Hi all, I really really would like to write a book. it would be called, "Acne, Dermatitis, Eczema, Psoriasis, and Rosacea - No one knows what the F**K is going on with your skin."
or: "why for every acne product or book there are as many 5 star as 1, 2 and 3 star reviews. Why some vegans/fruitarians/models have great skin and some have terrible skin. Why your sister-in-law seems to eat all the crap in the world and never have problems and you eat perfect and you break out at the sight of everything."
However, I am in no way qualified.
I was wondering if Paleohackers could help me petition paul jaminet or another respected, medically oriented blogger.
Series like Chris Kresser's - take these nutrients/supplements - are too general. I like PerfectHealthDiet because Paul deals with specific cases of people. These cases can serve as very good lessons.
if there's any medical researcher or other doctor (please Paul Jaminet!) or some other authority out there I would be willing to help you research for the posts.
I think there's someone smarter than I am who could help compile a cross-reference of acne types and effective treatments. Paleohackers are the only people I've known who have a somewhat controlled diet and improved acne - without creams or antibiotics.
Paleohackers are proof that diet can improve and also worsen acne, no?
Without a doubt, Acne (like eczema, psoriasis, dandruff, other skin conditions) has some of the most complex etiology known to man. To paraphrase the Perfect Health Diet's Paul and Shou-Ching Jaminet and Leo Tolstoy, every person with clear skin is alike. Every person with acne is sick in their own way.
Acne is absolutely, at its core, caused by an imbalance and an inability of your body to process what you have exposed to it - internally or externally. It is a direct reflection of what you have taken in, and what you have not taken in - whether through diet, skin, pill, inhalation, as a suppository, and other methods.
Things I know can cause acne:
1) not being paleo (grains, vegetable oils, overconsumption of carbs or sugary items which leads to blood sugar problems- aka "diabetes of the skin"; and other substances your body is allergic to. (Plus omega-3 omega-6 imbalance)
2) being cheap paleo - eating too much non-organic produce, conventionally produced pork, and chicken, eggs and meat. There is just as much crap on the dirty dozen (or fifteen now) fruits and vegetables that can get make you sick as if you ate cereal and milk three times a day. I was grasping to paleo so long and hard -it was a dogma! it couldn't be wrong!- that I couldn't accept that cheap vegetables, chicken, and pork could be making me sicker. Wash out for this refusal to let something be wrong, especially twenty-something people like me.
3) beauty products. your skin absorbs whatever you put on it, so be careful! even natural, organic beauty products. Some people can even react to beeswax, which seems completely natural (thanks mM)!
4) supplements Yup - multi-vitamins, minerals, probiotics because of binders or fillers, chemicals sprayed on the tablet and additional load on body to process the supplements. And sometimes no matter how hard you scrutinize, there's something in there (in the process of making it, or something you misread) that can upset your body. and also, Supplementing with too much of the wrong thing (or even the right thing!) can exacerbate #5, which is...
5) vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Many people find deficiencies in zinc, vitamin D, A, etc. etc. but fixing those deficiencies can create other ones. ALL nutrients work in concert with other ones. Check acucell.com for more information.
6) bacterial infections
7) fungal infections
8) poor organ function - kidney, liver, lymphatic (and thus skin), thyroid, reproductive organ function (like PCOS), too low stomach acid (which could be caused by small intestine bacterial overgrowth) or diet, poor gut health - like compromised intestinal mucosal integrity (could be caused by gut biofilms, wheat, etc.)
9) toxic household cleaning products - disinfectant sprays, bleach, etc. Especially if you have a leaky gut, which most do. (which is why so many see a benefit to GAPS - i.e. eating bone broth with meals).
Things which can help acne: 1) being paleo, perfect health diet, primal, etc. (while figuring out your trigger foods or substances and WHY).
2) eating less, using less cosmetics, . I know i'm going to get crap for this, but when you eat less, and yes, you might want to eat less paleo food. Eating less, using less, can basically completely reduce the load on your organs to process pesticides, hormones, the food, etc.
3) no-poo (i.e. less shampooing, going for less or more natural beauty treatments)
4) supplements - to help naturally correct vitamin and mineral deficiencies. or probiotics, to improve the good bacteria in the gut.
5) anti-biotics (natural, herbal supplements or manmade) (with trade-offs for the man-made ones)
6) anti-fungals (natural, herbal supplements or manmade) (with trade-offs for the man-made ones)
7) Doubt EVERYTHING you eat, are exposed to, supplement with, sleep on, etc. etc. etc.
SO when someone tells you avoid dairy, go low-carb, drink bone broth, do GAPS, etc. etc. etc. guess what? it might work, but it might not. you might see a difference and you might not. what's more demoralizing? trying to eat better and sleep better, or spending tons of money and time and hoping for a fast and easy cure and being let down.
There is no one size fits all cure. not even accutane.
when you try something new, it could be better or worse.
