Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
13 Nov

Are Your Skin Problems an Autoimmune Issue? – Answers, Solutions, plus a New Primal Book!

The Hidden PlagueToday’s guest post is from my good friend Tara Grant, truly a budding superstar in the Primal/paleo/ancestral health movement. Tara started out as a success story (“Tons of Doctors and No Solution” – one of the most visited stories in our entire archive; and also on the pages of the The Primal Blueprint 21-Day Total Body Transformation), and has leveraged her Primal success (she went from 245 lbs to 159 lbs in around 18 months in ’09-’10) like few others: She’s a veteran PrimalCon presenter, has delivered numerous Primal Blueprint Transformation Seminars, and recently completed a remarkable book called The Hidden Plague, which details the painful and poorly understood skin condition of Hidradenitis supprativa (HS).

Tara has become an underground legend in the online autoimmune community for helping people solve frustrating skin conditions such as HS (and assorted other autoimmune issues) with a methodically designed diet-based protocol that identifies trigger foods and promotes natural healing of the digestive tract and immune system. Her post today might resonate with many of us who deal with mild to significant skin issues the traditional way (lotions, potions, creams, prescriptions) with less than stellar results. For example, I flipped a copy of her food restriction protocol to a friend of mine who’s suffered from psoriasis and been under medical care for 40 years…She reported immediate and dramatic improvements after following Tara’s protocol. Enjoy Tara’s post and learn more about the book below…

My Story

I have been sick for as long as I can remember—except that I didn’t actually realize I was sick until I was in my mid-thirties. Before that, my baseline notion of health was what it was, and I was basically living in acceptance as a miserable, suffering human. When I switched to a Primal Blueprint eating style in 2009, a lot of the chronic conditions I thought were “normal” suddenly vanished. I was left with a feeling of health and vitality that, frankly, I wasn’t used to. I didn’t realize that human beings could actually feel this good, or that I could actually look good like the fortunate few!

Tara Grant

I used to have quite a lot wrong with me, including PCOS, IBS, endometriosis, massive mood swings, joint pain, and depression. As bad as those problems were, issues with my skin trumped them all and caused me considerable psychological damage. I suffered from cystic acne—both as a teenager and as an adult, long after it was supposed to have stopped. I had mild eczema, chicken skin on my upper arms, mysterious hives and rashes, and itching from head to toe. My skin would get inexplicably dry and cracked, especially on my feet and legs. I suffered from ingrown hairs in my nose, on my scalp, and anywhere I decided I wanted to shave. I was riddled with inflammation, and my skin broadcast the tale for the world to see. I felt eighty years old. I hurt. I was sick. I hated my life and I wanted to die.

Something told me that living in constant pain and misery wasn’t what nature had intended for us as a species. I knew I could get better, but I didn’t know how. Everyone around me was “sick” too—even the doctors I went to see. In an attempt to fix myself, I became a serial patient—I saw over forty doctors in four different countries when I was working for NATO. Each doctor attempted to treat my individual symptoms, as if the symptoms were the problem – instead of just…symptoms…of a bigger issue. Nothing they tried ever worked. I spent thousands of dollars on antibacterial and acne products, to no avail. I took any and all medication I was offered, hoping that the answer was in the latest pill, and being constantly disappointed. None of the forty medical doctors ever suggested a connection to diet or made any recommendations about my diet.

During this time, the worst problem I had with my skin (and this is one I never told anyone about) was a condition called Hidradenitis suppurativa, or HS for short. I suffered from HS for over 20 years, with no more than a couple months respite from the horrible pain. Doctors were stumped when I mentioned the symptoms of this condition to them. Typically, I was told I would need to make another appointment, or that they simply didn’t know what was wrong with me. Although the condition got drastically better when I started eating Primally, it didn’t fully go away. I still flared-up from time to time, for no apparent reason. I knew I was on the right track with my diet modifications, and I made it my mission to somehow solve my last and most painful lingering problem, no matter what it took.

What is Hidradenitis suppurativa?

