Before we dive into this mess, let's go over some background information of how I got to this point.
1.) I started to do paleo around 3 years ago. Started with Lacto-Paleo and stayed this way for a little bit less than a year. Overall my acne improved 95%, and I was very satisfied with the results back then. However, it stopped at 95% and I was consistently getting new pimples daily. Nothing severe, but still frustrating to have no progress.
2.) Dairy gave me eczema, so I decided to cut it out. I did this for a couple of months and the eczema went away relatively quick. No improvement on acne though, so I went cold turkey and did Zero-Carb. After a year, still no improvement. If anything, I've only became more sensitive to "non food" after these 2 years. I could even feel the effects instantly when I eat them.
3.) Back to regular Paleo approximately 8 months ago and I've been doing it ever since. Still, nothing changed. I'm consistently gaining new pimples every day. I would get bad acne if I eat problem foods. If I increase carbs intake to moderate/high, I break out like a mofo. Strange because I was still getting acne on Zero-Carb.
My acne is facial, chest, and back, so for sure I know it's internal. Problem is, it seems like nothing can fix it. Along with acne, I have a host of other problems(FUCK) like dry skin, goosebumps or chicken skin or whatever you call it, bad hair shred. I just don't look healthy, to put it bluntly. Also, I now get hungry really fast(because of carbs), which I absolutely despise. The biggest problem was constant diarrhea. BUT! Good news I finally have it under control after I incorporated gelatin into my diet 3 some months ago. I still get diarrhea maybe once or twice a week, but it's no longer as bad as it used to be. This leads me to believe maybe I have a leaky gut problem all along. BTW, just so you know, I'm still getting new pimples every day at more or less the same rate I did 3 years ago.
Is it possible that my remaining acne is related to the digestion/gut problem that I currently have? If so, is there anything I can add to speed the healing and the recuperation process? Just anything to look into. If not, what are some things I might have missed? Anybody who has dealt with a persistent acne problem, please offer some advice. Also, could my other problems(dry skin and bumps all over, seriously it just looks unnatural and unhealthy no matter how you look at it) be also related to it?
Sorry about this horribly composed post. English is not my specialty.
Fat-soluble vitamins, aspirin and niacinamide are the only supplements I find effective against acne. Other supplements often are allergenic or contain questionable ingredients.
Dairy and sugar cause acne, yes. The question is if it really is a bad thing. Have you ever tried increasing quality dairy and sugar (preferably fruit) while supplementing retinol (or eating liver & oysters)?
Keep in mind that too much retinol is just as bad as too little.
That's great that gelatin seems to be helping you. Do you notice a correlation between diarrhea and any particular food? Your gut may not be totally healed yet.
Are you eating nuts? I've noticed I get most of my break-outs after eating nuts or fruit, especially high-fructose fruit. Nuts are a really common allergen. I'd try eliminating them and see what happens.
Are you eating lots of egg whites? Those can irritate the stomach and some develop an intolerance to them.
I second Annamalia's suggestion about fermented foods. I've noticed on days after eating a lot of sauerkraut or drinking lots of kombucha that my skin has a really nice glow to it. Kombucha seems to work more than sauerkraut.
Also, do you use soap? I had pretty bad keratosis pilaris (chicken skin) on my arms too, for years, and I always washed the area with extra soap. Once I stopped using soap, my arms became smooth. If you have dry skin, soap and other drying topical agents might really be working against you.
My skin is finally turning around lately (fingers crossed it stays like this). I upped my Vitamin D supplementation to 8000 IU a day, stopped using soap, started moisturizing regularly with argan oil, and tried to avoid stress. For what it's worth, I started avoiding nuts a month ago and only now does my skin look pretty good... still have a few healing marks on my face but other than that I'm clear. Hang in there! You will get to the bottom of this.
I suspect that there is definately something internal going on, likely a vitamin or mineral deficiency. Definately get your levels checked, or at the very least plug your food intake into a tool like FitDay to find out if you're consistently low on any particular nutrient. It does sound as though you have leaky gut, but I'm not a doctor...
As for the acne- I've had quite clear skin since going Primal with the exception of the occasional hormonal pimple. What worked for me: cutting out soap and shampoo (using water only on my skin) and a twice daily honey wash on my face. Make sure that it is pure honey- some brands have HFCS added (eewww...). I just use a few mLs and rub it into my face with a little water to help it spread across my skin. Allow it to sit for a couple of minutes then rinse with warm water and blot dry. The results have been fabulous, and I never need makeup anymore!
Additionally, my husband has noticed the same result as Violet after removing soap from his grooming regimen. That and sun exposure and stress reduction has gotten rid of his keratosis pilaris on his arms.
