn’t I sign up for that? I need to go sign up for that.

Liz Wolfe: This is probably just way too vague to ever really catch on. But I’m really into this difference between aspiration and inspirational. And I felt like Maria Shriver was really inspirational. It was really incredible to hear her speak. It invited a lot of self-reflection and a shift in perspective.

Whereas aspirational, I feel like we’re always saturated with this, “I should be more like that. That looks cool, I should strive for that.” And I think that kind of is a slippery slope of making us feel like we’ll never be good enough. We’ll never make a difference. We’ll never do something cool. Rather than that, I really just felt inspired and like I could do something cool, as well because of that. So that was neat.

Diane Sanfilippo: I think you hit the nail on the head with the difference between those two things. I hope that that’s a lot of what we do on this show. We don’t talk about things that are super aspirational. We try to be more inspirational while educational. But it is really about; can I see myself in the story this person is telling? And I think that becomes inspirational. Now the word inspirational sounds weird to me. I’ve said it too many times, and now I don’t think it’s a real world.

Liz Wolfe: {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: The idea of an aspiration is a little more vague, and I’m not sure that could be me. So I think that’s a really interesting…

Liz Wolfe: Distinction, right?

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, it is.

Liz Wolfe: Yeah. It’s less like #goals, and more #reality. I don’t know.

Diane Sanfilippo: A lot of the women who were there on my team, who I have known for years. Some of them are sugar detox coaches. They’re in our community in a lot of different ways. They came away from that event, both hearing Maria speak and other women in the business, and talking about how inspired they were because they felt very much like they could see how to apply that change in their own life. And create change in their own life as a result of an action they would take.

Whereas, if you create a vision of something that seems aspirational, it’s like; that’s a neat dream. I’m not really sure what I can do in my life to get there. I like this topic! This is a good one.

Liz Wolfe: I do too! Because the first time I ever talked about this was in a podcast with Lauren Lax, which I’m not sure if it’s come out yet or not. But she was kind of asking me what I was hoping to do with Baby Making and Beyond. And that was really where it came to me. Where it was like; I don’t want to be this aspirational figure. I don’t want Baby Making and Beyond to be like this; “You should be like this as a parent. Here’s the perfect picture; aspire to this.”

I want to inspire people to love themselves where they’re at. And to feel like; maybe I can’t do all the things, but I can do one thing. That goes through my mind constantly, by the way. Because I’m constantly overwhelmed with this big picture of; “I’ll never be this. I’ll never get that done.” Or “I’ll never clean this room.” Whatever it is.

So I keep telling myself; “I can’t do everything.” Which is kind of the aspiration thing. Where you're like; “I can do everything, and I can do everything well!” No, you can’t. I can’t do everything.

Diane Sanfilippo: That was like 3-year-old Jessica standing on the sink, I think, saying those things. “I can do everything good!” {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: {laughing}

Diane Sanfilippo: That’s because you’re 3 and all you have to do is eat and poop and play.

Liz Wolfe: Literally, your job. Best job ever. But, even though I can’t do everything, I can do one thing. What’s the one thing? And that’s pretty empowering. So I like this topic too.

Diane Sanfilippo: Well good. Hopefully our listeners will be digging that as well. And hey, instead of just linking to things in the show notes, maybe we can share some of these links over on our Facebook group too. I think that will be really helpful and easy for you guys to access as well. Or, if you're listening to this show, and we haven’t shared the link yet? Go ahead and share it on our Facebook group.

Liz Wolfe: So what is something that you’re digging?

Diane Sanfilippo: Well, I won’t spend too much time on this because it’s not actually out yet. But I’m 100% digging one of the things we got at leadership summit. One of the new products. So I’m just going to skim over it. But I’m planting the seed so that those of you who are listening can come back and find out what it is; either on the show or on my Instagram or wherever. It’s a new product that we got. I’ve used it a few times in the last week. And I feel like it’s a gamechanger for my skin. And I used to wonder how people could know how one thing was really affecting their skin that much. But this is.