HS manifests as painful boils, deep-seated lumps, and acne-like lesions in inverse areas of your body—that means anywhere skin touches skin. In severe cases, or when inflammation is extreme, any hair follicle on your body is fair game. In order to really bring this concept home, let’s play a thought exercise. Take the worst breakout you ever had as a teenager. Now, turn it into a boil and make it the size of a golf ball. Where shall we place it? How about your groin? Armpit? Under your breast, on your scalp, the back of your neck, or on your testicles? Sounds horrific, doesn’t it? Now, let’s add in the unfortunate fact that this boil (let’s say it’s in your groin) takes approximately two months (or longer) to go away. While it’s healing, it leaks and oozes both pus and blood, gets even more inflamed and painful, and has a huge chance of becoming infected. Forget about your sex life or that tropical holiday you had planned. You don’t want anyone to see you—or touch you—during this time. Right as the boil is starting to fully drain and heal, another one pops up right next to it, starting the whole damn cycle over again. Unfortunately, this is what people with HS deal with on a daily basis. HS is classified as one of the most painful diseases you can have—and doctors will tell you that there’s no cure. There isn’t even a standardized treatment or medication that works. Sufferers leave the doctor’s office with little to no hope that their condition will ever get better.

There are different stages to HS, and in stage one the sufferer may not even know they have an actual “disease.” They may think they just have weird ingrown hairs in their armpit or their nose, or zits on their butt. People that do go to the doctor usually leave with a diagnosis of: “Keep yourself cleaner, here are some antibiotics.” About once or twice a year, people with stage one HS will experience some sort of strange painful lump, zit or boil that will linger for a while and then mysteriously go away. They usually don’t even think to go to a doctor about it.

Until the disease progresses, that is. When HS reaches stage two and three, there’s no escaping or denying it anymore—that’s when the golf ball-sized boils come into play. This doesn’t happen without intense inflammation, which fortunately a Primal Blueprint eating, exercise, and lifestyle pattern help protect against substantially.

Why Don’t More People Know About HS?

You’ve probably never heard of HS, and I’m not surprised. Those of us that do have it often don’t like to talk about it. It’s super embarrassing, and we’ve been made to feel ashamed of ourselves. According to HS-USA, an online support group, there are upwards of 12 million people with HS in the United States alone, and a huge portion of this number are suffering in silence. That’s more people than are living with HIV and AIDS. HS isn’t an American problem, either. I’ve heard from people as far away as Finland, Thailand, India, and Australia who are afflicted, and who are struggling to find help.

Although you may not have heard of HS before, I guarantee that you know at least one person with it. They may not talk to you about it, or even know what it is that they have. Many people live with HS for years without ever seeing a doctor, or even telling anyone about it. HS is closely linked to depression, and sufferers may cut themselves off from friends and family in an attempt to isolate themselves. They may even attempt suicide.

When you’re in pain, it’s hard to sacrifice something that gives you pleasure, like food. But, truthfully, I am trying this because I’m at the end of my rope. I wake up some mornings and wish I had died in my sleep. I cross the street and wish that a bus would hit me just so I wouldn’t feel pain anymore. Constantly being told there’s no cure has made me seriously consider killing myself. I am a very motivated, productive, hardworking guy … so I want to try and work this out.

SJ – Toronto Canada

Conventional wisdom and the medical community are completely stumped as to what causes HS, and even how to treat it. Sufferers are subjected to pharmacological experiments and barbaric surgeries. These treatments invariably fail to work and sometimes the patient is left worse off than they were before they went to the doctors. Unfortunately, many doctors still believe that bacteria causes HS and they advise patients to keep themselves cleaner and to take a daily course of antibiotics. Some doctors even tell their patients to bathe in bleach.

Because HS can resemble several sexually transmitted diseases (depending on where it shows up), and sufferers are led to believe that they’re “dirty,” most people with HS are incredibly embarrassed and afraid to open up, in fear that they may be judged. They have often given up hope that their condition will ever get better—or may be in denial that there is a problem in the first place. There is incredible misinformation about HS out there, and sufferers often fall for scams in a desperate attempt to find help, or make themselves sick by using home remedies that are downright medieval.

