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All About Acne - by Katie McKersie of Holistico

All About Acne - by Katie McKersie of Holistico


Hey there!!

Its nice to meet you! My name is Katie, I am the founder of Holistico and your go to nutritionist for clear skin naturally & permanently.

I used to be in the same position you are in now. I had multiple diagnoses and suffered with horrible cystic/fungal acne as well as rosacea after coming off the birth control pill many years ago.

I got absolutely no help from dermatologists or even naturopaths. I tried every skincare routine, every medication, every supplement, every diet. Nothing I tried worked long term. I just got some temporary relief at best.

I became determined to figure out what was wrong internally and actually address it from the root. I was desperate for that clear, glowing skin I saw all over social media. So I went back to school to study functional + holistic nutrition to get to know my body and start using food as medicine. Once I got some answers with functional diagnostic testing, I was able to make positive changes to my environment, lifestyle, mindset, social networks and what I put in and on my body.

Everything started clicking and my skin began to transform. It took dedication but now my skin is the best it has ever looked with no active acne or redness, just simply some scarring left over.


So how did I get here?


I wish it was as simple as one blog post! Our bodies and skin are so complex and bio-individual it’s hard to say what exactly will work for you without you being apart of my 1:1 Clear Skin Membership or analyzing your Functional Tests. However, I know not everyone has the opportunity and capacity to run these tests or receive intensive ongoing support like my 1:1 clients do. This is why I developed The Acne Solution. It is my signature skin clearing program that contains 5 detailed and comprehensive modules. These modules incorporate all the major root causes to acne and other skin conditions but they also have video lessons, protocols, guides & tasks to teach you how to clear your skin from within. And if you’re brand new to the holistic healing world, start with my FREE Clear Skin Masterclass. It’s a full 85 minutes of me teaching you my ways and what has proven to be effective over and over again!


As you may know, acne is a result of inflammation and imbalances inside your body. Your skin is not dirty or infected and buying another skincare product isn’t going to help you. So what will help? Let’s take a brief look into the 5 modules of The Acne Solution which are the main areas of your health that you need to focus on when clearing your skin…


DISCLAIMER: none of this is medical advice and you should always speak with your healthcare practitioner before implementing any new health regime.




There are many different ways stress can cause acne. Stress is most commonly known to cause inflammation and acne is a result of inflammation in the body. Stress triggers cortisol production, substance p and prolactin which all lead to increased androgens thus causing acne.


When we are under stress, the hypothalamus and the pituitary tell the adrenal glands to produce cortisol and epinephrine. This is only meant for quick bursts of stress, our bodies cannot handle this chronically. Our nervous system is suppose to move in and out of the parasympathetic (rest and digest) and sympathetic (fight or flight) state. It is not meant to be stuck in either state. Since stress is very catabolic, our tissues will start breaking down when we are exposed to a great deal of stress over and over again. This will eventually create a burnout, adrenal fatigue situation where your adrenals stop being able to keep up with the demand and your mineral stores become depleted. If we are not able to retain enough magnesium, potassium or sodium, this can cause acne and other trace mineral imbalances. These are important for not just skin health but overall health.


Cortisol (stress hormone) is one of those foundational hormones that when dysregulated, the rest of your hormones cannot function properly either. This is because cortisol will steal progesterone needed for ovulation, shut down digestion, suppress your immune system and thyroid, break down your mucosal barrier and cause blood sugar issues. These are all huge contributors to metabolic chaos in the body and unfortunately, that chaos shows up in the skin for many. Essentially, chronic stress is going to destroy your metabolism which isn't just for weight loss. Your metabolism regulates every system in your body. If it slows, none of your organs or systems will be able to function optimally. This is because the food you are eating is not converting to cellular energy at a fast enough rate.


