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SD Acne Clinic Owner Danielle Gronich talks Harmful Effects of Coconut Oil And Common Skincare Mistakes

Mar 16

This has been a much anticipated post.  Seriously, I have been dying to share Danielle on the blog, especially since a lot of you have been asking about skin care education & tips!

To give you a little background on how I found the incredibly amazing owner of San Diego Acne Clinic, Danielle Gronich, I must first share something I’m super self-conscious about.

As I’m typing this my thoughts are racing and I’m thinking why on earth am I sharing this on the Internet.  My skin journey is something I am extremely self-conscious about and the conversation about it makes me extremely vulnerable.  BUT I feel like I am not being 100% real deal completely honest unless I share this.

My Skin Journey

Last year I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease, but the process of figuring that out wasn’t so quick. I actually went through months of multiple doctor visits, tons of medical bills, lots of tears, and tons of frustration before I was tested and things started to make sense.  If it wouldn’t have been for the extreme reactions on my face leading to the immediate need to find out what was going on, I still may not know what was wrong with me.

To lay it all out there, in a 2 week period of time my face went from the periodic blemish or two, to my cheeks, chin, & neck covered in swollen cystic acne.  It was so inflamed that it extremely painful, my face burned, and there was a bacterial fungal competent as well.  I was in tears almost every single day looking in the mirror.  I didn’t want to leave the house, put on makeup, or see anyone.  When I did have to leave the house and put on makeup it was extremely painful, so bad I couldn’t stop thinking about it and just couldn’t wait to get back home.  My parents didn’t grasp the extent of it when I described it to them.  They could only understand when I showed them a picture.  So I realized that in order for you all to understand what I was going through, I have to share a picture.  So here it is, my skin at its absolute worst right before I met with skin expert, Danielle.


This was spread onto my chin, parts of my neck, and all over both cheeks. It kept getting worse every single day.  I had no idea what to do, I ate healthy, I worked out, I took care of my body, why couldn’t doctors fix me?  I exhausted all of my outlets including doctors, specialists, multiple dermatologists including a cosmetic one, and a local esthetician. Nothing they gave me or treatments worked.  It just aggravated my skin more.

Finally An Answer

When I finally found a doctor that would test me, I found out that I have Celiac Disease, and a lot of other internal issues & inflammation that were linked to Celiac.  For those of you who don’t know,

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that can occur in genetically predisposed people where the ingestion of gluten leads to damage in the small intestine.  It is estimated to affect 1 in 100 people worldwide.  Two and one-half million Americans are undiagnosed and are at risk for long-term health complications. (source)

I’ll save that big story & explanation for another post.  So even though I was given answers, I HAD to get my skin under control.

Cue San Diego Acne Clinic owner, Danielle Gronich.

I was scrolling through Groupon just for fun and I stumbled upon the San Diego Acne Clinic.  I was slightly skeptical but I decided to set up an initial consultation with her and from then on my life changed.  On our very first appointment, Danielle had me bring in every makeup, face, and hair product I used. She sat down with me and analyzed every single ingredient in my products and taught me about the harmful ingredients I should always avoid.  We also discussed an action plan for my skin.  What I had to come to terms with is that there would be no quick fixes, it would be a process and I would have to work hard and be consistent with treatments.  I accepted and started right away! Here is the original picture the day I first saw Danielle, my skin after 2 treatments, and finally a picture I took yesterday, now 3 months later.


Now that you see how incredible she is.  Here she is sharing her best skin tips with all of you!!

SD Acne Clinic Owner & Skin Expert, Danielle Gronich 


| Introduce yourself! |

DG: Hello! My name is Danielle Gronich, I am a San Diego native, UCSB alumni, and avid skincare enthusiast. As a licensed esthetician and longtime acne sufferer, I saw a profound need for a devoted, 100% acne-focused clinic- something to bridge the gap between dermatologist and spa. San Diego Acne Clinic was created out of this need, and has been changing lives since day 1. This is all I do, it’s what I love. A science geek at heart, I have studied cellular biology, immunology, genetics, and chemistry at the college level; all of which are imperative to understanding skin issues. Qualifications include advanced training/ certifications in PCA Skin Biology, Epicuren Discovery, Rhonda Allison, Face Reality, Esthetic Nutritionist, Hydrafacial MD, Intraceuticals, Vitality Institute, to name a few.

|  What has been your skin care journey? |

DG: If you’ve ever had a skin issue, you know how frustrating it can be. If you’re part of the 90% of us who have

experienced prolonged breakouts, you know how frustrating and psychologically damaging the issue can become. Dealing with problematic skin led me to 7 different dermatologists, 2 laser clinics, 4 different estheticians. Each promised a solution. The result was 2 rounds of Accutane, high doses of oral and topical antibiotics, spironolactone (hormone blocker), facial peels, and about $6,000 in laser treatments. None of these “solutions” worked  for more than a month or 2, and the end result was weak, burned, permanently scarred skin.

| How did you decide you wanted to open your own practice & what went into that process? |

DG:  Opening San Diego Acne Clinic was a big decision; it required a broad scope of knowledge in all things relating to skin (diet, lifestyle, hormones, medications, medical conditions, products, genetics, etc.). It also required total accuracy in discussing these topics so as not to spread false information, which is rampant in this industry. Challenge was accepted.

| Common skincare mistakes? |

DG: I see false information circulating constantly (usually via social media).

