The link between acne & gut health

The Beauty Chef - The link between acne & gut health


As we age, wouldn’t it be great if we could enjoy the healthy skin of our youth without the spots that can sometimes arrive in your 30s and 40s?

The skin is a great barometer for what’s going on inside the gut and if you’re suffering from more than the odd spot, you may need to work on your inner beauty routine and address any dietary or hormonal imbalances.

If you have adult acne, the first step is to ask your doctor to carry out hormonal tests. One of the more common hormonal imbalances associated with acne is an increased sensitivity to, or raised levels of, testosterone and/or androgens. Polycystic ovarian syndrome may be involved in androgen imbalances as well as insulin and blood sugar imbalances.

If your acne tends to worsen mid-cycle or around your period, an oestrogen/progesterone imbalance may be to blame. Nearly half of all women get acne at these times and your doctor may discover that this is due to oestrogen dominance.

Help reduce oestrogen levels by improving liver detoxification with foods, herbs and specific nutrients – while also limiting your exposure to non-organic dairy and meats, xenoestrogens (found in plastics and other industrial compounds) and phthalates (found in perfume).


Get gutsy

Gut health is also critical from a hormonal perspective and oestrogen levels are affected by digestion. A normal bowel transit time allows excess oestrogen to pass out of the body, rather than being reabsorbed. More and more studies are also supporting the link between gut health and acne with recent research illustrating how SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth) is 10 times more prevalent in people with acne. Probiotics can be helpful in optimising digestion and some strains of bacteria that evidence shows to be helpful in the treatment of acne include Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus salivarius.


Manage stress

Cortisol, released during times of stress, has a hand in controlling blood-sugar levels, metabolism and inflammation – which can influence skin health and may contribute to acne. Managing stress therefore, either through meditation or yoga or by taking herbal medicines and nutrients that help to lower and control cortisol, can help control acne. Vitamin B3 and zinc have both been shown to reduce acne and oily skin by regulating cortisol levels, while omega-3s can help to regulate and support hormone health. Again, probiotics can support gut function and reduce cortisol levels, helping you to maintain a sense of calm and peace.


Change your diet

Poor diet and food sensitivities can also be a cause of adult acne. The clue lies in the type of spot – fine red pimples or whiteheads on the face, neck and chest are often due to food reactions while large pimples and cysts are generally hormonal. The first step is to identify any food sensitivities via an elimination diet. Wheat, dairy, sugar and fatty deep-fried or creamy foods are the usual suspects. Eating low-GI, anti-inflammatory foods such as green leafy veg and taking sugar-metabolising nutrients such as chromium, magnesium, calcium and zinc can all help, as will avoiding dairy.


Consider a detox

Your skin is often the first place to show signs of an under-functioning liver as wastes and toxins are eliminated via the skin, resulting in pimples and acne. A detox can therefore give your liver and other elimination organs a spring clean and boost your skin health. Eating an abundance of plant-based foods – including leafy greens, cruciferous veggies – as well as easily digested and probiotic-rich wholefoods, will help. And don’t forget to exercise regularly and drink lots of filtered water! Traditional liver herbs like burdock root, chicory, dandelion root, turmeric and milk thistle can also be helpful.


Improve lymphatic flow

Your skin is your body’s largest elimination organ, so when you’re overloaded with toxins on the inside, it can show on the outside. Lymphatic fluid rests just below the skin so when the lymphatic system is sluggish or unable to rid itself of toxins, the skin suffers. There are lots of ways to improve lymphatic flow – start by drinking at least two litres of filtered, room-temperature water each day. And, incorporate 1–2 minutes of dry body brushing into your daily routine. Walking, jogging, swimming and cycling will also help.


A version of this article originally appeared in WellBeing magazine.

7 retreats your gut will love

The Beauty Chef - 7 retreats your gut will love

Photo credit: Aro Hā

Travel may be good for the soul but often, it’s not so great for our gut. Unfamiliar and overly rich foods, dehydration and more alcohol than usual are just some of the digestion-disruptors we can encounter while on holidays.

Finding nutrient-dense food and gut-friendly ingredients can be challenging unless you know where to go. Throw in a few food intolerances and you may even wind up wishing you were back home. While healthy holidays require a little more upfront research than your standard getaway – careful planning ensures carefree escapes!

