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!

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217 thoughts on “Are Your Skin Problems an Autoimmune Issue? – Answers, Solutions, plus a New Primal Book!”

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  1. Tara,
    First off your before and after pic is amazing! I have never heard of HS before but that sounds terrible. I actually was cringing as I read. And I can’t imagine dealing with something like that for 20 years. I know lots of people who have improved their skin by going primal but never to the extent your talking! Your protocol sounds cool il be passing it on.

    I’m Impressed by your dilegence.

    1. Thank you so much. I’ve always been the type of person who likes to get to the bottom of things–that’s one thing the Primal lifestyle has really helped me with. Getting to the root of a problem instead of just treating symptoms has left me with health and vitality like I never before believed possible. 🙂

      1. Tara i know whst you went tho .. because i go tho it daily .. im always in pain from hs hs in all stated places but groin and but and head.. please help.. i dont know what to do and have no money for your book.. i wish i did so bad..

  2. very interesting. I’m not sure if what I’m experiencing the same but ever since I suffered heart illness and got stuck on a life of medication and less immunity I have been experiencing small inflammations in the groin area. Like you said, it’s bloody painful.
    The doctor told me it was caused by my less then perfect heart condition and low immunity. He gave me an anti-biotic cream and told be to use it when ever I felt the need to deal with it.
    After 5 years I now know how to prevent the big inflammations but it’s anything less than pleasant.
    I’m happy to hear that eating Primal might help to solve it. I’ll be buying the book just to see if it can get me there quicker.

    1. Fantastic! I’m not sure how a doctor could connect inflammation in the groin with a heart condition, but it’s amazing how creative some of them get when they really don’t have any idea what’s going on. I’m sure The Hidden Plague will help you. I’d love to hear back about how you’re doing. 🙂

      1. Tara, the doc says that due to heart issues my immunity is low, due to low immunity small skin issues in warm areas can grow to inflammation.
        He does have a point of course but the fact that he says the only thing that helps is working on my immunity, walk around naked so air can get in those areas and not to have sex because it could cause more skin damages led me to find other way… (wonder what he was thinking at the time)…
        I’m looking forward to reading your book.

  3. I’m thanking the Lord right now that I don’t have HS, but I do have very dry skin on my hands and my lower legs and heels. Has anyone had experience clearing up dry skin with diet?

    1. MarielleGO, I read somewhere recently that dry cracked heels can be a sign of thyroid problems. Maybe something to check into?

      1. I had my thyroid checked numerous times over the years — in fact, it was the only test many doctors ran — and it ALWAYS came back normal.

        1. Just because your results come back normal, doesn’t mean your thyroid function is normal. I’d suggest you look into it further. Also, dry skin and diet are almost definitely related – try coconut oil, and also try rose hip oil topically.

      2. It’s more likely due to a dry climate. Several years ago we spent a few weeks in Las Vegas. My heels got so dry and rough I could have used them for sandpaper. We then went on to Calif., near the coast, and within just a few days my heels smoothed right out.

        In my own experience, a clean diet doesn’t help all that much if you live in a ultra-dry climate. Your skin can itch all over if it gets too dry. Lotions don’t work very well for dry heels. What works best for me is a drugstore product called Aquaphor. It’s not PC on natural health websites, but it does the trick.

        1. I have problems with dry skin, especially my hands and feet. I have also lived in Hawaii and Guam. I currently live in the south, which is quite humid in the summer. For several years, I ran humidfiers in the winter, to the point that we began having mildew problems. And I still have dry skin. I’ve had improvements since going mostly Primal, but I still have problems. Climate isn’t always the problem.

    2. My dry skin went away, as did the excessive growth of skin on my heels, when I went Primal. Coconut oil helps, both internally and externally, but for me removing my trigger foods was the most important thing. I think the heels may have been a sign of elevated insulin, but regardless, I’ve had multiple issues with my skin over the years. It doesn’t really matter what causes each individual symptom if you’re able to get rid of them all by changing your diet.

      1. Maybe I missed this (sorry) but what were YOUR specific trigger foods that you removed?

    3. Start making your own soap.
      I’ve also very dry skin and eczema. I solved eczema with a gluten free diet but my skin kept being dry. In a couple of weeks after using only my own homemade soap, the problem was totally solved. I cook a lot, so I wash my hands very frequently.
      After several months, I went to visit my family for a few days and I did not bring my own soap with me. Huge mistake. My skin went dry again and I needed several days of homemade lotion to heal it.
      Now I use only homemade soap, homemade shampoo, homemade lotion and the oil cleansing method/acv toner for my face. All the dryness is gone.
      Now I went paleo since a few weeks, and I’m expecting further improvements, but I’ll stick to my own soap (except when in public toilets or something like that).

        1. The soap/shampoo I make is called Cold Process Soap. There are several beginners recipes online and you should already have most of the equipment you need in your kitchen.
          Basically, soap is made by combining one or more oils (acid) with a lye solution (alkali) at the same temperature. The soap is poured into molds and then cured for 4-6 weeks. During this time the soap will become solid and firm, the saponification process will be completed and the soap will not contain any lye.
          If everything went ok (e.g. you followed the instructions and correctly measured the ingredients), you’ll have a very gentle soap, which will effectively clean and condition your skin without stripping it of its natural oils. You make shampoo in the same way, just using different oils.
          I suggest that you give it a try. Making a batch of soap of around 2 kg will take you around 1 hour (including cleaning up). Depending on the size of your family, you might need to make soap only 3-4 times a year.
          It’s an affordable way to get a high quality skin care product for a fraction of the price you would pay in a shop.
          For easy recipes with easy to find ingredients, check: https://down—to—

          Making lotion is even easier. There are several recipes online. Basically you gentle melt oils and butters and beeswax in a double boiler, you combine them together and you let it harden in your fridge. The whole process should take you 15-20 minutes.
          The lotions bars are solid and you can use them for your body and for your lips (just pour in a lip balm container). They do not contain water, so they will have a relatively long shelf life without going bad.
          Again, making them yourself is very affordable and you have a high quality product and 100% control on the stuff you put on your skin.

          I think it’s worth it, considering that in the shops they sell a lot of overpriced personal care products full of petroleum-based ingredients, synthetic fragrances, artificial dyes, parabens, silicon and other questionable ingredients.

  4. Tara,
    Thank you a million times for sharing your story and this vital infomation with the world. So often people suffer in silence, gulping down handfuls of modern medicine only to spiral farther and farther down into the depths of dispair and pain. You have offered hope and solutions, two things so sadly lacking in much of our society today.
    There is a path, there are guides, we can heal no matter what we are suffering with. In fact, as we begin our own personal healing journey much more will be revealed along the road. You have so artfully pointed this out. We find resolution and relief in ways we never dreamed when we begin to take charge of our own healing process.
    Great job. Great post. Have the book on order and can’t wait to read it.
    Your story has given me motivation to write and publish my own. I think it’s time for all of us who have found improved health and amazing healing through transitioning to primal/paleo/ancestral lifestyles to speak out, shout from the hills, and make known there is an answer. We are each the hope that someone needs.
    Way to step into the light my friend!

  5. My daughter eats VERY well – no gluten, no nightshades, no eggs, no junk food, but still suffers from bad eczema around her ears/scalp area.

    Any ideas what might be causing this very dry flaky skin in this particular area?

    1. Hi,
      look into the quality fats your daughter is eating. The issues you are talking about are normally linked to that. Also the consumption of leafy greens (cooked perhaps if her gut is compromised). A good omega 3 and GLA supplement may work wonders. Include some avocado in her diet. Find some natural fats and not just nuts because nuts while good are not always best depending on your individual gut issues. Eventually try introducing free range eggs to see if it agrees with her.

      1. It’s a good idea to check the shampoo she’s using. Commercial shampoos can cause issues in and around the ears and face.

        1. My boyfriend went shampoo-free 2 months ago and he get rid of eczema. Dandruff gone after 2 applications of yogurt.
          First month was a nightmare to tell the truth, but he has very nice soft hair and healthy skin now.
          I use egg-yolk – cleans as well as shampoo but does not dry out my hair, so I do not have to use conditioner.

      1. tomatoes, potatoes, peppers are all members of the nightshade family

        1. Don’t forget about tobacco, goji berries, bell peppers, hot peppers, tomatillos, all varieties of white potatoes, and all tomatoes – even organic, heirloom ones. Nightshades contain alkaloids which can be problematic for autoimmune conditions.

