Danielle Gronich is known as “The Acne Guru” to her high-profile roster of clients seeking to heal their acne from the inside out. The founder of both San Diego Acne Clinic and the buzzy ClearStem skincare line takes a holistic approach to healing acne once and for all by primarily focusing on nutrition, proper supplementation, and changing up product routines.
“I struggled with my skin for more than 12 years and it dominated a lot of my life,” says Gronich. “Everyone who deals with acne has a genetic predisposition for it, which normally just runs on one side of the family, but I had it coming from both ways. I spent years going to multiple dermatologists and tried everything from various birth controls, antibiotics, and even three rounds of Accutane, which only made things worse.”
Gronich’s frustrations with the vicious cycle being offered to her by traditional practitioners led her to quit her six-figure consulting job and go to esthetician school to be able to dive into the world of skincare and healing. Not only was she able to finally treat her own skin from the inside out (she now has a radiant glow even celebs would envy), but Gronich launched San Diego Acne Clinic more than eight years ago and has since helped hundreds of people regain their confidence, achieve glowing skin, and manage their conditions with ease—including her ClearStem co-founder, Kayleigh Christina. While we can’t all visit the clinic for a 90-minute consultation to launch our holistic acne healing journeys, we asked Gronich all about her daily eating (and drinking) habits that keep her and her clients’ skin supple and soothed.
What an aesthetician eats and drinks daily for clear, glowing skin
She starts the day with lots of water, and opts for matcha over coffee
If you follow Gronich on Instagram or have listened to one of her podcast episodes, you know that she is big on lemon water. Our acne guru starts her day with warm lemon water every morning and even orders it out at restaurants to promote hydration. And while many of her patients are encouraged to keep up their coffee habits, especially if they are drinking a high-quality variety and don’t need to sweeten it, Gronich prefers matcha for a few reasons.
“Matcha with a low-sugar almond, macadamia nut, or coconut milk for example will still give you the caffeine you’re looking for from coffee, but it’s also full of great-for-you L-theanine and other phytonutrients that will keep the caffeine from creating a bigger surge,” says Gronich. “Plus, it’s less bitter, so people don’t need as much sugar to make it more palatable—and curtailing your sugar intake is an excellent way to boost skin and fight inflammation.”
She prefers natural forms of collagen over supplementation
While Gronich says that collagen supplementation can be a great option for those who are not acne-prone and looking to get a healthy skin boost, taking these peptides can actually make your skin worse if you are struggling with acne and overproduction of oil.
“The genetic predisposition to be acne-prone causes us to produce more keratin protein, which clogs our pores easier,” says Gronich. “So, if we are taking things like collagen and biotin, they will just keep promoting more keratin production that can make breakouts worse.”
Instead, Gronich prefers to enjoy collagen the old-fashioned way: from high-quality sources of meat and other animal protein. She also loves using Cosmic Molecules’ bone broth-based protein to help ensure she’s getting everything she needs to keep her skin supple and clear.
She gets plenty of whole plant foods in her daily diet
Gronich has found that a low-sugar, high-protein diet works best for the vast majority of her patients who are looking to heal their skin and getting an abundance of plants is an important component. Some of her go-to foods to promote clear skin include greens, raw vegetables, chia seeds, and high-fiber fruits such as citrus, stone fruits, and berries—all of which are excellent sources of skin-loving vitamin C.
She knows how to supplement properly for an optimal glow
One of Gronich’s top priorities during first-time patient consultations is going through every type of supplement one is taking. She says improper supplementation is one of the most common issues that can cause pesky hormonal breakouts even if a patient is doing everything else “perfectly.”
“Some vitamins and herbs can spike testosterone or other hormone levels when taken in excess, which can cause acne flare ups despite your best intentions,” says Gronich. “It’s such a difficult line to toe when fighting acne, because each person’s condition is so individualized and they likely don’t know how much of a certain nutrient they are actually getting. I often send people to get bloodwork done when I can tell there is something else going on internally, and what I’ve seen people come back with time and again as it relates to acne is issues with digestion, the liver, excess stress, and too much oil production.”
While following her tips certainly won’t cure your skin overnight, Gronich knows her stuff and offers a wealth of knowledge on skin health via Instagram and ClearStem’s online Education Center. And, if you’re lucky enough to live in sunny San Diego, check out her clinic to find a holistic approach for finally clearing your skin from the inside out.