2

votes

Acne doesn't seem to be much of a dietary issue for me

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created April 24, 2011 at 1:40 AM

I feel like I've tried everything the paleo community might suggest for acne, yet I still get quite a lot.

I'm 26m, and granted it has improved since I started paleo, it has never ceased to be problematic. I've tried eliminating dairy and nightshades completely. I've experimented with including fish oil and also excluding it. I've experimented with evening primrose oil. I've done zero carb for a few months. I've tried systematically adding zinc, selenium, iodine, vitamin A, C, E, D, K to my diet. I use only natural soaps, keep clean sheets, etc.

Nothing really seems to be suggesting that diet is the primary factor in acne for me. Could it simply be that I will have it no matter what?

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on February 22, 2012
at 03:59 PM

And also by adding in gelatin (which helped a ton).

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on February 22, 2012
at 03:59 PM

My chin acne went away by increasing carbs from fruit dramatically btw.

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on February 22, 2012
at 03:58 PM

Did you ever try eliminating nuts? Cuz honestly, apart from nuts nothing really causes bad acne for me on the paleo diet (though nightshades, pork, chicken and eggs don't help).

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on October 01, 2011
at 03:25 PM

Interested in the HCL. I'm gonna add that to my diet. My only problem is a bit of chin acne now. I think zero carb is helping, but I also believe it has a lot to do with standard stress.

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on October 01, 2011
at 03:24 PM

If it's chin acne : it's stress. Do walking, play around, have fun. You're thinking too much. My acne on my whole face disappeared while on VLC, except for my chin. Only when I move around a lot I don't have it anymore. Though, at the moment, I'm doing ZC and it seems to improve a lot pretty quickly. And I agree with Mei-ling, don't do one thing at a time, do everything.

9f933fedd259b97a5369c3ee5dae3151

(341)

on May 25, 2011
at 06:15 AM

Did you do these things one by one, or all together? How long were your experiments? A break out isn't a bad reaction to something, it's the body expelling excess toxins from the blood. This happens when you start getting what you need to function properly. Like - http://www.healingnaturallybybee.com/articles/heal2.php Of course acne isn't just diet related, it's hormones (both producing AND eliminating) and digestion and bowels and the liver. The body is a synergistic machine, which is why I'd recommend doing things together. Vitamin E helps protect vitamin A and EFAs, as an example.

Bf417f0ad3560adb1a5d1c155246831a

(193)

on April 25, 2011
at 02:46 AM

you could be right! I have that same problem! I always breakout before big get togethers, but it's weird because I don't ever feel more stressed. But maybe my body's just thinking about it and wants it to be a wonderful reunion. THanks for your input!

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on April 25, 2011
at 12:46 AM

Over the years being strict paleo and still really having occasional but not infrequent zits I too think stress is a major role. It really seems that before big events, big holidays, etc I tend to get them. This of course makes them even more difficult because I'm usually preparing to see people I haven't seen in a while and want to look your best, etc. Anyway, just wanted to say that I too think stress is a major factor, if not THE factor.

8c2ed9a35f6c4d35a3552a13ddabec8d

(525)

on April 24, 2011
at 04:18 PM

Yes of course the sun wont clear up acne but it may help it. Maybe you should try meditation. I've never tried it but its been something that I'm considering. Alternatively, walking would be a good way to relieve stress. I'm in the same boat as you really. While there is a definite improvement in my skin it still doesn't look completely clear like lots of other people. But I'll wait and bide my time and hopefully it will disappear.

A0b8c4cc369f93ee987ce15b1bf323fe

on April 24, 2011
at 01:46 PM

you're right - that does sound crazy ;-)

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on April 24, 2011
at 01:45 PM

@henrydrn, if you decide to try using Biokult, let me know how it goes. It seems to be the only thing of all the responses that I have not tried. Thanks and good luck. Be well

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on April 24, 2011
at 01:44 PM

@qazaq, if you decide to try using Biokult, let me know how it goes. It seems to be the only thing of all the responses that I have not tried. Thanks and good luck. Be well.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on April 24, 2011
at 01:43 PM

I get daily sun enough to give me a good copper tan and i still get zits. I have avoid dairy 100% (including butter!) and still get zits. I have often thought, and still do, that STRESS may actually be the biggest culprit for me. Not always sure what people mean when they say "acne" - for me i just get one or two zits now and then. They seem to come in twos or threes at the same time, and they do always seem to be around big events, changes in routine, etc - I suppose times of more stress than my normal life.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on April 24, 2011
at 01:39 PM

I've always been puzzled by Wolf's rec on the amounts of GLA, too. He said that same thing on two podcasts. I actually wrote in a question regarding this but oh well. All the GLA pills, I searched every one available online and settled on Solgar only cuz it had the highest amount of GLA with the lowest amount of other n6s. All GLA supps will have some other n6s though, as both source-oils, the primrose and the borage, are vegetable oils, yknow? I've thought about the possibility of too much n3 in my eating, too. In the end for me anyway i don't think thats it cuz i don't supp with fish oil.