    2. A lot of people with dairy intolerance or allergies experience eczema. Especially children.
      Try eliminating ALL sources of dairy- including products that contain whey or casein ( caseinate).

    3. Look into removing dairy. My daughter’s eczema is entirely caused by dairy. It took a long time for us to figure that one out. She could also try an elimination diet if that doesn’t work. Individual foods affect everyone differently. It could be something as random as citrus foods.

    4. You say no gluten but does she still eat grains? Wheat? My husband had chronic severe flaking and redness in the scalp, especially around the ears, sometimes in the eyebrows, among other skin issues. After going Paleo and ditching all grains, no more problems, no more flakes and redness.

      Before discovering Paleo, he did get some relief from using Bentonite clay products. But now he doesn’t need that any longer.

    5. It can take YEARS to recover from celiac-related “eczema” (dermatitis herpetiformis). Also, the tiniest amount of gluten can cause an auto-immune response. I am finally healing, very gradually, from a skin condition I’ve had my entire adult life (I’m 51 now). And I’ve been eating pretty much primally for the last 13 years. Took gluten out completely a year & a half ago. Tell your daughter: be patient, and avoid gluten scrupulously!

      1. Go primal and forget dairy, chemicals, hormones, sugar and most of carbohydrates! My eczema is ok now thx to primal!

        But I have to notes that the cure of eczema precedes brutal worsening of condition, my purifing took 3 years. Three years of decay, pain and hoping I wont die.

        4 becalm: my eczema was brutal, not that usual light eczema most of people knows, so probably it wont be such a drama in case of ur daughter..

        Also I recomend check some topic about killing of candida, stratoccocus and other bad pathogens but never take antibiotics. All of them makes my condition worse. Its kills just that ones which can protect you from a really bad guys like that menitoned ones. Futhermore never belive to doctors, except they talkin about test outcome, simple nothing what they figured out by themself – they R simply too stupid to be taken seriously.

        Wanna more? Slowly stop usin cortizoids and any other hormones – they just make you blind (literally), they dont really help you, just make you dont care about your problems which lead to hidden worsening.

        I wish your daughter’s happiness and strength and sorry for my ridiculous english, hope I helped 🙂

    6. Go primal and forget dairy, chemicals, hormones, sugar and most of carbohydrates! My eczema is ok now thx to primal!

      But I have to notes that the cure of eczema precedes brutal worsening of condition, my purifing took 3 years. Three years of decay, pain and hoping I wont die.

      4 becalm: my eczema was brutal, not that usual light eczema most of people knows, so probably it wont be such a drama in case of ur daughter..

      Also I recomend check some topic about killing of candida, stratoccocus and other bad pathogens but never take antibiotics. All of them makes my condition worse. Its kills just that ones which can protect you from a really bad guys like that menitoned ones. Futhermore never belive to doctors, except they talkin about test outcome, simple nothing what they figured out by themself – they R simply too stupid to be taken seriously.

      Wanna more? Slowly stop usin cortizoids and any other hormones – they just make you blind (literally), they dont really help you, just make you dont care about your problems which lead to hidden worsening.

      I wish your daughter’s happiness and strength and sorry for my ridiculous english, hope I helped 🙂

  6. What an inspiring post! I am currently in constant battle with my brother and his wife over the horrific eczema that my poor niece is suffering from at the minute. It’s heartbreaking to watch such an outgoing confident girl becoming very withdrawn and insecure due to the awful extent of her eczema. It makes it worse for me to know that a month of eating primally would go a long way to fixing the problem, and I’m pretty sure it would cure the problem entirely. My brother and his wife are unfortunately very mainstream and are not “outside the box” thinkers. So my pleas are met with replies of “eczema runs in the family”; “the doctor says it will clear in time”; “she doesn’t like eggs and will only eat cereal and toast for breakfast” and on and on and on. Short of kidnapping her for a month and reprogramming her eating hard drive I’m stumped as to how I can make them see the light 🙁

    1. Perhaps getting them a copy of this book would help. If they are aware of the psychological damage that a skin condition can do to a young person, they may get on board a little easier. However, at the end of the day, we can’t change anyone but ourselves — all we can do is arm our loved ones with information and let them make the decisions for themselves. 🙂

    2. Ross, So sorry to hear that! I have friends like that. It is terrible to watch preventable suffering. I suggest you stop talking about the subject with your brother. Once he’s forgotten all about it, then offer to take your niece for a nice long holiday and feed her primally during that time. Make sure you don’t lecture her during the time. Just make it look totally natural – sort of like this is what I eat, while we’re on holiday, this is what you eat, too. Good luck.

    3. Hey Ross! This is so heartbreaking. I am that little girl! I am still broken because of eczema. I am 29 years old and have a family of five. Its taking a lot to reprogram, but its worth it! Print out these blog comments for them and maybe it will sink in. That little girl is worth trying a different diet. I wish my Mom knew how to think out of the box years ago! Continue the fight and I wish beautiful, healthy skin for her!

    4. My daughter has had terrible eczema. Diet changes helped alot, but it was still very bad on her hand. We finally tried milk thistle capsules, and it finally cleared up. The skin on her hand is still thick and leathery, but no itchy or cracks and it gets better all the time.

      Tara-thanks for your website and all your research. I’m an OCD researcher too. I have only mild HS, but it still sucks! Going primal really helped, but not all the way. My stomach issues are also getting more sensitive and I’m reacting to other things than wheat.

      Just bought your book, and looking forward to trying some big changes to get rid of my constant stomach/digestive stuff and the HS.

    1. Kinda cool how that happens, isn’t it? I bet you thought you were the only one with it. And now that it has a name, and a book, you can put it into remission. Let me know if you need any individual help.

  7. From the time I was 12 years old, I suffered thru cystic acne. Not only my face, but back, chest, arms, etc. even on my genatalia! Extremely embarrassing in junior high and high school, trying to play sports, locker room showers and dressing. You get the picture. Fortunately, I loved sports more and have won bicycle races, run marathons and am a 1982 Hawaiian Ironman finisher(Oct. race). I’m 57 now and still suffer slightly dorm acne breakouts but have followed the paleo diet for nine months now and have lost 20 lbs. , gained muscle and am getting my mojo back! Growing up I was always told, “it runs in the family”. Wrong! Something runs in the family, but it wasn’t cystic acne. It was poor diet, couple with a lack of knowledge and a willingness to settle for the status quo. This piece was great and a great eye opener/validated for me! Onward and upward!

  8. One of the biggest indicators of improvement I see in everybody’s after photos on Friday is how much glow and health there is to their skin. I too have seen tremendous improvement in my skin quality and glow since going primal two years ago. Our skin might indeed be our first best indicator of what’s going on in the rest of our organs. Great post! Great story! And I am so glad you are spreading the word to others!!

    1. Thank you Rhonda — so glad you’re having success! A glow to my skin was one of the first things I noticed after going Primal. That, and all the energy… 🙂

  9. Woo-hoo lovely girl, congratulations! So glad to see this book out and that there’s now hope for so many silent sufferers. You’ve made a simply awesome contribution to the world with this book, Tara. Looking forward to reading it!

    1. Aw thanks Alison! I’m excited that so many people will be able to regain their lives. This disease gets horrific and debilitating when it’s bad. Even when it’s not bad, it still sucks big time. I’m looking forward to your thoughts on the book! 🙂

  10. Back to the gut once again. Amazing stuff. Love your story Tara. You are one of my favorite all time Grokettes.

    1. It always comes back to the gut. Hippocrates was on to something thousands of years ago – and it’s great that we’re FINALLY reclaiming that knowledge. 🙂

  11. I discovered Marks Daily Apple on 11September 2013 and immediately began to modify my diet accordingly. I have eaten ‘healthily’ for donkey’s years, primarily vegetarian but including some fish and dairy whilst eschewing refined, processed foods – particularly sugar. On very rare occasions I would allow myself the crust off a piece of bread, a few potato chips or an upmarket pizza. I’ve never been grossly overweight but I was pleased to observe very early on that eating Primal caused me to lose a dress size in body fat. However, on 30th September I developed a skin condition like no other. My doctor initially attributed this to shingles then, as it worsened, to infected eczema. I’m now into the seventh week of this skin rash and the itch is intense and unrelenting. A month into my condition, I was offered antibiotics and steroidal cream. I ditched the antibiotics on Day 2 because intuitively I felt it wasn’t where my problem was at. The steroid cream reduced the worst of the swelling and inflammation and occasionally I am still driven to use it, but for the most I try to make do with organic cold-pressed coconut oil, which serves as a brilliant emollient for my now dried out, almost ‘armadillo’ textured skin. Today, I have started a 30-day immune-supporting detox programme of dietary supplements including probiotics. My question is: could this be an acute clearing reaction and am I on the right track?