As you can tell, the entire body is very inter-connected which western medicine fails to recognize. One of the most common issues we see in acne patients is insulin resistance due to its ability to skyrocket androgens. Stress causes glucose levels to rise and when they are chronically elevated, your cells will become resistant to insulin which is the hormone that helps your cells use glucose. This is very predominant in our PCOS clients but balancing blood sugar is something that every acne sufferer should focus on. It's not just for people with diabetes or people with insulin resistant PCOS. Nutritional stress, physical stress, psychological stress and chemical stress can all lead to blood sugar dysregulation. The liver is one of the major organs responsible for regulating blood sugar and it is sluggish with almost all of the acne patients we see. 


What Does Blood Sugar Dysregulation Look Like? 


  • Energy Dips & Extreme Fatigue

  • Mood Swings

  • Waking in the middle of the night 

  • Skin Problems

  • Wired but Tired 

  • Period Problems 

  • Constipation

  • Weight Gain 

  • Hirsutism

How Do You Balance Blood Sugar and Improve Insulin Resistance? Here are some tips!


  1. Remove PUFA's (nuts, seeds, vegetable oils, fish oils, corn, soy) & Replace with Saturated Fats (butter, ghee, coconut, animal fat, dairy)

  2. Supplement Magnesium (see nutrition module)

  3. Add White Flakey Sea Salt to your Water & Food

  4. Eat Potassium Rich Foods Daily (bananas, apricots, kiwi, potatoes, coconut water, beets)

  5. ALWAYS eat protein and carbs together! NEVER alone

  6. Remove sugar alternatives (stevia, monk fruit, artificial sweeteners) & Replace with real sugar (coconut, cane, raw honey, pure maple syrup)

  7. Add celyon cinnamon to foods regularly for chromium

  1. Incorporate 15 minutes of movement after every meal


How Do I Reduce Stress and Improve Stress Resilience? 


  • Support and Heal Your Adrenal Glands (this is different based on which phase of HPA dysregulation you are in- check with a DUTCH)

  • Practice Mindfulness and Positivity

  • Learn How to Truly Relax

  • Frequently Replenish Minerals (magnesium, sodium, potassium)

  • Reduce External Stressors In Your Life

  • Reduce Overall Toxin Load 

  • Remove Toxic People From Your Life

  • Step Away From Your Phone and Enjoy Nature 

  • Aim for 8-10 Hours of Sleep

  • Cut out Processed Foods and Nourish Your Body 


  1. Imbalanced Hormones


Hormones and acne have a very close relationship. Hormonal acne is typically deep, cystic and along the jaw line, or in the neck region. You will likely notice acne flare ups around your period or during ovulation if it's hormonal. Hormones are closely connected with the gut as well as the liver. Your gut is responsible for absorbing nutrients which is going to build, transport and then breakdown those excess hormones you don't need. Once your liver has metabolized and "packaged up" those excess hormones for excretion, your gut should be getting rid of them. Therefore, improving detoxification and digestion are two key components to healing hormonal acne. Balancing your hormones can be a lengthy process as it takes 3 months for an ovarian follicle to mature optimally in order to have a healthy ovulation. Ovulation is the backbone to healthy hormones. Keep in mind, it is impossible to balance hormones and heal from hormonal acne when on any form of hormonal birth control. Even the copper IUD makes it pretty tough as copper raises estrogen. You can support your body and skin while on birth control, but your natural hormone production will still be dysregulated.


What Can Cause Hormone Imbalances? 


  • Hormonal & Non-Hormonal Birth Control

  • Excess PUFA intake

  • Poor Digestion

  • Constipation

  • Toxins

  • Pharmaceuticals

  • Stress 

  • Mineral Imbalances

  • Under-Eating 

  • Protein & Nutrient Deficiencies 

  • Slow Metabolism/Thyroid



What Can Cause Hormonal Acne? 