Liz Wolfe: When you find the right thing.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, when you find it, I feel like that is; I don’t know. It feels miraculous every time. It was the charcoal bar before, and that really did transform my skin. And I’m so grateful that I found that from you. I can’t say I found it. I’m so glad you basically forced it upon me. Because that got me interested in all of this.

But the last few days; waking up and kind of saying to Scott; “Look at my skin!” And he’s like, “Oh my gosh, there’s no vampire bites.” That was what I was really struggling with a lot. But it’s amazing. We’ll talk about it more.

Liz Wolfe: Well, and you and I have seen a ton of other reviews exactly like that from the other folks that got the same kits. Just totally unsolicited; “this is miraculous, am I the only one?” “No, you're not the only one!”

Diane Sanfilippo: So that was a terrible tease, and I’m very sorry. But I will totally fill you guys all in as soon as we can. So hopefully soon.

Liz Wolfe: The Balanced Bites podcast is sponsored in part by the Nutritional Therapy Association. The NTA trains and certifies nutritional therapy practitioners and consultants (including me; I’m an NTP), emphasizing bio-individuality and the range of dietary strategies that support wellness. The NTA emphasizes local, whole, properly prepared nutrient dense foods as the key to restoring balance and enhancing the body’s ability to heal.

The NTA’s nutritional therapy practitioner program and new fully online nutritional therapy consultant program empower graduates with the education and skills needed to launch a successful, fulfilling career in holistic nutrition. To learn lots more about the NTA’s nutritional therapy programs, and check out the free Nutritional 101 course, as well; go to There are workshop venues in the US, Canada, and Australia. So chances are, you’ll be able to find a venue that works for you.

3. Acne, inflammation, and pork [21:28]

Liz Wolfe: Ok. So pretty appropriate segue we have here from what we were just talking about. We’re going to talk a little bit about acne, and inflammation, and in this question we’re going to talk about pork. And I think maybe we can open it up to a larger discussion of what we found that works. And the approach that I like to take now to resolving skin issues. And we’ll talk about that.

So let’s start with this question from Kristen. “I’m working with an acne clinic, and they’re having me eliminate pork from my diet because it’s inflammatory. But I have a freezer full of heritage pork from a local farm. I would love to get your thoughts. Does pork cause inflammation? I’m thinking it wouldn’t be as much of an issue with pastured pork. Also would love a quick refresher 101 on inflammation, and then how it relates to acne. Thanks so much!”

Ok. This is a really interesting question. And a long, long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, one of the real food organizations in our overall real food space. Is that vague enough for you? Actually did a little pilot study. A teeny, tiny study looking at inflammatory markers in the blood after ingesting what they labeled a control, which was lamb. And uncured pork. And then cured pork. It was just a pilot study. It was not anything that we can really glean any kind of really solid information from. But I did find it slightly interesting.

In this pilot study, they noted that there were no markers of inflammation after consumption of the lamb. There were no markers of inflammation after consumption of cured pork. But there were markers of inflammation after consumption of uncured pork.

Now, again. This is not enough for us to actually glean any facts or establish any really solid theories. But it was interesting. Because I’d heard that before. This idea of pork causing inflammation. And I personally at the time found it interest, because this idea of curing pork is a very ancestral thing. This is something that has been going on for a very long time.

And we like to talk about an ancestral diet, and the wisdom of our ancestors. And we like to look at, “Hey, if our ancestors did XYZ, maybe there was some wisdom behind that. Maybe they did that because they knew. Maybe they didn’t have modern microscopes and liquid chromatography to find out what nutrients were in what foods. But they had an idea of what was going to keep them well, and they would do that.

So this curing of pork is a very old tradition. And I think there’s probably something to that. Perhaps there’s something that our ancestors knew about that was going on with pork that was addressed by curing.