    1. I know that many people like to say that skin issues are part of “detox” or “clearing,” but I personally have found that when I have a flare-up, it is directly related to the state of my gut, and what I have eaten. Eczema is autoimmune in nature. Be careful because many detox programs actually contain ingredients that can be triggers for AI conditions. Dietary supplements often contain yeast, and nightshades, and can even contain things like gluten, corn, artificial colors and sweeteners, and other problematic stuff. I personally would recommend a 30-day AIP, with the removal of other items listed in the Skin Protocol in the book, and then reintroduction when you’re in remission. If you decide to continue with the detox, let us know how it went!

    2. I agree with Tara re: supplements that may contain ingredients that trigger an adverse reaction. I experienced this with a top-rated green drink that caused a rash on my back that itched like crazy. Doctor diagnosed eczema due to allergy. “What causes the allergic reaction?” I asked. “Could be anything,” the doctor answered. I did not fill the scrip for steroids. Instead, I completely ditched the wheat, and the rash went away for a bit, but came right back. I stopped all supplements for a blood test, and the rash cleared in a few days. As soon as I went back on the green drink supplement, the rash came back. Although the green drink states “gluten free,” it does contain wheat grass as the main ingredient, which can be just as problematic, so I’ve read. Good luck!

    3. I’ve had pretty sever excema for most of my life. I’ve found that it is not nearly as bad when I cut out dairy completely (and I’m extremely excited for this book, to hopefully get rid of the condition completely!). Steroid creams are pretty nasty. I really recommend a homeopathic cream called Florasone to help with the itching while you figure out your diet. I went through a period where I tried probably a dozen different creams, including steroids, desperate for relief, and this is the only one I found to actual help. Hope it can work for you, too!

  12. My son and I both have had the boils in a hair follicle in the eyebrow, underarm, and groin, but only about half the size of a golf ball. He also gets irritated hair follicles on his thighs. We have a genetic pre-disposition to autoimmune disorders as well as digestive problems. Several years ago we started a modified Paleo diet and have not had near as many of these skin issues since then. We are trying to avoid eating grains and dairy, but it is hard since we both live in non-Paleo households and don’t get to make all the food choices (shopping and cooking done by others who don’t see need for Paleo foods). We can choose to eat or go hungry, which happens a lot! But after reading this article I can tell its time to be much more proactive about our food intake and educate the others about our choices. thank you, Mark, for bringing us this information. It probably doesn’t resonate with most of your readers, but for me it does!

    1. Thanks Pamela! By telling others that you’ve resolved skin issues through diet, you’ll be helping more than you could ever know. Many people never make the connection between what they eat and the state of their skin. And you’d be surprised how many readers this WILL resonate with! Many of them didn’t realize what they have has a name — and a protocol. 🙂

  13. Soon as I am off today, I am ordering this. I have been eating primal, lost weight, but still have intestinal issues. I am sure this book will help me see what I may have missed. Thank you for sharing your experience in a way that I am sure will help many.

    1. Thanks Lynn! You’d be amazed at how many seemingly unrelated issues go away when you heal your gut. I wish you the best! Thank you.

  14. Tara,
    Great post! I learned what I have is HS last year from your website. Eating primally and avoiding potatoes has kept me mostly bump free. Can’t wait to read the book!

    And for those that don’t know, Tara’a Magical Multipurpose Paleo & Primal Dough Recipe is well worth the $3.95.

    1. OMG Mike, thanks for the shameless plug. hahaha I’m glad you like the recipe. And super glad that your HS is drastically better! Here’s to full remission soon. 🙂

  15. I suffer from Rosacea and would like to know if that would be considered an Autoimmune issue? I have been Paleo for over a year, but strict Paleo for 2 months which has helped some, but the rosacea redness and bumps are not going away.

    1. Yes Petra, rosacea can be classified as autoimmune. The protocol in the book can totally help you uncover your triggers so that you can heal.

  16. Any plans for an ebook version? I’d go with the special offer if there was an electronic version. No interest in the paper version personally.

      1. That’s good news, but could you get it into one of the other stores as well? Amazon refuses to offer books in anything that works with other ebook readers. Leaving us to either not be able to use it on the device of our choosing, or crack the protection and convert it into epub.

        1. You can download a free Kindle app for any android device. I read Kindle books on my Nook using the app.

        2. The paper version of the book doesn’t do me any good as I travel a lot, Mantonat.

          And Michelle, the Kindle app doesn’t do me any good. For one thing I’m not likely to have a smart phone and for another thing, I have a Nook ebook reader, and that doesn’t help me read the books on that device.

          For another thing, most of my books are from B&N, which means that I’d have to load a completely separate App for the Kindle books because Amazon doesn’t feel like supporting an industry standard format.

          What Amazon needs is a stiff anti-trust kick to the backside for violating the law.

      2. Good point, I’ll go over there and click the link to let them know I want the ebook. As long as nobody was foolish enough to sign up exclusively with Amazon, it should be easy enough for a deal to be signed, if there isn’t already one.

  17. I’ll be getting a copy of this book. It’s a shame that it isn’t an ebook version with the deal. I do quite a bit of traveling for work, and it would be nice to not need to bring the book along with the journal.

  18. Tara, your article couldn’t have come at a better time. Lately I’ve wanted to get to the bottom of my skin (and nail) issues. While going virtually primal has definitely minimized my acne, I do tend to get little itchy bumps on my arms, hands, and legs. I also have a big problem with fungal infection it seems. I have chronic athlete’s foot and a few years back one of my hands started to get overtaken by fungus to the point that two of my fingernails have become infected. Thankfully going primal seems to have mostly put the jock itch at bay, but I still get it slightly sometimes. Anyway, from what I’ve read, fungal infections are also related to gut dysbiosis, so I was thinking your protocol may help me as well. I desperately want to get to the bottom of these fungal infections as they are unsightly and aggravating. Plus, I know that fungal overgrowth is just not a good sign in general. Your book is worth a shot and I appreciate your time and effort in research and writing.

    1. Thanks Dylan! I truly hope it helps you. Make sure you pay special attention to the info in the book concerning yeast, wild yeast, fungi and mold.

  19. Thank you for writing this book, Tara. I suffered from this for 20+ years as well and it can be devastating. I sincerely hope your book sheds light on the condition and helps people who have been searching for an answer.

  20. My wife and I have been following a PB diet for 2 years. She was recently diagnosed with Lymphomatoid papulosis (LyP). LyP is very rare and strikes only about 2/1,000,000 people. We really like our skin doctor but she has little to offer and was shocked when 2 consecutive biopsies confirmed the diagnosis. Since my wife has been told she has a weak immune system we speculated that a leaky gut might be involved somehow. However, we thought a paleo/PB diet should have ‘cured’ that. Everything you said seems to make sense and I am ordering the book today in hopes it will help us address the LyP issue. Thanks!

    1. Right on, Tom! I am so hopeful that this could help! Let us know if you see any changes or improvement. It may not be the “cure,” but it certainly can’t do anything but improve your wife’s immune system. 🙂

    2. My husband was recently diagnosed with LyP wondering if your wife has found anything specific that works to keep her skin eruptions more under control. Thanks for any info you could pass along!

    3. Do you have an update on the Lyp? I am curious as I have it x 15 years.

  21. Tara, Thank you, I cannot wait to purchase this book! Recently the psoriasis I have has been getting worst. Pus and blood are coming from the affected area. This past week, I have switch soaps and applying creams to it, which has helped, but it is still oozing. The rash started to get worst when I joined hot yoga.

    I am gluten free, but still eat some other non paleo items. I need to be stricter in my diet!

    1. Have you been to the doctor to get tested for fungal infections, superbugs, parasites, or other infections? I know hot yoga places are a breeding ground for that type of thing. If it turns out to be fungal, it may be that you actually have a yeast intolerance and it’s making your psoriasis SUPER bad (just conjecture, of course but something to look at). It’s a good idea to rule out any infection before it becomes serious. Good luck! Let us know how you are.

