3

votes

Struggling with acne and just want good skin

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created December 10, 2011 at 7:09 PM

Hi there!

New to this community. Read a few topics and seems like there are a lot of knowledge on here.

I'm struggling with acne, soon 23 year old male. I breakout mostly on my lower cheeks/jawline and forehead.

I have tried Paleo before only eating fish, beef, vegetables and coconut oil. It first seemed to help a bit but I didn't get the results I was after.

I was thinking about trying again, but this time maybe put in some more starches that could improve my skin.

This is my shopping list so far (I have put an "?" on the things I'm not sure about, if it will help with my skin or just make it worse)

Salmon, Mackarel, Tuna

Grass fed beef, Grass fed lamb, Pork?, Chicken? Eggs (REALLY UNSURE OF THIS ONE?)

Cauliflower, Broccoli, Cabbage, Spinach. Yellow onions, Red onions. Olives? Sweet potatoes? Avocados?

Organic Coconut Oil, Organic Olive Oil?

I think I have an eating disorder due to my acne and fear of eating things I don't know for sure will cause me any new flarups. What should I add to the list to get the full spectrum of all vitamins and minerals I need?

I hope you can give me some great tips on foods that will do wonders for my skin. Last time I did Paleo I think I was to low on carbohydrates, so if ther are any good starches or similiar out there that I'm not aware of, please give a shout!

I would like to get most of my vitamins and minerals from food but I do take extra Zinc, Magnesium, Calcium, Vitamin E, Vitamin K2 and Vitamin D3 daily However it costs me a lot and I think it might be a better idea to put the money on more different foods?

What about fruits? Some say no no, some say OK cause they got much Vitamin C and other great antioxidants.

Thanks for your support

61848fb3934eb0f08abacf0b920bf81b

(225)

on December 31, 2012
at 08:44 PM

While diet is likely a major, its impossible to say that it is the only factor, or even the greatest single factor contributing to acne. Studies have linked acne to androgen, and the evidence for hormonal acne is overwhelming - Puberty, Birth control, HRT, MTF and FTM sex changes, menopause, steroid use all aggravate acne. If you have great skin from eating a certain way (Congrats BTW, I am jealous :) The best you can say is "This is what worked for me - YMMV" . And the only thing that acne sufferers today can do, is s try these one by one, hoping we stumble on the one that works for us.

61848fb3934eb0f08abacf0b920bf81b

(225)

on December 31, 2012
at 08:27 PM

I disagree Korion with not going to acne.org. While personally I tried and hated the products they sell(it made me break out worse than I had in years), the message boards and forums are generally helpful and well maintained. Sine you agree that theres no 1 cause of acne, it can't hurt to explore other non-diet related causes and acne.org would be my first stop.... I dont see why acne.org would make anyone worry more than paleohacks...

61848fb3934eb0f08abacf0b920bf81b

(225)

on December 31, 2012
at 08:26 PM

I disagree Korion with not going to acne.org. While personally I tried and hated the products they sell(it made me break out worse than I had in years), the message boards and forums are generally helpful and well maintained. Sine you agree that theres no 1 cause of acne, it hurt to explore other non-diet related causes and acne.org would be my first stop.... I dont see why acne.org would make anyone worry more than paleohacks...

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on December 11, 2011
at 09:34 AM

"likely to be primarily hormonal, and will only respond to dietary changes to a limited extent" The main reason why hormones are out of whack is diet (and stress), so I believe that phrase makes no sense. There's no 1 cause of acne... You are generalizing anecdotes.

76f3ead3aa977d876bcf3331d35a36e9

(4620)

on December 11, 2011
at 04:36 AM

Lemon juice = increased stomach acid = good control of gut bacteria + better digestion. Maybe?

B36613e945134be5813e6526f9a3a86c

(499)

on December 10, 2011
at 08:50 PM

I say testosterone is a culprit in serious acne because it's generally medically accepted. Yes, one can reject CW, but there's plenty of medical research on the connection between hormone levels and acne (starting with the observation of acne's general onset at puberty). Anecdotally, I've seen two friends go through transition from female to male, and when they started taking testosterone, both had fierce acne for months. See also: steroid users. My understanding is that more severe acne is likely to be primarily hormonal, and will only respond to dietary changes to a limited extent.

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on December 10, 2011
at 08:03 PM

That chart confirms every experiment I've done. Bookmarked.

