My son is ten years old, in excellent health, and eats a real food but not strictly paleo diet *some grains, corn tortillas, cheese, milk. Neolithic Dad isn't supporting the change for anyone but me. My son has had several outbreaks of acne looking rash plus tiny blackheads on his cheeks and nose. So far I have him wash gently, use witch-hazel, and apply homemade organic drawing salve. Neolithic Dad says he's just getting ready to be a teen, and that I will have to buy him acne medication when he gets older. *ARRRGH, I hate that attitude. I don't think this is normal for his age group. I have taught 10/11 year olds for nearly 20 years, and though they are entering puberty much earlier now, I don't recall seeing anyone with pimples at this age. I get NO support from dad for switching to raw milk or cutting dairy out altogether. All the crap doctors and pe teachers told me in my teen years avoid fats for example is obviously not good advice. Where do I start to find out what is causing this problem and try to alleviate it? Add cod liver oil? My son will work with me on this, but I have no idea what is healthiest for paleo tweens.
asked bySusy (40)
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on June 08, 2013
at 08:25 AM
My sister started getting severe acne about age 8 or 9 years old and it continued being severe for over 20 years. Honestly, through high school I have never seen anyone with skin as bad as hers, it wasn't just her face by then, it was down her back, her chest and her arms. She tried every medical treatment going, including Accutane - nothing touched the huge cystic bumps that were all over her.
Shes now 34 years old and about a year ago decided to reduce the carbs in her diet - she hasn't gone paleo (although she was inspired to look at her diet by me doing the paleo thing!), she's just cut down drastically on the usual suspects of sugar, bread, potatoes, pasta, rice etc. and replaced them on her plate with veg. For the first time in her adult life her skin is TOTALLY CLEAR!
She now knows that if she wants to eat a piece of bread/cake/whatever she'll pay for it with a few zits, and sometimes its worth it to her to enjoy that treat... But she is literally able to make the decision for herself and control her skin.
Sadly she still has a lot of scars and will always be self conscious in low-cut or strappy tops...
Anyway in answer to your question, I'm wondering if you could maybe control your sons blood sugar more (I think that was the key for my sister) by reducing his carbohydrate, or maybe eliminate different foods until you find a trigger one, that it might prevent the decades of misery my sister had to go through.
on June 10, 2013
at 03:05 AM
Thanks everyone! I really appreciate the feedback. Makes me feel like MY TRIBE is helping~
on June 08, 2013
at 06:42 PM
I started getting Acne around age 13, and I'm in my 30's now. It took me years to figure out what helps and what makes it flare up. I was prescribed antibiotics (which did not help) and later Accutane, (which helped some). I hate to see any child or teen suffer with this, especially when there are some fairly simple changes that can be made to alleviate most of the problem, if not totally eliminate it. It can definitely cause some permanent scars after several years, but I was relatively fortunate regarding that.
Acne is mostly about digestion, hormones, and getting the right amounts of certain nutrients. Many teens have a horrible diet, so if your son is eating real foods, it's definitely a good start. Sodas and deep fried foods, like fast food and chips, pastries are absolutely the worst thing for Acne. You have the triple whammy of refined carbs, omega 6 fats, and a food that is pretty empty, nutrient wise.
Quite a few people eating a relatively healthy diet are still lacking in certain vitamins and minerals. Especially vitamins, A, D, K2, choline, and magnesium, zinc, and potassium. Sometimes vitamin C also. It just so happens that most of these are very important for skin health, among other things. As you mentioned, cod liver oil is great for vitamins A & D. If he is active and outdoors a lot, getting a lot of sunshine, you will probably want to hold off on that, since he is getting Vitamin D from the sun. Unless he eats egg yolks or liver, he is most likely deficient in choline. I highly recommend 2 egg yolks every day, or liver 1-2x a week if he is willing. Vitamin K2 is found in liver and egg yolks as well, also cheese, beef and chicken. Zinc is very important for skin health, and unless he is eating red meat several times a week or oysters or liver occasionally, he's probably not getting enough. You may want to consider a Zinc supplement as well. For vitamin C and potassium, fruits and vegetables. Oranges and bananas being among the most nutrient dense of the popular fruits. Cooked broccoli and leafy greens on the vegetable side of things.
So, supplements you may want to consider: (depending on what he is eating and willing to eat)
Cod Liver Oil (Vitamin A & D) Only use if he is not getting Vit D from the sun.
Zinc Picolinate - for skin elasticity, healing, immune system health (20-25 mg daily)
Vitamin A (Now Foods Vitamin A 25000 IU) 1 pill 3 times a week (if not taking cod liver oil)
Magnesium Glycinate (200-400mg daily)
Vitamin K2 (Jarrow Formulas MK-7) 1 a day
Probiotics may also be needed. I was put on a lot of antibiotics as a boy, and was never given probiotics to regrow the good gut bacteria afterwards. I think this contributed significantly to my poor gut health and acne issues, as a teen. Even if he has not had antibiotic treatments often, he may still have an overgrowth of bad bacteria contributing to the issue.
As was mentioned already, depending on his activity levels, he may be on a carb heavy diet, and that could be a contributing factor. It would be a good idea to play around with fat, carb, and protein ratios to see what works best for him. Personally, low carb and high carb don't work for me. I need close to an even amount of all 3, but people vary quite a bit, so you will have to experiment.
It is also possible that the grains and or dairy are not agreeing with him and causing some inflammation, but I really believe that most healthy people are able to tolerate those in moderation. If experimenting with what I have already mentioned does nothing. It's really worth stopping the grains and dairy for a month to see what happens. He may need to heal his gut and then may be able to eat those things again, later on.
Best wishes, and hope you can get dad on board eventually as well.
on June 08, 2013
at 04:42 PM
My kids, both now teens, used to have small whiteheads all over their cheeks starting when they were 10-11. I thought it was sugar so made them cut it out and it helped a little. Only when we discovered that i was a celiac last year and we cut out gluten at home did all the whiteheads went away. My daughter then started snacking on raw almonds all the time (.5 lb per day due to constant snacking) and started breaking out again but on her forehead, in addition to keeping her heavy despite lots of athletic activity. Recently she finally cut out all almonds and the zits on her forehead went away and she's lost weight pretty effortlessly on mostly Paleo.
Now when they eat lots of junky foods with sugar and gluten or is under lots of stress (usually during finals/testing season), they will break out some but everything clears up within a couple of weeks or so. Conclusion: avoid sugar, too much sweets, gluten, and too much nuts, if you are allergic. Some people say that milk causes acne but this has not been true for either of my kids. I would try to eliminate some of the highly allergenic foods, starting with sugar and gluten, to see if your son's skin improves.