Until a couple of years ago, I was eating a lot of whole grains and meat alternatives (soy products), thinking that I was being healthy. My skin was really clear back then, but I was also much thinner at the time. But now that I've been in college, I've been gaining college-associated weight. And even though I started eating (low-carb) Paleo, my face is now riddled with acne. I read somewhere that it might have something to do with all the dietary fat which releases hormones? And that made me think it was the diet. But now if I ever indulge in the foods I used to eat (grains, dairy, etc), the acne gets worse almost immediately. So now I'm thinking that body weight has something to do with it. Has anybody experienced this or have any thoughts?
(I drink a lot of coffee now too - I never used to drink it before. Anybody know if this is associated with weight gain/acne?)
I've eaten SAD my entire life and was the only one in my family who suffered from really bad breakouts. I tried everything from Proactiv to seeing a dermatologist and nothing cured my acne. Then I became anorexic while still eating SAD and I still had acne. Then I transitioned to Paleo a year ago and gained weight and now have the clearest skin of my life. It immediately cleared up when I started doing VLC but now I'm doing moderate carb with dairy and still rarely get breakouts. So from my experience, no, gaining weight on Paleo and getting acne are not connected.
Acne is caused by many factors, including: hormones, stress levels (which set off different hormones), and yes, weight (which also sets off different hormones) and of course... diet. (which sets off different hormones.
Frankly, since you're in college, I'm going to guess it's stress, hormones (due to your age), maybe not your diet (unless you're not eating organic meat), and... well... weight.
Those things probably set the acne off. Now you're eating paleo (good for you) but you're experimenting with grains. Since carbs are broken down into sugar (as we all know) and sugar can inspire inflammation throughout the body (which most of us know) I'm not surprised you see the acne get worse when you eat them.
My suggestion? Find a gentle exfolliant to wash with, an alcohol-free toner, an all-over medicated lotion (with tea tree oil if you want a natural antisceptic, or benzoyl peroxide if you're not concerned with that) and some spot treatment with sulfur to ease that redness and inflammation. Be careful to avoid anything with too high a medicine concentration, as it'll just irritate and dry you out. Moisturizer will also help.
Also, look up foods with high vitamin F concentration, since acne-prone skin tends to be deficient in this area. Try picking out the paleo-friendly options on this list:
No. There are fat people with clear skin and skinny people with acne and fatties with acne and skinnies with clear skin. There are people with dry skin who have acne and there are people with oily, but clear skin.
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