Asking for a relative: she has had trouble with acne and is seeing a doc promoting a low carb (whew!), but no-dairy (hmm) diet. Has anyone seen success eliminating acne with excluding dairy? Or has low-carb been enough?
I have done low-carb primal off and on the past 2 1/2 years. I have struggled with acne for a long time, even while dairy-free (but on SAD). Now this month I decided to try dairy-free again while primal, so now pretty much strict paleo. The improvements are hard to ignore. It has only been 2 weeks but I will be doing this for a few months to really get a good idea if it's helping. So far the acne on my shoulders is gone, and my face is clearing up pretty dramatically. People around me have noticed.
In my case low-carb did nothing for my acne, even though it helped digestive symptoms.
I suggest reading Loren Cordain's Dietary Cure for Acne if you're interested in the why/how.
My wife had severe cystic acne since she was a teenager, switching to paleo helped, but she still would have breakouts, she tried no dairy, no fruit, no caffeine, LC, VLC, still had random breakouts. After thinking about it for a while I suggested that she only eat things that grow below ground, ripe fruit when she wanted, and animal products meat, eggs, fish and anything dairy. I had a hunch that vegetables were the problem. I also told her to stop washing her face and to only use cold water with a authentic sponge (the synthetic ones are too abrasive) and a pat dry if she wanted clean up (that took a little more convincing).
After a few days her skin really started to glow (that radiant look, like the morning after you have a lot of sex) and after 2-3 weeks the breakouts stopped completely. It's been several months (6-7), still no breakouts. She doesn't touch vegetation anymore.
So acne I feel is a metabolic disorder, I think vegetables and all the "don't eat me chemicals" interfere with your metabolism and this can manifest as acne especially if you are already prone to acne. I think those chemicals bog down the liver. Even when you prepare vegetables properly those things are still there in some quantity. For some reason people eliminate dairy first before they'd even consider vegetables when cream, cheese, butter, yogurt, are essentially fat, and our bodies like that, but I can understand maybe not drinking regular milk.
Try ditching the vegetables. She hasn't used soap for 6 months. The only thing she puts on her face anymore is Unique E (http://acgrace.com/mixed-tocopherols-oil.html) and coconut oil, that has helped smooth out the scaring.
For those of you eliminating dairy, try eating diary then no vegetables. Also beware of cheeses that have coloring in them or beta-carotene, or carrageenan and other fillers.
UPDATE: Well it's been a couple months, following those guidelines above my wife has not exerienced ANY acne at all. One change is that she has replaced all startches with fruit, but still maintaining the animal products and more diary than before. So there you have it. For her it was vegetables. So I have my own theories as to why it was vegetables. But who cares. It works. That's what matters. She no longer uses the Vitamin E or coconut oil. Just washes with cold water.
I used to get horrible acne drinking raw milk and it finally went away for the most part when I stopped drinking the milk. That was about a year ago. About 2-3 months ago I started supplementing A,D,K and zinc consistently and my acne completely went away. Around this time I started drinking non homogenized pasteurized milk, no acne this time around while consuming 8+ cups of milk a day(plus whey protien).
Before this experience I was convinced foods like milk or wheat just inherently caused acne but now I think they just exacerbate low level nutritional deficiencies. You only get rid of the symptoms by removing the foods but not the actual root cause.
Just my 2 cents.
I gave up dairy to get rid of hormonal acne, didn't do much. What did pretty much completely got rid of it bar one spot around TOTM (as far as I can tell) was high-vitamin butter oil. Tbsp a day for a month, ironic that dairy helped me get rid of it when it does seem to be the cause for other people.
Everyone's different though, would be worth a try kicking dairy for a month at least. If that doesn't solve it consider a K2-MK4 supplement, that, in my amateur opinion, was the factor in the butter oil that made the difference. It also has the side effect of making your skin glow, like that inner glow that can never be replicated by a cream.
