Red, dry skin on face, why?

by (4176) Updated August 20, 2012 at 9:50 AM Created May 30, 2012 at 7:16 PM

So sick of my terrible skin, it makes me look so ugly and is basically the cause of my depression

I get discomfort in my gut whenever I eat and I'm always really tired, I've been eating basically whole 30 for 2 weeks and it's making no difference, and I've been fairly strict paleo for about 3 months

I ordered probiotic pills online and hoping they will make a difference, but seriously this is actually giving me depression and destroying my self esteem

Why is this diet not giving me the benefits it seems to be giving everyone else??

Total Views

Recent Activity

Last Activity
821D AGO


Get Free Paleo Recipes Instantly

15 Replies

11555 · May 30, 2012 at 8:37 PM

YOU NEED TO SEE A DOCTOR ASAP - not so much even about the skin problem as about the depression. Not everything can be cured with diet alone, and even when it can, it can take a while. While diet can really help with depression, it may or may not be enough, and it may not be quick enough. If you are at the point of tagging your post with "desperation" and "hopelessness" it's time to go see a doctor. Speaking as one who's been there.

Added: Seriously - Go see a doctor! I thought this sounded familiar, so took a look at your post "Hack my symptoms (please)" from April, with much the same symptoms and almost everyone in that thread said, "Go see a doctor" There is a reason for that. You've got some serious symptoms. This is not a job for amateur diagnosis on a internet forum. Go see the damn doctor.

Added: Sorry, looked at some more of your threads. I'm really, really serious about this as someone who has experienced more than I want to with depression. Just your tags alone tell me that this is not a case for non-professionals. You're in the UK, with NHS, so no reason not to go.

55320 · May 30, 2012 at 10:27 PM

I had a friend who was following the paleo diet very strictly to get rid of acne and it never worked for her and she became increasingly depressed and orthorexic. She always thought she must have been doing something wrong with her diet, but not everything can be fixed through diet. Finally she broke down and saw several dermatologist and was put on a medication that worked and now has clear skin. Same thing happened to a female relative of mine. For myself my skin has been up and down and I've been doing "paleo" principles with my diet for going on five years. I never had acne before I started "eating healthy" actually, but I haven't figured out what causes it (maybe the iodine in seafood??), but it goes away for months and then randomly comes back. Same with my keratosis. Maybe I still have some underlying gut bacterial issues, but either way I am better off health-wise than I was before, so at least I'm not getting worse. Treating things with diet doesn't always work. It's an imperfect science to say the least.

This post was aimed at women, but it's relevant here too:


She and the other actresses in that post are paid to look good and they still aren't perfect, despite eating crazy diets and having the access to the world's best dermatologists/plastic surgeons/makeup artists. When I was little I thought I would never have a boyfriend because of my awful dark circles, but I have been in many relationships- many with men who also had their bad skin moments or who also had dark circles. I feel mine are caused by my jaw deformity and diet is probably not going to change them very much. Wearing glasses hides them a lot and they only really look bad in certain lighting. Annoying when I was fat was when they were less prominent.

And there are so many male sex symbols with weird imperfections. I'm thinking of Jaqen of Game of Thrones now...and women including my sister and I totally swoon over every scene he is in:


3774 · May 30, 2012 at 11:08 PM

You're not the only one who has skin problems--I had clear skin for a while, but for the last two weeks my face has been tight, dry and scaly, with little bumps, and it looks like hell. Last week, it actually hurt.

Since I'm losing weight now, I suspect it's all the Omega-6s that are being released from my fat stores into my bloodstream, causing an immune response. Last week, I increased my Omega-3 intake to balance it out. Today my skin's noticeably better and the discomfort's mostly gone, but it's still not great.

After looking back at some of your previous posts, I can't help but think you've got a chronic inflammatory/autoimmune problem. Can that be solved by diet alone? Maybe, eventually, if you stick it out long enough. But since you're not seeing any changes so far I highly recommend getting tested for food intolerances. You've got NHS; use it. Even if it turns out that the doctors can't do anything to help you, you might come out of it with new information that helps you more effectively help yourself.

