Our bodies are complex compositions and when I was faced with the reality of what felt like a gazilion (official number pending) breakouts, I knew I had to work out what was triggering the reaction in my skin.
I mean, long hours commuting, artificial light and a pinch of stress were all strong contenders but it turns out sometimes good gut health can be a game changer with your complexion. Who knew? Because at the time, I certainly didn’t.
I’m not sure where I got the confidence to be so publicly vulnerable but taking to my insta story, I shared my complexion woes with my followers. I received not only the kindest, empathetic responses, but also a variety of avenues to explore when trying to resolve the war between my skin and I.
It’s really easy to side eye mass-filter-usage on the gram, but the reality is, I found myself excessively over-editing and adding filters when taking, posting and sending photos to the prying eyes of my followers.
Why? Because I was so insecure about the breakouts, which had a stronger presence on my face than my actual features, that this outweighed all of my previous declarations about the importance of creating authentic, honest content for social media.
The truth is, I just wanted to feel good about myself again and a filter was a temporary salve…
Kinesiology, allergy tests, facials, were all suggested, but as I delved deeper into Google, my gut health was a likely source of my breakouts – which is completely viable as I was fuelled by black coffee and veggie Percy Pigs (don’t @ me).
In the midst of student life, I was daunted by the cost of all the procedures which may not work for me, so in true thrift-style I chose the cheapest option suggested – a health drink called Kombucha, which celebrities such as Mary-Kate Olsen and Orlando Bloom have been papped indulging in – and TBH, I haven’t looked back.
Kombucha has been described as the elixir of life, but despite it originating in China a fair few years ago, the fermented tea drink is experiencing a resurgence of popularity. It has a large following of celeb fans and has been described as the perfect alternative to a cheeky evening tipple. Win.
So, what actually is Kombucha?
“Kombucha is a sparkling living drink, made by fermenting tea with a culture of bacteria and yeast (similar to sourdough)”, says Louise Avery, Kombucha Wizard and founder of L.A. Brewery. She goes on to note that ‘it has a delicious unique flavour which is mildly sweet and tart, as well as being full of gut-friendly, live bacteria and yeasts, (plus antioxidants from the tea). And despite it’s funky sounding ingredients, Avery says that ‘the low PH of the brew prevents any bad bacteria developing which means it’s completely safe to drink’.
There are a lack of scientific studies supporting (my) experiences surrounding the (beauty and wellness) benefits of drinking Kombucha, but what is proven is that the drink is full of Probiotics (which can benefit many aspects of health such as digestion, inflammation and even weight loss), Antioxidants and Vitamins (Vitamin C B). The vitamins in Kombucha are known to help the body fight depression, stabilise mood and enhance concentration, which can only be an added perk of the drink.
Dr Selena Langdon, the founder medical director of Berkshire Aesthetics, suggests that ‘a healthy gut and immune system may improve the health of your skin. The suggested benefits to the skin from topical application of Kombucha include that it may improve skin tone, combat wrinkles, detoxify (protect against oxidative stress) and hydrate the skin and improve its elasticity.’
I am guilty of drinking large amounts of Kombucha daily, as I fangirled hard and began brewing my own at home (SO extra I know) and I always have lots to spare. However, it is suggested that if you are new to Kombucha, it is best to start on a lower dose of 150ml a day for a couple of weeks so the body can adjust slowly to the live cultures in the drink. Louise Avery gave us a handy tip by suggesting that ‘those who are new to the drink might benefit from a commercial shop bought brand as these will be milder in strength than a home brew and are designed to be very drinkable, so a bottle a day can easily be consumed.’
What is truly brilliant about the drink, which many call the champagne of life, is that it is super versatile and can adopt many flavours which can be suitable for anyone’s palette. When brewing my own, I like to add fruits – shop bought and foraged but, you may find when looking online that you may be spoilt for choice as the flavour possibilities are endless.
But, whether it is or isn’t truly linked to my Kombucha appreciation (we may never truly know), my complexion has cleared up significantly with minimal (pesky) breakouts. It’s safe to say that if you wish to try Kombucha for the potential health benefits or out of curiosity it’s utterly delicious, so Chin Chin.