In terms of sex hormones, it is mainly androgens that cause acne but other hormones are involved too. Androgens are a group of hormones that play a role in male traits. The three androgens that are highly linked to acne are; testosterone, DHEAS and androstenedione. This is due to the fact that they all convert into DHT which is the most potent androgen residing in the skin. DHT increases sebum production thus causing acne. Androstenedione is a DHEA metabolite and DHEA is an adrenal hormone that rises when cortisol rises. It does this to balance cortisol out as cortisol is very catabolic and DHEA is very anabolic. DHEAS is basically the sulfated version of DHEA so it's the useable amount. Estrogen and progesterone may also be at play when it comes to hormonal acne. Excess estrogen can inhibit the FSH feedback loop to the hypothalamus which increases LH levels and causes the ovaries to produce more testosterone. This also increases DHEAS leading to acne. When it comes to progesterone, if levels are low, your 5 alpha reductase enzyme could be up-regulated which increases DHT and DHEAS. There also is a strong connection between estrogen and your thyroid. A slow thyroid causes low progesterone and dysregulates estrogen metabolism which can create a load of symptoms like acne and other skin issues. Lastly, we have seen elevated prolactin levels cause hormonal acne in some of our clients. Excess prolactin can be caused by stress, birth control, low thyroid etc. When prolactin is elevated, it can increase 5 alpha reductase activity and increase androgens produced in the ovaries.


What Causes High Androgens?


  • Dysregulated Blood Sugar

  • Impaired Detoxification

  • Gut Inflammation

  • Low Progesterone

  • High Estrogen

  • High Prolactin

  • Stress


How Do I Reduce DHT? 


This is the main goal when it comes to healing from hormonal acne. High levels of DHT cause acne by increasing sebum production and preventing exfoliation (clogged pores). This entire article is designed to educate you on properly rebalancing your body so androgens like DHT are not high. However, there are a few specific things you can implement to speed up the process. For instance, you can incorporate herbal aromatase inhibitors like saw palmetto, reishi mushroom, spearmint or licorice root on a daily basis. We like to use LifeBlud's reishi tincture in our shop as it has many other benefits for skin health as well. If you have done a DUTCH test and see that your phase 1 detoxification is poor, then a non-goitrogenic DIM supplement might be a good option for you. DIM not only helps metabolize estrogen but it is also a potent androgen blocker. Douglas Lab's also has a good formula called Testoquench which has herbal aromatase inhibitors incorporated in the formula and helps you metabolize androgens better. All of these are only meant for short-term use to get your hormones back on track. 


How Do I Test My Hormones? 


We typically recommend functional testing like the DUTCH when our clients are struggling with hormonal acne. This is the most accurate and most precise test as it looks at hormone metabolites and how they all get broken down. There is also some helpful blood work you can get from your doctor:


  • LH/FSH- important for ovulation

  • SHBG- low levels can indicate insulin resistance and excess sex hormones

  • Estradiol- estrogen made mainly by the ovaries 

  • Progesterone- test 5 days after ovulation

  • DHEAS- androgen produced by the adrenal glands

  • Free Testosterone- androgen produced in the ovaries

  • DHT- the most potent and active androgen in the skin

  • Prolactin- high levels suppress hormones for ovulation 

How Do I Increase Progesterone and Decrease Estrogen?


After our clients get blood work done or do a DUTCH hormone panel, we often see progesterone being low and estrogen(s) being high which is part of the acne picture as mentioned above. If you also suffer from period cramps, heavy flow, weight gain and PMS, then this is extremely important for you. We never recommend decreasing estrogen per say, we suggest improving estrogen metabolism and detoxification while removing the culprits that are keeping estrogen high. For example, reducing stress, avoiding xenoestrogens and limiting the phytoestrogen foods you eat are all first steps you can make to improving this sex hormone imbalance. Xenoestrogens are a group of endocrine disrupting chemicals that are all around us and mimic estrogen in the body. See detoxification section of this article to learn more about toxins. Phytoestrogens are plant based compounds that mimic estrogen in the body like; soy, flax seeds, sesame seeds, wheat, lentils, alfalfa etc. This is another reason why plant based diets are damaging to your hormones. Polyunsaturated fats also lead to increased estrogen levels so be mindful of those as well. They are in a lot of are foods but are most problematic when isolated like in vegetable or fish oils (cod liver oil is an exception). The best way to limit PUFA's is by prioritizing saturated fats over unsaturated fats. This means eating more ghee, butter, animal fat, dairy, coconut oil etc. These saturated fats will also help with increasing progesterone production. After these foundations have been implemented, you can work on improving both phase 1 and 2 liver detoxification, regulating insulin, decreasing gut inflammation and replenishing magnesium and zinc stores. These things will all help with increasing progesterone to balance out estrogen. We sometimes recommend bio-identical progesterone from Lifeblud in our shop but that depends on your individual circumstance and other factors. 


