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  • Acne

    Anyone who's managed to improve their skin have any tips to share? Severe acne runs in my family and I resorted to Accutane about 5 years ago to clear it. It worked very well for a few years, but in the last 6 months the breakouts have been starting up again...first around my mouth/chin, now some really painful bumps on my cheeks that freak me out because they're the same kind that caused scarring in my pre-accutane days. Unfortunately, topical medication just seems to dry out my skin or make things worse...I actually just started retin-a cream and it's causing a terrible initial breakout. My skin looks worse than it has in years and I'm not sure whether to stick it out or quit now. I use Dr. Hauschka cleanser, toner, moisturizer, and makeup which are top-of-the-line products (at least it costs approximately what my soul is worth to stock up on them :P), so I think the problem is mostly hormonal/genetic.

    Overall my diet has been PB-ish for the last several years, although only recently have I bitten the bullet and started buying grass-fed beef instead of just the antibiotic/hormone free variety. I think the acne was triggered by a period where I was eating daily servings of organic dairy, but even now that I've cut it out, my skin is not clearing up like I'd hoped.

    What I ate yesterday:

    Breakfast: 1/2 lb grass fed steak, 2 eggs
    Lunch: green smoothie with mango, banana, spinach, blueberries
    Snack: almonds
    Dinner: Bison burger on sourdough spelt bread, salad
    Snack: cherries and macadamia nuts

    I do eat more fruit and nuts than many PB people, but from trial and error I find my skin, energy, and digestion get worse if I cut them out and do only meat/veggies. The only gluten in my diet is from the aforementioned spelt bread, which is yeast-free, and maybe twice a week will have some ice cream, dark chocolate, or wine (I know these could all be triggers, but I'm hesitant to give up these occasional treats...I feel like if my body were healthy, these things in moderation shouldn't cause acne). I do a green smoothie every day and I put lots of anti-inflammatory stuff in it--ginger, cinnamon, aloe vera gel, etc. I make fresh veggie juice a couple times a week. I also drink 2-3 cups of green tea daily, take a food-based multivitamin, 1g fish oil, 30mg of extra zinc in the morning and magnesium at night, and an adrenal supplement called Drenamin. For reference, I'm a 26 year old female, BMI of 20 but a little on the "skinny fat" side, with some IBS and chronic fatigue issues.

    Anyway, if you read this novella of a post and have any suggestions, they're much appreciated.

  • #2
    I hate to point out the bread thing, but my worst acne offender was the innocent bowl of oatmeal every morning. Try cutting out the bread completely and see if it helps.

    Don't put much stock into the super expensive cleansers either ... I used to buy all the top stuff (the most expensive must work the best, right?!!) and my skin is pretty much flawless using just olive oil now. Much easier on the wallet, too.

    Also notable for me is cheap, sugary ice cream. I always know when I have a crap dessert because my chin will break out the next day. If you want to keep the ice cream, splurge on the higher-quality kind.

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    • #3
      Oh, also I've been thinking of trying some kind of hormone-balancing herb for women but there are quite a few to choose from...chaste tree berry, dong quai, raspberry leaf, etc. Anyone know which might be most indicated for acne?

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      • #4
        What gets "worse" about your digestion when you stop eating fruit & nuts?

        IBS-C, IBS-D, or both?

        All of this says to me that you have some problems with your gut, which is a pretty key factor in overall health. Do you have any kind of probiotic foods or supplement in your regular diet?

        Yes, in moderation, a healthy person should not be severely affected by treats, but apparently something is not healthy here. It would be best for you to cut out the treats (and spelt bread) for at least two weeks to make sure those are not making an impact. A month would be ideal. Is there something else you could eat at night as a treat that would not leave you feeling deprived of the other things?
        Depression Lies

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        • #5
          Originally posted by november View Post
          Oh, also I've been thinking of trying some kind of hormone-balancing herb for women but there are quite a few to choose from...chaste tree berry, dong quai, raspberry leaf, etc. Anyone know which might be most indicated for acne?
          Get your hormone levels tested before you start messing with that. Any kind of hormonal imbalance could cause acne, frankly, so it's important to know what might actually be imbalanced before you try to fix it.
          Depression Lies

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Nivanthe View Post
            I hate to point out the bread thing, but my worst acne offender was the innocent bowl of oatmeal every morning. Try cutting out the bread completely and see if it helps.