That said; I personally feel like if there were a silver bullet for acne, and it was giving up pork, I think we would have figured that out by now. And there would not be a million thousand trillion questions on, and there would not be a bajillion people trying to deal with acne who have tried this and not had it work for them.

So in my opinion, if you have a freezer full of heritage pork, it’s going to stay just fine in the freezer. You could give it 30 days and pull pork out of your diet and see what happens. It’s not going to hurt anything. And it may or may not work. I’ve never actually spoken to anyone for whom giving up pork completely resolved acne issues. I’m much quicker to suggest that people really, really get their blood sugar under control, and their insulin sensitivity within a good range before they talk about nit-picking what meats they’re eating. Especially when they’re good, heritage meats.

And there could very well be a difference between heritage pork. We don’t know, because most folks, at least as far as I know. I don’t know that we’ve pinpointed whatever this inflammatory factor would be in pork. So I think that’s really important to think about. But I don’t see any reason not to try it, as long as you're also looking at your hormonal control, your environment, your environmental estrogens, things you're asking your body to deal with that maybe it’s not really equipped for, and making sure that your insulin sensitivity is on point.

Do you have any thoughts, Diane? I have more, but you can jump in if you want.

Diane Sanfilippo: I do want to hear more from you on this. I have one thing that I think has also been helping me in addition to all of the topical things that I do. And that is digestive enzymes. Which I’ve taken on and off over the years. I’m sure we both have, taken them on and off at different times. Or at sometimes have taken some HCl, and at sometimes not. This time, it really was looking at traveling and how much stress it is to travel. And then realizing that we don’t probably always digest our food that well when we’re doing that. So I started taking some digestive enzymes again.

And I’m feeling really good about that. I definitely know that what I’m doing topically is helping my skin, because there were things there that have gone away and are healing up better as a result. But I really do think that digestive enzymes can help people a lot. So if you're worried about the food; I know this isn’t 100% related to the inflammatory side of things. But it kind of is. Because if you're not digesting food that well, then it gets to your gut lining and interacts with your immune system on the other side of your gut lining.

If you were able to digest it better upstream, you might not have the same inflammatory response to it downstream. So that’s just one note. It could be a very simple things. If folks start taking some sort of broad spectrum digestive enzymes; when you read it, it will tell you what kinds of components there are and what that breaks down. And it will detail that for you as well as ox bile, which is in there.

And I’ve talked about this a few times before, I think, on the podcast. But there’s pretty much impaired gallbladder function throughout my family on both sides. So I know that digesting fats is something that, if I can help my body do it a little bit better, I will. And all of that can contribute to, or not, inflammation in the gut. Which, as we know, can lead to more acne on your skin, or not.

So that’s just something else that I would look at and consider. Along with whatever we’re doing to either change the food or not. But I know you have some other notes on what we are choosing. I personally; if somebody told me to eliminate pork for acne, I’m just not sure that I would lean on that as my first route. I don’t know.

Liz Wolfe: I mean, if it was something you were eating 3 meals a day, every day. Most people aren’t doing that.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah. And if I had a freezer full of it, I might be.

Liz Wolfe: Yeah. Super interesting for me. And the whole inflammation question; like you’ve said 1000 times, having your blood sugar out of control is also inflammatory. So a lot of people have, not one thing, but multiple things. Like slightly wacky blood sugar. Maybe exactly what you were talking about; some immune system stuff based on the food that you're eating. And all of those things, particularly when insulin is a little bit out of control; that can drive other hormones in a direction that can cause things like overproduction of sebum. And then the microbiome and your skin will interact with the sebum. And more inflammatory biproducts will happen at the surface of the skin.

So, there are a billion different things that could be going on. And it’s not always one thing. Fixing your food or fixing the inside; sometimes you also have to deal with what’s going on on the outside. And we’ll talk about that, as well. But I think people feel like acne is only an interior thing. But sometimes you’ve got stuff going on at the surface of the skin that you can really tackle elegantly with certain active ingredients. So we’ll talk about that.