  1. Poor Gut Health


The gut is the main source of inflammation in the body and acne is a result of inflammation. Your gut is responsible for digesting and assimilating food as well as eliminating waste. If this system is disrupted or compromised in any way, acne and other skin issues can form. Your gut is responsible for many chronic symptoms related to autoimmunity, thyroid, mental health, hormone imbalances and more. Digestion is essentially an 8 step process and there are 8 key organs involved. 


  1. Food starts being broken down in the mouth by saliva 
  2. The food then gets pushed down through your esophagus into your stomach 
  3. The food gets blended with digestive juices and stomach acid to break it down further
  4. The liver secretes bile to break down fats 
  5. The pancreas makes more digestive enzymes to break down food 
  6. The small intestine mixes the food with bile and pancreatic enzymes to be sent back to your liver for more processing
  7. The large intestine processes, stores and disperses indigestible food and water
  8. Solid waste passes from the rectum in order to be eliminated


Gut and Skin Microbiome: 


Your microbiome consists of over 100 trillion cells of bacteria, viruses and fungi that live mostly in the gut and on your skin. The microbiome is responsible for initiating the cytokine response that creates inflammation in the body. Therefore, when you heal your gut, you reduce inflammation. The skin microbiome tends to mimic the health of the gut microbiome. If the gut microbiome is imbalanced, you are more susceptible to acne and other skin issues. 


What Causes An Imbalanced Gut Microbiome?


  • Poor nutrition 

  • Stress

  • NSAIDs

  • Pharmaceuticals (antibiotics, birth control pill)

  • Radiation

  • Parasites/Pathogens/EMF

  • Toxins 

  • Alcohol and Drugs 


It's all about balancing the good bacteria with the bad bacteria. Too much of either is not a good thing- your gut loves balance and diversity. In our practice, we often see SIBO and leaky gut to be most commonly present when it comes to acne. It can be hard to tell what is driving your gut inflammation as all the symptoms look similar. If your acne is related to poor gut health you may be experiencing; gas, bloat, diarrhea, constipation, fatigue, cravings, depression, anxiety, acid reflux, bad breath, joint pain, sinus congestion and more. 


Gut Testing:


The main gut health test we recommend is the GI MapThis test uses microbial DNA to assess the health of the microbiome and overall digestive dysfunction. It looks at your balance of bacteria and gives us valuable markers for both leaky gut and SIBO which are the two GI conditions most likely to cause acne. If you want to figure out the root cause to your gut issues and test pathogens/parasites as well as yeast, this is the way to go. There is no other stool test we recommend and we strongly advise against food sensitivity testing. We also like to run the HTMA test on our clients suffering with digestive issues as it gives us the foundational pieces to work on in order to restore gut function. Your metabolism is what regulates your digestion so it's important to start with optimizing that in order to truly fix the root cause. 


How Do I Heal My Gut?


This is very comprehensive and individualized so we always recommend working with us and doing the testing above. However, here are 10 easy gut healing steps you can start implementing today: 


  1. Chew your food and relax when you eat
  2. Avoid probiotics and fermented foods (until gut testing has been done)
  3. Drink any liquids and water away from your meals
  4. Avoid hard to digest foods: nuts, seeds, grains (white rice is ok), legumes, cruciferous vegetables, raw greens/greens powders 
  5. Avoid inflammatory foods: vegetable/seed oils, fish oils (cod liver oil is okay), soy, conventional gluten 
  6. Increase gut nourishing foods: fruit, bone broth, raw dairy, organ meat, butter/ghee, coconut, root vegetables
  7. Add in digestive bitters or apple cider vinegar before meals 
  8. Consider doing aSIBO or anti-parasitic/anti-microbial protocol 
  9. Reduce stress & improve stress resilience 
  10. Increase your metabolic rate & improve thyroid health 


If you are more on the constipated side, the first step is pooping daily!! This alone will make the world of a difference for your skin.


