4

votes

Zero Carb for the skin?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created September 25, 2011 at 4:18 PM

What has been the effect of zero carb on your skin?

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on March 31, 2012
at 03:03 PM

I should have listened to you earlier, Cliff. My skin isn't perfect yet, but since trying out lots of Ray Peat's stuff it's better than it has ever been.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on October 31, 2011
at 04:19 PM

I'm still taking iodine.

3c6b4eed18dc57f746755b698426e7c8

(5147)

on October 31, 2011
at 03:34 PM

Snake-like dry skin that started peeling. This was limited to my feet. As soon as I added some starch, this disappeared. To this day, if I go without starch accidentally, dry, snake-like skin returns in a hurry.

2870a69b9c0c0a19a919e54cb3a62137

(1520)

on October 31, 2011
at 02:41 PM

I should have said low carb then, as I was thinking in paleo terms and that also seems to bring on good results long term. Zero carb is a more therapeutic version of low carb, but of course it's not as "conventional" as a high sugar diet. You report you can cause breakouts by lowering vitamin A, others report they can cause them by increasing carbs over 50g. We can't factor in all variables why some people don't do well while others do on specific diets, but the fact is that low carb high fat works extremely well for many that commit to it.

2870a69b9c0c0a19a919e54cb3a62137

(1520)

on October 31, 2011
at 02:40 PM

I should have said low carb then, as I was thinking in paleo terms and that also seems to bring on good results long term. ZC may be more therapeutic, but of course it's not as "conventional" as a high sugar diet. You report you can cause breakouts by lowering vitamin A, others report they can cause them by increasing carbs over 50g. We can't factor in all variables why some people don't do well while others do on specific diets, but the fact is that low carb high fat works extremely well for many that commit to it.

E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on October 31, 2011
at 02:29 PM

zc seems to mess most people up. I would hardly call my approach unconventional compared to zc.

2870a69b9c0c0a19a919e54cb3a62137

(1520)

on October 31, 2011
at 02:20 PM

Yes, I meant accutane. Well, it's all relative - to me 150g seems fairly high and a pound of liver is more than I eat in a week. Your approach seems unconventional, it's very hard to compare to a ZC approach that also yields good results for many. For me, better skin was just one of the positive side effects, not the goal.

E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on October 31, 2011
at 01:56 PM

cod liver oil has too many pufas imo. Reducing pufa load is key to clearing up acne in my experience.

E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on October 31, 2011
at 01:54 PM

i would be careful with too much seaweed as its petty easy to OD iodine. Broda barnes say the only way to accurately test thyroid function is with body temperature, you want it to be 97.6 upon waking and 98.6-99 around mid day after eating. if its lower you are most likely hypothyroid.

E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on October 31, 2011
at 01:48 PM

I've tried fairly low carb(~150g) with pretty bad results. Adderal is an amphtamine, do you mean accutane? Accutane isn't vit A, its a retinol derivative that only occurs in small amounts in the body. I have to take such a large dose of vit A because I'm likely depleted from chronically low intakes my whole life and I went vit A deficient on a vegan diet. A pound of liver has 76k iu so I would hardly call it a higher than average dose, it depends what your definition of average is.

2870a69b9c0c0a19a919e54cb3a62137

(1520)

on October 31, 2011
at 01:31 PM

Sure it's not everything, there are hormones and whatnot involved as well. This is where the hormonal effects of low carb come into play. You eat a lot of sugar and I know you advocate carbs everywhere, something I don't agree with. Have you ever tried a similar approach but on low carb, and then reduced vitamin A? It sounds weird to have to take much higher doses than average permanently, like a symptomatic treatment. Adderal ist just a retinol derivate as well after all, only that one has major side effects.

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on October 31, 2011
at 01:26 PM

I thought about thyroid issues and am now including more iodine (from seaweed) and selenium in my diet. I already take vitamin A (in cod liver oil), but I'm curious about the thermometer stuff : what's that all about? What exactly should I do?

E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on October 31, 2011
at 01:15 PM

reducing endotoxin load probably helps a lot but i don't think the whole gut health/flora thing really makes a big difference unless you have some serious gut problems. I can cause myself to break out by just drastically decreasing my vit A intake.