The one thing that helped my acne more than anything at all has been to stop putting soap and chemicals on my face. Now I only rinse my face with water. WHen I wash my hair using all natural saponified oil soap, I make sure that even that does not touch my face. Any soap, even natural soap strips the natural oils and dries out my face and makes the skin flaky and really seems to contribute to acne. Eating paleo and not letting soap or chemicals touch my face has resulted in a smoother not flaky complexion with no excessive oil. On rare occasions when it is really hot out and my face looks shiny, I just towel it off and I'm fine. This outcome actually makes a lot of sense when you consider that natural body oils are both naturally antibiotic and naturally moisurizing. Now the skin on my face is just naturally healthier and even better, I don't have to spend even one dime on expensive products and chemicals. This is one of those things where I am totally kicking myself for not having tried this a long time ago!
Even if I ever do have to put stuff on my face again, I plan to avoid soap and avoid stripping the natural oils whenever possible. I may towel or rinse my face, but I never allow it to go so far as to remove enough oil to dry my face and leave it unprotected. ANother issue is that natural body oils naturally produce vitamin D that can then be reabsorbed through the skin, so leaving your natural skin oils will probably also improve your vitamin D intake as well! -Eva
My acne always clears up from just going low-carb. Actually, I'm suspicious that it's just wheat that is the factor, but I've never gone wheat/gluten free without also being low-carb, so I'm not sure.
I've always eaten tons of cheese, butter, yogurt and some heavy cream. This admittedly is anecdotal; everyone is different, I guess, but full-fat and fermented dairy has never caused skin problems for me.
My personal observations have revolved around acne being caused by food allergies, but not a specific allergy.
As gluten but not lactose intolerant, my acne(body/chin/mouth) comes with wheat and I have none even while consuming dairy, yet my lactose intolerant friend who is also paleo breaks out with dairy(even raw dairy, which he can "tolerate")
I call food allergies of any kind = acne etc.
The trick is finding which affect the individual
While it's great seeing a medical professional moving things forward I don't think such broad generalization is a good idea. I mean, all diary isn't created equal (despite Cordain).
In my opinion acne is a sign of inflammation and therefore reduction of inflammation is needed.
Quick cure could be fish oil, starting with let's say five capsules (presuming 180/120), upping it up every week by 1 until the symptoms subside.
In my case, the biggest factor was diet but more was done by eliminating grains, sugar and vegetable oil then eliminating diary products. I can eat butter, cheese, cream, kefir with no acne increase, while milk consumption almost always increases the amount of spots. If she wants to go through with the elimination I would suggests that she first tries with eliminating milk and then cheese.
I second Eva's suggestion about ditching cosmetics.
Also I would recommend vitamin D supplementation with dose depending on the current level although I presume 10 000 UI would be just fine.
If she has been through antibiotics treatment then the problem gets more complicated because there is a possibility that the gut is then contributing to inflammation. In that case pectin, inulin and lactulose. It takes time though.
I wish her all the best,
So after experimenting adding and removing dairy for a few weeks (I used yogurt, milk, and cheese separately) I've found out that for me, the reaction is almost immediate (within 24-36 hours). 2 weeks with no dairy, no acne; 1 QT of yogurt (grass-fed cream top) and the next day, a spread of large spots on my back and tiny red ones on my chest and arms; a few ounces of cheese however, and it's always my face that gets it, usually around my chin. Milk is strange, anything less than a cup and I don't see anything, anything more and I get mini sinus infections and my face gets uber bad.
The good news is that the reaction is less pronounced with grass fed (but not raw, I tried that too). I did the same experimenting when I was vegetarian, and ANY dairy, even accidental dairy, would trigger huge breakouts that would last a week or two at the least. At least now I have to have a pretty decent portion to notice anything, and they come and go within 4/5 days.
For me it does, absolutely. Since taking the final step on my 'paleo' journey and cutting milk, cheese and yogurt, my skin is the clearest it's been since I was 14 (I didn't really go through puberty until 15). I still eat lots of heavy cream and butter, and limit all other dairy strictly but haven't had to cut it out completely. I do get a little bit of a skin-flare if I overdo it - not big, inflamed painful pimples like I used to have all the time, but a tiny whiteheads that resolve quickly.
Low-carb wasn't great for me in other ways, and I still got some pimples. I eat moderate carbs, high fat these days.
Dairy and acne.. Fat advice? 5 Answers