  1. Nutrient Deficiencies


Diet plays a massive role in the health of your skin. If you are constantly eating processed inflammatory foods, you will never be able to overcome acne or any disease for that matter. This one tends to go hand and hand with gut health because the nutrients you are eating is irrelevant if you can't actually absorb them. This is why we always recommend the most bioavailable sources of nutrients. 


Here are some of the most important nutrients for skin health and acne:


  1. Retinol


As most already know, retinol is a super nutrient for acne. No, we're not talking about retinoids in skincare nor are we talking about the synthetic retinol in accutane. Those are both very damaging to your skin long term. We are talking about the active form of Vitamin A which is retinol. Retinol is responsible for maintaining your skin texture and stimulating the production of new skin cells. Retinol is great for acne because it helps regulate sebum production and control androgen activity. It also helps stimulate collagen synthesis and the production of new blood vessels. All of this helps with acne, but also aging and skin colour. Retinol plays many other vital roles in the body when it comes to hormone and gut health which impacts our skin as well, but we'll save that for a different day. 


How can I get more retinol in? Our favourite sources are grass fed beef liver, raw grass fed dairy and wild-caught cod or any oily fish. For those who can't stand the taste of liver, try Nutrimal capsules in our shop. Some other great but less potent sources are pasture raised eggs and grass fed ghee/butter. Retinol can only be found in animal sourced foods. Our bodies are not very good at converting beta-carotene from plants into retinol. This one of the many reasons we do not recommend plant based diets. 


  1. Zinc


Zinc works closely with retinol to support skin cell structure and healthy skin cell turnover. Basically everyone with acne has a zinc deficiency. This is why you see so many acne sufferers supplementing zinc. However, this is not necessarily helpful due to the other mineral imbalances zinc supplementation can cause. We only recommend whole foods or whole food based supplements to replenish zinc stores. In addition to acne, many people with digestive issues like heartburn and blood sugar metabolism issues need more zinc as well. Zinc is a powerful antioxidant that has loads of anti-inflammatory properties to reduce swelling and any redness in the skin. It is really important for rosacea sufferers and can increase the healing rate of not only acne but acne scars. It's great at healing and repairing your skin barrier while producing new skin cells. 


How can you get more zinc in? Oysters and grass fed beef liver are going to be your best bet. If you can't access raw oysters, try canned but make sure there is no sunflower oil being used. Alternatively, Mitolife has a high quality desiccated oyster supplement listed in our shop. Other shellfish like shrimp, scallops and crab have lots of zinc too. Same goes for any red meat. Grass fed dairy and pasture raised eggs would have some bioavailable zinc as well. 


  1. Vitamin E


Vitamin E is a fat soluble vitamin that most people aren't getting enough of. Vitamin E is amazing for hormonal acne as it acts like progesterone in the body and opposes estrogen. It gets secreted through sebum 7 days after consuming and helps lubricate the skin. It also can inhibit the aromatase enzyme thus slowing the conversion of testosterone into estrogen. When dosed properly, it's very beneficial for the liver (specifically phase 1 detoxification) which is the main detoxification organ that directly mirrors your skin. Due to vitamin E's antioxidant properties, it does reduce overall inflammation in the body. A lot of this is because of its ability to reverse years of PUFA damage and lipofuscin. Don't forget Vitamin E is also amazing as a topical to moisturize and reduce acne scars! 


How do you get more Vitamin E? Kiwi is a very good source with loads of potassium to go with it. Our personal favourite sources are grass fed butter, olives, cacao and avocados. Although nuts like almonds and hazelnuts do contain a good amount of Vitamin E, we try not to go overboard with those as they can be very hard on digestion. 