E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on October 31, 2011
at 01:03 PM

@korion- in my experience enough sugar to keep metabolism high and adequate nutrients(especially retinol) is the best way to permanently rid yourself of acne. Starch and vegetables will probably make it worse in the long run. Get a thermometer and get your temp up-to 98.6 after a meal and experiment with with vit a intakes(i take 50k iu personally but you can take all he way upto 100k iu if you get enough D&K.)

E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on October 31, 2011
at 12:57 PM

@cody- you have to eat all the glandulars and organs of animals, this is how the eskimos do it. they aren't even zc though, zc is a modern day experiment.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 31, 2011
at 12:43 PM

Interesting for Iodine. Didn't you say you stopped using it ?

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 31, 2011
at 12:42 PM

Probably your thyroid slowing down. I wish someone would give us the low-down on when/how to do zero carb and how to keep the thyroid humming along while doing it...

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 31, 2011
at 12:40 PM

No, no positive changes.

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on October 31, 2011
at 12:28 PM

Same experience, unfortunately. First month was fine, now my skin is more inflamed every day.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on October 05, 2011
at 01:42 PM

Thanks for the tip, Korion. I do, though -- MK-7.

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on October 05, 2011
at 10:13 AM

I never go high protein honestly. Too expensive. And an update : my chin's skin has improved a lot during the 6 days of ZC. My stools are very loose though. I lose more fat, but apart from that there's nothing that changed.

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on October 05, 2011
at 10:11 AM

Ambimorph, do you supplement k2? I heard it may help with rosacea ...

41dfb1a4fecb38d24075ff52f13ccb28

on September 25, 2011
at 11:40 PM

When I was ZC, I ate braunschweiger here and there, but not on any consistent basis. Once a month or less.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 25, 2011
at 11:07 PM

I wonder how many zero carbers actually ate organ meat? Did you eat organ meat?

26b7615ef542394102785a67a2786867

(7967)

on September 25, 2011
at 07:59 PM

Same for me (well, I don't eat much fruit, but my acne didn't resolve until I went from VLC to moderate carb paleo).

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on September 25, 2011
at 05:53 PM

I only figured it out when the flushing started getting more frequent and more intense, and looked that up as a symptom in its own right. I rarely flush now, but the redness remains.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on September 25, 2011
at 05:50 PM

Mine definitely worsens with high coffee intake (even if it's decaf) but doesn't go away if I remove caffeine completely. It took me a long time to diagnose it, because I wasn't aware of the existence of it, and since I've always been sun-sensitive, I assumed for a long time that I was getting repeated, slow-to-heal sunburn.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on September 25, 2011
at 05:50 PM

My definitely worsens with high coffee intake (even if it's decaf) but doesn't go away if I remove caffeine completely. It took me a long time to diagnose it, because I wasn't aware of the existence of it, and since I've always been sun-sensitive, I assumed for a long time that I was getting repeated, slow-to-heal sunburn.

0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on September 25, 2011
at 05:36 PM

I think there is a big difference between a zero or low carb diet that is high in fat or one that is high in protein. I think my years of low carbbing the first time around did not do good things to my skin because I was taking in high levels of protein. This time I am going to focus on making fat my primary fuel. I suspect that will work better. We'll see.

0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on September 25, 2011
at 05:34 PM

This is interesting to me. I have a similar type of redness that is unaffected by macros in diet it seems. Coffee does not do good things to it though.

1d9af5db8833413037be3ac48964714f

(3789)

on September 25, 2011
at 05:14 PM

My diet is pretty normal within the paleo range, including eggs (while and yolk). I do have some whole and fermented dairy as I seem to tolerate it fine. I tend to randomly cycle carbs from high-ish (plenty of starchy tubers) to VLC.

6b365c14c646462210f3ef6b6fecace1

(1784)

on September 25, 2011
at 05:08 PM

oh, my skin cleared up with the added starches - BABY BUTT SMOOTH!

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on September 25, 2011
at 05:06 PM

Thanks, David, for your input! I've been thinking about this since I started paleo, I though fiber was important for acne. Just a question : what do you eat, do you eat eggs, do you eat egg whites? Did you do VLC too?

6229cd9a7ca9882590259fae022e2647

(3209)

on September 25, 2011
at 04:49 PM

You definitely don't look 48! I'd have put you maybe at 40.