  22. It certainly seems to be for me.

    I have had acne on my back and shoulders since middle school and after one month on paleo, my skin is clear for the first time EVER (sounds like an advertisement, right?).

    I feel bad for all those people buying acne cream because they just assume they have “bad skin”.

    1. I did it for YEARS. I spent tens of thousands of dollars in the drug store, and was intimately familiar with the entire pain killer/antacid/fiber supplement aisle in the grocery store. It’s amazing what we’ve come to accept as “normal” in this culture. Migraines are not normal. Acne is not normal. Golfball-sized boils are NOT NORMAL.
      So glad you’re Paleo. Keep it up, kiddo.

  23. HS is not something to take lightly at all. When I was working the surgery floor, it was pretty frequent we had post op HS patients. Large, deep wounds with extremely painful dressing changes. I had no idea the cause was autoimmune. And Tara, you’re right. the docs really don’t know what to do about it except surgically remove it.
    I’m definitely going to be picking up a copy of your book. I still suffer with acne, even with primal eating/lifestyle. I just wish I could get my boyfriend on board. He has a hx of IBD and currently suffers with skin issues as well.
    Thank you for this book!

    1. Thanks Erin, it’s great having medical professionals in the know. You’ll be able to help so many people. 🙂

  24. Tara,

    I’m so glad I found this article today on HS. My husband has been diagnosed with this problem and has suffered with it under his armpits for several years. He’s also been to doctors, had the boils surgically lanced, given antibiotics, etc. all to no avail. He also has a large sore on his calf that will not heal no matter what injections, creams and lotions he’s been given. I’m going to have him read this article and we’re going to order your book. I’m so excited. Thank you.

    1. You are so welcome, Beth. I know how frustrating and painful this can be for family members. Hang in there, it will get better.

  25. I’ve been reading MDA, and following Robb Wolf for some time now, and I’m very thankful for everything you all contribute.

    I’ve been a secret H.S. sufferer for about 20 years too. I had no idea it had a name.
    I was told it was just my “Cross to Bear” by one doctor. He was compassionate, but otherwise not helpful.

    I too, felt dirty when I was told to use antibacterial soap etc., and to keep my self cleaner.

    I was given antibiotics which never worked, had some of the boils lanced that were unbearable, and then I just resigned to self treat with GSE and time.
    I have many scars and still have a few hard capsules that are persistent.

    This condition has undermined my confidence, sex life, and general sense of wellbeing on a good day, and has left me feeling depressed and despondent a good deal of the rest of the time.

    I have to wear compression shorts for underwear, anything else causes friction and results in a flare-up.
    Since going primal, I have seen marked improvement, but occasionally pea sized smaller boils will erupt from time to time.

    I have the chicken skin on the backs of my arms and front of my thighs and dry shins.
    I was told this was genetic and that there was nothing they, nor I could do about it.
    I’m middle aged and have had this for as long as I can remember.
    Any lotion just adds pimples to the bumps.

    I also have breakouts of eczema, and beyond flaky skin in my ears, eyebrows, forehead, eyelashes, and blizzards of dandruff. Got the usual steroids, and Nizoral from the docs.
    I only used them sparingly when I absolutely had too, but knew I couldn’t live this way perpetually.

    Tara, I’ll be buying your book today!

    Thanks so much for sharing your story, and bringing light to this awful condition.


    1. Ah Chris, I was reading your comment and thinking, “Hey, I don’t remember writing this!” Your story is very similar to mine.
      Thank you for sharing. Our stories will help others to come forward, who will in turn, help others.

      1. Hi Tara,

        Likewise, I’ve never had another’s story resonate with me the way yours has.
        My bell rang.
        It’s somewhat comforting, but even more disturbing that you and others have had to experience the pain and isolation that I did.
        It was, and still is to some extent quite the burden.

        Coming out as gay was easier than living with this crap. Same isolation issues abound.

        I’m so grateful that you are ahead of the curve, and figured it out. I can’t wait to incorporate what you’ve learned to heal myself.

        I was just getting to the point of addressing gut dysbiosis in my own journey to treat days of fatigue and fogginess, as well as the skin problems that persist.

        I tried every way of eating prior to trying primal. This way of eating has truly improved my life by leaps and bounds.

        I had a choice a few years back to take my doctor’s strong arm advice and go on multiple meds for depression, indigestion, high bp etc. He was quite intimidating. I took the samples home, never took them, and even though I truly felt like I was slowly dying, never went back.

        I’ve been chastised for being an internet junky-always searching for the solution to my problems. I was told it was all in my head. It hurts coming from loved ones, but when the problems go on for years…you even start to doubt yourself.

        I finally feel empowered and motivated. My life has been in a holding pattern because I couldn’t count on my body to see my goals to fruition.

        You are my light at the end of the tunnel.

        I’m so thankful to all of you that are brave/desperate enough to question, research and share. I’ve been a wallflower for way too long.


  26. Thank you Tara. Myself and many others owe you a debt that we can never repay for bringing awareness to the plight of the HS community, for promoting understanding and giving us the tools to fight back.

    1. Oh Teri, you have no idea what a motivating factor YOU’VE been in all this. Thank you. You have been a constant source of support, an amazing spokeswoman and an advocate for all of us for years. xoxo

  27. Gee..and I was looking forward to another 40 years of pain lancing,draining etc. Seriously, thank you for this! I knew there had to be a way to resolve these issues that didn’t require the freakin drugstore of Meds,Creams and soaps I’ve tried. Tears in my eyes while writing this…thank you so much Tara! I can’t wait to try this!!

  28. Timing of this couldn’t be better. I’m ordering the book as soon as I finish this post.

    For the last 2 months, I’ve been dealing with some crazy skin rashes and redness, IB, inflammation in my skin and joints, etc. My Dr. had me on several different pills and creams. Blood test came be “inconclusive” and nothing has “cured” me. While I’d love to be cured, I’d love more to know what is causing the symptoms.

    I’ve lived a mostly primal diet for a while now. Beer, pizza and burritos are my weakness. Sometimes I’m better, sometimes I’m worse. Hopefully I’m doing a lot better in about 97 days…depending on how long it take to receive and read the book.

    Thank you!!!

    1. Yes! Get scientific! Finding out WHY I had flared-up and getting to the bottom of things was my primary motivating factor. Good luck on your investigation.

  29. A very interesting read and thank you Tara for bringing such a rotten condition into the open. I suffered with psoriasis and various other skin conditions all through my life. It’s only in recent years (I’m 55 now) that things have settled with regard to acne.

    However, my son also suffers from psoriasis and I am trying to get him onto the paleo diet. He’s trying to take it all onboard and has been making the transition over the last 3 weeks. I haven’t spoken to him recently, but I’m hoping that it will have a positive affect on his psoriasis and that will give him another reason to take the lifestyle onboard fully. Mind you it doesn’t help that his wife , who was very overweight once, lost her weight on a low fat, high carb, diet and really can’t get this new way of eating at all!!!

    On a personal note I have to say that having been on the paleo way of eating for nearly 3 months now, I have lost 21lbs and my arthritis and rosacea have improved amazingly!!!

  30. I had stage 2 to stage 3 HS for 40 years, Tara is spot on, HS is hideous plague. I have not spoken about HS all these years, I quit telling my mother when I was child as the doctor’s were barbaric in their treatment (they caused more pain than the boils), not to mention the mental anguish they inflicted, blaming me for my condition. I have had the privilege to find Tara’s blog on HS 5 weeks ago. I started the AIP / no nightshades protocol 4 weeks ago. In 2 weeks I was in remission, I never seen a day in 40 years without HS! I have had a couple food sensitivities’ since then as I am learning to listen to my body and what foods it will not tolerate. Even so, I get a boil for 2 days and then it is gone, unlike the months and years in my past history. I cannot write a higher recommendation for this book. Tara has saved me from my lifelong shame, guilt and depression that held me captive in silence. I am finally FREE! Thank you Tara, so happy that you r book will help set prisoners free from that hell!

    1. Dawn, I’m so sorry you had to suffer, but thrilled that you’re on the mend. Your words have really touched me, thank you.

