A little green juice changed her life and now Hanna Sillitoe has created her own empire A little green juice was the catalyst in what transformed both her lifestyle and career.
Hanna has constantly struggled with her skin since her teenage years and now at 41, she seems to have found the answer. At age 15, Hanna had teenage acne and her first flare-up of psoriasis. At the time Hanna put this down to be a combination of diet, anxiety, hormones or stress.
“The pressure of exams along with my parent’s divorce and my less than perfect eating habits, resulted in my skin going crazy. Little did I know then that psoriasis would impact so much of my life for the next twenty years.”
For two decades applying steroid creams, emollients and coal tar treatments barely helped Hanna’s skin; they slightly controlled her flare-ups. Yet didn’t improve her overall skin health. Around seven years ago, Hanna suffered her worst flare up and it was a turning point for her. She stopped going to work, was reluctant to leave the house and the feeling of clothes against her skin was unbearable. After a consultation with a Dr who recommended methotrexate which is a medication used for people undergoing chemotherapy, Hanna knew something had to change and declined the prescription.
“The Dr’s suggestion to suppress my immune system with methotrexate made sense – psoriasis is after all an autoimmune condition. I just couldn’t understand why we weren’t looking at modulating it instead. So began the biggest diet and lifestyle change of my life!”
Hanna’s journey into altering her diet and lifestyle to improve and heal her skin began by reading books on the subject of healing psoriasis by people like Doctor Pagano. Which later transcended into working with local naturopaths. When her journey started Hanna blogged her journey to hold herself accountable and share her experiences with others. This is where her recipes started to make an impact.
“It almost became like a challenge to take something I could no longer eat and work out a way to create a healthy version. I absolutely love spending time in the kitchen, so for me it never feels like a chore. We spend far too much time putting ourselves at the bottom of the priorities list. Self-care comes in many forms and taking the extra time to nourish myself with wholesome, healthy food is crucial.”
Hanna launched her first book, ‘Radiant’ which is composed of a strict 28 day ‘cleanse. The book helps to revitalise the body from the inside out. The plan improves your gut health, strengthens your digestive tract, and in turn helps you feel better and look better. The aim is to ultimately heal your skin.
Hanna’s new book ‘Skin Healing Expert’ offers a more gentle approach as the 28 day cleanse can be intense. Along with altering your diet and lifestyle, Hanna recommends keeping a food journal. As this helps see what flares your skin up and what works wonders for it. Adapting the plan to what ‘feels right for you’ is important. Once you complete the cleanse it’s essential to find a balance that both you and your skin are happy with.
“We’ve forgotten to listen intuitively to what our body is asking of us. Sometimes small steps can achieve the same big goals.”
When Hanna first changed her diet, her skin got worse in the first two weeks. At the time this brought her lower than she already felt. However, on the 13th day she started to notice a difference.
“From that day forward, there was a slight improvement every day. By day 28 I went out in short sleeves for the first time in years!”
Once success story is; a toddler whose mother was struggling to raise money for her psoriasis medical treatment. Another is from Sarah who undertook one of Hanna’s retreats in Croatia; both of their stories of healing are incredible. According to Hanna healing times vary as everyone has different skin conditions, different diets, lifestyles, allergies, and histories. These all result in different healing speeds. It’s also noticed that feeling a difference tends to happen before seeing one. This topic is something Hanna covers on her ‘Let’s Glo’ podcasts.
“To anybody considering a natural healing protocol is .. what have you got to lose? We consider diet, vitamins, and lifestyle change to be ‘the alternative’ . Yet what if, we try this approach first and then consider steroid creams and suppressant medication as the alternative.”
Despite having to cut out a lot of food that you wouldn’t necessarily consider to be inflammatory, it would be a minefield to navigate but luckily Hanna has done the hard work for you. There are a lot of recipes in her books but for her, the ‘tomatoless sauce’ was the game-changer. As tomatoes are a ‘nightshade’ and often problematic for the skin, yet they tend to be in a lot of dishes, Hanna’s version uses beetroot and it freezes well so you always have a tomato replacement on hand.
“When I ditched them I missed so many meals. Indian rogan josh, Italian pasta, Mexican chili but my tomato-free sauce opens all those recipes up again!”
Understanding the importance of what we consume is crucial however, what we apply to our skin is equally important. Four years ago, Hanna began to create a small range of beauty products comprised of serums, balms, and shampoos.
“For years I applied creams that Dr’s prescribed without really questioning what was in them. I realised too that the coal tar treatments I’d been applying were becoming increasingly controversial, and don’t even get me started on steroid creams and topical steroid withdrawal.”
Since then Hanna has expanded the range to offer products that can help with flares; a ‘Soothing Spray’ to stop the itch, a ‘Vitamin D Cream ‘to help absorb important vitamins, and a ‘Scar Minimising Oil’ to help reduce acne scarring and hyper-pigmentation. After approaching one of the UK’s biggest natural skincare manufacturers, Hanna know works with them to formulate effective products to heal the skin.
After getting up early and exercising each morning, Hanna dedicates the rest of her time to her business. Her brand has expanded rapidly and it’s all down to her; customer service, website, PR, marketing, new product development, and social media.
“I’m hoping to bring a team on board next year but for now I’m very much focused on doing everything myself.”
With a lot of potential projects in the pipeline, from skin-friendly food recipe boxes to new skincare additions, online workshops, and more. Hanna feels it’s important to be flexible and understand how uncertain and challenging times are for everyone now and wants to bring positivity as well as healing through her channels and her recipes. Her latest book was launched online and as the world begins to open up she hopes to have more personal touches on her future projects.
As for what the future holds for her: “Who knows! And that’s the fun of it. I think adaptability is key and being there in whatever form to help support those more impacted than ever by skin sensitivities and flare-ups.”