So I'm a 20 year old female and I've been struggling with acne and post-hyperpigmentation for a little over a year now. A little background, I've had relatively spotless skin in high school on a diet consisting mainly of rice, meat, and veggies (Korean food, basically). Back then I ate bread and pasta maybe 3 times a week with no ill effects and felt quite healthy. However, I made the biggest mistake of my life by turning vegetarian my senior year of high school; mainly to support animal welfare issues, but I was also convinced of all the "health" benefits of being vegetarian. My first year as a vegetarian didn't really cause any immediate health problems, but looking back now I realize some warning signs that my body was sending out. My skin became a lot more dry and my hair was also beginning to fall out more than usual. Since the changes weren't that noticeable I just waved them off because cmon' I was eating the most healthy diet available right?! lol.
Fast forward, I was now in a dorm at college still eating vegetarian, BUT a lot less healthy than back at home. I literally ate some form of wheat for every meal and -sweet jesus- don't get me started on the beer and junk food. I'm pretty sure this all contributed to a leaky gut because I soon found myself feeling bloated all the time. I also started to get regular acne and cysts for the first time in my life and I became the epitome of the freshman stereotype by gaining exactly 15 pounds. Went from 100 to 115. But my skin... oh god my skin. I used to have random people compliment my "baby skin" but that took a 180 degree turn. I thought the solution to getting rid of this newfound acne was scrubbing, salicylic acid, and benzoyl peroxide. Ah, I'm cringing just typing those words. Basically, I fucked up my skin. My heavy use of these chemicals persisted for about a year until I discovered paleo and ceased the use of all chemical products. Unfortunately, my skin is now super sensitive, thin, and forms brown/red spots even from the smallest pimples. It's been 4 months now eating paleo and not using any chemicals on my face, but my skin is still super thin from all the past damage. Certain areas of my skin get red incredibly easily when it's too hot or too cold and this makes me very self conscious and embarrassed.
TLDR; had perfect skin in high school, went vegetarian for two years, got leaky gut and acne. used harsh chemicals and scrubbing to get rid of acne, just made skin irritated and thin. Been paleo for 4 months, wondering if skin can recover from damage and get thick and healthy again.
Sorry, this is so long, but has anyone had a similar experience and have any tips for me on how to get my skin back to the way it was? Is it possible for the skin to get thicker, despite all the scrubbing and chemical damage that it's sustained from the past? Are there any foods to eat to help skin get thicker (currently eating lots of bone broth, if that helps)? Just please, someone give me hope because it depresses me to look in the mirror and see this red, blotchy, uneven skin tone day after day. It's been four months and there hasn't really been much of a change. Skin feel and looks thin and I still do get mild breakouts ONLY in the areas where I've scrubbed/used the most chemicals on in the past. ex. forehead and cheeks are worst because that's where I used to slather on the most benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid. The sides of my face and my chin are as clear as day because I've almost never used acne products on those areas.
asked bypaleotarian (25)
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on June 09, 2013
at 01:28 PM
All I can tell you is too keep doing Paleo and maybe lower you're carb intake. I had a very similar scenario with rosacea. The first few weeks of switching to a whole foods diet and ditching processed foods and refined sugars, there was an immediate difference. After doing Paleo for months and avoid gluten and dairy like the plauge, It's pretty much entirely gone.
Here's a pic of me when my rosacea was at its worst:
And here's what I've got it back to today through strict Low carb and high fat paleo:
I was like you with the products though... I was tired of doctors telling me I just had dry fucking skin. None of them believed that there was a direct link between the gut and the skin. Most doctors I could even convince that there was a link between certain foods " especially carbohydrates" and skin. Sooner or later, I was just like fuck it. None of them have a damn I idea about gut health, rosacea, skin issues. To this day I'm surprised how drastically I've reduced my rosacea through diet. I honestly thought my skin was fucked for life and that almost ruined me. Now days I can even have sugar and certain foods that used to make me flush before paleo. I still try to avoid gluten on a regular basis. If I had a "cheat meal" like Mcdonalds lets say, It wouldn't make me flair or anything like that, but they say for people who are gluten sensitive it can damage the gut lining for up to six months.
My recommendation is to avoid gluten (and dairy for now) like the plauge. Reduced your carbs accordingly, Start eating all grass-fed meats. At least WILD CAUGHT fish once a day and you might wanna look into an omega-3 supplement. LOTS of veggies.(I eat up to 5-6 cups of broccoli a day with various other veggies. Healthy fats like avocado and coconut oil, extra-virgin olive oil. If you HAVE to do carbs, I recommend something like a sweet potato, but don't over do them.
Good luck to you. You can beat this. I'm amazed everyday how far I've come in terms of my rosacea through Paleo
on June 09, 2013
at 07:18 PM
This isn't acne specific, but Carlsons 5mg K2 will improve your skin overall. Your skin should actually feel smoother a day or two after you start taking it. It also makes some sense in that its one of those vitamin you would have missed by going vegetarian, and it is hard to get a lot even on paleo.