  31. Tara, I vouge for what you’re saying here. I was 270 lb.’s with horrific hs, which started when I was a teenager. Luckily it was only in my armpits and occasionally in the groin area. One piece missing in the article is the scars though. I cannot put on a bathing suit or tank top because of how mortified I am of the scars. But now that I’m 155 lb.’s thanks to 3 years of primal eating and understanding where my food comes from as well as food combining, I have only had 2 hs breakouts, unfortunately on the face. I’ll be ordering your book for sure, as I’m still prone to acne. Thanks for the free advice about eggs and nightshade, I just wish it could be something other than eggs though because I consume a lot of them. When I was diagnosed with it as a teenager the doctor did give me a prescription for antibiotics but he said it wouldn’t work that I just had to lose weight. He was absolutely correct on that. Cheers!

    1. Fantastic Angela! You only need to give eggs up for 30 days, and then reintroduce. They don’t trigger me at all, so there’s still hope. 🙂

  32. Tara, did you ever get rid of the chicken skin on your upper arms?
    I’ve got severe keratosis pilaris on my upper arms, lower arms and thighs; very dry skin overall which is prone to fungal infections (I sweat easily and in copious amounts) and the skin beneath my eyebrows and on my scalp tends to flake whenever I’ve got the sniffles or are stressed out. For me the chicken skin is the main problem.

    1. Yup, the chicken skin is totally gone. My husband and kids also had it, theirs is gone too. For us, making sure we have enough Vitamin A in our diets is essential to keep it away. I take fermented cod liver oil on a daily basis. Keratosis pilaris, HS, and even acne flare-ups are caused by excess keratin (well, it’s part of the chain for HS. For KP, it’s basically the sole cause). Vitamin A regulates keratin production. Organ meats, seafood, and grassfed ghee have all been great additions to our diet, as well.

      1. Thank you very much for your quick and personal reply, Tara!
        I’m already taking cod liver oil on a daily basis, I eat large quantities of fish and shrimp, I eat chicken livers every other week and I eat ghee occasionally.
        Maybe upping all these will make a visible difference. I sure hope it will… A softer, less bumpy skin would make me feel more beautiful and feminine.

        1. Be careful with fish oil and fish. I discovered that the krill oil supplements I was taking for omega 3″s caused facial eczema. Other fish oil was also problematic.

        2. I don’t take regular fish oil or krill oil anymore. I was getting severely nauseous every time, no matter which brand I used. So, I took a break and then switched to fermented cod liver oil. It’s been fantastic. I also use it on my skin, in the form of Green Pasture’s Beauty Balm. 🙂 Never thought I would put fish and butter on my face, haha.
          Our guts need Vitamin A in order to repair themselves. If you’re megadosing on VitA but you’re still having symptoms of excess keratin, I would propose that perhaps your gut isn’t absorbing things as well as it should. Removing all the gut irritating foods and substances I’ve got listed in the book should help towards that. Good luck! I’m pulling for you. 🙂

  33. I know Reynauld’s Disease a circulatory disease and not a skin disorder, but is it autoimmune? I’ve suffered with this since I was a baby. I’ve done Primal, Paleo, plus the autoimmune protocal and haven’t seen any change in symptoms. Could it be genetic? Has anyone with this disease used your methods or any other methods and had success?

    1. Awesome question. I hope you find the answer, and share it when you do! I have mile Reynauld’s Disease myself. It, like my eczema, has improved, but not gone away…yet.

      1. This is an old thread, but I was just reading through, and in case you hadn’t found your answer, yes, it is autoimmune. My sister and I have both been able to manage it with the AIP diet. However it seemed to be the one of the last symptoms to clear when going AIP and one of the first to surface during times of stress or negative reintroductions. Hopefully continued healing brings you some relief!

    1. Tara already told there will be a Kindle version available December 1st on

      1. Lol. I’ll try it tomorrow. :-/ All that MDA traffic 😉 There are worse problems to have…definitely hit your support up though and ask them to make sure they’re not throttling you back.

  34. Congratulations Tara! We are sure your book will help many people. I have shared on the Paleo Cafe page too, so hopefully it can help many Aussies also.
    Wishing you all the very best x Marlies

  35. I’ve been dealing with something called perioral dermatitis for a few years. (Itchy, spotty rash around the nose, chin, and even around the eyes.) Tried antibiotics, creams, everything home remedy under the sun — and nothing worked. My dermatologist said, oh so authoritatively, that diet has nothing to do with PD — that it might be hormonal or bacterial. Well, after 2+ years of that crap, I finally saw a naturopath, and she had me go on an elimination diet — no gluten, eggs, soy, corn, peanuts, or dairy. And the rash cleared up within a week. When I reintroduced foods, it was clear right away that gluten and dairy were the culprits. Problem solved, no thanks to mainstream medicine.

  36. I have suffered with the skin condition vitiligo (loss of pigment) for about 20 years. Would this book be helpful for this skin condition?

    1. Although vitiligo is autoimmune in nature, I’m afraid I can’t testify whether or not this book would be helpful in restoring pigment to your skin. However, if you are able to heal your gut and put the vitiligo into remission, then it certainly won’t get any worse.
      Anyone else out there with this condition that could chime in?

      1. I don’t have an answer, but I too am praying to find one. I have celiac and my four year old has vitiligo. Some research shows that being dairy and gluten free may prevent vitiligo from spreading, but nothing really brings back the pigment. There are very few research dollars spent on vitiligo because it is considered cosmetic, and much of the research is conflicting. Truth is it is an autoimmune disease and it is important to the people who suffer from it. I wish I could find more research regarding paleo/primal lifestyle and vitiligo. Thanks for your hard work Tara!

        1. I seem to remeber that I read somewhere that some specialists in Cuba can make the skin pigment come back and there has a bit of medical tourism developed over it.

    2. Hi, Tara,

      we met once @ Primal Con 2012. i don’t know if you remember me.

      before i switched diet, i was cutting down gluten. (it makes me nauseous, headache, brain fog)

      then i switched diet; went completely GF; (i.e., i don’t knowingly eat gluten). felt even better.

      after a year, i had vitiligo.

      i tried dairy free; nothing happened. except mild stomach cramps everyday (by replacing dairy w/ coconut milk/cream. go figure!

      there is a woman blogger who cured her lifelong vitiligo by GF. she even start to repigment slowly

      but i seem to be going the opposite direction.

      i suspect it’s related to thyroid. as i had been GF before vitiligo. now every 2 weeks, i find a new white patch. now, back of my neck & shoulder has almost no pigment anymore.

      & dermatologist can’t help either. sigh.

  37. Thank you Mark and Tara for your great work. My husband’s dermatologist keeps telling him his Psoriasis (which he’s dealt with for over 20 years) has nothing do with food. I’m very much looking forward to reading the book and helping him on his path to recovery. Thankfully he has become more open to ‘new’ ideas since seeing the success I’ve had with Primal eating.

    1. That’s great to hear! We wish your husband speedy recovery. It’s amazing how fast the healing can begin, once you start to heal your gut.

  38. Crazy, I think I had this for several years. In the groin area, boils and carbuncles that hurt and made me crazy. No doctor had a name or an idea how to deal with it. It went away around the time I was diagnosed with first Celiac, then T2 Diabetes, and I decided to start a basically primal diet to get my blood sugar under control. I also did about a year of a yeast eliminating/gut healing diet and supplement thing. Thanks for giving me a name for that horrible time, and an idea how to deal with it if it comes back.

  39. As an HS sufferer for…gosh, thirty years now…I know how awful, painful and frustrating it can be. Many of us familiar with Tara’s site have been anxious for her book to come out. There is bound to be something new to try, no matter what you have tried before.
    In the meantime, I find that applying Alpha Hydroxy lotion nightly to the HS prone areas has been very helpful in reducing flares. It might be something to try while you read the book and adjust your diet.

    1. Thanks for the tip, TexMom. 🙂 It’s great all the remedies that are being discussed now that we’re all coming out of the closet about this!

  40. Tomatoes (any format, right down to catsup) causes ezcema for me. And a separate ‘break out’ I have had for the past 20 years (I’m 62)…I have discovered since I gave up chocolate entirely on 10/30….has disappeared. It was chocolate.

    I firmly believe in this!

  41. Hi Tara,

    Congratulations on your great work! I suffered from dermatological problems for almost 2 years before I was finally diagnosed with Lupus and given the information I needed to greatly reduce my symptoms: AVOID LIGHTS.

    As a black woman it had never occurred to me that I might be photosensitive but finally meeting a dermatologist who could give me useful information changed things.

