I've been Paleo for 2 months now, and have struggled with acne my entire life. This is the reason I went Paleo in the first place. While my face has cleared up tremendously, the pimples keep coming back. They're never as big as they used to be and there aren't as many, but my face isn't clear like a lot of people claim their faces become once they start eating Paleo. I aslo struggle with scars. They're lasting longer than they've ever before. Does anyone know why or what I could do? I'm starting Whole30 to see if that'll change anything.
Define "Paleo for two months." What are you eating, exactly? No offense, but when people say they've been doing "strict Paleo" sometimes their definitions are different from mine. When I first started, I thought processed deli meat and canola oil were good choices. Oops. List a food log and macronutrient analysis. I don't really care about macronutrients much, but this is one issue where an analysis may be useful.
Do you get any exercise? If not, get some. I don't care what kind, except don't do chronic cardio.
How much do you sleep? Get lots, in a dark room, and as Robb Wolf says, kill someone to make this happen if you have to.
How are your stress levels? If you're stressed out, do something about it. Meditate, yoga, light exercise, whatever.
Are you taking any anti-inflammatory supplements? Vitamin D, magnesium, fish oil, anything else? Probiotics? If not, consult a doctor and start looking into these.
As a side note: I think most questions should include the above info....
Do you use any facial cleaners (soap, anything containing benzoyl peroxide or other medications)? If so, what kind? As weird as this may sound, you might want to try not using any. They seem to help some people but not others, and they may be overdrying and irritating your skin. I think in my case, this would also prompt excess sebum production, but I'm not sure.
Do you touch your face regularly? If so, stop.
Anecdotally: I use raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar as a shampoo/conditioner, and lately I've been using it to rinse my face as well. I think it's done me some good. I dilute the ACV in a spray bottle of water at around a 1:5 ratio (ACV:water). My skin definitely feels softer, and also if I have an occasional pimple, it seems to go away faster.
Have you tried putting a fresh towel or t-shirt on your pillow every night? This method apparently has done wonders for some people. Side note: my favorite part of the towel thread is where someone (jokingly) says it could have been a coincidence, and that in the name of science, the OP should stop putting towels on his bed and see if the acne comes back.
Also, as Melissa said: be patient. It may take longer than 2 months.
gone2croatan's suggestion to stop eating dairy is a must, if you haven't already. Butter is probably okay for most people, but I'm not sure. Cut it out anyway, just to be safe, and add it back in later. Milk, cream, cheese -- give it up.
Read the post over at Evolutionary Psychiatry on acne and inflammation. You might consider selenium, zinc, and vitamins A and C in addition to the commonly supplemented D/Mg/n3. Again, consult a doctor, although good luck finding one that understands what you're trying to accomplish.
Are you eating nuts? Or a lot of chicken, pork, eggs, and/or olive oil? You may still be getting a fair amount of O6 from these foods which would cause inflammation and thus acne.
I know that Omega 3's are stressed on Paleo - but for me, too much and my acne flares up, as does inflammation in my body. I got cystic acne like I hadn't experienced in years after becoming Paleo. This may change over time for me, but right now I can't handle tons of fish or fish oil capsules. You might be going through a pretty hefty hormonal upheaval, as other people have said. It will take longer than 2 months for that to get straightened out in your body.
Dairy does cause inflammation in a lot of people, including me. I make ghee from pastured butter and seem to thrive on that, but all other dairy aggravates my system.
Also, my friend bought me a facial last year. I always thought my skin was oily, but she told me it's oily below, and dry and flaky on top. I was using harsh scrubbers - she made me switch to a creamy/rich cleanser and an oil free moisturizer. I was using MyChelle Pumpkin cleanser and their oil-free moisturizer. It definitely helped, but it's too expensive. Now I approximate with what I can afford. And do things like avocado masks on occasion and jojoba or sea buckthorn oil on my skin a few times a week.
There is a supplement regime I take, and since I've been doing it, I haven't had one zit (not even around my period), and my gut feels a lot more soothed. Its:
1500 mg Sea Buckthorn daily(1:1 ratio on Omega 3 and 6, plus the really rare Omega 7). Some people would definitely poo-poo this since it's a seed and fruit oil, but it's helped my body than anything else I've ever taken - which has been a lot lot lot of stuff.
15000 Vit D daily
200 mcg Vit K2 (not K1) every few days
3 tsp Natural Calm magnesium supplement every other day
I eat fruit for Vitamin C, which is so necessary for the health of my skin. If you have candida and leaky gut, which many acne sufferers do, you should skip the fruit until you can kick the candida. Get lots of Vitamin A too from stuff like sweet potatoes (again, a no if there is candida) and grassfed beef.
The health of your liver is something to consider too. It has taken me years to clean out the junk in my liver from having Celiacs and from growing up on a horrendous diet. Actual liver cleanses can be way too hard on many people's system. Eating bitter greens like Dandelion and/or supplements like bitter melon, gentian, and buplureum can help the liver's self cleansing process. Just be warned if you do start cleaning your liver out, you're going to feel worse before you feel better.