  • B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

    asked by

    (8938)
  • Views
    5.1K
  • Last Activity
    1285D AGO
Frontpage book

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

9 Answers

5
100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on September 25, 2011
at 05:24 PM

It's a bit complicated for me. First, I've had rosacea since before going ZC, and that got a bit better, but isn't cured, and I'm not really sure whether the improvement was ZC related or coincidence. Second, after over a year and a half ZC I started having very dry skin, especially on the backs of my hands. After a couple of months I started taking iodine and it cleared up.

So in sum, I don't feel ZC changed my skin. I didn't fix my only real skin complaint, and the dryness problem I had came way later, and was resolved independently of ZC.

Edit: I guess I should add that I've never had an acne problem, so I can't speak to that. The rosacea symptoms for me were not the acne/bumpy kind, but rather hot facial flushing and the skin turning red in colour as if sunburned. My skin texture is still soft and smooth despite all of this.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on September 25, 2011
at 05:53 PM

I only figured it out when the flushing started getting more frequent and more intense, and looked that up as a symptom in its own right. I rarely flush now, but the redness remains.

0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on September 25, 2011
at 05:34 PM

This is interesting to me. I have a similar type of redness that is unaffected by macros in diet it seems. Coffee does not do good things to it though.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on September 25, 2011
at 05:50 PM

My definitely worsens with high coffee intake (even if it's decaf) but doesn't go away if I remove caffeine completely. It took me a long time to diagnose it, because I wasn't aware of the existence of it, and since I've always been sun-sensitive, I assumed for a long time that I was getting repeated, slow-to-heal sunburn.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on September 25, 2011
at 05:50 PM

Mine definitely worsens with high coffee intake (even if it's decaf) but doesn't go away if I remove caffeine completely. It took me a long time to diagnose it, because I wasn't aware of the existence of it, and since I've always been sun-sensitive, I assumed for a long time that I was getting repeated, slow-to-heal sunburn.

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on October 05, 2011
at 10:11 AM

Ambimorph, do you supplement k2? I heard it may help with rosacea ...

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on October 05, 2011
at 01:42 PM

Thanks for the tip, Korion. I do, though -- MK-7.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on October 31, 2011
at 04:19 PM

I'm still taking iodine.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 31, 2011
at 12:43 PM

Interesting for Iodine. Didn't you say you stopped using it ?

5
1d9af5db8833413037be3ac48964714f

on September 25, 2011
at 04:45 PM

I do low-ish carb paleo/primal, not zero carb.

There have been significant skin benefits. I no longer have acne. I no longer have dandruff. I've been told I look younger (I'm 48).

6229cd9a7ca9882590259fae022e2647

(3209)

on September 25, 2011
at 04:49 PM

You definitely don't look 48! I'd have put you maybe at 40.

1d9af5db8833413037be3ac48964714f

(3789)

on September 25, 2011
at 05:14 PM

My diet is pretty normal within the paleo range, including eggs (while and yolk). I do have some whole and fermented dairy as I seem to tolerate it fine. I tend to randomly cycle carbs from high-ish (plenty of starchy tubers) to VLC.

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on September 25, 2011
at 05:06 PM

Thanks, David, for your input! I've been thinking about this since I started paleo, I though fiber was important for acne. Just a question : what do you eat, do you eat eggs, do you eat egg whites? Did you do VLC too?

4
6b365c14c646462210f3ef6b6fecace1

(1784)

on September 25, 2011
at 05:07 PM

I was a former ZC'er and it messed me up big time. My skin dried out (also became puffy and inflamed), I had horrible sleep, and I was depressed. It was also not poo friendly either :-(

This all manifested in a matter of a few months. I quit after seeing all these symptoms manifest and have introduced a copious amount of safe starches back into my diet. I leaned out and feel happier overall :o)

I wouldn't recommend ZC, but who knows, it may work for you. Give it a shot.

Though I'm curious to know what your agenda is.

6b365c14c646462210f3ef6b6fecace1

(1784)

on September 25, 2011
at 05:08 PM

oh, my skin cleared up with the added starches - BABY BUTT SMOOTH!

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on October 31, 2011
at 12:28 PM

Same experience, unfortunately. First month was fine, now my skin is more inflamed every day.

