1

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Does anyone have experience healing acne with paleo? What did you do/add/remove from your diet to help?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created February 19, 2012 at 9:52 PM

Hi everyone,

My 18 year old brother is living with us for his freshman year in college. He eats a kind of SAD/paleo mixed diet. He came to us in July 2011 at 5'9.5", 145, skinny fat, eating loads of pasteurized milk, 2 double chocolate chip muffins a day, loads of pepsi, shit sleep, and playing videos games all night long hunched over in a chair. He thought we were trying to starve him by not having milk in the house, which was hilarious, but within a month, he was down to 125, posture much better from not playing video games all night, and his acne, which was pretty bad and cystic when he arrived, was gone. He was still eating a bagel with cream cheese and a redbull every morning, but was getting sun, exercise and good paleo dinners, though having crap lunches, macaroni and cheese, pizza like twice a week (ah, youth).

The acne stayed gone until he got a job at this organic grassfed burger joint (perfect for us to pilfer all of the lettuce wrapped burgers we want), but that also has all organic grassfed milkshakes (though pasteurized), and he has like 2 of them per shift, and it was around that time when his acne came back. He was fine with his conventional cream cheese every morning - could it be the lactose in the milk used to make the shakes? I advised him to cut back on the wheat and the dairy again, but he is very resistant, but the acne has come back. He recently started taking vitamin D, but takes no other supplements. Another thing that changed around the same time was that he stopped working out with my husband because of his school and work schedule - has anyone noticed that working out can help acne?

I have heard zinc supplementation helps - does it? He came to me today to ask about it, and I told him to cut the wheat and the pasteurized dairy (we have an A2 raw milk/dairy source now), and I know the cosmetic things that helped heal my adult acne, pre-paleo, but it wasn't as bad, so I think I can help him out a bit in there, but I would love to know an internal approach can or has helped any others.

He agrees with everything we tell him about paleo, but he just doesn't think he has to put it into practice until he is "grown up".

Thanks!!

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on February 21, 2012
at 04:36 PM

I do the K2 at two drops per day. It is a minuscule amount. The bottle will last for months for sure. I haven't calculated it out yet. Two drops is indeed the serving, though. Super small amount but it works for me.

363d0a0277a8b61ada3a24ab3ad85d5a

(4642)

on February 21, 2012
at 04:34 PM

Hi Franco, thanks for the answer. He does still have plenty of processed foods along with the dairy, I wish I could get him to change up his diet, maybe over time, or maybe he will get sick of the acne enough to want to try a change.

363d0a0277a8b61ada3a24ab3ad85d5a

(4642)

on February 21, 2012
at 04:32 PM

Thanks for the answer. I think it is dairy, and I told him to at least try to cut back. His shifts have been cut since his new semester started, so that will cut back the pasteurized dairy, but not so much on the wheat, which might not be a problem for him (yet).

363d0a0277a8b61ada3a24ab3ad85d5a

(4642)

on February 21, 2012
at 04:21 PM

Thanks for the link Beth, and thanks for the note Paul. I definitely think it is a dairy issue for him, but I also don't know if less exercise and other changes that happened since he got his job and started school at the same time.

363d0a0277a8b61ada3a24ab3ad85d5a

(4642)

on February 21, 2012
at 04:20 PM

Thanks April. I gave him some zinc to start on yesterday, and keep trying to talk to him about food sensitivities, and how they can manifest in different ways but he can't imagine what he could possibly eat if not his morning bagel.. I will keep trying though. Hopefully the supplementation helps too.

363d0a0277a8b61ada3a24ab3ad85d5a

(4642)

on February 21, 2012
at 04:18 PM

Thanks Ben, I have him on D3 and he just added in zinc, but I will have him add the K2 and see if that can help him. I keep talking to him about cutting out foods, and that is just a no go, so I hope this helps!

35a8b223ae5d863f17a8c9e3a8eed5eb

(571)

on February 20, 2012
at 09:56 PM

If you ate 100 % dairy free then you should've introduced it slowly. Eating lots (vengeance) of butter will create problems. Stricter diets can cause food intolerances.

287f839a2cda0b29ba9c2d6b993840ba

(289)

on February 20, 2012
at 04:31 PM

Have been thinking about K2, how long does a bottle last you (at what dose per day)? Thanks.

35a8b223ae5d863f17a8c9e3a8eed5eb

(571)

on February 20, 2012
at 02:54 PM

Mat Lalonde gets zits when he consumes dairy. This is just a personal anecdote.

35a8b223ae5d863f17a8c9e3a8eed5eb

(571)

on February 20, 2012
at 02:53 PM

Does your brother eat liver? There is no need give up dairy as long as he balances it with retinol. I got this idea from Dr. Ray Peat. It's easier to convince him when you allow him some foods he likes and milk should be the last one to sacrifice.