So, the short answer is that no one knows about HS because no one talks about it, there’s no research being done (except to see how we react to different drugs), and most people aren’t even aware that there’s a problem. I suffered from HS for over 20 years, with no more than two months in between flare-ups and I never mentioned it to anyone. But guess what folks: I’ve been in remission now for over two full years. Not only that, but the disease also retreated from severe stage two to mild stage one during the three years before that—at the exact same time I went Primal. Altogether, I’ve been on the mend for five years. I was told this was impossible by the medical community, and told I had no options other than resigning myself to pain and suffering. This simply isn’t true, and I’ve decided to speak out about it. This condition needs a spokesperson, some better PR, and a lot of doctors need to get a freakin’ clue. I healed and reclaimed my health all by myself. I didn’t use any creams, or take antibiotics, or have surgery. I simply changed my diet and healed my intestinal tract, which was severely damaged on account of following a Standard American Diet for decades. Whether you’re suffering from severe stage three and confined to a bed, or you’re simply bothered by the lumps under your breasts or in your armpit, The Hidden Plague can help. Understanding the true cause of your skin problems is incredibly empowering, because you can use this information to heal yourself.

So, What’s The Solution?

We’ve all had a pimple at some point. Quite a few of us have even had acne that’s been embarrassing, or problems with ingrown hairs, zits on our scalps, or even little bumps on our upper arms. It’s easy to forget just how sick we used to be back in the SAD old days. Even though we’ve (hopefully) become fat-burning beasts, have energy for days, and look amazing in a swimsuit, I would go so far as to estimate that about 50 percent of us on a standard Primal or paleo diet still have some sort of issue with our skin. Inflammatory skin problems seem to be the last symptoms standing for many of us and they’re so friggin’ frustrating. Even when we cheat a tiny bit with food indulgences, we get hit like a freight train. Many of us chock this up to hormone imbalances, but the truth of the matter is that it’s more likely any skin condition you’re still experiencing after going Primal is autoimmune. That means you also have a leaky gut and probably have something called dysbiosis (a microbial imbalance in your digestive tract).

Here’s a shocker that you might want to sit up and pay attention to: It’s quite likely that some or many seemingly “safe” Primal-approved foods are aggravating your condition, or keeping you from fully healing.

Rarely do we connect what we eat to the state of our skin. However, once that connection is made it can be a wonderful awakening. It allows us to break free from the unproductive relationship many of us have found ourselves in with traditional dermatological and medical care; it puts the power to heal ourselves back in our own hands.

What Is the Autoimmune Paleo Protocol?

The Autoimmune Paleo Protocol, or the AIP for short, is a stricter version of the Paleo diet. Created by Robb Wolf to help heal a leaky gut (and therefore autoimmunity), the AIP removes certain foods like nightshades and eggs for a certain period of time, and then reintroduces them to see if there’s a reaction. Many people are able to heal themselves simply doing a strict AIP for 30 days, finding out what triggers them and then avoiding those foods in the future. A standard AIP works great for conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and endometriosis. However, there are still a number of us with inflammatory skin issues that don’t see complete relief with the AIP. That’s where my Skin Protocol (detailed in The Hidden Plague) comes in to play. If you experience autoimmune reactions like itching, boils, and acne that the standard AIP doesn’t take into account, you may benefit from further dietary restrictions. Unresolved issues like eczema, rashes, acne related to your period, dandruff, even headaches, can all be helped using the information in The Hidden Plague.

How Journaling Can Help

It took me three years to really nail down my triggers because I didn’t keep a food journal. I wasn’t very scientific when I first started out—but when I started seeing results I needed to be able to replicate them. The flare-ups seemed to be so random sometimes, but I knew deep down that there was a pattern. As soon as I started writing things down, that pattern became visible and I was able to connect a lot of dots. I’m hoping that by following the step-by-step protocol in The Hidden Plague you’ll be able to nail down your triggers in a couple of months.

The Primal Blueprint 90-day Journal can be really helpful in this journaling process, because it prompts you to take a big picture view of numerous diet, exercise and lifestyle variables that affect your energy level, mood, cognitive performance, physical performance, and status of health problems (such as an assortment of skin issues or autoimmune issues). Many people don’t know where to start when it comes to journaling, and thus might find motivation wavering. I strongly recommend taking a 90-day period of your life and recording all the data that you are directed to in the 90-Day Journal. If you happen to have annoying skin issues or other autoimmune issues, The Hidden Plague provides a detailed plan for how to find out what is triggering flare-ups in you and how to stop them. The book contains a complete Skin Protocol diet, as well as a guide to reintroduction after your restriction phase ends. You’ll learn what really causes inflammatory skin conditions, what a leaky gut is, how autoimmunity works, and how to put an autoimmune condition into remission. We’ve even got some autoimmune friendly basic recipes to get you started, including tomato-free pizza sauce and ketchup.