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on December 10, 2011
at 07:50 PM

Don't agree. First off, never go to acne.org if you have acne : it will make you worry worry worry. Second, diet is extremely related to diet : my acne comes and goes based purely on what I eat, though stress seems to be important too. I also don't know why you say testosterone is the culprit. For me it was mostly gluten, insulin, omega 6, lack of fat-soluble vitamins and lack of anti-inflammatory foods (see coolinginflammation.blogspot.com/ to understand how to eat anti-inflammatory). I eat as much saturated fat as I can with every meal.

Frontpage book

Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!

9 Answers

5
9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on December 10, 2011
at 07:23 PM

My friend Christian has a useful acne troubleshooting chart on his blog. I am one of the rare people who never had acne before I did paleo and only suffered breakouts after I started eating this way. In my case I've pegged down the culprits to excessive iodine, calcium supplements, and excessive omega-6 from pork. I'm surprised that iodine wasn't on that chart, because for me taking too much kelp, eating A LOT of fish, and eating tons of seaweed is definitely a factor.

The best thing to do it trial one theory at a time, but during that time you can't stress out about breakouts, because they are part of the experiment. One thing you can do to rule out theories is look and see whether or not the skin surrounding the zits is dry or oily. Oily = more likely it's caused by inflammation. Dry= more likely it's caused by inhibition of skin cell shedding. Redness + dry= both.

There are also some interesting hacks on this thread.

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on December 10, 2011
at 08:03 PM

That chart confirms every experiment I've done. Bookmarked.

4
183f5c49a7a9548b6f5238d1f33cb35e

on December 10, 2011
at 08:34 PM

I too have suffered from terrible cystic acne since puberty. When I was 16 I was put on the pill (diane 35ed) to control the breakouts and it worked, so I stayed on the pill for 10 years. Decided to stop the pill in Feb 2010 and after getting off it, the horrible cystic acne returned - on the cheeks, jaw etc. Now after a couple of years of Paleo eating under my belt, it has cleared up wonderfully so this is what works for me -

  1. Avoid Nuts
  2. Avoid too much chicken and pork - chicken breast is fine if you cook it in copious amounts of coconut oil :D
  3. Alcohol causes me to break out
  4. Supplementing with zinc made a noticeable difference
  5. Stopped washing my face with any soaps/washes - only use water. Only use a teeny tiny bit of coconut oil to moisturise occasionally.
  6. Foundation/makeup only on special occasions a few times a year. The only daily makeup I wear nowadays is lipstick.
  7. NO DAIRY - this has been a biggie. Not even butter and ghee, strangely.
  8. Homemade probiotics like Kimchi, Sauerkraut, water kefir etc. I strongly believe that acne is tied to gut health.
  9. This might seem woo, but it REALLY WORKS - Every morning as soon as you wake up, drink the juice of 1 lemon squeezed into a tall glass of warm water. When I don't do this for a few days its noteceable. Anybody have any theories why this would work? I am not the only acne sufferer that does the lemon routine :)

Whew! I hope that helps a little! Acne sucks and I would not wish it upon anyone. If I get really stressed about something the above might not work at all and a few big lumps inevitably appear (right before a big event no doubt :(

76f3ead3aa977d876bcf3331d35a36e9

(4620)

on December 11, 2011
at 04:36 AM

Lemon juice = increased stomach acid = good control of gut bacteria + better digestion. Maybe?

3
318374167f4c3bf3ac0f13ce48211c75

(106)

on December 10, 2011
at 07:50 PM

You're not alone! I struggled with acne too before Paleo and the few things I discovered that work for me that may work for you are:

1.) NO DAIRY-if you're consuming any (ghee, butter, cream in coffee), please don't. that was the culprit for me

2.) no chicken or pork because they don't have as good an omega 6:omega 3 ratio. on occasion I will consume pastured, uncured pork belly which I drown in anti-inflammatory spices anyway. I read once the grease from bacon helps to improve skin too

3.) eggs and fruit are also on the list for poor omega 6:omega 3 ratio...despite whether or not you get your eggs pastured. Their ratio just isn't as good as, let's say, wild caught fish. But I found that consuming either one of these played a little role on my breakouts. but it could be something to consider for you. everybody is different.

