Hi I’m Hazel.

I’m a former meat-eater, a former nurse and a former acne-sufferer. Now I’m acne free and don’t worry about premature ageing – all thanks to plants.

This is my story.

Photo of the blogger, Hazel, holding a blueberry smoothie

I gave up on traditional skincare a long time ago.

Which was a big issue for me in my teens and early twenties, as I consistently had acne. On my nose, on the side of the nose, on my cheeks, on my forehead, on my chin and sometimes those really annoying ones on your neck. The pimple might be the smaller ones (oh so good to pop!) or they could be those really deep ones you could never get at and took way too long to go away. 

Unfortunately my skin was also ridiculously sensitive. Does your scalp get more dandruff after using Head and Shoulders anti-dandruff shampoo? Mine does. 

Does your skin react to products that are specifically designed for sensitive skin? Mine does.

So I would try new products and at best nothing would happen. At worst…they would blow out my acne even more. 

The final moment came for me when my cheeks no longer looked like they had some acne, but more like a solar system of pimples had formed on both sides of my face. That was from a brand that was supposed to fix acne and the scars were really obvious for many months afterwards.

Sorry I don’t have a photo to show you. Of course I didn’t go near a camera at that time!

In my desperation, I went to the simplest of skincare regimens (cleanser and moisturiser) and thankfully found a brand that I didn’t react to.

Since then I haven’t changed and I doubt I ever will. Because over a decade later, I’m still scared of skincare.

Yet now, my skin is better than ever. 

Which I never thought possible. No acne (99% of the time). No ‘pale pallor’ (sometimes I would freak myself out first thing in the morning when I looked into the mirror and saw what almost looked like a ghost looking back). 

And in exchange of the not-so-subtle stares at my pimples, I now get compliments on having lovely skin.

So what happened? 

I accidentally discovered the skincare secrets of plant-based food for my skin. 

Whilst scrolling through Netflix one day I came across “Forks Over Knives”, a documentary about the health benefits of the plant-based diet. Having a background in nursing, the multiple health benefits were intriguing. As a young woman wanting to spend Australian summers in a bikini, the weight loss benefits had me hooked. 

Luckily, it was a good time in my life for a change (not much stress, not too busy at work etc.) so I was able to go fully plant-based for several months. The weight fell off and my overall energy and confidence improved.

What I didn’t expect was the disappearance of my acne.  

I’ll never forget the moment I realised what was happening to me, because it was this realisation that made a long-term change to plant-based food possible.

My period came as a surprise.

Seriously. It’s as simple as that. Instead of the warning signs of irritability, compulsive chocolate munching and those dreaded pimples, nothing happened. My period started – and continued – without any pain and without any acne.

It was more than I had hoped for and exactly what I needed to really commit.

Discovering the skincare secrets of plant-based food

Once I was committed, the geek in me really came out. Thanks to my nursing degree, I was capable of reading the scientific literature on the benefits of plant-based foods and what I found was amazing.

Did you know that plant-based foods have 64 times the amount of antioxidants than meat-based foods? Incredible. I no longer care eating meat burgers now that I know what I’m really missing out on when I eat a beef patty instead of a mushroom one.

Plant-based food also help so many different skin issues. Sun damage? Tick. Eczema? Tick. Premature ageing? Tick.

But eating plant-based is a huge commitment, and I didn’t want to waste my time committing to some ‘three month’ challenge. 

So I decided to only go with what was right for my skin concerns and what would be possible to do in the long term. This meant:

  1. Focusing on the easiest foods and meals, as I have next to no skills in the kitchen.
  2. Only eating what is culturally right for me, so I’m more likely to stick with this.
  3. Learn which specific foods help with my specific goals, so that I minimise the time I spend on groceries and not feel like I have to eat every ‘superfood’ out there!

And this has really worked for me. 

My own plant-based skincare regime looks something like this:

  • Lots of green tea, everyday, to improve my skin’s hydration and reduce sun damage
  • Adding spices into almost everything (like cinnamon in vegan blueberry muffins), as they are the #1 food group for antioxidants
  • Always having berries in the freezer to add to my morning oats or smoothies, for their high anti-oxidant count and anti-inflammatory properties
  • Slowly but surely finding simple dinner dishes that I really love (like stir-fried Chinese brocolli) to make sure I always enjoy myself eating this way.

By focusing the absolutely easiest things, and tasty foods, I am now eight years into eating plant-based, and still loving it!

Green tea with purple flowers

And for anyone who wanted to know how the weight loss went, here’s what happened:

My body shape before eating plant based (large) and after (slender)