Here are a few of our favourite holiday retreats that your body, mind and gut will love…


Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat

When it comes to total body restoration and resetting bad habits, Gwinganna is the real deal. This health haven is easy to reach – just a short drive from Coolangatta airport – and feels like heaven on earth. Along with long daily hikes in the lush Gold Coast hinterland and guided workouts, the program includes daily seminars to ensure you take your new healthy habits home with you. The wholefood cuisine is seasonal, organic – often harvested daily from the extensive, onsite gardens – and prepared with plenty of TLC. Portion sizes are also cleverly curated to help reset your appetite and prevent overeating. Luckily however, the spa treatment menu is super indulgent so you certainly won’t feel deprived. Throughout your stay, you are encouraged to eat and move mindfully for deep, lasting effects.


Gaia Retreat

Gaia means spirit of Mother Earth and this retreat – located just 20 minutes from Byron Bay in Northern NSW – serves up some of the best cuisine our planet has to offer. The retreat restaurant, Kukura House, sources food from the organic garden plus taps into the abundance of local produce in the surrounding hinterland. Flexibility is also on the menu, allowing you to check in any day for a two, three, five or seven night stay. You can also choose which wellness package and spa treatments suit you best. Combine them with gentle daily yoga, nature walks, organic cooking classes and decadent spa treatments to complete your reset.


Natural Instinct Healing

While this one certainly isn’t for the faint-hearted, if you’re seeking total transformation, consider signing up to the NIH Fasting Detox Health Retreat. Hosted at the base of Mount Warning near Byron Bay, it’s an 8-night retreat that aims to purge accumulated toxins and acid wastes while activating your body’s healing responses. The program includes practitioner-prescribed herbs and natural supplements to encourage elimination, enemas, dry skin brushing, yoga, meditation, massages, herbal teas and 4–5 daily “detox” shakes made from juice, bentonite clay and psyllium husk. NIH also runs retreats in Ubud, Bali’s relaxation epicentre, where you can choose from a range of options including fasting detoxes or superfood cleanses.


Golden Door Elysia Health Retreat

When you need a quick escape, Elsyia is just a two and a half hour drive from Sydney – yet a world away from everything. While the wifi is weak (you need to take a long walk right down to the main gate) the surrounding – often parched, brown – Hunter Valley hills are strangely soothing for overstimulated minds. You can choose how little or how much you engage in the activities on offer which include cycling, tennis, sunrise tai chi, meditation, yoga and evening wellness seminars. Although it’s tempting to just divide your time between the steam room and the delicious wholefood dining room.



For those seeking a healing journey a little further afield, here are some ideas for healthy overseas holidays…


Como Shambala Estate, Bali

Whether you’re seeking a complete reset or simply a tropical retreat, this is the perfect luxurious and holistic solution. Offering three to 21-day programs – and located just a short drive from Ubud – the luxurious Como Shambala Estate combines the very best of east and west healing philosophies. There are two restaurants on the property: Kudus serving Indonesian and the health-focused Glow which includes many raw dishes on its menu. Both restaurants apply a field-to-table philosophy, sourcing local ingredients wherever possible. To get you moving there are jungle treks, yoga, pilates and hydrotherapy.


The Ranch at Live Oak, Los Angeles

If doing eight hours of exercise every day for seven days is your idea of a good time – then this is the place for you! LA’s most luxurious boot camp sits atop the Santa Monica Mountains, overlooking Malibu’s celebrity-studded coastline below. Upon arrival you will have your body composition and cholesterol tested before checking into your calm, white-washed, private cabin. Days begin at 5am with yoga before breakfast. Then, it’s a four-hour group hike, lunch, guided afternoon workouts and massage before more yoga and dinner. The meals are organic, vegetarian and low calorie but nutrient-dense. Strictly no alcohol, dairy, caffeine or sugar allowed. Just plenty of fresh air, exercise and sleep. Bliss.


Aro Hā, New Zealand

You’ve likely already seen the yoga asanas silhouetted against that stunning South Island backdrop on Instagram… but Aro Hā in New Zealand is also famous for its stunning (and challenging) three to four hour hikes along mountainous trails. After lunch, the afternoons are all about workouts and deep tissue treatments. Everyone follows the same schedule. Think cardio, stretch, restricted calories, and deep, restorative sleep – on repeat for five to seven days. Fortunately, you will also have the most mind-blowing scenery to distract you. The plant-based menu is delicious and as picture-perfect as that incredible yoga studio.