Best of luck!
I had this SAME problem. Went gluten-free then paleo and acne cleared up a bit but not all the way. I had to stop eating out at restaurants which also helped. Then I read somewhere on these forums about Zinc supplements and acne and decided to go to the drugstore to buy some. Cod liver oil was on sale so I grabbed that as well (I remember having read about it somewhere too). Honestly, I didn't expect it to work since I always fall for those "quick fixes" but this REALLY helped. Like, right away!
I'm currently reading this book about coconut cures and it suggested using virgin coconut oil for skin problems. I've been rubbing it on my face for 3 days now and I can't believe how much it has improved my pores and "bumps" or whatever they are called. You also mentioned the dry skin. I've been rubbing this virgin coconut oil on my elbows, knees, and feet and it's honestly the best moisturizer I've ever used. And I've spent hundreds on all kinds of name brand, "natural", drugstore kinds of lotions and creams. Don't waste your time or money with face washes and other creams. Personally I only use water and then I take a cotton ball and dip that in a little coconut oil and wipe my face with it. You probably already have virgin coconut oil at home so give it a try!
I am not qualified to give any professional advice by any means, but neither anybody else here. Please remember - one hundred people will give you one hundred different opinions. What worked for them might or might not work for you. Try and see for yourself. If something does not feel right - do not do it. Everybody is different. And I mean: every BODY is different.
I have worked with many teenagers and all of them can be divided into two broad categories: the ones with acne and the ones without. Every time I saw a person with clear skin, I would ask them what they eat. Every time I saw people with acne, I would watch their diet.
Kids who ate right 100% of the time had clear skin. Kids who ate junk food (even occasionally) had break outs.
I had one girl who had a terrible acne. I asked her what she was eating. She told me she ate very healthy and she never ate any junk food. Later I saw her gobbling up pizza, while drinking coke and there was a piece of brownie on the table waiting for her. I asked her why she told me she never had any junk food. Her answer was: "I only get one treat per day. And pizza is actually healthy, it has vegetables."
I am blessed with having flawless skin. However, right before I get my period, I get pimples on my chin. Every time I get constipated, I get pimples on my forehead. What doe is tell you?
My guess: your acne has nothing to do with your skin. It is all about your health. If you get healthier, your skin problem will go away as well.
So how to get healthier?
I am 100% positive that your acne has something to do with your gut health. Again, you should only follow advice that you are comfortable with. This is what I would do:
Remove any traces of gluten from your life: toothpaste, deodorants, facial cream, anything. NO GRAINS, NO LEGUMES. REDUCE YOUR CARB INTAKE - no fruit, no artificial sweeteners.
BONE BROTH as much as possible.
I would go on elimination diet. Start with the basic - eliminate most of the foods. Just have some basic vegetables (green leafy, cabbage family, onions, carrots, red cabbage or purple onions). Eat grass-fed meets, bone broth and fish. Nothing else. Eliminate any foods that even remotely can irritate your gut. Good job on not eating nuts.
If elimination diet does not work, find a way to have more probiotics either in your food or find a good probiotic supplement. Nance recommends water kefir. WATER KEFIR is dairy free. It has some sugar and fruit, but you don't have to eat the fruit.
Fermented foods - plenty of them. Therapeutic strength probiotics from your refrigerated section.
Absolutely no dairy in any shape or form.
If everything else fails try Hair, Skin and Nails by GNC. I know, I know, I am against supplements myself but... they really helped me when I was eating gluten - they stopped my hair loss.
The key is to get your gut healthy so you can absorb a maximum amount of nutrients that your body needs to maintain healthy skin.
I agree with another person - don't use any moisturizers or creams. Less is more.
Also you should try putting glycolic acid on your face as a mask for a few min. I am not suggesting an intense chemical peel, but puree pumpkin has it. It seems in my experience dairy and sugar do wonders for my skin, which is sensitive and easily irritated. Milk and yogurt have lactic acid and brown sugar makes great scrubs. Here are some thinks containing alpha hydroxy and beta hydroxy acids; salycic acid(aspirin), sugar, yogurt and milk, pumpkin, papaya, citris, and pumpkin.
I sometimes supplement with zinc and probiotics. Try to include oysters and fermented food regularly.
A healthy gut flora is said to be very important for your immune system and (therefore) can improve your skin. I never had acne but the few pimples I sometimes get seem to vanish when I include those foods/supplements.
Leaky gut sounds like a definite possibility. GAPS is hard but may be worth a try if you suspect that; I've only heard good things about its effects on skin problems. I haven't tried it yet but I plan to, as a more permanent solution than tedious topical treatments. I've never been able to keep those up long-term.
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