When you ask people questions about their acne and treatments, there's no guarantee it could work for you. unfortunately, there is no one-cure-all. you might be low in Vitamin A, D, biotin, zinc, omega-3, and WOW the list goes on forever.
But be an observer. Be a researcher for yourself. PAY ATTENTION if something gives you acne (or keeps you clear) because it's telling you something about your body.
What I can tell you is:
(1) The diets on here will help you narrow the field down on what could be causing reactions. (2) There is no perfect diet for skin, but beef broth, liver, and fish are good sources of food. (3) Even more, get to know your local farmer. Please, I beg you, avoid pesticides, fungicides, and other chemicals sprayed on your produce. Think about the worker who gets exposed to that crap and what ingesting it does to you. (PS this was a huge change for me. See bganimalpharm.blogspot.com for more interesting discussions about pesticides, fungicides and implications for human health. yes, these are studies, but in my opinion, significant departures).
It took me forever to realize that the zits around my lips and chin were related to toothpaste. hell i never thought something so innocuous as TOOTHPASTE could hurt me. it kept my teeth shiny, clean, and it made my breath so much better.
Right??? So here is my request: treat your body well. don't put anything on your skin or in your house you wouldn't take in your mouth. Question EVERYTHING. the only advocate for your health is you. I think teens will learn this hard lesson early. I know it's been a hard one for me to get used to, that a doctor may prescribe something because it's easier than telling me to get proper nutrition, etc.
finally, to those considering it: research accutane, tetracycline, doxycycline. it's easier to take a pill now, maybe, but you will pay later on.
And I'm not going to tell you not to stress, because acne is stressful. it sucks. it hurts. but RESEARCH! and Question!
I think this is why so many people can get so much better on paleo and why so many people can get so much worse. why someone can be paleo for 3+ years and see NO improvement and someone else can see a huge improvement in two weeks.
I'm happier and more accepting of my scarred, blotchy bumpy face now. I do not have a cure. I don't think anyone who has gone through something like this can go back to their previous way of life. When I get a huge cyst, I accept that it might be there for 6 months if I want to avoid a scar. I accept that people love me, not my pussing oozing face. Paleo was good and bad in that it helped me figure out and consider foods I never would have considered, to avoid things I considered, without a doubt, to be healthy. So I eat "healthier." But I accept that I might continue to have pimples on my chin for the rest of my life, because of the many rounds of anti-biotics, because it's hard to control how much I eat, because I can't avoid X,Y,Z pesticides that cause me to break out for the rest of my life. I can't avoid fluoridated water for the rest of my life. I can't take back all the times I took antibiotics, didn't rinse the toothpaste out of my mouth, or ate a poor diet. So I accept now.
my acne treatment notes: 1) work out - really really really hard outside. and sweat your eyes out if you can. this helps flush your skin.
2) if you can't do 1, steam your face. get a huge pot of water, bring to a boil, and then stay with the pot and a blanket over your head for fifteen minutes. (Warning - if you haven't stopped consuming the offending X,Y,Z this may bring more pimples to a head) 3) take judicious note of everything you are exposed to. If a food or lotion or you notice SOMETHING causes you a break out, GREAT! it's a piece of information you didn't have before. very often those items might have something in common, but you will have to research hard to find out.
Here is my list of what can cause acne, compiled from many, many sources and personal experience, in addition to the list above:
1) histamines 2) tyramines 3) arginines 4) halogens (bromine, fluorine, and iodine) 5) high-levels of fluorine water 6) pesticides high in fluorine (cryolite, for example) 7) and every possible food group.
there are other sources, which I would be interested to note. Like an encyclopedia of acne.
Good luck investigating. if you're lucky, it's a short road! I wish for you it is, but if it's the long road - then keep in mind you will learn a LOT about the human body and yourself. you will stress a lot. you will probably cry. I am sorry for that but I know that you are a wonderful, amazing person, and acne is just a little part of the wonderful person that is you. you have a lot more to offer.
What I would love is if there were a database compiled of symptoms of acne sufferers and what fixed them. And then, instead of worrying what caused your acne and coming up with a million different theories, you could see where MOST people get problems and start there. I would think that most don't have an allergy to arginines or tyramines, but I honestly don't know. and no one knows. consider yourself lucky you have connected your overall health to your diet.
This is one of (in my extremely uneducated opinion) the least well understood pathologies. I am only a researcher. I only wish to convey to you what I have learned. My qualification is that I am obsessed, I have trolled many acne.org message boards, and I hate that people have to be depressed and suffer over something so uselessly.