For more wellness inspiration, visit The Digest.

Why spring is the best time to cleanse

The Beauty Chef - Why spring is the best time to cleanse


By Courtenay Turner

Take your cues from the rhythms of nature and embrace spring as a period of renewal and rejuvenation for your skin and body…

In the natural world, spring is a period of new growth – blossoms bloom, new leaves begin to develop, snow melts and life returns to even the most desolate of places. In Australia, we smell the coming of spring on the breeze, as pollen takes to the air after a winter of crisp and cool winds.

This period of transition is the perfect opportunity to refresh and reset your body… so dust off your joggers, put the puffer jacket back in the closet and get ready to bloom!

Perk up your plate

There’s no better time to refresh your eating habits than in spring. While winter is the perfect time to embrace warm, grounding foods like soups and stews, spring is the perfect time to enjoy fresh, alkalising greens, nourishing salads and seasonal vegetables. If you’ve fallen into the habit of eating stodgy meals over the winter period, think of spring as a time to reset and refresh your palate – and your plate. By spring cleaning your insides with fresh herbs, bitter greens, microgreens and plenty of spices, you’ll set yourself on a path to radiant skin and re-energise your body. Where possible, opt for organic produce too in order to avoid pesticides, hormones and heavy metals which may increase your body’s toxic load.  


Incorporate a wholefood supplement

To maximise your spring cleanse and give your body some extra support, take a wholefood supplement like CLEANSE Inner Beauty Powder. CLEANSE contains detoxifying herbs, liver-supporting ingredients, vitamins, minerals, fibre and natural pre- and probiotics to support both your liver and your immune health. When you cleanse, you are primarily cleansing your liver, kidneys and skin, as these organs are responsible for eliminating wastes and toxins from the body. Assisting your body’s natural detoxification process with a Certified Organic, super-greens formula is the perfect way to kickstart the cleansing process.


Brush and move

Regular exercise and dry body brushing are the perfect pair when it comes to cleansing the body and the skin because together, they support the body’s lymphatic system and detoxification process. If you’ve been in hibernation over the winter period, don’t despair – you don’t need to launch into a daily session of HIIT or pound at the treadmill for an hour every day. Start by walking, preferably uphill, to elevate your heart rate. Do this is in nature and you’ll no doubt feel refreshed and renewed as the world around you brims with new life. Pair moderate but regular exercise with dry body brushing for an effective way to improve lymphatic flow, eliminate toxins and help reduce cellulite.


Make it safe and achievable

If a “Spring Detox” program sounds too good to be true, chances are, it probably is. Harsh detoxes, extended juice cleanses and extreme deprivation will likely do your body more harm than good. In fact, to best support your body’s natural detoxification system, you need to be eating a nutrient-dense wholefood-based diet. Simply drinking juices and apple cider vinegar is not enough. Certain macronutrients – namely protein – are key to a successful cleanse. Proteins are made up of smaller units called amino acids which bind with toxins in the liver and carry them out of the body. As you embark on your cleanse, be sure to include a small serving of protein at every meal to support your liver and keep energy and blood sugar levels stable – good sources include organic lead meats, sustainably-caught fish and nuts and seeds.


Have you ever done a seasonal cleanse? We’d love to hear about your experience!

5 ways to reduce your toxic load at home

The Beauty Chef - 5 ways to reduce your toxic load at home


By Courtenay Turner

Your “toxic load” refers to the accumulation of chemicals, toxins and other substances in the body that are ingested or absorbed through the skin. We encounter many of these harmful substances in our daily lives, whether it’s from second-hand cigarette smoke, urban pollution, conventional cleaning products or your daily makeup routine. In fact, even the food and water that we consume to nourish our bodies can sometimes contain harmful toxins.

While the body works hard to eliminate and detoxify itself from these substances, it can easily become overloaded. If it remains in this state for extended periods of time, you’ll not only experience unpleasant symptoms, but may in fact develop chronic health problems. For this reason, it’s important to actively reduce your toxic load at home, while simultaneously supporting your body’s own detoxification system.


