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Curing acne with a healthy diet

posted by Russ, October 3 in health & diet with tags , , ,

3 comments

I’ve been wanting to write about this topic for a while, but never felt comfortable sharing it. However, today I just decided that I will share, if for no reason other than to help someone who might find this page through a web search. So if you’re one of my regular readers, feel free to skip this one, unless of course it’s of interest to you.

I’ve been pretty lucky in that I’ve never had a terrible problem with acne. But around the early part of high school, I started getting some on my back. It was never terrible, but at that age it was enough to make me self conscious. At the time, I sort of just figured I was an unlucky teenager, and hoped it would go away as I got older. I never had any clue that it could ever be related to diet. So even though it continued through college and up until just a couple years ago, I just suffered with it and found little ways to try to keep it under control, though never very successfully. I knew of no other solutions, so I just washed religiously twice a day, and used off the shelf acne washes and creams if I felt like I needed to. And being that it was never on my face, if I had a breakout the solution was pretty simple, I just wouldn’t take my shirt off.

The biggest problem for me was that when I did have breakouts, it wasn’t just surface acne, it would be deep almost cystic, and was more painful than it was visibly unappealing. It would always just come and go, so though I couldn’t figure out why, I knew there was something triggering it. I always just figured it was fluctuations in hormone levels. And like I said, it was never that bad, it was worse in my head that it was in reality, but since it just wouldn’t ever go away for good I was still self conscious and still looking for answers.

In my early to mid twenties, I started taking my health more seriously and started reading all sorts of forums online. The solutions that seemed to come up most often were for creams and washes (I won’t even give them the satisfaction of mentioning their names), some of which are more nasty and powerful than others. I remember even seeing one article that said you should shampoo first before washing since the chemicals from the shampoo can irritate your skin. Now that I’m healthy and buy mostly natural products, all these solutions seem laughable to me. Think about it! I mean, the fact that the majority of skin, hair and beauty products are loaded with chemicals to the point that they say they can actually irritate your skin, and then other companies try to get you to use other chemical laden creams to cure your acne. It’s just a viscous cycle.

In all but a few cases, I would say acne has nothing to do with the state of the surface of your skin, so it probably isn’t affected much by being dirty, dry, or having a cream rubbed on it. Sure, not showering for a day or having greasier than normal skin may cause surface blemishes, but it won’t cause chronic acne. And I’ll admit, some of the creams help to dry out existing blemishes, but they don’t prevent them from occuring very well.

So anyway, I tried all the over the counter stuff, none worked. I started reading about dairy and food allergies, half heartedly tried some of these solutions, and they never worked either. I read an article about a link between milk and acne, which talked about all the hormones that are in milk (both naturally occuring and artificial), and it was like a light bulb going off for me. My thoughts were going crazy: “Teenagers are most prone to acne, teenagers have raging hormones, cows have hormones in their milk powerful enough to grow calves into cows in less than a year, people accelerate that process by injecting cattle with artificial hormones, those hormones are in the milk, we drink their milk, I’ve been drinking three glasses of milk a day since I was a child, I must have those hormones in me!”

That’s when I realized that diet had to be the cause, and that’s what confirmed to me that the acne was most definitely coming from the inside out, and had very little to do with external conditions. But even though I realized this, I didn’t make a full commitment to changing my diet. I eliminated milk, but didn’t change much else (I was still eating loads of cheese), and didn’t really notice any change in occurrences of acne. Of course now I know that eliminating just one thing from your diet for only one week won’t do anything. For it to work, it needs to be an overall approach over time. But this was the transitioning point for me.

Since at that time I still wasn’t seeing any changes, I did finally give in and seek advice while at the dermatologist getting a skin cancer screening. She reassured me that my situation wasn’t nearly bad enough to need anything, but did give me a presrcription wash to use if I wanted to try it. Of course, this didn’t work at all either. So my suspicions were finally confirmed, I had tried everything, all the tips about how and when to wash, all sorts of over the counter products, a dermatologist prescribed wash, and half hearted diet changes. And none worked.

So fast forward to a few years ago when I finally started taking my health more seriously. I learned a lot about organics, the state of commercial food, and started becoming interested in raw food diets. I did actually go raw for one month about a year and a half ago, and during that time all traces of my acne disappeared, just like magic. Finally, after almost 15 years of sporadic acne which was sometimes deep and painful, it all went away just like that. After I transitioned away from raw foods and went back to a standard diet, it came back a little bit, but not nearly as bad.

So there it is, acne is related to diet. I’d even be willing to say that I think it’s 100% related, but I’m sure there are extreme cases. But I’m telling you, I am proof. I eliminiated all acne by adopting an overall healthy approach to eating. And here’s the secret, you don’t need to be raw, vegan, or even vegetarion to have clean healthy skin. All you need to do is eliminate the junk. Go mostly organic and eat whole foods, removed processed crap, and you’ll be fine. I’ve removed all those foods that have junk (hint: not just junk food is junk!) and eat whole organic foods instead. My meat intake is low, and my dairy intake is almost non-existent. And if you’re tied to your cheese and meat, I would bet willing to be you could eliminate your acne without eliminating those foods, as long as you switched to organic meats and dairy with no antiobiotics or artificial growth hormones in them.

But this means a commitment to no (or if consumed, very rarely) soda, no candy, no microwave meals, no fast food, etc. And limit the amount you eat out. Face it, the food most people eat is loaded with junk: refined sugars, processed and bleached flours, preservatives, chemicals, fillers, artificial colorings and on and on. It’s no wonder that people’s bodies can’t keep themselves clean! At one time I thought I was healthy because I didn’t eat fast food or drink soda, but I was still eating things like chicken nuggets, fish sticks, american cheese, instant potatoes, and canned veggies. Better than McDs, but far from optimal. So take it from me, if you want to get rid of your acne, ditch the creams and washes and improve what you eat. You’ll be surprised.

Related posts:

  1. Diet overload, healthy choices, and which label fits?
  2. An experiment with raw diet
  3. Organic whole foods diet and reduced hunger pangs


Originally posted on Saturday, October 3rd, 2009 at 7:20 AM .

3 Responses to “Curing acne with a healthy diet”

  1. I am just really self conscious about my pimple issue and always looking for the finest product. I have got quite good success with Proactive. It’s quite great for just $20 or so. Great write-up !!!

  2. Imahni says:

    Awesome post! I’ve found the same to be true for me. Diet wins every time. I’m finding it hard to part with cheese though… 🙂

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