1) going too low-carb can exacerbate acne and improve acne. why? http://chriskresser.com/episode-15-dr-paul-jaminet-on-chronic-infections-depression-more If your acne (or skin condition) is caused by a pathogen, it has mitochondria. Pathogens like fungi and protozoa can metabolize ketones for energy. Bacteria and viruses can’t, and so if you go on a ketogenic diet you’ll starve bacteria and viruses but you’ll feed fungi and protozoa. And so a simple thing to do is go on a ketogenic diet for a while, do your symptoms get worse or better. And that can tell you which class of pathogen you have, one with mitochondria or one that doesn’t have mitochondria.
you could try a fast with coconut oil, which will generate ketones, and see if your symptoms get better or worsen. See Perfect health diet for more information.
what do you all think? book material?
Other chapters: 2) viruses, funguses, and parasites, oh my! 3) Nutrition - vitamins and Minerals work together 4) Being a detective 5) Some strategies to avoid spending $100's of dollars to "cure" yourself 6) Getting personalized recommendations (and not going crazy in the process)
Paul Jaminet wrote a while ago that he has a lot of notes on acne and wanted to do a series on it. My dream would be to help him compile his notes for a post (or maybe even to include in perfect health diet - acne edition). I have so much information that I've compiled and yet I know there's so much more to obtain.
This post made me want to cry. I mean that in the best way possible, I struggle with acne and I eat strict Paleo and take supposedly acne fighting supplements and always always wash and moisturize my face (and hair,) with coconut oil.
My back is also a horrific breeding ground for acne and it makes me feel extremely unattractive. You brought up a valid point though, people love me for me, my nasty skin doesn't seem to make a difference.
Although, I'd do just about anything to have clear skin. So, write a book. Cure the universe of acne. Revolutionize dermatology. Save the world. Bye.
I would add poor gut health as a possible cause of or contributor to acne. Probiotics, either in commercial form or home-fermented products, are often used to try to contribute to a healthy gut flora. I have also heard of such things as fecal transplants, but I should say I don't really know much about that, nor do I really want to learn more.
What we eat does affect our skin. I have never had acne in my life or even pimples as a teenager until now, and I am 70 years old. It came with the carb intolerance I was diagnosed with. So if I want clear skin, I have to eat close to a paleo diet. If I fall off the wagon, I will have breakouts that antibiotics can't touch.
Pretty Good Resource, perhaps when you get your blog live you can post it and keep in touch as I myself am currently writing a blog offline soon to be launched about acne elimination through nutrition.
Some acne sufferers who have sensitivies to citrus, oxalates and nightshades get cystic and regular pimples as a result.
"Acne is absolutely, at its core, caused by an imbalance and an inability of your body to process what you have exposed to it - internally or externally. It is a direct reflection of what you have taken in, and what you have not taken in"
Nope. I used to have acne and my dermatologist made it clear that in study after study, no connection has been shown between diet and acne. Plus there are various kinds of acne. I don't have acne now, but I get exposed to a bunch of the things on your list. (I have no doubt that those things are bad for us in other ways.)
The periods when I had acne were also periods of extreme stress. The biggest part of the solution was to resolve that stress (which meant extracting myself from toxic situations). Another part was to go easy on my skin - use gentle cleansers, no picking!, and moisturizing. I tend to break out when my skin gets dry (probably the glands over-produce to compensate) and of course many acne cleansers are extremely drying. I cleanse just once per day, in my morning shower. At night it's just a wipe with a warm washcloth, followed by an AHA/BHA moisturizer (not too strong).
Finally, I take evening primrose oil capsules, 2000mg in the morning and the evening (4000mg total). I tried this as a PMS cure, which didn't work, but I noticed my skin and hair and cuticles looked GREAT on it, so that sealed the deal. Maybe it's the essentially fatty acids, the anti-inflammatory properties? I don't know. But it's easy to try and won't hurt you. Oh, take it ORALLY, don't put it on your skin.
Of course, you should eat a good diet anyway, but don't rake yourself over the coals if you fall off the wagon. Be gentle with yourself, and your skin, and don't try too many remedies at once. Just one at a time, to narrow down the variables.
An excellent book that I always recommend reading is The Clear Skin Diet by Alan C Logan. Goes in depth about the physiological causes of acne (insulin, hormonal systems) explains why some never get a zit in their lives and others are triggered so easily. The diet is not entirely paleo but it largely advocates in that direction. Mostly just an excellent reference full of SCIENCE (studies, actual verified results) that can really help you to understand your skin, your body and how it all goes together. This book essentially started me on the path to clearing my skin.
Finding that the 3 most important elements to doing this were DIET & EXERCISE, Skincare (Less is MORE), and Stress Management. One of these without the other is a treatment plan that may be incomplete and therefore unsuccessful.
Another way to put the OP's opening statement about ACNE is that it is caused first by your genes (do you have the predisposition to acne - which the book explains) and then whether that gene expresses itself as a result of any of the many factors listed above.
The acne.org forums are also an excellent resource though they can be filled with quack and many anecdotal theories- but it is the closest you could get to a "database" of personal experiments on the matter. Definitely helpful in your personal research!
Paleo teen and acne 4 Answers
Restoring Acne Scars 9 Answers