09e3a4b532dd8898d8eee23d1d8e121c

(162)

on April 24, 2011
at 09:13 AM

I began with a half teaspoon of MSM in water.

5d803ec299e4f4b3124dec0b7e84a3b6

(10)

on April 24, 2011
at 07:21 AM

Thanks. How much MSM daily?

1ac8e976f84cb2566ecfbbcce1817351

(211)

on April 24, 2011
at 07:03 AM

I've also been puzzled from the amounts of GLA recommended. 10-15 mg per day? or 600 mg perday? Also finding a GLA supplement without linoleic acid is a tough one.

1ac8e976f84cb2566ecfbbcce1817351

(211)

on April 24, 2011
at 07:02 AM

What do you think of Wolf's take on "Acne from Fish Oil" from the recent podcast episode? In regards to a combination of seriously limiting O-6's, excluding fish oil and eating whole sources of wild caught fish as considerable percent of one's diet in combatting acne ( as I have, and can relate with your issue). You think we/I might have gone overboard and are actually higher in 0'3's? The increased intake of EPA/DHA increases the sebaceous glands production of oil and prostaglandin production that leads into acne formation? http://robbwolf.com/2011/04/19/the-paleo-solution-episode-76/

B1fcaceba952861d0324bdb291edbbe0

(3159)

on April 24, 2011
at 02:41 AM

Hmm, I use bare minerals (if I wear any at all) and it works. I don't think it would remove something like mascara, but some women use coconut or olive oil to remove stuff like that.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on April 24, 2011
at 02:41 AM

I take two pills of Solgar Super GLA 300 MG. Each pill contains 300 MG of GLA. I'm taking two pills per day so I'm getting 600 MG daily.

6a4fd73b4ae4761eefec8e0d38e6f224

(1008)

on April 24, 2011
at 02:24 AM

Can H2O & baking soda remove makeup?

5d803ec299e4f4b3124dec0b7e84a3b6

(10)

on April 24, 2011
at 02:13 AM

thanks. how much GLA are you taking?

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on April 24, 2011
at 02:00 AM

I've done this for years and still Have zits

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13 Answers

3
B1fcaceba952861d0324bdb291edbbe0

(3159)

on April 24, 2011
at 02:05 AM

Ideas/possible hacks:

  • Omega 3/6 ratios? How are they?
  • Vitamin D? Are you spending time in the sun or supplementing?
  • What do you wash your face with? Sometimes even 'natural soaps' cause irritation leading to acne. (I use water, the occasional baking soda scrub (rinse well), and I put apple cider vinegar on any blemishes, seems to work.)
  • Hormones influence acne - are you stressed? any reason hormones might be out of whack? over-training? adrenal fatigue?
  • Are you taking any drugs or supplements? They might lead to acne.
  • Natural remedies I've heard of people using: tea tree oil, apple cider vinegar (mentioned above) ...
  • Are you cleaning your face too much? Sometimes people think acne is due to a face not being 'clean'. This is not the case. Over-cleaning only exacerbates skin that is pre-disposed to acne.

Alright qazaq, that's all the brainstorming I have right now. If I think of something else I'll edit this. Keep us posted and I wish you luck!

B1fcaceba952861d0324bdb291edbbe0

(3159)

on April 24, 2011
at 02:41 AM

Hmm, I use bare minerals (if I wear any at all) and it works. I don't think it would remove something like mascara, but some women use coconut or olive oil to remove stuff like that.

6a4fd73b4ae4761eefec8e0d38e6f224

(1008)

on April 24, 2011
at 02:24 AM

Can H2O & baking soda remove makeup?

2
8c2ed9a35f6c4d35a3552a13ddabec8d

on April 24, 2011
at 03:23 AM

I've suffered from acne and I know how it feels.

You say you use natural soap; I prefer to turn things on their head and take no soap and no shampoo. Been doing it for about a month now; no one says I smell, don't think anyone's really noticed and I'll see how long I can continue. When I'm feeling brave I'll have a cold shower. Sunlight also helps but it will be in vain if the diet is not good as people in hot countries still get acne, though I reckon less - don't quote me on that.