I want to leave you with the idea that you don’t have to suffer in silence, that you have other options besides the mainstream medical care protocol, and that you are obligated to take responsibility for your health. “Trusting your gut” is better than blindly following along with the many dietary and lifestyle practices that can destroy your health if you are not careful, or not lucky.

Special Limited-Time Offer

Mark here. First off, many thanks to Tara for sharing her very personal story with us today. When I first heard it myself, and then learned more about HS and the numerous clients she has helped overcome this autoimmune disease, I knew I wanted to help spread this important message – especially because it is so often misdiagnosed and misunderstood by the conventional medical community.

Today, I’m pleased to be able to officially announce the release of The Hidden Plague through Primal Blueprint Publishing. As per Mark’s Daily Apple tradition, I’ve put together a special limited-time offer to order this book direct from before it goes on sale to the general public. It expires on Saturday, Nov. 30, 11:59 pm PST.

Free 90-Day Journal with Purchase

Order a copy of The Hidden Plague today and get a FREE copy of The Primal Blueprint 90-Day Journal (retail value $22.95).

The 90-Day Journal is the perfect companion to Tara’s new book. It will help you track, identify, and eliminate trigger foods and behaviors, so you can begin to heal your digestive tract and immune system and end your suffering once and for all.

If you have struggled with mystery skin problems including autoimmune reactions like itching, boils, rashes and acne this book was written for you. As Tara indicated, this could be a sign that you have leaky gut and a microbial imbalance in your digestive tract, and this book can help you resolve those issues. So order your copy today and take advantage of this special free book offer. And if you know someone who you think could benefit from this book please don’t hesitate to pass this article on to them. It could be life-changing.

Read an excerpt of The Hidden Plague

Many thanks to everyone that purchases one or more copies of The Hidden Plague over the next couple weeks. Tara Grant and the entire Primal Blueprint Publishing team and I appreciate your support and hope that this new book will touch your lives just as Mark’s Daily Apple and previous Primal Blueprint books may have in the past. Grok on!

Fine Print:

  • Unlike previous retail channel promotions, this one is simple: You order the book directly from and we send you the free bonus item directly with your book order. No worries, no hassles!
  • This special bonus offer ends at 11:59 pm, Nov. 30, 2013 (PST).
  • Only orders placed on will receive the bonuses.
  • The Hidden Plague is not yet available on or at other retail locations.
  • Both domestic (U.S.) and international orders are eligible for the bonuses.

 Order Your Copy of The Hidden Plague Today!

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. Sounds like your book may be worth looking into. I’ve had my eczema, dry skin, and dandruff improved quite a bit since going mostly Primal, but my allergies are still insane (sinus congestion, sneezing, itching), but a little better. I’ve been resisting the idea of, even temporarily, removing dairy, nightshades (I do love bell peppers and hot peppers), and eggs from my diet. Seems as if half of what I eat would be gone! I’m sure it’s not that bad, but it feels that way. It sounds as if I really need to give it a try. It also sounds like your book would be a good guide for how to go about it.

    Hey, if I can get those issues under control, maybe my husband will give Primal/paleo a try. He’s got a bunch of health issues, with some autoimmune components.

    b2curious wrote on November 15th, 2013
  2. Hey Tara, congratulations! My grandson has a skin condition tinea vesicolor covering most of his back. Guess I better get reading your book. Aunt Linda

    Linda wrote on November 15th, 2013
  3. Hey there,
    Thanks for sharing some of your story. I have been having mild acne, and it flares up more cystic about the day before my period, not golf ball size, also facial hair, did you experience that? But mainly Ive been battling a rash, its been on the back of my lower scalp just under my hair, Ive been battling it for years. It used to come and go. I could feel also a burning sensation on the skin around my mouth, and sometimes a rash on my upper eyelids. I also have suffered from migraines since I was a kid.