As for your depression being completely situational and related solely to your feelings about your skin condition--if that's true all I can tell you is that you need to stop placing so much importance on your skin. Because if that's true, the state of your skin isn't making you depressed; you're making yourself depressed by dwelling on it and defining your value by it. If your depression is truly situational, you have a choice to re-frame that situation in a way that will alleviate, and even eliminate that depression.

Most people have something they really wish they could change about themselves. Maybe they're poor. Maybe they're short. Maybe they wish they had a different skin color, or were of a different, more favored race. Maybe they've got a chronic illness or disability.

Me? I don't like my teeth. They're my worst feature by far, have been for most of my 45 years, and for the time being there's nothing I can do about them. Fixing them would involve tremendous pain and financial expense I don't have the means to deal with right now.

I'm plenty aware of the fact that when I talk to people or smile or open my mouth at all I'm letting the whole world see how ugly my teeth are. I know some people probably form negative judgments about me, based on my teeth. And I'm not going to lie and say they don't make me self-conscious, especially when it comes to dating.

But there's so much more to me than my teeth. I'm not going to hide away and never smile because of them. I'm not going to wallow in self-pity over them. They are what they are, and I'm determined to carry on and lead my life as if they weren't a problem at all (and, other than being ugly, they really aren't a problem). By focusing on my work, my friends, my pets, my hobbies, and all the other stuff that enriches my life and makes me happy, I rarely have the time nor the inclination to fret over my teeth. And since there are people out there who have it so much worse than I do and don't let it stop them, I just can't bring myself to get too hung up on my unfortunate dentition.

Do I have my down moments, when I hate them, feel hopelessly ugly, and am depressed over their appearance? Yeah, I do. But I catch myself when that happens and don't let myself dwell on it. That's the choice I make. Because letting something like the way my teeth look drag me down and keep me down doesn't strike me as any way to live at all. I don't want to get to the end of my life and look back in regret at all the things I wish I'd done, or the people I wish I'd dared to talk to, but didn't because of my teeth.

30 · May 30, 2012 at 8:45 PM

Definitely milk! I have been paleo for nearly a year and about a month ago I decided to have some post workout chocolate milk. Big mistke my face dried out and started to be come itchy. I cut out the milk and a few weeks later its back to normal

1579 · May 30, 2012 at 8:13 PM

Have you talked to a dermatologist? Personally, I have a skin condition that no amount of diet changes will fix, so I have come to accept it. Also, I would give Whole 30 a bit longer, perhaps try going even stricter as you say you have discomfort in your gut and are always really tired (sounds a bit like carb flu). I know when I started paleo I didn't start seeing results for a couple months.

230 · May 30, 2012 at 8:15 PM

The red, dry skin on my face turned out to be a milk allergy. Are you still drinking the milk? I'm guessing not since you said you are following Whole 30. Maybe you have an allergy to something else? Please don't get depressed about it. Have a cyber hug, get out there and enjoy your life.

877 · May 31, 2012 at 2:43 AM

I had a bit of this issue--skin/depression/gut. I started adding safe starches A LA The Perfect Health Diet ( http://perfecthealthdiet.com/the-diet/ )

I'm feeling a lot better now.

ALSO, I started eating a lot more FAT. It rocks.

1179 · May 31, 2012 at 12:30 AM

I have had horrible skin, for years. Turns out its all allergy related. I'm highly allergic to soy. But, I also feel that I have a decent personality and no one really cares to much what my skin looks like, they like me. And silly me, I was still consuming soy products making it worse because it was in my vitamins, my evening primrose oil, and my fish oil.... not labeled as soy, but a vitamin E. So really look at what you're eating/consuming/using? Was it like this before starting a paleo diet? Is it new since going Paleo? Have you started eating something completely new since going Paleo?

Also, what are you putting on your skin? You could be over treating it? Harsh products? I've been using Argon oil recently and love it.