Basically I'm trying to cure acne purely through cold water and diet and it seems to be working. Sunshine is good, so if you can't always get sunshine, then perhaps take vitamin D tablets unless you eat tons of fish. I know you already take Vitamin D though. As for going out in the sun; forget sun cream, just be safe and know your limits so don't allow yourself to burn. If you have to stay out in the sun for a period of time where you think you will be at risk of sunburn, then I suggest covering any exposed areas with clothes - not the most fashionable idea, but my plan is to keep the wretched sun cream away from my skin if I can help it.

Diet wise, I think you've got to be realistic. I'm never going to give up fruit and vegetables. While you may want to moderate fruit intake, in the long term I don't think you'll want to go "zero carb" unless you are monastic, though it certainly is an avenue to look at in the short run.

As with dairy, you'll have to see if eating that will cause you problems. Some find it does, others not so much. So what I'm really saying here is that you ought to keep a food diary for a couple of weeks. That way, its much easier to localize the foods which are causing your acne, such as dairy - just for example - and eliminate these foods from your diet. Also, once you've written everything down that you consume, it's much easier to see if there are any faults in your diet.

I do not believe you are doomed to have acne. I believe you are like me, more susceptible to acne though that does not mean that it can't be cured. The acne could just be a sign your body is telling you that things are not working, so while some of your friends may not register that things are functioning poorly because of their baby skin, they will continue into their thirties and forties with pot bellies and you will have a rippling six pack and probably no acne.

I've heard people who are more stressed tend to get acne. While this can be true, it is probably what is known as the multiplier effect. You eat one cookie and then you get stressed and the effects multiply and you wake up with more acne in the morning. So stay relaxed, do whatever it takes to feel calm and make sure you get lots of sleep.

Also, make sure your bed is changed regularly, likewise towels - you get the picture.

As for seeing my doctor for tablets or cream since embarking on my quest to defeat acne, I find I don't really need these as I'm winning without such aids and I'd rather continue to do so.

You say you've been zero carb for a few months. I find this hard to believe that your acne has not cleared up considerably. But we're all different so I respect that. Remember time is a virtue. Maybe you need to let time elapse before you can see real effects - I've heard as long as 6 months or possibly longer!

Good luck.

8c2ed9a35f6c4d35a3552a13ddabec8d

(525)

on April 24, 2011
at 04:18 PM

Yes of course the sun wont clear up acne but it may help it. Maybe you should try meditation. I've never tried it but its been something that I'm considering. Alternatively, walking would be a good way to relieve stress. I'm in the same boat as you really. While there is a definite improvement in my skin it still doesn't look completely clear like lots of other people. But I'll wait and bide my time and hopefully it will disappear.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on April 24, 2011
at 01:43 PM

I get daily sun enough to give me a good copper tan and i still get zits. I have avoid dairy 100% (including butter!) and still get zits. I have often thought, and still do, that STRESS may actually be the biggest culprit for me. Not always sure what people mean when they say "acne" - for me i just get one or two zits now and then. They seem to come in twos or threes at the same time, and they do always seem to be around big events, changes in routine, etc - I suppose times of more stress than my normal life.

2
696079a860ef54810406ae25e4650863

on April 24, 2011
at 02:29 AM

I've also had acne on my chin for my entire adult life. The condition of my skin was helped by going Paleo, but didn't fully clear up until 2 months ago when I started supplementing with HCL/digestive enzymes and a strong probiotic- the bioKult mentioned by a previous poster.

Here's a link to a forum post over at acne.org that covers a lot of the general info on HCL supplementation. http://www.acne.org/messageboard/Skin-Diseases-Cured-Hydr-t72702.html

This is meant to be a short term supplementation (as opposed to life-long) According to several of the people over at the acne.org forum, they only had to continue the HCL for a couple of months and then could discontinue use without the return of the acne- I'm not there yet- but definitely looking forward to it!

Good Luck and I hope you find something that works for you! :)

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on October 01, 2011
at 03:25 PM

Interested in the HCL. I'm gonna add that to my diet. My only problem is a bit of chin acne now. I think zero carb is helping, but I also believe it has a lot to do with standard stress.

1
Bdc6244bdbd664d2168a8e326018ffbe

(431)

on June 10, 2012
at 10:16 PM

Qazaq, did you ever figure this out at all?

1
A0b8c4cc369f93ee987ce15b1bf323fe

on April 24, 2011
at 01:43 PM

Anecdotally, I'd like to add that reducing my stress levels usually improved my skin. I frequently get stressed out at work and I notice breakouts when it's a busy time. I've made a conscious effort to get adequate sleep (8 hours) per night and the extra rest seems to be helping.