    I have a friend who suffers from HS and I’ve forwarded your book info to her. This is very timely because she is just now trying to decide if she should make dietary changes, and I don’t think she had considered how they could help her abate her HS symptoms.

    1. Thanks, T! I’m sure your friend will thank you, as do I. I hope you’re taking a Vitamin D supplement, though, if you’re avoiding all light! 🙂

  42. Tara (and Mark!)

    I hope I don’t sound too whacky when you read that I burst into tears when I read your post here and then, your posts on Primal Girl, about Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS). I have suffered from something that sounds suspiciously like HS for over twenty years and so much of what you have written about the problem resonates so strongly – including the embarrassment and shame associated with feeling ‘dirty’, and the remarkable lack of knowledge or empathy I have received from the medical profession.

    I have been on a Primal diet since January and, while my condition has improved, it is certainly still there.

    I have bought the book and I am emailing a link to this page to my new GP (a Paleo advocate). Looks like the AI protocol is in my near future… I so hope it is the answer.

    Heartfelt thanks. Really.

  43. I honestly wept when I saw this book. I have suffered (and those with HS know that “suffered” is a kind word) since I was 9. I am now 45. I was diagnosed in 1996, but my only options were surgery. Then in 2007, RA drugs.
    Can’t wait to get my hands on this book. Thank you Tara for putting yourself out there.

  44. Thank you Tara! I can’t wait to get your book. I stumbled onto your website two months ago when I was suffering the worst flare up I have ever had (missing work, difficulty walking from the excrutiating pain, etc) and finally felt that someone understood! And that I wasn’t crazy, and maybe there is hope. I started Paleo AI protocol in mid-September and am seeing improvement but there is still a ways to go to get to remission. Your website gave me the courage to finally tell my sister that I have this hideous problem called HS (well, actually you told her, I sent her links to the articles on your website for her to read). Its a great feeling to not have to keep this secret and to believe that there is hope. Thank you!

  45. Thank you so much Mark for bringing Tara to us. I first found her website several months back through a link I believe I found somewhere on this site. I was SHOCKED to find out that what I suffered was ‘something’ and I wasn’t the only one suffering from it. Then, I quickly lost her site and could NOT find it again. I’ve suffered from HS for well over 20 years but several years ago I [all by myself] figured it was related to my alcohol consumption. I was drinking heavily at that time [rum and wine (not together] so I ditched the rum and things got a little better but not totally. I continued drinking wine and added brandy and periodic episodes with the PAINFUL boils came back. Try to not walk like a zombie with a painful boil on your upper inside thigh or try moving your head normally with a big boil on the back of your neck – ouch! Then last year I stopped drinking. Period. Not easy but the knowledge that painful symptoms might go away was enough for me to persevere. That lasted for a few weeks before the sugar cravings struck. Hard. Just last week after eating [engulfing] the Halloween candy the kids did not come to get it came back. Inner thigh. Sugar = pain.

    I’ll be getting your book to see what else might be my culprit [Please not nightshades!].

    Thanks for the good work Woman!

  46. Hoo boy, I’m a vegetarian that tries in every other way to go primal, for protein I drink whey protein powder with almond milk and I eat a lot of free range eggs. I started recently trying to adhere to a FODMAPS regimen, but some nightshades are on that list. Going to buy a copy of this book because of a rash on my arms that won’t go away, I’m partially thankful and partially discouraged, it’s already a pain trying to get nourishment that fits in with a healthy lifestyle and my personal choices (BTW I do NOT in the least judge those that choose to eat meat, like everyone else in my family). Anyway, should be an interesting and eye-opening read I’m sure.

  47. Alas, none of my acne rosacea went away when I went paleo. My weight loss was glacial, too – approximately 3/4 lbs a month. Aka, the reason I do not hang out on paleo forums, because it’s too depressing. Took me 4 1/2 years to lose 50lbs, where I plateaued for a year, then went off paleo due to a nervous breakdown (I was waiting for medical treatment in a foreign country, and felt that seeking help for mental issues would not help my case any. Ultimately, it didn’t matter as I was kicked off the treatment list for being too fat)(why yes, I am still bitter, why do you ask?)

    The only time my face clears up is when I don’t eat. Not when I do an elimination diet, but when I literally do not eat for a few days. Comes back the instant I put food in my mouth – any food.

    I’m so glad your HS cleared up – it looks so painful!!!

  48. I learned so much from your prior post here on MDA about HS, and that I most likely have had the condition for nearly 30 years. I used your post as a jumping-off point to research further. For years, I had the same responses from doctors as others have mentioned…until this year when I went to my GYN for my yearly appt. He noted the scars I have and told me it was an auto-immune condition (which I had previously learned from your post) and recommended a low-carb diet, imagine my (smug, but pleased) shock that he found out about HS at nearly the same time I did. I give him credit for having new knowledge, but it would be nice if he had more to go with than “low-carb”. It’s a start. Maybe I he needs a copy of your book, too. I’ve been seeing this doctor for 15+ years, and he had previously brushed the issue aside and just called it “boils”, which it’s not, and now he knows that. Unfortunately, I’m still on my own to fix it. Nightshades may be my demon, as well, but I have yet to eliminate them to find out. I’m just afraid a world without potatoes may be worse than one without wheat (which wasn’t that terrible, really :-)). So I think I’ll be ordering your book to help me with that. Thanks!

  49. Is this a pre-order, or will the book ship right away after I order it?

  50. I have been suffering from exfoliative cheilitis for almost a year now, and it’s just getting worse. My lips will form a thick layer of dead skin, which will eventually peel off, exposing raw skin underneath, and the process continues again, repeating every few days. I’ve seen two dermatologists (the first one didn’t know how to help and referred me to the second) for over a month now, I’m now on my 4th prescribed ointment, but my condition remains.

    Do you think this regimen can help? My disorder is so rare and so little research has been done on it that I’m terrified nobody will be able to help me. Mark I have been following your blog for many years now and I do love all the information you provide, but I do not keep a strict Paleo diet by any means. Just a few days ago I started a juice cleanse, drinking 6 raw fruit and vegetable juices a day, hoping to rid my system of any toxins and help myself heal. Reading this article about Tara’s book started to give me a glimmer of hope. Do you think trying the AIP could help a condition like the one I have? I know it’s nothing like HS, but I’m starting to run out of ideas.

    1. I can’t tell you for sure if it will help or not, but I’m pretty confident that it won’t hurt or make it worse. You’ve got nothing to lose, IMO. Be careful with the raw fruit and veggie juices – they can absolutely be a problem, depending on which ingredients you use and whether or not you include the peels.
      Let us know if you see any improvement! Your condition sounds very painful and I’m sure you’re very driven to see it end. 🙂

  51. Tara,

    thank you for this!

    I’m suffering from ulcerative colitis and the other symptoms as mentioned. Any thoughts on this disease?

    Your book available in South Africa? Otherwise I’ll have to wait for the kindle edition. Will probably not receive your book before 1 December if ordered now.



    1. Hi Casper! Ulcerative colitis is also autoimmune and can absolutely be helped with an AIP. It’s often “linked” to HS and other autoimmune skin conditions because autoimmunity can attack us on more than one front at the same time.

  52. Thank you so much for this post!! I’ve been AIP for nearly a year and my eczema is gone. Skin problems are so ……haunting. So many people just live with the pain because it’s “just a rash”. I will definitely spread the word about this book!!

  53. Tara, what are your thoughts on water kefir for someone with skin issues? It’s full of probiotics but it also contains yeast which I know can be problematic.

    1. Yeast is a trigger for me, so I stay away from most fermented foods. Sad, I know. It will end up being individual to you, so I suggest removing it for 30 days and then reintroducing to see what effect it has on you.

  54. Hi Tara,

    I wanted to thank you for having the courage to share your ordeal, and how you have dealt with it, with the world. So many of us are too embarrassed to say anything about our issues and will accept that the doctor says there is nothing wrong. I have been told so many times that my acne, eczema and rosacea are all hormone related yet when I have my hormones tested, everything comes back as “normal”. I have been eating primal and have lost weight and generally feel better but have not had any luck with my skin issues so I will wait patiently for the kindle version of your book to be released and will definitely be getting it!

    Your story has given me hope that I can be 35 years old and not have the terrible skin of a teenager anymore!!