    I did a candida diet, and pretty much took a candida supplement and ate meat(minus pork and shellfish), fruit and veggies(except potatoes) I lost over 15 pds, my skin and energy looked great and I got a comment I was a glowing from a friend. So I know I was doing something right. THe scalp rash was improving, no redness showing on my neck, no scales and flakes. After I finished I had a week and then I started a parasite cleanse, but didnt tweak my diet like before, and the rash has semi flared back up again and my energy level stinks. So Im curious if you encountered same things(ive been told by drs its seborrhic dermatitis) So Im curious if you have the candida connection? I gave up break, milk, and pastries(things that I regularly love) when I was feeling so good. I did still eat eggs now and then. Still experimenting, but just wondering how similar what you did is to the candida type diet.

    Shar wrote on November 16th, 2013
  4. Its great you’ve written a book to help people with this terrible sounding problem.

    I was wondering how you can tell HS from a bad yeast infection? Its also in the groin area, not the usual place women have YI, so now I’m wondering if what I have is HS instead. I’ve had this condition for about 10 years. I’ve had boils, but not in the groin area. I’ve been on steroids for 55 years for Addison’s Disease, so that may contribute to this problem.
    It get better on the Primal diet but doesn’t go away completely. We were away visiting friends, just now, where we couldn’t eat all primal foods, so have it came raging back. .
    I have tried several treatments for it but they don’t work for me. Right now I have Candex which made me sick. My husband also has this and it seems to help him somewhat.
    Thank you Mark for bringing this book to light.

    Joan wrote on November 16th, 2013
  5. Yes, a very personal connection to your own story! My wife now in her 60’s, started Paleo-ing with me. In her transition she tried eating ‘gluten free’ products and BAM ‘adult acne’ showed up. A simple food intolerance test – the Carroll test – showed that her body is intolerant of potatoes. Two important points here; 1) food allergy tests might show markers for foods that you are “allergic” to when in fact they sometimes are reporting foods that are leaking into your blood as the result of “leaky gut”; 2) gluten free products, esp baked goods are made with potato flour. Her gut was being pummeled with irritants. We got her off that, but the skin probs persisted. Our naturopath had her taking nutritional supplements. Guess what some of the binders and/or capsules are made with? Cellulose! Where does that come from? Well sometimes rice like in Mark’s protein powder (HURRAY!) but most times – potato. Potato is lurking everywhere, sometimes as cellulose, sometimes as ‘tapioca’, dextrose, maltodextrin, yeast, nutritional yeast, iodized salt, quar gum, MSG, baking powder, penicillin, tylenol sometimes has it, aspirin sometimes has it, beer, even Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups! And me? Test showed an egg intolerance! That was an interesting work around. Paleo really works for us. We might have had a lot of annual anniversaries of our birth but we’re not old. (Let’s stop with the “years old” thing). We’re getting leaner, healthier and wealthier all the time thanks to living a natural life. Best of luck with your book.

    JA wrote on November 16th, 2013
  6. Hi Tara, thanks for the great post! I have suffered from HS for about 5 years now. Thank you for openly and honestly discussing this — it is such a horrible condition that nobody seems to want to shed light on it. Per usual, doctors are no help at all.

    I have recently begun to suspect that inflammation-causing foods were triggering attacks, so when I saw your article supporting this idea, I was very relieved! I had been on a grain-free, dairy-free, egg-free diet for 3 months and all my symptoms were cleared. Recently, all of these three things have become more prominent and my symptoms have returned (thankfully at a lower level.)

    Any guess as to which of the three is the most likely culprit?

    Thanks very much again for the post. –Amy

    Amy wrote on November 16th, 2013
  7. I ordered the book because I also suffer from HS. I’m in flare right now. They typically come up in my armpits and are extremely painful. I had a huge one lanced in the ER in January and that’s when they told me what it was. I’ve also had some come up on my sides. They are debilitating – I’m unable to wear a bra and don’t want to leave the house.

    The only problem is that I’m not really interested in living a paleo/primal lifestyle. I like meat but don’t like to cook it or eat it all the time. My husband is mostly vegetarian and in very good health and doesn’t understand any diet that eliminates any kind of vegetable from your diet, including beans, corn, and soy – all of which I try to avoid. I’ve done gluten-free and dairy-free in the past, but that was before HS started attacking me. I’m hoping to find a decent balance of foods that will work for me.

    Kim wrote on November 17th, 2013
  8. This is amazing information! I can’t wait to get my hands on the book and journal!