3c6b4eed18dc57f746755b698426e7c8

(5147)

on October 31, 2011
at 03:34 PM

Snake-like dry skin that started peeling. This was limited to my feet. As soon as I added some starch, this disappeared. To this day, if I go without starch accidentally, dry, snake-like skin returns in a hurry.

3
3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on October 31, 2011
at 01:36 PM

I can't say my skin has changed very much in the 2+ years I've been ZC/XLC. Of course, I'm a middle-aged woman, so no change is a good thing from my perspective. I do tend to get dry skin in the winter, but that's been going on for years, and is largely a function of being in furnace-heated air all the time, I believe.

Eating higher-fat (I naturally settle at around 65% fat, but can bump it up to around 75% with some concerted effort--80% is really hard) seems to have a slightly beneficial effect, and not just on my skin, but on overall health and energy. But it requires a lot of effort, and the small benefits are offset by the fact that I usually have to go to dairy to get that kind of fat, and that gives me mild stomach pains.

3
41dfb1a4fecb38d24075ff52f13ccb28

on September 25, 2011
at 08:44 PM

When I was ZC, my skin looked the best it ever has. It was positively glowing.

But at the same time I was ZC, I was also:

  1. Off dairy
  2. Eating a lot of fat
  3. Living somewhere with well water
  4. Living somewhere with a water softening system

So, was it ZC? Was it no dairy/gluten? Was it the well water? It's kind of hard for me to put my finger on just one.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 25, 2011
at 11:07 PM

I wonder how many zero carbers actually ate organ meat? Did you eat organ meat?

41dfb1a4fecb38d24075ff52f13ccb28

on September 25, 2011
at 11:40 PM

When I was ZC, I ate braunschweiger here and there, but not on any consistent basis. Once a month or less.

2
93ae9f2d376e5426e891a9b58d8302fa

(2936)

on October 31, 2011
at 01:25 PM

I've got a sebaceous cyst on my shoulder that's looking more unsightly now that I've lost weight. What's the paleo way to bring it to a head so it drains as a boil?

EDIT:

I'm nearly zero-carb, I'm told I look like I've regressed ten years, but every time I neglect my grey beard, the kids at McDonald's still automatically give me the senior discount on morning coffee.

Being that it's morning right now, don't ask how I look. Please, never ask in the mornings.

2
2870a69b9c0c0a19a919e54cb3a62137

(1520)

on October 31, 2011
at 01:06 PM

All in all my skin is very clear on ZC, but it's not 100% stable yet after a few weeks. My theory is that acne is a reflection of gut health and flora, and going zero carb causes gut flora to reduce greatly, which may also be the cause of loose stools in the first days of ZC. Then it could take a while, maybe months, for it to adjust to a carnivorous flora, and for the intestine to heal if that is a factor.

There could be a chance that if meals aren't properly digested (due to low stomach acid for example), unfavorable flora and inflammation result.

Gelatin might shift the amino acid balance towards a less inflammatory one and aid collagen formation. Zero Carb is a formality sind it might make sense to include liver and yolks for Vitamin A, choline etc, and those will contain small amounts of carbs.

A mineral supplement might be a good idea if you're not drinking mineral rich water. Also other supplements like iodine/selenium as mentioned on perfecthealthdiet.com.

E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on October 31, 2011
at 01:15 PM

reducing endotoxin load probably helps a lot but i don't think the whole gut health/flora thing really makes a big difference unless you have some serious gut problems. I can cause myself to break out by just drastically decreasing my vit A intake.

2870a69b9c0c0a19a919e54cb3a62137

(1520)

on October 31, 2011
at 01:31 PM

Sure it's not everything, there are hormones and whatnot involved as well. This is where the hormonal effects of low carb come into play. You eat a lot of sugar and I know you advocate carbs everywhere, something I don't agree with. Have you ever tried a similar approach but on low carb, and then reduced vitamin A? It sounds weird to have to take much higher doses than average permanently, like a symptomatic treatment. Adderal ist just a retinol derivate as well after all, only that one has major side effects.

2870a69b9c0c0a19a919e54cb3a62137

(1520)

on October 31, 2011
at 02:20 PM

Yes, I meant accutane. Well, it's all relative - to me 150g seems fairly high and a pound of liver is more than I eat in a week. Your approach seems unconventional, it's very hard to compare to a ZC approach that also yields good results for many. For me, better skin was just one of the positive side effects, not the goal.