  1. Potassium


Potassium deficiencies are common because we go through this mineral rapidly when under stress and the daily needs are quite high, especially for females. Many people know potassium's importance for acne because of the drug spironolactone. Spironolactone makes your body retain more potassium and excrete sodium in order to lower androgens. However, this drug is not fixing the issue and is very damaging to your skin. The best way to actually absorb potassium is through food. We see potassium depleted in a lot of people who suffer from insulin resistance as it is a crucial part of the glucose and insulin response. It also helps sensitize your cells to thyroid hormone. These are all pieces of the puzzle to hormonal acne and why potassium is so beneficial. 


What foods are high in potassium? Most tropical fruits have a good amount of potassium like kiwis. Apricots, watermelon and potatoes also have an abundance. We like to hydrate with coconut water which contains a ton of potassium and other important minerals. 


  1. Magnesium


Magnesium seems to be the most talked about mineral and for good reason. Along with potassium, it is very important for blood sugar balance. It is most commonly known for improving your stress response and reducing cortisol in the body which is really important for acne as mentioned earlier. Most of the general population (acne or not) is deficient in magnesium because it is very depleted in our soil these days. Magnesium runs thousands of enzymatic reactions in the body and plays a crucial role in metabolic health. People often experience acne, insomnia, constipation, muscle spasms, anxiety and menstrual problems when they are low in magnesium. 


Where can you get magnesium from? This one is a bit trickier since our food is depleted. This is a mineral we typically recommend supplementing. Mitolife, Lifeblud, Live Pristine and Mitigate Stress in our shop all carry amazing magnesium formulas which we utilize often. If you want to attempt getting your magnesium through food; cacao and cooked leafy greens will be your best bet. Acne sufferers should monitor their skin when eating cacao as it may cause flare ups.

(for highly bioavailable topical magnesium check out Fatskn Magnesium Body Lotion or Fatskn Mag Stick Deodorant)


  1. Copper


Copper is an amazing mineral for your skin as it helps repair the skin barrier and prevents loss of pigment. It also plays a vital role in skin regeneration, thus helping with the synthesis of skin proteins. It can help with the skin microbiome as well due to its biocidal and anti-viral properties. Copper is essentially your energy source because it helps your tissues get a constant supply of oxygen which is needed for a healthy metabolism. It works together with zinc to provide support for your immune system which is needed for acne-free skin! 


How do I get more copper in my diet? Copper is most abundantly found in shellfish like oysters and organ meats like liver. However, it can be found in any red meat, dairy and shiitake mushrooms. Some fruits contain a good amount of copper as well like berries. We highly recommend utilizing the beef liver capsules from Nutrimal in our shop and/or Mitolife's desiccated oyster supplement.


  1. Selenium


Selenium has amazing impacts on your thyroid. It helps convert T4 to T3 and can help reduce thyroid antibody levels. Having a healthy thyroid is necessary when clearing your skin due to its regulatory impact on all the other body systems. Selenium also plays a direct role on your detoxification system as it's a cofactor for the enzyme glutathione peroxidase. More specifically, selenium neutralizes free radicals and works with Vitamin E to provide the protective coating around the skin cells. Selenium also helps modify the inflammatory response in the gut and reduce heavy metal toxicity by binding to metals like cadmium and mercury.


What foods are high in selenium? Brazil nuts tend to be everyone's go to. We only recommend eating 2 a day and making sure to buy organic as well as soak them to optimize absorption and reduce toxicity. Oysters, other shellfish and eggs also contain a good amount of selenium.


  1. Vitamin C


Vitamin C is another powerful antioxidant to fight free radical damage to skin cells and reduce inflammation. Vitamin C is not stored in the body so you need to make sure you are absorbing plenty through food. Especially because Vitamin C is heavily depleted from birth control use, drinking alcohol, high stress etc. Remember ascorbic acid (what most Vitamin C supplements are made of) is NOT Vitamin C and does not have the same impact on your skin, hormones, adrenals or immune system. True vitamin C is great at strengthening your skin barrier and supporting not only your hormones but your stress response. It also helps with the synthesis and maintenance of collagen. These are all key components to healthy skin.