But I also really quick wanted to throw out there; Amanda Torres, from the Curious Coconut. She’s a neuroscientist, she’s brilliant. She’s also really, really into Chinese medicine. She’s been on the podcast before. And what’s really interesting is the more I dug into some concepts in Chinese medicine, the more I’m realizing that the mainstream; I’m going to say this. I’m going to be generous. The mainstream is adopting many, many principles of Chinese medicine, and actually adopting directly Chinese medicine practices. A lot of large university medical systems have acupuncturists. Have MDs that are also Chinese medicine practitioners. So it’s really being adopted into the mainstream.

I wanted to say coopted, but let’s hope it doesn’t go that direction where we just kind of steal something because we realize that it works. Not we. They. They steal something because they realize it works. But I do think Chinese medicine might be a good place to visit when you're looking at healing acne. And who knows; maybe she was told to give up pork by a Chinese medicine practitioner, I don’t know.

But I do think Chinese medicine has something to offer with regards to this type of imbalance. So not for everybody, but it’s definitely worth seeking out.

4. Topical acne treatments [30:58]

Liz Wolfe: So let’s talk a little bit about what we like doing topically for acne. One of the reasons Diane and I geek out over skincare so much. And one of the reasons that has been my thing for many years, is because you can do so much topically. And I think a lot of us come from this really basic apple cider vinegar, coconut oil, and water, baking soda type thing. Where we want to be as basic as possible. And I think that’s good. I think getting rid of the stuff that’s irritating your skin is really, really important.

But when you start to discover all of the different active ingredients that are so well known, so well studied, and so safe for things like acne, you just get kind of addicted to learning more about what might be able to help your skin. And one of the reasons Diane was just talking about this line of products that we got to try at the Beautycounter summit. One of the reasons it’s so awesome is because it’s this concoction of highly pure active ingredients that are really, really effective, and known to be effective, in healing the skin.

So that’s kind of what I like to do now in my life. I’ve moved on from the crunchy granola phase, and now I’m in the “Show me some really safe, well studied, active ingredients to do my antiaging work for me, and to do the antiacne work for people.” Stuff like that.

I’ve talked about vitamin C before. I’ve talked about co-Q10. And now with acne, I’ve talked about ingredients like green tea extract, which is really, really well known to calm oil production. And it’s a great antioxidant. It really is soothing to the skin. It looks like you have something to say there, Diane. I’m on a tear.

Diane Sanfilippo: I was just going to say; my skin did not look like this when I was washing it with coconut oil. So while some super organic, maybe we would say crunchy. Which there’s nothing wrong with it. There’s not necessarily downsides to it, and it’s a great way to go when you’re trying to just cut off the arm of the drugstore brands that are not known to be safe and known to often be unsafe. It’s a good bridge. But I definitely wasn’t finding any improvements in my skin from that at all. So I think it’s important to know.

I mean, I was having a hard time back, years and years ago when you would try to tell me about different active and different ingredients that could help me and I was just super overwhelmed by all of it. Because I could not handle the idea of buying one active ingredient and then doing something with it. I’m like; “Can you just get me a product that’s not harmful, and that will work?” So that’s why I’m so grateful.

Because I’m not the person you are. I'm that way with food. I’ll find the one thing and go crazy with it. But anyway. I just was thinking back to the coconut oil days. Which were fine. But my skin; I was still struggling with it a lot.

Liz Wolfe: And that; it’s so individual. Because that stuff totally fixed my skin. But then over time I started to notice little things. Like, it could be better. My skin could be better. I just wanted my acne to go away, and it did. With diet and with really simple, pure skincare routine. But then after a while, you start to notice other things that you want to take care of. And I started learning about active ingredients. And I started kind of formulating my own stuff. I would add green tea extract in the morning. I would do different things with different active ingredients.

For a while, I was like, “I’m going to make a product. I’m going to make a skincare product that’s safe, and uses the active ingredients in safe bases.” And yeah. Right. Like that would ever actually happen. I was able to co-formulate a product with Primal Life Organics, which was on that natural side. But the cool thing about Primal Life Organics is that they do really have a good handle on what natural ingredients are the most stacked with nutrients. And I guess what we could call natural actives.