2870a69b9c0c0a19a919e54cb3a62137

(1520)

on October 31, 2011
at 02:40 PM

I should have said low carb then, as I was thinking in paleo terms and that also seems to bring on good results long term. ZC may be more therapeutic, but of course it's not as "conventional" as a high sugar diet. You report you can cause breakouts by lowering vitamin A, others report they can cause them by increasing carbs over 50g. We can't factor in all variables why some people don't do well while others do on specific diets, but the fact is that low carb high fat works extremely well for many that commit to it.

E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on October 31, 2011
at 01:48 PM

I've tried fairly low carb(~150g) with pretty bad results. Adderal is an amphtamine, do you mean accutane? Accutane isn't vit A, its a retinol derivative that only occurs in small amounts in the body. I have to take such a large dose of vit A because I'm likely depleted from chronically low intakes my whole life and I went vit A deficient on a vegan diet. A pound of liver has 76k iu so I would hardly call it a higher than average dose, it depends what your definition of average is.

E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on October 31, 2011
at 02:29 PM

zc seems to mess most people up. I would hardly call my approach unconventional compared to zc.

2870a69b9c0c0a19a919e54cb3a62137

(1520)

on October 31, 2011
at 02:41 PM

I should have said low carb then, as I was thinking in paleo terms and that also seems to bring on good results long term. Zero carb is a more therapeutic version of low carb, but of course it's not as "conventional" as a high sugar diet. You report you can cause breakouts by lowering vitamin A, others report they can cause them by increasing carbs over 50g. We can't factor in all variables why some people don't do well while others do on specific diets, but the fact is that low carb high fat works extremely well for many that commit to it.

2
Ef4c5b09fdccf73be575d3a0c267fdd9

(2539)

on September 25, 2011
at 06:25 PM

ZC helped my acne somewhat but then I got dandruff. Both went away with starches and fruits.

26b7615ef542394102785a67a2786867

(7967)

on September 25, 2011
at 07:59 PM

Same for me (well, I don't eat much fruit, but my acne didn't resolve until I went from VLC to moderate carb paleo).

0
B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on October 31, 2011
at 12:30 PM

Just like Sunshine, my skin got worse on ZC. The first few days gave me some zits, though that stopped when cutting out eggs. After 3 weeks, nothing had changed. Suddenly my skin started to look a tiny bit worse every day (more inflamed). Now I'm going to shop for veggies, and maybe try some starch if that doesn't do enough.

Thank you all for your input.

E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on October 31, 2011
at 01:54 PM

i would be careful with too much seaweed as its petty easy to OD iodine. Broda barnes say the only way to accurately test thyroid function is with body temperature, you want it to be 97.6 upon waking and 98.6-99 around mid day after eating. if its lower you are most likely hypothyroid.

E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on October 31, 2011
at 01:56 PM

cod liver oil has too many pufas imo. Reducing pufa load is key to clearing up acne in my experience.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 31, 2011
at 12:42 PM

Probably your thyroid slowing down. I wish someone would give us the low-down on when/how to do zero carb and how to keep the thyroid humming along while doing it...

E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on October 31, 2011
at 01:03 PM

@korion- in my experience enough sugar to keep metabolism high and adequate nutrients(especially retinol) is the best way to permanently rid yourself of acne. Starch and vegetables will probably make it worse in the long run. Get a thermometer and get your temp up-to 98.6 after a meal and experiment with with vit a intakes(i take 50k iu personally but you can take all he way upto 100k iu if you get enough D&K.)

E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on October 31, 2011
at 12:57 PM

@cody- you have to eat all the glandulars and organs of animals, this is how the eskimos do it. they aren't even zc though, zc is a modern day experiment.

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on October 31, 2011
at 01:26 PM

I thought about thyroid issues and am now including more iodine (from seaweed) and selenium in my diet. I already take vitamin A (in cod liver oil), but I'm curious about the thermometer stuff : what's that all about? What exactly should I do?

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on March 31, 2012
at 03:03 PM

I should have listened to you earlier, Cliff. My skin isn't perfect yet, but since trying out lots of Ray Peat's stuff it's better than it has ever been.

Answer Question


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