How can you get enough Vitamin C through diet? Eat your fruit (especially the ones in season)! Any citrus fruit will have a lot as well as kiwis, acerola cherries, guavas, strawberries etc. Bell peppers also contain an abundance of Vitamin C. If you can't get enough through food, not to worry! Perfect Supplements, PaleoValley and MitoLife in our shop all carry whole food based vitamin C supplements that come in very handy. 

There are many other factors to consider when eating to support your skin. It's not just about what you eat, it's also how you eat and toxic foods to avoid like soy, conventional gluten, vegetable/seed oils, glyphosate etc.


  1. Sluggish Detoxification


What Are Toxins?


Toxins are any substance that can cause harm to your body. They can be external like chemicals, endocrine disruptors, plastics, fluoride, fragrances etc. However, they also can be internal like the toxins parasites and other pathogens release inside of you. We recommend every acne sufferer to work on reducing their toxic load as the skin is a direct reflection of detoxification. There is 42 billion pounds of chemicals produced everyday where the health risks of 75% of them have not been studied. Remember about 65% of what we put on our skin is getting absorbed. Health is far more than just the food we eat and how much we exercise. It's not about avoiding all of these toxins- that would be impossible. It is about reducing the load on your liver and other detox organs so toxins can be properly metabolized and excreted. Our skin is the largest eliminative organ we have. Toxins that aren't properly eliminated through your stool can end up getting pushed out via your skin causing acne. 


How Does Your Body Detoxify?


It starts with your lymph moving fat soluble toxins throughout your body. Then, the liver converts these fat soluble toxins into water soluble toxins to prepare the body to remove them. The gut then eliminates most of these toxins in your stool, the kidneys eliminate some in your urine and some goes in your bile. Phase 1 detoxification involves the fat soluble toxins, phase 2 detoxification involves the water soluble toxins and phase 3 detoxification is the elimination part. It's good to use a DUTCH test to assess which phase of detoxification you need most help with. We typically see phase 2 on the slower side in people with acne but that is not always the case. Your treatment plan will be different depending on which part of detoxification you need more help with. For example, phase 1 detoxification requires B Vitamins, fat soluble vitamins, an abundance of minerals and Vitamin C. Fruits like papaya, cherries and oranges along with root vegetables are great for phase 1 detoxification. Phase 2 requires more amino acids like glycine, taurine, cysteine and glutamine. This means eat your eggs, drink lots of bone broth, source and eat raw dairy if available, vary your meat intake and ensure you are getting in your organ meats as well as eating high quality seafood/shellfish. There are different supplements in our shop that we use to help with each phase and different estrogen metabolism pathways depending on what your DUTCH test results show.


When doing any sort of detoxification protocol, it is imperative that the person is having regular bowel movements (1-3 times per day). If not, you run the risk of toxins along with estrogen being recirculated and reabsorbed causing skin aggravation and many other unpleasant symptoms. You want to start at the bottom of the drainage funnel and then work your way up. It all starts with supporting bowels and then your liver and then your lymphatic system. Gut health is very important when it comes to detoxification due to the gut liver axis. It can be a massive burden on your detoxification organs if there is a lot of dysbiosisyeast, parasites and bacterial overgrowths present. We recommend addressing those first. There are many tools you can use to support your liver and bile flow directly. This will also help with any estrogen dominance symptoms as estrogen metabolism occurs in the liver. We like to put the Queen of The Thrones castor oil packs in our shop over our liver every night as a gentle liver support. We also will use KL Support and Biotoxin Binder from CellCore in our shop to give the liver an extra hand. If we have a client suffering from bile insufficiency, we incorporate beets, dandelion root and digestive bitters from Organic Olivia in our shop. The lymphatic system always gets forgotten when it comes to acne which is a shame because skin health is directly linked to lymphatic health. The liver is very important too don't get me wrong but if you have stagnant lymph, you will have congested skin. Period. Since your lymphatic system does not have a pump, you need to make sure you are moving lymph manually on a regular basis. Simple strategies like dry brushing, gua sha, massages, sweating, walking and stretching are all great ways to support your lymphatic system. 