    When I was in 9th grade my mom took me to the doctor for “zits” on my panty line that were painful and wouldn’t go away. The doctor said I was too fat and not clean enough. (I was soooo not overweight in the least) She prescribed losing weight, taking a hot bath 3 times a day and wearing nothing but dresses/skirts with no pantyhose.

    I’m so happy that I have never progressed past stage 1 with HS. It’s great to have a name for the condition. I’ve been primal for about a year now, but only about 80% – now I have thyroid issues. Combining that with the HS, I’m more motivated than ever to get my act together nutritionally 100% to get rid of both of these problems.

    Thanks so much, Tara and Mark!!

    Sonya wrote on November 18th, 2013
  9. I am fascinated with this. I have also faced a host of skin issues but not as severely as HS. I believe mine is dermatitis herpetiformis caused by gluten but it seems to be triggered by rice, and a lot of corn products. Rice is actually the very worse bc after a few days my gut actually grows about 4 inches and I look about 4 months pregnant, my skin is extremely dry within a day of eating rice and it breaks out in itchy pustules. I just made the rice connection about 2 months ago and now struggling to go completely grain free. I thought some potato chips would help my chip craving but I became bloated, lethargic, and of course my skin became dry and broke out. I also cannot have any nuts or peanuts bc my son is allergic and they also irritate my gut. And my daughter has some pretty severe constipation that seems to be better with a gluten free diet. I haven’t tried grain or dairy free for her yet. But lucky for her she doesn’t have skin issues yet. Her brother with the peanut allergy has severe eczema :( I’m tired of living like this.

    Julie B wrote on November 18th, 2013
  10. Thanks so much toTara and Mark for an inspirational post!
    I have Insulin resistance (PCOS), switched from a “french carbohydrate rich diet” to paleo lifestyle 3 years ago.
    Lost 10 kilos, felt better, glowing skin but still suffering from mild to moderate acne at 46, mental fog and tiredness…
    Acne gets worse depending on the cycle so attributed acne to hormone imbalance. Aware of leaky gut syndrome and added fermented food and probiotics to improve gut to no avail.
    Instinctively, I knew that there was still something not right with my diet but didn’t know where to start.
    I feel I have hit the jackpot with Tara and will read her book.
    A huge thanks to Mark for helping us achieve wellness, his books, blog have changed my life for the better.

    Corinne wrote on November 18th, 2013
  11. Oh Tara, thank you for your persistence in tracking down the triggers to HS. I am so sorry you had to suffer for so long, but I am so happy you have found health and balance again.
    Just today I stumbled on this website looking for anti-inflamatory diet information. My very awesome integrative medicine doctor recommended a gluten free and paleo diet to help alleviate arthritis, digestive issues and fatigue. After reading about your book I had an aha moment! My son and I seem to have a mild to moderate form of this autoimmune condition. Though what is prompting me to buy your book right now is that my 18 yo son is suffering from endless painful cystic acne and he is scarring causing emotional distress. Also he has severe allergies and skin conditions that I have no name for but your descriptions seem to match his symtoms (and mine). He is already a fairly healthy eating kid and totally willing follow dietary advise. Two years ago we eliminated dairy which helps and within 3 days his acne was healing with no new eruptions. Than 6 months ago we slowly removed wheat/gluten foods, now we are onto a low/no sugar diet and the whole house (4 of us) are all feeling better. But as you know from your own experiences some disease patterns are lingering. So this past two weeks we are transitioning onto a paleo diet. I know your book will set us in the direction that will speed up the healing. Tara I appreciate your hard won wisdom and thanks for sharing it with all of the silent sufferers.
    Peace & Grins to you!

    Teresa wrote on November 19th, 2013
  12. I will be buying this book but not sure I can comply! I did a whole30 last January and didn’t see any relief from my dishydrosis (hand and foot eczema, which starts with tiny, itchy blisters and then dry flaky skin and then starts all over with the blisters on newly healed skin, just like your HS starts over). I also went through a year or so of having boils several years ago and I don’t know what happened to stop it, but I’m so glad it did; as at the time it was the most pain I’d ever experienced.

    The rebound from the whole30 has made my diet worse than it was before, so I’m reluctant to try something even more restrictive, but the dishydrosis is so debilitating. It’s not just dry skin like people say eczema is! The only response I’ve gotten (besides steroids, which I refuse to take long term) is from taking 1gram each of reishi and cordyceps per day, but it’s not a complete response.

