I'm fourteen years old and my acne is pretty bad. A month ago, I started an acne medicine in pill form. The first pill of this new medicine was the first pill I had ever taken in my life. The reason I had never taken a pill before then was because drugs scare me due to their ongoing lists of side effects. I was wondering if eating a purely paleo diet would cure my acne. If it would, my motivation to stick with this way of life would be impeccable. In advance, thank you for all of your responses.
When I was a teenager I had really bad acne. I went on a full Roaccutane regimen which lasted for several months, and fixed 99% of it - fortunately I didn't have any of the myriad of possible side effects. 0.5% was taken care of later when I found the benefit of keeping hydrated and eating fish oil pills (omega 3). 0.4% was taken care of by going soap (and shampoo) free - no soap or other "cleansing" products on my face, ever.
I still had the occasional pimple until this summer when I went 100% paleo (I'm 36 now), and it cleared the last bit.
If I had to do it all over again, I'd start with going paleo, drinking enough water, adding fish oil, and getting rid of Clearasils and other soaps, whether they actually include soap or not. If all else fails, take the pills - when you're a teenager you don't want to have acne, period. It can also cause physical scarring in addition to emotional stress and scarring.
As someone who has suffered from acne for a long time, I wouldn't guarantee that easting strictly paleo will cure your acne, but it will probably help. Eating strictly paleo will probably have a positive effect on almost any chronic ailment, because by easting paleo you are eliminating many common allergens (wheat, milk, etc.) as well as sugar. Personally, I've found that nightshades make my acne much worse. Since I've been strictly paleo (about a month now), my acne has not completely disappeared, but it has greatly subsided. I'm hopeful that if I keep this up it will completely heal, but everybody's different.
I guess that's another point to make: There really is no such thing as "strictly paleo", at least for paleohackers. The idea isn't to adhere to a fully-defined set of rules. Rather, you need to experiment for yourself within the general plan to see what works best for you.
This is very much a different strokes for different folks situation, where maybe nothing will work and maybe the answer will be simple. Eliminating the NADs (grain, sugar, and seed oil) will be a good start, but from there you need to tinker with other aspects: dairy elimination, nightshade elimination, carb levels (super-low to high, based on roots, non-potato tubers, squashes, etc.), vitamin supplementation, soap/cleanser usage, and so on until you get closer to your goal.
As other people have said, there is a long-term benefit to getting rid of most/all of your acne. I would add that there is also a long-term benefit to going paleo in general, and the younger you start, the better off you will be. Keep at it and keep us informed of your trials and successes, because we're always interested in knowing what works for people.
I have had acne related skin issues since my early teens and they continued until I started Paleo about a year ago when I was 21. I remember when I first started I eliminated grains but still ate a fair bit if sugar and dairy and my acne was virtually gone. Once I cut back on the sugar and dairy I saw even further improvement. (Also, saw improvements when I STOPPED using facial cleaners and started just using cold water before bed...weird). All I can really comment on is what has worked for me. I would advise experimenting with tweaking your diet yourself and see what works and what doesn't. Paleo certainly won't hurt. Acne is an inflammatory response and the Paleo lifestyle generally removes pro-inflammatory foods that cause acne (as well as many other ailments). Good luck!
I started paleo late enough that any skin improvement is hard to differentiate from the benefits of age. However, I live with a teenager, and it is obvious when she has been eating something off the diet. When she sticks to it, her skin is flawless.
Personally, I did noticed definite improvement (especially on my scalp and back) when I stopped using shampoo.
You will definitely notice an improvement if you switch from a standard Western diet to the paleo diet. However, the absolute best remedy I have found for acne is apple cider vinegar. Apply ACV to your face (dilute with water if you have sensitive skin) before going to bed and you will notice results the next day. Follow this routine for a few days and I'm willing to bet you will be convinced that nothing works better than ACV.
I can only give say its helped me. I am a 29 year old female. But I suffered with bad acne from a very young age..pre teen into my adult life. I tried almost every face wash, medication etc etc. Then I went paleo and gave up grains, veggie/seed oils and my acne went away...this was a huge thing for me. I DO find when I eat nightshade family stuff I will get a pimple or two though. Good luck!
My skin has become 100x better by following an anti-inflammatory diet as outlined here : blog, but I take quite some supplements. Especially the fat-soluble vitamins (vitamin A, D, E and k2), magnesium and selenium have helped.
But the number one most important thing that has always helped me is : adequate sleep.