4.) makeup...I'm a female and the makeup I was wearing was making my face breakout even after I cleaned up my diet. As soon as I switched over to Bare Minerals, my face cleared up and now I have smooth looking skin

5.) I only cook in avocado oil and coconut oil. Olive oil and nuts are another poor omega 6:omega 3 ratio food. I know what you mean by "having an eating disorder" because there are so many foods to stay away from. So look at what you can't live without and what you can change. Eggs was something I wasn't willing to part with it, maybe consume less, but not get rid of so the compromise was to cook only in coconut oil and avocado oil. besides olive oil really shouldn't be heated anyway because it oxides and creates toxins and you don't want to consume that-so it was a win-win

6.) grass fed meat...if you can afford it. it's a better option than conventional meat because of the higher omega-3 fatty acids which helps with inflammation.

7.) try not to stress over it...I know that's easier said than done, but stress and lack of sleep will cause your face to breakout even more. It's seriously true.

8.) make sure you're changing your towels and pillow cases often. My face will get red blemishes when I've been using the same bath towel for a while...it's an easy way to tell I need to change them. I also keep a separate towel just for my face and don't use the same one for my body.

9.) make sure your face is getting enough moisturizer...if not it'll get dry and I found my face to breakout more when it's dry. But look for a moisturizer with "clean" ingredients. you might pay more for it, but it's cheaper than purchasing Proactive. If you don't want to put bad stuff INTO your body, why do we want to put bad stuff ONTO our bodies as well?

Hope that helps! Good luck! Keep a log book and look for patterns...and remember give it time. Your body may have a lot of healing to do, it's OK....because you'll get there!

1
B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on December 10, 2011
at 08:02 PM

For me, everything but grass-fed beef, grass-fed offal, apple cider vinegar, wild fish, coconut oil, lemons, limes, vegetables, salt ... make my skin worse. Eating like this and supplementing with all fat-soluble vitamins + magnesium + cod liver oil cleared me up almost completely. It took 2 weeks to really improve, 4 months to get to a point where I don't think about my skin at all anymore.

A great resource that really changed my health is Bee's candida diet. Bee sounds a bit wacko from time to time, but her information is free and actually works wonders. I hope you're patient though, unless you're a steak lover like me (give me a good steak, some brussel sprouts and a lemon and I'm as happy as can be).

Oh, and sleep as much as you can :)

1
B36613e945134be5813e6526f9a3a86c

(499)

on December 10, 2011
at 07:22 PM

While I do have the best skin of my life on paleo, it's my understanding that serious acne is only moderately related to diet. Testosterone is your culprit, I believe, and the thing to do is see a dermatologist. But the people at acne.org will have detailed thoughts on what you can do with diet to improve your skin.

B36613e945134be5813e6526f9a3a86c

(499)

on December 10, 2011
at 08:50 PM

I say testosterone is a culprit in serious acne because it's generally medically accepted. Yes, one can reject CW, but there's plenty of medical research on the connection between hormone levels and acne (starting with the observation of acne's general onset at puberty). Anecdotally, I've seen two friends go through transition from female to male, and when they started taking testosterone, both had fierce acne for months. See also: steroid users. My understanding is that more severe acne is likely to be primarily hormonal, and will only respond to dietary changes to a limited extent.

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on December 10, 2011
at 07:50 PM

Don't agree. First off, never go to acne.org if you have acne : it will make you worry worry worry. Second, diet is extremely related to diet : my acne comes and goes based purely on what I eat, though stress seems to be important too. I also don't know why you say testosterone is the culprit. For me it was mostly gluten, insulin, omega 6, lack of fat-soluble vitamins and lack of anti-inflammatory foods (see coolinginflammation.blogspot.com/ to understand how to eat anti-inflammatory). I eat as much saturated fat as I can with every meal.

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on December 11, 2011
at 09:34 AM

"likely to be primarily hormonal, and will only respond to dietary changes to a limited extent" The main reason why hormones are out of whack is diet (and stress), so I believe that phrase makes no sense. There's no 1 cause of acne... You are generalizing anecdotes.

61848fb3934eb0f08abacf0b920bf81b

(225)

on December 31, 2012
at 08:27 PM

I disagree Korion with not going to acne.org. While personally I tried and hated the products they sell(it made me break out worse than I had in years), the message boards and forums are generally helpful and well maintained. Sine you agree that theres no 1 cause of acne, it can't hurt to explore other non-diet related causes and acne.org would be my first stop.... I dont see why acne.org would make anyone worry more than paleohacks...

