Interesting question on acne. Let's discuss!

Answered on December 09, 2014
Created December 02, 2014 at 3:34 PM

So, food is certainly or can be a cause of acne issues, particularly in me I believe. Here's what I'm wondering. While I continue to start paleo (yesterday) and stick to fish, meat, vegetables and fruits, I wonder something: how can we objectively tell what makes skin "break out" or rash or acne out? 

If I eat, say, a sugary cheesecake on a Friday, and by Sunday I've got acne break out, would that be indication that cheesecake is the culprit? In other words, how long does it take for acne to sprout after eating the food in which gives you acne? Is it dependable and not really concrete, or otherwise?

Please discuss!

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2 Answers


on December 09, 2014
at 09:49 PM

There may not be a good answer to your question, OP. There is no set window of time for a blemish to appear. Here's my acne detective story:

I discovered my acne triggers and my acne time frame(s) by years of painstaking trial and error. I eventually had to keep a diary of my food consumption and compare it to when I had breakouts and when I didn't.

My triggers were seafood, dairy, and later gluten. Zits took two weeks to appear after each exposure and kept coming until week 4. Going paleo took care of my acne, but only for a year or two.

As my low-carb diet starved out my remaining carbohydrate-digesting gut flora, my acne slowly came back and finally walloped me when I had my hormonal IUD removed. I was at a loss. I wasn't consuming my trigger foods. What was happening?! It turns out food was not the real problem this time. 

Food was never the problem. It was a systemic inflammation issue the entire time. My gut flora got decimated when I lived in the devoloping world and got treated for round after round of diarrhea. My adult acne problems started on that trip and never stopped until I reseeded my gut flora SEVEN YEARS LATER. That was a long seven years filled with health problems that went far beyond acne.

So historically my acne has taken 2-4 weeks to appear. Now that I've healed my gut, I'll get zits on my scalp within a day if I use my favorite hairspray. I guess what I'm trying to say here is that everyone's trigger-to-zit window is going to be different, and will vary over time and with a person's underlying health conditions. Sadly, there is no answer to your question! Good luck on your acne-killing journey.



on December 02, 2014
at 11:22 PM

You'll probably get some answers like "X makes me break out within X hours". 

But there's a few pimples here and there vs. severe cases of acne--the entire face, neck, back and chest covered with pimples and blackheads for an extended period of time.  A certain food may cause a person to break out with a few pimples. 

Tee latter type of acne is usually the result of a metabolic disorder.  I had them in my youth and my daughter does, too.  We also have PCOS with siginficant insulin resistance and excess androgens, which are the root cause of the more systemic acne.  It wasn't the elimination of a particular food that helped, but reducing insulin resistance and improving my overall metabolism.  I had continued issues with acne (not as severe as in my youth) until I adopted a Paleo diet.  I was in my 50's!

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