Hi everyone! Wow, there were lots of responses, thank you all for your advice! I haven’t been able to read everyone’s responses seeing as I was at work all day, but I will touch upon the main parts. Yes, I am female lol. I do exercise-weight training and cardio at my house because I can’t afford to belong to a crossfit gym. I’m not one of those girls that will only lift with a 3lb weight either. I’m a heavy weight lifter, but not too heavy because don’t want to hurt myself. I don’t eat grains or diary and I’m not one of those “put creamer in my coffee” people either because I don’t drink coffee. Since I’m just starting out, I wanted to do it right. My cheating is less than 80/20 and I never cheat with a full meal. It’s always a bite or two. Rarely I will eat uncured, no nitrates bacon or almond butter, things like that. I know people disagree on whether or not that’s Paleo-hence, why I’ve decided to try Whole30. I wash with a green tea cleanser that I get directly from a licensed esthetician that specializes in holistic medicine. It’s extremely gentle and I use a separate towel to pat dry my face when I’m done washing. I used to use a vitamin C serum she gave me, but I found that to make my face break out too. This was before Paleo, so maybe I should try it now and see if anything changes. I’ve done facials in the past and never saw a big difference. Plus I can’t afford it every month. I get plenty of sleep. Even though I’m an adult, I have a bedtime. For stress, I take Pilates once a week and have a light workout if I need to, or sometimes going head strong into my workouts relieves my stress. No change in stress levels really. I take fish oil supplements daily. Vitamin E, and only eat organic, grass-fed meat, and wild caught fish. I haven’t started the vitamin D because I didn’t know how important it was. But from what I read, I will certainly start that right away. I only wear makeup to work to get a solid color on my face, seeing as red marks can off-set the tone. I never wear makeup when I’m home and wash my face so I don’t workout with it on. I always use clean pillow cases. I’m OCD and wash my sheets often. I do have a doctor, but refuse to use the medications he’d prefer I put on my face. This is why I went Paleo in the first place.
I do eat nuts, chicken, omega-3 enriched eggs (800 mg each egg), beef and only cook in extra virgin oil olive, don’t eat a lot of pork though. But I take my fish oil supplements to help balance that.
If I need to give it more time, I completely understand that. I just read about other people’s success and wonder why mine hasn’t cleared up as quickly as others. Thought there was something wrong with me. If my body is just different, I can handle that. Been struggling with acne for a long time so I can give it another few months.
One thing that really helped me was to just stop putting any soap or product on my face regularly. What I do now is not wash my face unless it is actually dirty. On most days, I wash my hair with all natural soap and then I rinse it carefully to make sure that minimal amounts of the rinsed soap touch my face. My face is just rinsed from the water only. WHen I get out of the shower, I towel off. The only time I wash my face is if I can see actual dirt on it. Then I wash with all natural soap only and just enough to get the dirt off. LIght dirt will come off with just a wash cloth and water anyway. Excess oil comes off with just water and drying with a towel. Once in a while on very hot sweaty days, my face does look shiny by the middle of the day, at which time I just take a towel or napkin and wipe off any excess shine.
End result is my acne was much less and interestingly, even though I was not making an effort to remove oil from my face, my face actually became much less oily. I wonder if an oily face is from the body's response to try to replace the oils many people keep stripping away with all their soaps. THe body might get in a habit of producing a lot of oil if people are constantly dessicating it with tons of soap. Anyway, all I know is by mostly just rinsing my face, oil production stabilized and my face rarely looks oily even after all day and my skin is much clearer. Natural body oils are naturally antibiotic so that actually makes sense. Improve the health of your skin with better moisturization the natural way and healthier foods and you improve your skin's ability to fight of germs. PLus a constant moderate supply of face oil may help vitamin D production. Body oil is there for a reason, why fight it?
I have the same problem, and have some scars too, but they are starting to fade and my skin is breaking out less. I agree with everyone who says that less is more with facial products. I try to use a really gentle, natural cleanser (no acne washes or anything) and a really gentle moisturizer with sunscreen (sun will make the scars last longer). That's it. All the harsh washes, gels, and "clearifying" products just make my acne worse. Also, drink lots of water, and don't touch your skin! That's the hardest part for me, but it's really true. Less makeup is always better too. I know you probably want to cover up the scars, but at least when you're at home, go without any makeup.
That is what has worked for me. Good luck!
I've found that Rooibos tea helps a great deal. One or two cups per day. It reduces the amount of oil that your sebaceous glands produce.
Also I use a cleanser with glycolic acid. You need the glycolic acid because its the only thing that helps to separate the skin cells. Your pores clog because the skin cells don't break apart the way they are supposed to. That is caused by too little of the enzymes that facilitate the reaction that separates your skin cells before they flake off. If they don't separate your pores will clog. You need something with glycolic acid to get them to separate. Zits happen below the surface. It doesn't matter how dirty the top layer is. Those skin cells have to separate from each other or you will get zits.
Hey it's been another two months since I posted my question. My face has improved a lot since then! Still some ways to go with the scarring. I have started supplementing with Vit D and hopefully that'll help along with summer coming. To answer everyone's question about dairy, I don't tolerate it. It makes my skin break out so I'm absolutely dairy free. Thanks everyone for your help. I'll keep you'll posted in another two months! Definitely takes time though to heal what feels like a lifetime of acne!
Can paleo clear up acne? 6 Answers
Acne worsen 4th day into paleo diet.... 6 Answers
paleo diet + acne 7 Answers