    Blissing wrote on November 19th, 2013
  13. Tara, thanks so much for this book. I can’t wait to buy it and start the protocol immediately. I’ve has HS for nearly 13 years (I’m 26) but never got a diagnosis until I asked my OB/GYN two years ago. She gave me a proper diagnosis, but I got the usual ” use antibacterial soap, cotton underwear, loose clothing, and take this course of antibiotics.” I suffered in silence for years until I finally told my mom, but people who have never experienced it have NO idea the pain and anxiety it causes. She gave me Boil Ease and hot compresses, believing I was exaggerating the pain. I would drain, clean, and cover what I could just to alleviate the pain since sitting and walking caused excruciating pain when it got really bad. Not exactly a dinner table discussion though. It is terribly embarassing, and even my spouse still thinks it is from not cleaning well enough, a staph infection, etc. I’ve only ever been 15 pounds overweight if that, so I knew it wasn’t directly related. I have no other skin problems, had maybe 10 pimples in my life, and have incredibly clear healthy skin everywhere else, so it made it even less believable when I told people what was happening down there :(. I’ve always suspected there was an internal cause, not just the surface infection everyone made me believe. When I was 16 I began taking an interest in diet, decided low carb was best,and found MDA in 2009. I’ve made incredible leaps in what I believe is nourishing and proper eating. I suffer far fewer boils than I did in my teens, completely attributable to better diet, but I still suffer flareups, mostly before my cycle. Sorry for the ramble, but if this helps I will be forever grateful for knowing how to control this terrible affliction. Thank you so much for addressing this and bringing it to light.

    Michelle wrote on November 20th, 2013
  14. I have had vitiligo for about 15 years. At first, autoimmune tests were done and I was told by doctors it was all fine, but here I am years later still trying to get my pigment back. I have undergone UV light therapy, and in the last 9 months have been working with a naturopath who herself follows the primal/paleo lifestyle. I’ve made huge changes to my diet, along with some supplements, to heal my gut, as I have leaky gut for sure. (Even my husband joined in with me, lost weight and reversed diabetes!) I have noticed some improvement with my skin, mainly on my hands, the pigment seems to be coming back. I still have a way to go however, as I’ve just been diagnosed with Hashimotos also….grrrr…

    Basically, it’s a slow process, but worth the fight. I haven’t yet embarked on AIP, but am doing a bit of reading about it as I’ve really only just discovered there’s another level to Paleo.

    Thanks Tara, and thanks Mark for highlighting these problems. It really helps to belong to a community of people with a wealth of information to share.

    Joanna wrote on November 21st, 2013
  15. Good quality blog having fine in succession. from time to time we ignore this sort of things & also suffer a lot as well.

    Acne wrote on November 21st, 2013
  16. Hi Tara!
    I’m writing this several weeks after reading this article because I bought the book immediately and have read it cover to cover – several times!
    Your book is the most well-organized, thorough and readable resource out there. I finally understand what happens to the body when all systems break down because you are so able to interpret and present this complex information.
    I don’t have HS but many mysterious ailments that got some better on Paleo but just won’t go away. I have read everything I could get my hands on but since none of my symptoms are categorized as autoimmune, I hadn’t really gone down this route. However, your information is so compelling and your protocol so clear that I am now following a “full on” autoimmmune plan. It’s only been a week but I already feel as if I am getting my brain back! I am confident that I will be able to track down the final offenders and feel totally well in time! I have already passed the title of your book on to family members. Thank you for everyone out there who suffers needlessly. This book is a gift!

    Debbie wrote on December 1st, 2013
  17. Anyone else having trouble accessing the primalgirl website?
    I can’t even see a cached version from Google.
    I tried from a mac and a pc.

    Chris wrote on December 2nd, 2013
  18. I hope Mark will do a feature article on dermatitis herpetiformis. I suspect that quite a few of these folks asking about “eczema” have it. They need to know 1) it can take a long time to heal (although I’m going to try the AIP thing to see if it speeds up the process) and 2) a tiny bit of gluten can precipitate the autoimmune response. Thanks!!!

    Teresa Ensslin wrote on December 24th, 2013
  19. Totally aggressive information you shared but what you know about foot pain problem do have any ideas about it?