Embrace green cleaning products

Swap harsh chemical cleaners for natural, plant-based products and you’ll do your body a world of good. While occasional contact with commercial cleaning products is unlikely to cause any harm, it’s best to avoid daily use and make the switch to toxin-free products for long-term use. Many common cleaning products actually contain chemicals that are known to be harmful, especially for pregnant women and children. Certain chemicals in the ‘phthalate’ class, for example, have been linked to breast cancer, asthma and fertility issues. Surprisingly, phthalates are commonly found in household cleaning and beauty products. By embracing true green cleaning brands like Bondi Wash, you can dramatically reduce your toxic load. Bondi Wash is crafted using Australian botanicals, essential oils, plant-based soaps and sugar-derived alcohol, all of which are kind on the body.


Ditch the perfume

Those attempting to embrace a more natural lifestyle have likely moved on from the use of commercial perfumes – and with good reason. Some of the chemicals used in conventional perfumes are known hormone disruptors and can irritate the skin. For this reason, they’re a surefire way to increase your body’s toxic load. In fact, many common perfume ingredients are actually listed on the US Environmental Protection Agency’s “Hazardous Waste list”. If applying perfume is your thing, why not go down the natural route? Pure essential oils can be diluted in a carrier oil, such as coconut, and applied to the skin for a therapeutic, toxin-free scent.


Detox your beauty cabinet

It’s a little ironic that the products we use to enhance our outer beauty may be doing the opposite to our insides. In Australia, cosmetics are regulated by the National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme (NICNAS). In short, if a product is on the shelf, that means it’s been deemed safe to use by the NICNAS. However, many of the chemicals used in skincare and makeup products are known to be dangerous in high concentrations. While “safe”, conventional cosmetics may only contain small doses of these chemicals, we’d rather avoid them altogether! If the mechanism for detoxification in the liver gets sluggish, these toxins may remain active longer than our systems can handle. Make the switch to green beauty products to avoid allergic reactions and endocrine-disrupting chemicals, which may have negative side effects, even at small doses.


Fix your gut

Your gut plays an integral role in the detoxification process. While attempting to reduce your toxic load, it’s important to keep the bowels moving regularly, as this is the main way to expel waste and toxins from the body. If your bowel movements are a little sluggish, or you suffer from leaky gut, IBS or similar conditions, fixing your gut health is a crucial step on the path to reducing your toxic load. For starters, drink warm water rather than cold or room-temperature water, incorporate chia seeds and freshly ground flaxseed into your diet and exercise regularly. If you’re not consuming enough fibre, you won’t be able to adequately to eliminate waste, which can lead to reabsorption of these toxins. To help the body’s elimination process, enjoy two teaspoons of our fibre-rich CLEANSE Inner Beauty Powder per day. Our unique phyto-greens blend works to support the liver’s second phase of detoxification and nourishes your gastrointestinal tract for more efficient removal of toxins.


Incorporate detoxifying foods and nutrients

Clinical evidence shows that cruciferous vegetables, such as watercress, garden cress and broccoli, aid detoxification. Other foods such as beetroot, kale, barley grass, rosemary, St Mary’s thistle and dandelion all contain crucial components that support the liver’s phase 2 detoxification pathways. Incorporating more of these foods into your daily diet will aid your body’s natural elimination process, meaning that it can better expel toxins. In conjunction with a diet rich in fresh fruit and vegetables, a purifying powder like CLEANSE Inner Beauty Powder can help to lower your body’s toxic load. CLEANSE provides a concentrated dose of these “detox” foods and is rich in prebiotics and soluble fibre which feed beneficial bacteria and promote detoxification.


Visit @thebeautychef on Instagram to enter our competition with Bondi Wash.



Ruby grapefruit & rosemary frappe

The Beauty Chef - Ruby grapefruit & rosemary frappe


SERVES 1–2 (makes 2 cups/500ml)

Boost your beauty and health with powerful antioxidants from tangy grapefruit and antioxidant-rich rosemary that help to prevent skin damage. Grapefruit may also assist in fighting parasites in the gut while rosemary, an anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal and antiseptic herb, helps soothe the stomach.


  • 1 1/2 cups ice
  • 3/4 cup (180ml) freshly squeezed ruby red grapefruit juice
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) coconut water
  • 2 tablespoons ANTIOXIDANT Inner Beauty Boost
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves


  1. Place all of the ingredients in a high-speed blender. Blend until rosemary is finely chopped and ice finely crushed to make a thick slushie-like consistency.


Have you tried our ANTIOXIDANT Inner Beauty Boost? Check it out here.