1
E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on April 24, 2011
at 01:37 PM

This is gonna sound crazy and go against what a lot of people think but the biggest help to my acne has been refined sugar, ala matt stone. I broke out really bad after a vegan stint a week ago, well after implementing some matt stone ideas into my diet(adding refined sugar and wheat) my face totally cleared up over night(I'm talking totally clear which I haven't had in a while). I've had a similar reaction when I added sugar back in for a week a month ago so that's why I attribute it to the sugar. I'm really beginning to think that all this restriction actually leads to health problems, I definitely think there are items you should definitely restrict(PUFAs mainly) but major restriction just causes harm imo and that has been my experience because I've developed most my major health problems on restricted diets.

I've dealt with pretty horrible acne ever since trying to "become healthy" and I've attributed my acne to almost every single food and have eliminated them over and over again. Now I eat the stuff people claim is unhealthy and my acne literally disappears over night, it actually amazes me.

My advice is to stop restricting and eat whatever you want, within certain reason.

Just for clarification my current regimen is very high carb, pretty high fat, moderate protien and I eat at least ~5000 cals daily. I supplement MSM, zinc, k2, liver powder and make sure to get adequate sun. I also exercise a lot, usually surfing 4-5 hours a day 5 times a week. I've tried just about every dietary regimen ranging from fruitarian to low carb and none have done that much for my acne in the long term, at least compared to sugar but I'm still experimenting so we'll see what happens.

It also interesting to note that I can eat almost any food without digestion problems and have amazing BM's now, a month ago I was getting constipation from eating cheese or combos that weren't simple.

Just my 2 cents

A0b8c4cc369f93ee987ce15b1bf323fe

on April 24, 2011
at 01:46 PM

you're right - that does sound crazy ;-)

1
79648d1e9f1a8d25d9450a8a1d18fe64

(395)

on April 24, 2011
at 01:54 AM

I can only speak from my own experience but therapeutic (high) doses of probiotics (I use Biokult) and naturally fermented sauerkraut work well. If you don't want to make your own sauerkraut, Bubbies is a good brand and most natural foods stores carry it. The kraut has copious amounts of sulfur compounds which seem to help balance the flora in the skin...yes you have critters that live in your skin just like in your gut. Just eat a small amount of sauerkraut at each meal as a condiment.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on April 24, 2011
at 02:00 AM

I've done this for years and still Have zits

1
667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on April 24, 2011
at 01:47 AM

I'm the same as you so I feel you completely. Maybe try really making sure you're not taking in more omega six than you think. I limit my chicken and pork intake a lot to keep the six on the low side. I feel like this, along with GLA supplementation is helping atleast somewhat. Of course, ditch any and all nuts for the same omega six reason. Hope you get some relief.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on April 24, 2011
at 02:41 AM

I take two pills of Solgar Super GLA 300 MG. Each pill contains 300 MG of GLA. I'm taking two pills per day so I'm getting 600 MG daily.

5d803ec299e4f4b3124dec0b7e84a3b6

(10)

on April 24, 2011
at 02:13 AM

thanks. how much GLA are you taking?

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on April 24, 2011
at 01:39 PM

I've always been puzzled by Wolf's rec on the amounts of GLA, too. He said that same thing on two podcasts. I actually wrote in a question regarding this but oh well. All the GLA pills, I searched every one available online and settled on Solgar only cuz it had the highest amount of GLA with the lowest amount of other n6s. All GLA supps will have some other n6s though, as both source-oils, the primrose and the borage, are vegetable oils, yknow? I've thought about the possibility of too much n3 in my eating, too. In the end for me anyway i don't think thats it cuz i don't supp with fish oil.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on April 24, 2011
at 01:45 PM

@henrydrn, if you decide to try using Biokult, let me know how it goes. It seems to be the only thing of all the responses that I have not tried. Thanks and good luck. Be well

1ac8e976f84cb2566ecfbbcce1817351

(211)

on April 24, 2011
at 07:02 AM

What do you think of Wolf's take on "Acne from Fish Oil" from the recent podcast episode? In regards to a combination of seriously limiting O-6's, excluding fish oil and eating whole sources of wild caught fish as considerable percent of one's diet in combatting acne ( as I have, and can relate with your issue). You think we/I might have gone overboard and are actually higher in 0'3's? The increased intake of EPA/DHA increases the sebaceous glands production of oil and prostaglandin production that leads into acne formation? http://robbwolf.com/2011/04/19/the-paleo-solution-episode-76/

1ac8e976f84cb2566ecfbbcce1817351

(211)

on April 24, 2011
at 07:03 AM

I've also been puzzled from the amounts of GLA recommended. 10-15 mg per day? or 600 mg perday? Also finding a GLA supplement without linoleic acid is a tough one.