    Thanks again 🙂

  55. Tara, thanks for all of your great thinking on these issues. You are an inspiration.

    My primal adventure began only a year ago (I’m 43), but I’m already feeling the benefits, particularly in improved digestion, and ever improving body composition. I’m hoping that continued dedication will cure me of vitiligo, a condition that I first noticed 10 years ago as a tiny spot on my face and that has grown gradually for years. I’ve also struggled with a lousy immune system (a cold or flu would floor me for two to three times longer than the average person), severe seasonal allergies, general body discomfort, and bowel irregularity just to name a few. As a life-long athlete, and someone who people always thought was fit (based on the way I looked), a friend once aptly described me as: “the unhealthiest healthy person I know.”

    Here are a few of my successes and observations that others may benefit from:

    – I had “chicken skin” (I had not heard that term until you used it, but it’s perfect) on my upper arms for years through my 20’s. Taking vitamins daily made this go away. It must have been primarily vitamin D, because liberal sun exposure in the summertime also helped dramatically.

    – A coworker told me that consuming a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar daily (mixed with water – it’s very pungent stuff) cured her of life long skin problems. I’m experimenting with this for general health, and to see if it helps with the vitiligo problem.

    – A friend convinced me that water soluble vitamins are the way to go, and he said that since he began taking Beyond Tangy Tangerine he hasn’t gotten sick once. And this from a guy who’s around sick school kids all the time. So far so good for me, too. And it tastes pretty good as well.

    – The Primal Blueprint convinced me of something that for years I had an inkling of, but always disregarded: the importance of not over-training. My body has responded so much better to doing less frequent weight training.

    – Adding an adjustable stand-up table to my office has enabled me to periodically work sitting or standing, and for someone who spends 10 hours a day melting my eyeballs in front of a computer, it has helped immensely. Back and shoulder tightness, and joint discomfort, have diminished dramatically.

    – Since changing from milk to almond milk with my morning coffee, “morning phlegm” has diminished.

    I’m sure there’s more to come and I can’t wait to see what other benefits the PB has in store for me. I’m looking forward to making the PrimalCon pilgrimage one day and meeting some of you inspirational people.

    In reason and good premises,

    1. Thanks Kramer, all great observations and tips! I have to avoid the apple cider vinegar, as I have a yeast intolerance, but other supplements are very important to healing from autoimmunity. I certainly hope you can make it out to a PrimalCon! It would be fab to meet you.

  56. Hi Tara. Wow. I really admire what you’ve done. You look great and I congratulate you and taking your health into your own hands. I will be sure to get the book when it comes out on Kindle.

    Do you know anything about timea versicolor? A yeast issue that doctors say has no cure. I haven’t been able to find the trigger yet. Sometimes is seems like alcohol, humidity, dairy, etc or sometimes it just feels random.

    Thanks again. Great work.

    1. I’ve never heard of that condition, but if it’s yeast related, then you’re going to have a BUNCH of triggers that you’re probably not even aware of — things like mushrooms, fermented foods, sour cream, even grapes. If you’re experiencing completely “random” flare-ups, this is the FIRST thing I would look into. 🙂

  57. Awesome – exactly what I’ve been doing. I’ve suffered from eczema all my life (nearly 40 now) and always had the same thing from doctors about slapping on emolient and steroids. Rubbish… So I’ve taken my own steps with a paleo diet etc and definitely after a strict few months on the way to healthiness.

    Have you tried:

    Taking l-glutamine supplements? (great for healing gut and skin)
    Intermitant fasting? promotes cells to repair themselves rather than just dying and replacing
    Any steps to kill off any likely candida overgrowth in your gut? (part of the whole rebalancing of the gut flora and healing of the wall)

    I’ve been posting things up on

    Great to see you’ve done a book and we can only hope for future generations it gets adopted. Actually I’m a bit annoyed as you got there first (with the book!!)

  58. Tara:

    Thank you so much for your articles on HS. I was at my wits end after my dermatologist told me I would have to be on high level antibiotics for the rest of my life to treat HS and even that wasn’t working. I found what you wrote on your blog and started paleo that day. I haven’t had a boil in 5 months! I have had them consistently since I was 9 years old. I can’t thank you enough for having the courage to put it out there. I am off pretty much all of my medicine now! Depression meds, antibiotics, nerve pain medicine…all of it has been fixed by eating paleo.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! You are amazing and I’m so grateful for you and your blog! 🙂

  59. I suffered from HS for years before discovering the paleo diet, which helped a lot, but I still had flare ups. Then my HS led to an infection in my armpit, and a surgery to remove the infection, which refused to heal properly. That was a about a year ago, and my armpit refused to fully heal, with near-constant flare-ups at the incision site. I’ve never experienced such a depression from feeling helpless to do anything about the HS.

    Thankfully, I found Tara’s website a few months ago and discovered (in addition to what the name of this problem was) that white potatoes were causing this. My armpit has now fully healed, and I haven’t had a flare-up since.

    Thank you for bringing more attention to HS! I never told anyone about what I was suffering through, and can only imagine how many are out there suffering silently and feeling helpless.

    1. Oh wow, that’s great Jeremy! I hope you’ll continue to heal and to spread the word that this condition can totally be helped with diet. I understand the helplessness. It’s okay to feel that for a little while – but then we need to get up, dust ourselves off, and get back to work. I’m so glad you found my blog and that you’re actively healing. 🙂

  60. Tara,

    Your article almost brought me to tears. I have suffered HS for 14 years now and your story is almost identical to mine. With the exception that I am still in stage 2 with absolutely no relief. I have purchased your book and I am a bag of mixed emotions right now. To begin with I have never met anyone who has suffered the same condition as I, and second it took me years to finally accept the fact that I would have to live like this for the rest of my life. I am excited to read your book and finally get some relief. This disease has affected every aspect of my life, and words cannot express the desire I have to change, and help myself. Thank You.

    1. Hi Maritza, I’m so glad that you found me! You’re not alone, there are millions of us out there. Would you be interested in joining a Facebook support group? I suggest HS & The Diet Connection, and Hidradenitis Suppurativa Warriors. Both groups have hundreds of dynamic, motivated HS sufferers. It can help so much to just put your story out there, and to hear back from people who are in the same boat as you. 🙂

      1. Thanks for the suggestions! I have joined the groups. I am looking forward to what comes next!

  61. I have HS and Fibromyalgia. I started the autoimmune protocol (diet) Jan 2, 2013 and am still trying to sort out my triggers, especially for HS. Nightshades, especially potatoes are an instant trigger. It’s difficult and frustrating to look for gluten-free food options only to discover they contain potato starch or potato flour. Sometimes, despite the closest examination of food labels, I still get whammied by a hidden trigger. It takes less than 24 hours for symptoms to present, and it’s no fun riding out the storm.

    I’ve found that as soon as I have the first symptoms, I have to step back into a very pure autoimmune protocol way of eating and double up on my probiotics. I’m pretty sure there is a trigger I’m overlooking and it will just take time to sort it out. I’m just thankful that I only get flares every couple of months instead of a constant, back to back series of episodes.

    1. Thanks PM! It sounds like you’re in the right track. The book will be pretty helpful to discover those tricky hidden triggers. Doubling up on probiotics is the same thing I do when I’ve been “dosed.” It seems to help quite a lot.

  62. Hi Tara,
    Congratulations on all your successes! Here’s to more!

    Reading your story yesterday started making all kinds of “seemingly unrelated” childhood/adolescent memories come back to me and I realize now that they weren’t unrelated at all. Horrible fungal rashes on my feet and between all my toes, behind my knees, inside my elbows and wrists, painful “acne” in my arm pits, which I NEVER told anyone about, acne on my face, then my bottom, then my groin. Oh God, the embarrassment! I was the “weird” kid, or so I thought.

    Years later I developed joint and muscle issues which some Dr. called fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis, then self-diagnosed carpal tunnel syndrome, then sciatica, weight gain, severe depression, and general despair (suicidal fantasies).

    My mother lived a most heinous life, suffering with MS for 28 years. Not wanting to end the way she did has driven me to pursue answers like nothing else in my life.
    Discovering Primal and following most of it’s protocols has given me a life I couldn’t ever imagine having. I thought I was just going to have to suffer and live that way forever, but now I finally know what ‘Happyness’ feels like. My problems were nowhere near as severe as yours, but my life-long anger, depression, and despair were especially debilitating, and no one cared-they thought I was just bitchy, selfish and lazy. I was.