Good luck! It sucks, but it shouldn't ruin your life.

Medium avatar
195 · May 30, 2012 at 8:37 PM

It's not enough to follow just a paleo diet if you have gut issues (Skin problems = intestinal flora problems)

follow this diet and see if it helps


cut eggs, night shades, dairy, and nuts - nuts especially because they are hard to digest and high in omega 6's (STAY AWAY - go for lots of omega 3's)... Doing an omega 3 supplement with be a great anti-inflammatory

also make sure you're eating loads of coconut oil because its great for healing the gut...

And stick to probiotics that need to be refrigerated...

24 · August 20, 2012 at 9:50 AM

If you have dry sensitive skin then Aqueous Cream is for you. It is specially formualted for conditions and anyone allergic to conventional soaps, cleansers or moisturisers. It contains NO soap, detergents, alkalis, colorants, fragrance or preservatives - just pure aqueous cream in a bar.

383 · May 31, 2012 at 11:39 AM

i hear u, my skin is so dry and this diet has made no difference to that, however i can point you to www.skinactives.com

dr. hannah sivak heads skinactives and she really knows her stuff, u can email her and ask her what she recommends for your skin condition

i have used their products and find them excellent and reasonably priced, she is honest and not out to rip people off, good luck hope you find the right product to cure your red dry skin

28 · May 31, 2012 at 1:38 AM


so for redness, try to use an aftershave with no alcohol but with which hazel or any natural astringent [again, thayer's do that but there might be others]; if you really have some erythema, you MUST see a dermatologist to get hydroquinone or some less potent bleaching agents and put sun screen regularly; erythema is generally transient but can be permanent [believe me, i've fucked up my skin in the past like the miserable prick that I am]; however, if you've got erythema only as consequence of dryness, moisturise the shit out of your skin, like all people... get a neutral and non-oily cream with the fewest chemicals possible [so again , typically, hydromol, e45 cream, shea butter, coconut oil that you apply very generously at night. Let'us recall that to hydrate you epidermis, is to apply a cream that prevent your epidermal water to evaporate. Stick to that at least 2 weeks, after a week you should stop getting a tight and red skin if you do not pick it. Also, for shower, try a soap that has got the fewest chemicals in it, typically something with no acid at all and that preserves your lipidic film; so again, typically Aleppo soap with a good deal of laurel [70pc of laurel minimum].

Personally, probitotics like active brewer yeast made my skin and hair dryer [which is good for spots, but you must compensate with moisturisers]

923 · May 30, 2012 at 8:24 PM

I had horrible itchy, scaly patches on the side of my face that only cleared up after I got food intolerance testing done and eliminated them from my diet. Believe it or not, the cause of mine was olive (and olive oil) intolerance. My skin has cleared up dramatically.

1035 · May 30, 2012 at 8:18 PM

Hang in there. You've got to give the diet some time. When I started, I felt I worse for a while before I started feeling and looking better. (I was on the GAPS diet, so more strict about eating foods like bone broth and liver) Anyway, about your face: have you had your vitamin D status tested? It's a blood test. If you can't have it tested, just try taking a daily D3 supplement, like 4000 IU per day. And check out the web for info about vitamin D insufficency. Many people in northern climates are D-deficient or insufficient (basically, the same thing). It's the cause of a lot of sickness and malaise.

edited, because I see you have been paleo for 3 months.

-12 · May 30, 2012 at 8:24 PM

skin diseases are the easiest things to cure.

would be helpful if u provide more information on what kind of food u eating over the whole day. bad skin always means kidney problems, means u basically eat shit that your body doesnt want to, so it dumps it into your skin in order to protect itself.very simple mechanism, yet very effective in terms of body health. trust me, i had neurodermitis pretty much my whole life always red and dry, i know what u talking about.I had huge depressions becoz of it, until i decided enough is enough. went on to study biology and chemistry and tried experiments on myself until i found the answer. i can try to help u out but as i said i need EXACT informations about your diet.

Answer Question

Login to Your PaleoHacks Account