“The most damaging trend I’ve seen is the use of coconut oil and “going natural” in one’s products.”

Scrubbing the skin has also been a hot topic. My advice: Do not take anyone’s advice unless they are proven acne specialist!

| You completely shocked me when you said coconut oil is bad for your face, because we’ve been told it’s good for so long, Explain!! |

DG: Here’s the skinny on coconut oil! This oil is high in MCT (Medium chain triglycerides) which are wonderful for our brain and internal organs! It also demonstrates anti-fungal properties and has been reported to help reduce hormonal melasma (discoloration of the skin) by balancing certain digestive bacteria. Applied topically, however, this will clog pores instantly and lead to inflamed, cystic lesions in patients who are truly acneic. It is thick and “sticky” compared to our natural skin oil, so it creates a traffic jam in the pore that requires manual extraction in most cases. Coconut oil is commonly used in products labels “Natural” or “Organic”, so be aware!

| Best anti aging tips- how can we keep our skin looking fresh, young, and glowing?|

DG: Anti-aging! If you’re approaching 30, this is on your radar. The most powerful component in anti-aging is internal harmony. That’s right, it’s the hard stuff- eating right every day, exercising regularly, avoiding inflammatory triggers like chronic stress, processed foods, and excessive alcohol. When all of our organs are functioning properly, the skin radiates health- it is our largest organ after all. The external factors that matter most are SPF (Zinc is your best friend!), “Epidermal Growth Factors” that stimulate cellular rejuvenation, and proper exfoliation to keep the skin cells reproducing at the rate they did when we were young. Your skin care specialist will get to know your unique skin and be able to determine the right types of exfoliation for you each month, whether its a chemical peel, an enzyme, or something stronger.

| You talk a lot about ingredients, what are common ingredients that will wreak havoc on our skin? |

DG: There are many things to watch out for, but for the sake of this article I will focus on just those detrimental to acne. 1) Isopropyl Myristate: This is a thickening agent used to add volume to products ranging from sunscreens to dry shampoos. It is guaranteed to clog pores and create chaos in anyone with oily or acne-prone skin- avoid at all times! 2) Algae & Seaweed: These are highly moisturizing but very pore clogging. Commonly used in lotions, primers, and mineral makeups, this ingredients is worse than smearing Crisco on the skin.

| Favorite skin friendly foundation?  | 

DG: Favorite foundation today is PRIIA Cosmetics.  It is a wonderful, acne safe brand that was inspired by a fellow esthetician! (<< I use this every day now and LOVE it!!)

| Should we be looking at what we eat as potential reasons for problem skin? | 

DG: Diet plays a huge role in our skin health! Dairy can create huge problems, especially for men, as it triggers stimulation of oil glands and excess skin protein. Following a low-glycemic, high nutrient diet is critical! Make sure to avoid excess sugar, have balanced meals and get plenty of fiber so you can absorb vital nutrients. Too much protein can also exacerbate acne, as it creates “hyper-keratosis”, an excess of skin protein that clogs the pore. Eat whole foods, organic when possible, and avoid simple sugars. If you have a digestive issue, this could affect skin in a major way, so let your skin care professional know!

| What first steps would you recommend for someone who is struggling with skin issues? |

DG:  If you’re struggling with a persistent issue like psoriasis, contact a nutritionist or holistic health practitioner (<<This is KEY, they will not rush to prescribe you medicine) to get an assessment. Then call your dermatologist. If acne is your primary issue, call me- I’m here to help. Long-distance coaching is available and still highly effective!

Danielle’s clinic is in San Diego, CA and you can reach her at 858-381-0740, by email or on her website here.

I hope you all enjoyed!!  Have any of you guys been struggling with skin issues?


xx Kayleigh

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  • Reply D Mar 23 at 10:16 am

    Danielle is amazing! I go to her as well for facials. My skin has never looked so good! Also I live by her recommendations for beauty the shiseido pressed powder is amazing!!

  • Reply Anonymous May 15 at 2:57 am

    It¡¦s really a nice and helpful piece of information. I am glad that you simply shared this helpful info with us. Please keep us up to date like this. Thank you for sharing.

    • Reply Kayleigh May 16 at 9:26 pm

      Thank you!!

  • Reply Anonymous May 16 at 6:35 pm

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    • Reply Kayleigh May 16 at 6:40 pm

      Thank you! I’m glad you are enjoying it 🙂

  • Reply Britney Sep 2 at 10:33 am

    Thanks for this post, I’m a big fan of this web site would like to go on updated.

  • Reply Acne Prone? You Need This Makeup In Your Life…Now | Kayleigh Christina Feb 24 at 9:44 am

    […] acne triggering ingredients.  Coconut oil in foundation/lotion? NO just NO. I wrote more about that in this post.   FYI I used to be that girl who believed coconut oil was amazing for my face just because I saw […]

  • Reply Paulina Saliba May 1 at 1:02 am

    Pimples are really stubborn because it left scar in your face. Your skin care journey is motive me to fight against them.

    • Reply Kayleigh Christina May 10 at 12:11 pm

      They sure are stubborn! You can certainly fight against them with the right food and correct products for your face 🙂

  • Reply Paulina Saliba Jun 12 at 3:35 am

    I am completely agree with you, skin needs proper care.

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