    Your story is enlightening to say the least, and I realized that I still have some nagging skin and joint issues that may need a stricter diet protocol to resolve, once and for all. I’m looking forward to reading your book and benefiting from your experience and wisdom. Thank you sincerely and I wish you all the best.


    P.S. I’m still the “weird” kid (55), but now I embrace it in all it’s Primal glory!

    1. Thank you Jen. 🙂 I’m pretty sure that most of us in the Primal community were the “weird” kids at some point in our lives, haha. I’m the weird one now when I only eat the food I brought to a party, or when I fast while out at a restaurant. (Or when I bring my own butter to Red Lobster for that matter.) Good luck nailing down those final triggers! I’m here if you need support.

  63. Hi Tara,
    I found your website about a year ago and had the pleasure of meeting you in Portland over the summer. I can’t express what a relief it has been to know there are others with HS and that there is a way to end it. I’ve had it since I was about 12 and it can be very hard to deal with. I almost cried when I met you, because I’ve never met anyone with it before (that they speak of, at least). I cannot wait to get your book, although I have to wait until the end of March, since I’m living out of the country. I am ordering it tonight so my next visitor can bring it to me! Thank you for speaking out and sharing your wealth of information with us all!

    1. Not Tara,

      I just found out it had a name yesterday.
      I can very much relate to your comment about the relief it is to know someone else really understands our private hell.
      Those horrific moments in the shower with a gaping wound and blood and pus running down your leg.
      Having to walk at work when you’re in agony and every step rubs on it, then not being able to work, and on and on…

      While I will bear the scars from years of this, here’s hoping that not only will Tara’s book will reach all the other long term suffering folks like us, but also prevent years of agony for those just starting out.

      Your suffering certainly wasn’t in vain Tara.

      You’re not alone Megan! I shed some tears yesterday.

      1. “Here’s hoping that not only will Tara’s book will reach all the other long term suffering folks like us, but also prevent years of agony for those just starting out.”

        Last year, I received an email from a 12-year old girl who had recently started suffering from HS. She told me she wanted to kill herself, because of the pain and the social isolation. I sat and cried for a couple days. Then, I wrote three entire chapters of the book. I don’t want anyone else to go through the psychological torture that we did as teenagers if they don’t have to. If, by “outing” myself I can save just one person, it will have been worth it. And I can see that just by raising the issue–and having a discussion about it–that many people now feel a sense of hope where there once was none. We have the power to reclaim our health. This is the main thing that Mark Sisson and the Primal Blueprint lifestyle gave to me — the knowledge that I have the power to be healthy, vital, strong, and vibrant, and the RIGHT to be all of these things, on my own terms.

    2. You were also the first person I had met in person that had HS too (and would admit it). It was life changing for me as well. I’m so glad that we’ve kept in touch and that you’re doing so much better now. I don’t want you to have to wait until March, email me…

  64. I wonder if anyone has explored the connection between leaky gut and physical exercise, particularly jogging? I don’t know exactly what my triggers are but I notice my skin (particularly my hands) clearing up more the longer I eat just fresh meat and veg (no wheat, sugar, in particular) and the less I run…. I’m not suggesting exercise of this type causes leaky gut but I wonder if all that bopping up and down on a treadmill is advisable for someone who may already be susceptible to gut leakage type issues?

  65. Thank you for posting this here. I don’t even have the link to your original post on HS, but I remember being linked there a while back. That post changed my life, because I’ve suffered from this for so long and was always so embarrassed. Imagine being a competitive female swimmer who dreads shaving because of the following inflammation! I’ve luckily figured out my main trigger foods and stay away from them. (Dairy is the biggest culprit. Egg whites are right up there, too.) I already knew I was severely gluten intolerant. Honestly the change was so remarkable.

    Like you, I never talked about it. It’s so horrible when I have flares. (I have other skin conditions as well, and I worry about either people thinking I have lice or showing up in the summer with bumps on my arms.)

    I highly encourage anyone with inflammatory skin issues to do an elimination diet. I’m not one for removing things from my diet unnecessarily. It’s well worth doing it temporarily to see if it helps. Better than using unnecessary pharmaceuticals.

  66. Hi! I’ve recently diagnosed myself with a candida fungal overgrowth after doctors could not figure out what was causing a rash all over my body, worse in the exact same areas as HS – but i did not have the boils. I was on steroids, antibiotics and creams, and other things that made no difference.
    I’ve cut out sugar as much as I can, take supplements to fight candida, and I am soon much better but thinking what I have is related to HS somehow? I think I have something like autoimmune, and leaky gut.

    1. That may very well be correct. Trying a modified AIP is the first thing I would do. You’ve got nothing to lose, except for the itching! 🙂

  67. Hello. I am interested in your experience Tara, about what foods worked for you and what didn’t. I also notice I feel apprehensive/a bit guarded that the only way to access the information is to buy your book. As I consider my resistance to buying the book, I notice that your post elicits in me a (familiar) fear and desperation to seek something, anything, that will “rid” me of my skin “problem/s.” I also notice an opposite feeling, one of distrust, because I know in my heart that nothing is wrong with me and thus there is nothing to fix. From that stance, I know that our skin is a valuable messenger that shows us when something we are doing is harmful – be that food, emotionally, or whatever. I notice that when I am able to approach healing or health seeking from a place of curiosity and self-love, rather than of fear, that I feel happier and more calm. My impression is that this post feels more fear based – I think primarily because I interpret the withholding of information until paying for it as more “cure” like. I wanted to share my impressions with you so that you could have the feedback should you want it. I am glad that you have found something that has helped you!

    1. Hi Megan,
      I originally posted about HS on my blog at almost two years ago. In those two posts, there is enough information to get you started on your path to healing. I’ve also been helping thousands of people, one-on-one, for free for the last two years. The main reason I wrote the book is that the blog posts are not nearly detailed enough to help everyone, and I am overextended and overwhelmed trying to help everyone by myself. I tried to make sure that the book was a comprehensive guide, and had all the information and facts one would need in order to be able to heal themselves, by themselves.
      I encourage you to check out the original posts at Here are the links:

      1. Thank you for this response – I found those two posts helpful!

  68. Tara, congrats on the book and thanks for putting it out there for all those suffering with this disease. Sounds horrible. I don’t have any skin problems nor do I have any known illnesses at this time. I’m all about prevention though. So, I try to adhere to a primal lifestyle and am always interested to hear about what’s out there. Thanks to you and Mark both!

  69. Hi Tara, I was very interested in your post. Just wondering if you have any info on chronic hives. I’ve been suffering for >3 yrs now. I’ve been mostly paleo but no improvement. Only relief has been from monthly injections of xolair (an anti-IgE antibody). I haven’t tried an autoimmune diet yet. Thanks!

  70. 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.

  71. 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

  72. 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.

  73. 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.

  74. 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.

  75. 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

  76. 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.

  77. 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!!

  78. 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.

  79. 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.

  80. 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!

  81. 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.

  82. 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.

  83. 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.

  84. Good quality blog having fine in succession. from time to time we ignore this sort of things & also suffer a lot as well.

  85. 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!

  86. 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.

  87. 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!!!

  88. 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

  89. 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!

  90. 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…

  91. 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.

  92. 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.

  93. 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?

  94. 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?!

  95. 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!

  96. I was 36 years old and my 2nd child was one year old when I noticed one of my fingers was inflamed, swollen. The swelling wouldn’t subside. Tests showed RA (Rheumatoid arthritis). Then progressively other joints started to get affected and I had much pain, dressing myself was very painful. I would ring my mother in tears not knowing what was happening to my body. I tried numerous medicines nothing worked. Finally, the rheumatologist suggested i try natural medicines and suggested NewLife Clinic, i immediately ordered their Rheumatoid Arthritis Herbal formula and start on the 3 months treatment plan, the treatment is totally incredible, i had a total decline of symptoms with this treatment, the pains, stiffness, swelling, body weakness and skin redness has subsided. Visit NewLife Clinic website ww w. newlifeherbalclinic. com or email [email protected] newlifeherbalclinic. com. Incredible!

  97. I had a problem with eczema on my nose and forehead. After using Foderma Serum for a week, it’s gone. I’ve used expensive prescription shampoos and creams before and this does every bit as well and costs much less. Some people are a little put off by the smell, but I actually found it kind of pleasant. Very satisfied.