So making that vitamin C serum was awesome for me. And I still like formulating other types of products. And we’ve been really lucky, I think, with Beautycounter basically doing what I wanted to do. Which was to put water-soluble active ingredients, like green tea extract, in safe bases. So that’s been a really cool journey.

But there are other active ingredients that people are really familiar with that are good for acne. Like salicylic acid in certain concentrations. And you can find safe products that use salicylic acid; the charcoal mask, I think, is one of our favorites. And put it in a base that’s safe. That’s not full of potential endocrine disruptors and skin irritants and things like that.

So as far as acne goes, I really think the only way to approach it is multipronged. I don’t think you can just say “give up pork” and it will get better. Or do one thing and it will get better. You’ve got to do several things internally and several things externally to really tackle it. So that’s really my take on it.

Liz Wolfe: Today’s podcast is sponsored by Vital Choice wild seafood and organics. The leading source of high quality, sustainably sourced seafood and a certified B corporation. Spring has sprung, and it’s time for light but powerful paleo-friendly fare. Like omega-3 rich wild seafood and delicious grass-fed meat. For something easy on the go, grab one of their tins of sardines, or some salmon or bison jerky. They’ve got our favorite wild salmon and shellfish; plus salmon burgers, dogs, bacon, and even organic bone broths. Check it all out at

5. WYMOI: What you missed on Instagram [36:53]

Diane Sanfilippo: Alrighty. Let’s do a quick little; WYMOI. “Why me? Why moi?” I don’t know {laughs}.

Liz Wolfe: “Why moi?” I like that.

Diane Sanfilippo: “Why moi”. What you missed on Instagram. If you missed it. So I’ll give you a quick one that I’ve been talking about recently, and it’s been boundaries. Which is a topic that comes up pretty often for me, for those of you who follow me over on Instagram. Especially on stories, I do talk about this a lot. But I recently turned off direct messages. And that was after having them off, and then having them on.

And one person got really upset about it. And it’s a really interesting phenomenon that happens that when somebody creates boundaries, I think this might be a Dr. Phil-ism. But when one person creates boundaries, the only people who get upset about it are those who were benefitting from the lack of boundary that was there. It’s just been a cool phenomenon to watch a ton of you respond positively to say, “Yes. We understand. We get it. I can’t imagine what it would be like to have this many people essentially be able to text message me and have a little number pop up of unread messages.”

But when there’s somebody who gets really upset about it, it’s always an interesting thing to see. I always recommend that folks kind of reflect when you feel yourself wanting to respond in a negative way like that. And more so, it’s not a response so much as it is a reaction. And I think we were kind of getting into semantics earlier of inspiration versus aspiration. And I think reacting versus responding is another place where we can observe our own behavior.

I think if we carefully and thoughtfully respond to something, it tends to be a situation where we can put ourselves in the other person’s shoes, and do so with a little bit of respect and trust and understanding versus reacting and allowing how we feel, and how angry we’re getting, or how it’s affecting our lives kind of take over.

It’s the topic of boundaries, and I love talking about it because I know that so many people out there are Obligers. And I know as Gretchen Rubin says, Obligers do have the most trouble with setting boundaries. But if that’s most people, then that means most people do need a little more help with this topic, and hear more about it and how it’s ok to have boundaries. And in fact, it’s extremely necessary.

So, on that note. I think we will close out the show now, because we have a boundary set at the time limit that we had for today’s episode. And we want to respect your time, and I want to respect my podcast co-host’s time. And we’ll wrap it up right there.

Liz Wolfe: Great segue, by the way. So that’s it for this week. You can find me, Liz, at and Diane at Join our email lists for free goodies and updates that you don’t find anywhere else on our website or on the podcast. While you’re on the internet, leave us an iTunes review. See you next week.

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