How Do You Further Support Detox?


In addition to the above, we want to reduce your toxic load. This typically comes first and then we directly support the detox organs/pathways like your liver, kidneys, lymph, digestive tract and even lungs sometimes. The above explains how to do this properly. We do not do heavy metal detoxes or any sort of juice/tea detox that involves fasting for long periods of time. These can be very damaging to your skin long term. Your body knows how to eliminate and detoxify, you just got to support it properly. In order to start reducing your toxic load, we recommend downloading the EWG and/or the Think Dirty app to see the toxicity rating of commonly used products. Try to avoid using any products in red. However, we still recommend checking the ingredients on all the personal care products you buy. Here is a list of ingredients you don't want to see:


  • Parabens

  • Synthetic Colours/Dyes

  • SLS

  • Fragrance

  • Hydroquinone

  • Phenoxyethanol

  • Fluoride

  • Aluminum Hydroxide

  • Proplyene Glycol & Polyethylene Glycol

  • Formaldehyde

  • Triclosan

  • Methylene Glycol/Methylaldehyde

  • Petroleum Derivatives

  • Talc

  • Oxybenzone

  • Dimethicone/Cyclopentasiloxane

  • Phthalates


We never recommend going to the extreme and buying all new products right away, but rather just making a slow yet sustainable transition to a more natural, non toxic life.


Watch out for greenwashing! A lot of companies promote that they are natural and environmentally friendly, but it really is just a marketing scheme. The most common greenwashing brands we see our clients fall for are: Mrs. Meyers, Native and Seventh Generation. We often see a lot of plastic products advertised as BPA free but that is impossible. There is no such thing as BPA free plastic and BPA is one of the biggest endocrine disruptors causing hormone imbalances. There are a few natural skincare brands we love and trust in our shop with discount codes listed. FatSkn is our all time favourite of course! They are low PUFA and never use fragrance in any of their products which is key as fragrance is a non-regulated term that can accompany an array of toxic chemicals. When it comes to household cleaning products, check out Branch Basics in our shop. Viv is our favourite period company with non toxic menstrual cups, pads, liners, tampons etc. 360 Cookware carries the only truly non toxic cookware we have found as it is stainless steel and not manufactured with chemicals. We do not recommend cooking with teflon, aluminum, cast iron or ceramic. We also have a couple reliable EMF mitigation devices in our shop from BluShield and Somavedic. Most importantly, you should invest in a good quality water filter for your skin and overall health. Unfortunately, Brita and the filtration through your fridge isn't going to cut it. These only filter chlorine at best. Tap water contains a lot of contaminants we need to remove for healthy detoxification like fluoride, mercury, pesticides, pharmaceuticals, arsenic etc. We recommend filtering your drinking water and bath water with Live Pristine in our shop. This filter will protect your skin microbiome, reduce your heavy metal exposure and toxic load as well as prevent calcification. 


Now that’s all the info I can share with you today. Are you ready to take the plunge and finally clear your skin from the inside out? It is 100% possible and it’s very worth it… so I’ve heard.  To sum up, here is what Holistico offers:




  • 1:1 Clear Skin Membership (level of support: 10)- This is best if you are completely overwhelmed or lost and dont know what to do next. This is the highest level of support we offer and we will be right along side you throughout your journey.


If you have any questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to contact us. You can always book a FREE Complementary Clear Skin Session to chat about working 1:1 with us or to see what offering might be best for you. And don’t forget to watch our FREE Clear Skin Masterclass to learn more :)


P.S. Follow us on socials! I would love to connect with you all!


TikTok: @holistico.katie

Instagram: @holistico.katie

YouTube: @holistico_katie

Twitter: @holistico_katie



Katie McKersie

Holistico Inc.









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