61848fb3934eb0f08abacf0b920bf81b

(225)

on December 31, 2012
at 08:44 PM

While diet is likely a major, its impossible to say that it is the only factor, or even the greatest single factor contributing to acne. Studies have linked acne to androgen, and the evidence for hormonal acne is overwhelming - Puberty, Birth control, HRT, MTF and FTM sex changes, menopause, steroid use all aggravate acne. If you have great skin from eating a certain way (Congrats BTW, I am jealous :) The best you can say is "This is what worked for me - YMMV" . And the only thing that acne sufferers today can do, is s try these one by one, hoping we stumble on the one that works for us.

61848fb3934eb0f08abacf0b920bf81b

(225)

on December 31, 2012
at 08:26 PM

I disagree Korion with not going to acne.org. While personally I tried and hated the products they sell(it made me break out worse than I had in years), the message boards and forums are generally helpful and well maintained. Sine you agree that theres no 1 cause of acne, it hurt to explore other non-diet related causes and acne.org would be my first stop.... I dont see why acne.org would make anyone worry more than paleohacks...

0
F384f37edfc8f17857714f6ec9d1267e

on December 18, 2011
at 08:57 PM

I have been having some issues with worse acne but mine has coincided w/ birth control that i have started taking...altho i did not start putting 2 and 2 together until about a month or so ago. I believe acne is caused based on hormones (major part...as hormones are involved w/ everything), some diet and a lot to do w/ the products we use such as toothpaste, face wash etc. Try going to products that do not use all the chemicals and crap that we have come to know as normal these days like whitening toothpaste and shit face washes. I have gone to a baby shampoo/body wash for my face by California Baby and i use a cream by them as well. I'm researching now for a better toothpaste, brands i've heard that are great are Toms and brand by himilayan products. A great website to look at to see what the goods/bads are in products and what they may cause is cosmetic database. my yoga instructor turned me on to it and she also helped clue me in that the products i'm using probably were not helping with my issue.

I strongly believe tho, mine are first and foremost hormonal based since the worse happens that time of month. i'm pretty sure regardless in my change of diet, my hormones are way off due to my BCP. Im currently finishing up my last pack and then will be saying adios! i had my blood drawn and will be seeing a hormone specialist in the upcoming week so i can start to get it all hammered out!

Anyways, obv a BCP is not your issue, but hormones would be good to check as well as many of the products you use if your diet it spot on.

0
76f3ead3aa977d876bcf3331d35a36e9

(4620)

on December 11, 2011
at 04:48 AM

A few things that have helped for me:

  • Getting adequate vitamin A (liver or supplementation), along with D3 and K2
  • Good oral hygiene; flossing 2-3 times a week
  • No stress!
  • Avoiding eating fruit with protein/fat

I've personally found that as long as I'm getting adequate nutrients (magnesium, zinc, A/D/K, C, iodine), keeping PUFAS to a minimum, avoiding gluten completely, and keeping stress low, I can eat large amounts of fruit and full-fat dairy with no acne problems. But your mileage may vary, especially with the dairy.

0
384e538fff93a3e704b9630a060ef8d8

on December 10, 2011
at 09:10 PM

Hi Morning Rain,

I'm a female and struggled with acne since I was 15. I'm paleo for 3 months now and it is a bit of trial and error but what made my skin clear was: - no dairy at all (milk, cheese, sauce etc); - only fruit in the morning and mostly only blueberries, raspberries and sometimes a kiwi; - zinc, vitamine b; - cod liver oil; - no sugar; - I drink coconut water every day; - green tea and nettle tea; - no tomatoes, beans; - two spoons of coconut oil - I eat it directly out of the jar.

I now realise that the foods I thought to be healthy and loved f.e. cheese, whole grain bread, tomatoes made me brake out and the foods I avoided like pork are not the problem. And don't try to touch your face too much or treat it with agressive products. Eating paleo helps your body recover more easily. This is what works for me and the results were noticeable pretty soon (approx. 3 weeks). Nowadays people ask me which cream I use for my face, I reply: none! And they don't believe it.

I hope you will find your ideal mix soon; acne is terrible and you wish it to nobody.

All the best!

Answer Question


Get FREE instant access to our
Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!