            Don't put much stock into the super expensive cleansers either ... I used to buy all the top stuff (the most expensive must work the best, right?!!) and my skin is pretty much flawless using just olive oil now. Much easier on the wallet, too.

            Also notable for me is cheap, sugary ice cream. I always know when I have a crap dessert because my chin will break out the next day. If you want to keep the ice cream, splurge on the higher-quality kind.
            *Sigh* you're probably right about the bread...it's a pretty recent addition and I was so excited to have bread again since it's the only kind that doesn't seem to upset my stomach and cause carb cravings...but gluten is gluten and it could still be causing some inflammation.

            I actually live down the block from an ice cream shop that makes fabulous homemade ice cream. Unfortunately, that seems to make it a lot easier to justify the "ice cream is a healthy addition to a balanced diet!" rationalization, haha. Plus they have bacon ice cream, which is totally primal, right?

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            • #7
              Yep, dairy and sugar give me spots too.

              Related: Since going primal, have noticed that friends who complain most about their skin are minutes later discussing their high cheesecake/ice cream etc consumption.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by november View Post
                I actually live down the block from an ice cream shop that makes fabulous homemade ice cream. Unfortunately, that seems to make it a lot easier to justify the "ice cream is a healthy addition to a balanced diet!" rationalization, haha.
                Well, technically it can be... Nothing wrong with treats every once in a while assuming you don't go overboard*. Trying to avoid something like that, and overeating other things in an attempt to satisfy the craving seems silly, when you could just have a bit of ice cream and be done with it.

                *And can tolerate dairy. Diet vs lifestyle, all that. by all means, remove it for a while if you need and see if you have an intolerance, but otherwise [good] ice cream isn't that bad.

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                • #9
                  I know I had a spot on my forehead that I think was rosacea, and since I cut all grains (except for occassional corn chips with guacamole), that spot is gone! I have had acne all my life and it's not so bad these days, but I didn't see any improvement in the acne.....but that red kind of raw looking spot right in the middle of my forehead is gone! And my knees don't hurt any more! YAY!
                  The life I have today is far better than I deserve.......

                  M, 58, 6'0
                  SW - 192
                  CW - 180
                  GW - 165-170

                  Current addiction: ice cream (and sugar in general).....doing battle with it!

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                  • #10
                    As far as non-diet related treatments go, I found a 20% salicylic acid gel peel dud the trick. A few years ago I somehow broke out in spots all over my face and it was the only thing non-rx that helped.
                    F 28/5'4/100 lbs

                    "I'm not a psychopath, I'm a high-functioning sociopath; do your research."

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                    • #11
                      Going completely gluten-free does a lot for my skin. I've never had cystic acne, but I used to get annoying hormonal breakouts on my jaw, chin and neck. I played around a lot with different factors, like sugar, dairy, etc, and what I discovered is that gluten has a gigantic effect. I'm completely off it now, but on very rare occasions I'll cheat, and when I do, I just know I can expect a breakout within a week. And it happens like clockwork.

                      Cutting out gluten also vastly reduced my PMS symptoms, to the point where I have to look at a calendar to know when my period is coming or it'll surprise me.

                      Echoing what others have said about expensive skincare--the best routine I've found is coconut oil to cleanse and moisturize daily, with a light salicylic acid cleanse or enzyme mask (Alba makes one I love) every few days. And otherwise, I just let it be. However, I'm not a big makeup wearer. (But when I do wear it, there's nothing better than coconut oil for getting it off!)

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                      • #12
                        I had acne for the first 28 years of my life. I did two changes then: 1. Mostly ditch grains and unhealthy carbs; and 2. Drink a lot of water.
                        Since then, I don't develop acne. It started working immediately! But I don't know which one worked for me. In the weeks that I drink less water and/or consume some grains, I develop very small ones.
                        Hope this helps.

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                        • #13
                          I used to get moderate acne but completely cutting out grains eliminated it almost entirely. I also avoid starchy foods like potatoes and sugar (though I do eat chocolate). I still eat dairy. I would cut out grains, sugar, and dairy completely and see how you are. You have to experiment to find out what your trigger is.

                          I also don't use any kind of topical ointment on my face. Just avoid touching your face and avoid your trigger(s) and your face should be clear in a few months.
                          Yes, the real Dirk.

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                          • #14
                            My acne disappeared when I gave up wheat, dairy and all sugar!!! I pretty much stick to VLC but at least my skin glows LOL

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                            • #15
                              Try homemade kefir!

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