0
Bf417f0ad3560adb1a5d1c155246831a

on April 24, 2011
at 11:02 PM

I'm having the same problem too. I limited my chicken and pork intake and olive oil, but it didn't seem to make a difference. I don't eat nuts or dairy and still breakout. Could be stress but I don't know. Going to next try limiting fruit see if that's my culprit. But would be interested to know if anyone knows of a different reason why some people can't clear up their skin even on strict diets like Paleo...

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on April 25, 2011
at 12:46 AM

Over the years being strict paleo and still really having occasional but not infrequent zits I too think stress is a major role. It really seems that before big events, big holidays, etc I tend to get them. This of course makes them even more difficult because I'm usually preparing to see people I haven't seen in a while and want to look your best, etc. Anyway, just wanted to say that I too think stress is a major factor, if not THE factor.

Bf417f0ad3560adb1a5d1c155246831a

(193)

on April 25, 2011
at 02:46 AM

you could be right! I have that same problem! I always breakout before big get togethers, but it's weird because I don't ever feel more stressed. But maybe my body's just thinking about it and wants it to be a wonderful reunion. THanks for your input!

0
98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

on April 24, 2011
at 08:24 PM

What's in this "natural soap" of yours? It may be too harsh and causing problems. You want a very gentle cleanser so most soaps are out.

How much zinc did you add? You want at least 50mg chelated zinc and some find they need to go up to as much as 150mg which is still safe (as I understand it).

The only other thing I would suggest you try which has been a miracle for me is a niacinamide toner made fromm niacinamide and witch hazel. Niacinamide is a B vitamin. Hard to find in the stores so you'd probably have to order online. Choose NOW brand as it has no fillers which is important as you don't want a gritty solution. Use an alcohol free witch hazel (you can also use water but it doesn't seem to work quite as well) Mix only small batches or else you need to add a preservative. I mix 2 oz Dickinson's Alcohol Free WH with 5 Now Niacinamide 500 mg capsules (open capsules and dump in). You want about a 4-5% solution in the end so adjust amounts based on that. I put it in a small spray bottle and spray it all over my face right after cleansing am and pm. You can just pour some into your hand and pat it on. No need to use a cotton ball or anything like that. Not exactly a paleo answer but its worth a try as its cheap and easy and seems to help many and certainly has helped me a lot.

You may also want to look at B5 oral supplementation. This has been helpful for many.

0
8f4ff12a53a98f3b5814cfe242de0daa

(1075)

on April 24, 2011
at 05:11 PM

My dermatologist at one point (used to have severe acne....pretty much dissipated when I hit 25 and went Mediterranean) indicated that natural soups should be avoided due to impurities and leaching moisture from the skin.

They indicated that Dove and Lever 2000 (made by same company, but slightly different formulation) are the two things that are really suitable for using on skin on a daily basis. You might get away with a natural product more occasionally, but for a regular cleaning you need something designed (un-natural) to not remove moisture.

Acne is caused by bacteria, and oil on your face tends to determine how hospitable it is. Since damaged skin would tend to be more susceptible, it helps to use gentle face cleansers regularly. Other than that, immune system function will play a role.

0
06d21b99c58283ce575e36c4ecd4a458

(9948)

on April 24, 2011
at 02:34 AM

Lorin Cordain wrote a book called The Dietary Cure for Acne. I see that now it is selling for about $60 at Amazon and used book places are also that expensive.

I would send you to Dr Ayers blog. This link searches for the word acne.
http://coolinginflammation.blogspot.com/search?q=acne

He is an advocate of healing the gut to heal the body. And the manifestation of acne is a sign of body inflamation. Keep clicking through to older posts at the end of each page for more information. He may have the answer you are looking for.

He says somewhere in his blog that oververt outbreaks of skin problems indicates that the body is trying to get rid of some sort of toxin the body and healing the gut will cause the manifestation to abate.

Good Luck.

0
09e3a4b532dd8898d8eee23d1d8e121c

on April 24, 2011
at 02:10 AM

Two other thoughts - MSM daily and liver/gall bladder flushing. I have smoked in the past, taken drugs, medications and mainlined coffee. Liver flush helped my skin particularly. And MSM is a form of sulphur I take that has also helped my skin.

09e3a4b532dd8898d8eee23d1d8e121c

(162)

on April 24, 2011
at 09:13 AM

I began with a half teaspoon of MSM in water.

5d803ec299e4f4b3124dec0b7e84a3b6

(10)

on April 24, 2011
at 07:21 AM

Thanks. How much MSM daily?

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