    Orthotics Arch Supports wrote on January 8th, 2014
  20. I found this on the internet. It receive quite a lot of good feedback. How do you think about this? will it work or scam?

    NhanNg wrote on January 22nd, 2014
  21. This book is a sham. Tara has no medical degree and no doctors backing on this book. There is no cure for HS and yet here she claims she has one. Numerous Medical studies have been done on diet and it’s links to HS with the findings that diet does not help 98% of patients. She is an honest joke to the HS community and the Doctors in it. For weight loss and better health this diet is great but for HS not so much. And the drop in proteins can also help you not heal as well. Those of you who do not have HS please research a bit, google it and learn what patients go through each day. Much love and peace

    The Voice of True HS patients wrote on January 31st, 2014
  22. Hi! I do not have HS, but was so moved by your story that I posted the link for your book on my FB page. I’ve been battling Alopecia for 15 years, and have recently (45 days) been on the Paleo AIP plan. I appreciate any and all who share their stories, especially those that give hope to others. Thank you!

    Mary Anne wrote on March 3rd, 2014
  23. Tara…I’ve been suffering somewhat in silence for 24 years…never met anyone who admittedly has this…the little that I have just read is identical to what I’ve experienced and what I know…my life is effed up…behind this mess…

    Regina wrote on July 25th, 2014
  24. Great Story! I have used AIP to get my ulcerative colitis successfully back into remission and it ended up helping a lot of other issues including some issues with my skin.

    Samantha wrote on August 4th, 2014
  25. Hi,

    My daughter got Vitiligo on her upper eyelid at age 5. The dermatologist prescribed her Protopic which she used for a course of 3 months – 2 x’s daily. It did repigment her skin almost 90 percent. Now the doctors believe she has subacute cutaneous lupus :(. She is 7. It started from the goggles from her swim team. It appeared as a ringworm on her cheek. We tried so many creams, including anti-fungal, steroid creams, and it wouldn’t go away. We went to an allergist who did a patch test and she wound up being allergic to 9 different chemicals and neoprene which was in her goggles. We had to put her on prednisone for 6 days to get it down. Next year, stupidly we chalked it up to allergies to her goggles and switched her goggles to foam. The rash came back and wouldn’t go away for 5 months again. This time we had to put her on prednisone for 3 weeks. Her bloodwork is all normal, negative ANA but rheumatologist says that it’s probably SCLE and if rash comes back to put her on Plaquenil :(. It’s one lesion, unfortunately on her cheek and she has no other markers for Lupus but he says that he would put her on Plaquenil just to prevent scarring of her face. The dermatologist wants to do a hole punch biopsy of her face that would permanently scar her face to figure out for sure if it’s SCLE This summer has been challenging bc the rash starts to flare and I keep her indoors for a few days, fearing sun/heat are the culprit, and put Protopic on it and it will slowly go down. This has been a pattern since May. I don’t want to put my 7 year old on a lifetime of drugs for one lesion. Do you think the Paleo diet would work? I feel that it would be very challenging to put her on a very strict diet at 7, she has no other digestive issues and is a very happy and healthy child otherwise.

    Michele wrote on August 10th, 2014
  26. Tara, is it true that you believe HS is not at all genetic? Also, do you believe HS starts because we trigger it with our life style choices?

    Cher wrote on October 21st, 2014
  27. PLEASE HELP – I’m 27 and had genital warts for 6 months now. They just started to appear one day and 6 months later, after trying treatments such as freezing them, a number of courses of painting them with strong blue acid twice a day, they’re still there and larger and more of them than ever. This has taken a massive toll on my relationship as you can imagine. Can you Tara, or anyone else point me in the right direction of what will help to cure this? Or what may be useful to cut from my diet etc? I pray someone can help me?!

    Bob wrote on November 12th, 2014
  28. Hi. I know from my symptoms I definetly have some kind of Autoimmune situation. Hair loss, insomnia, fatigue, heavy periods, eczema, ect. Though my doctor keeps saying all tests are normal, I’m so frustrated. I’m beginning to think my family thinks I’m a hypochondriac so I hide my pain. When I eat AIP I feel better. Though it’s hard with a family of 5. I’m also a holistic aesthetician of 20 years. Keeping my own skin manageable has been a nightmare. I’m wondering what products you use. Your book seems so up my alley. Getting!

    Kimberly wrote on November 25th, 2015

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