35a8b223ae5d863f17a8c9e3a8eed5eb

(571)

on February 20, 2012
at 02:51 PM

Does your brother eat liver? There is no need give up dairy as long as he balances it with retinol. I got this idea from Dr. Ray Peat. It's easier to convince him when you allow him some foods he likes and milk should be the last one to sacrifice.

7dc950fc76a046048e683d2a27dced37

on February 19, 2012
at 11:26 PM

If he gets serious, might be worth checking out Cordain's book (http://thepaleodiet.com/dietary-cure-for-acne-book). I suspect the less NADs you eat, the better your results!

363d0a0277a8b61ada3a24ab3ad85d5a

(4642)

on February 19, 2012
at 11:08 PM

Haha that is the same line I gave him (about the cute girl.. or guy lol). He is a creature of habit like no other I have ever seen with his stupid bagel and redbull every morning... but I do know that the acne is stifling his confidence in the girl department, now that it is back, so maybe I can take that angle with him. He's 18 after all!

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7 Answers

2
667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on February 20, 2012
at 03:44 PM

I tinkered with food choices for years to clear my skin: removing pasteurized dairy, then all dairy, then this then that.

At the end of the day the ONLY thing that has led to a marked improvement in my facial skin has been regular, routine supplementation of:

  • vitamin D3
  • vitamin K2 (thorne)

This is the K2 I use: http://www.amazon.com/Thorne-Research-Vitamin-K2-liquid/dp/B0038NF8MG

287f839a2cda0b29ba9c2d6b993840ba

(289)

on February 20, 2012
at 04:31 PM

Have been thinking about K2, how long does a bottle last you (at what dose per day)? Thanks.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on February 21, 2012
at 04:36 PM

I do the K2 at two drops per day. It is a minuscule amount. The bottle will last for months for sure. I haven't calculated it out yet. Two drops is indeed the serving, though. Super small amount but it works for me.

363d0a0277a8b61ada3a24ab3ad85d5a

(4642)

on February 21, 2012
at 04:18 PM

Thanks Ben, I have him on D3 and he just added in zinc, but I will have him add the K2 and see if that can help him. I keep talking to him about cutting out foods, and that is just a no go, so I hope this helps!

1
287f839a2cda0b29ba9c2d6b993840ba

on February 20, 2012
at 03:22 PM

I ate dairy free for about 6 months before adding in butter with a vengeance. A spot or two appeared on my face and, oddly, more on my legs. They persisted until I stopped the butter; a few weeks later I tried again in case it was coincidence, but they returned (only going when down to a smidgeon of butter).

I've not been an acne sufferer, so it was a surprise. It turns me off dairy as I wonder what's changing when that happens - IGF-1/cytokine rises? I'm sure that's been debated though. Interesting that people vary in their responses, such as wheat for Emily Deans.

It's worth female acne sufferers remembering that it's a feature of polycystic ovarian syndrome.

35a8b223ae5d863f17a8c9e3a8eed5eb

(571)

on February 20, 2012
at 09:56 PM

If you ate 100 % dairy free then you should've introduced it slowly. Eating lots (vengeance) of butter will create problems. Stricter diets can cause food intolerances.

1
10678fc38839e1afe81c28571b8e78e1

on February 20, 2012
at 02:33 PM

When I was younger I got it, dairy seems to be the main cause, however many processed foods may cause it too.

363d0a0277a8b61ada3a24ab3ad85d5a

(4642)

on February 21, 2012
at 04:34 PM

Hi Franco, thanks for the answer. He does still have plenty of processed foods along with the dairy, I wish I could get him to change up his diet, maybe over time, or maybe he will get sick of the acne enough to want to try a change.

1
Df1d612269479718668e88c618c2a255

(75)

on February 20, 2012
at 02:47 AM

When I cut out dairy all my adult acne went away.

1
89a3eb9e05b04102f0a584e438a7da3e

(1136)

on February 19, 2012
at 11:08 PM

I find that if I eat wheat, I get a spot or two over the next few days. Discovered this after cleaning up my diet and removing processed food, wheat, and dairy and then adding it back with "cheats." Dairy makes me gain weight, wheat gives me acne and excema. C'est la vie

363d0a0277a8b61ada3a24ab3ad85d5a

(4642)

on February 21, 2012
at 04:32 PM

Thanks for the answer. I think it is dairy, and I told him to at least try to cut back. His shifts have been cut since his new semester started, so that will cut back the pasteurized dairy, but not so much on the wheat, which might not be a problem for him (yet).

1
7dc950fc76a046048e683d2a27dced37

on February 19, 2012
at 10:38 PM

I just watched Mat Lalonde's all-day seminar and in it, he linked dairy with acne. I've seen folks link rosacea (which I have) to leaky gut, and my diet (essentially the Jaminets' PHD) helped to the point my doctor commented on it.

That said, your brother is 18. I think what he's telling you is that, for now, he's willing to deal with the acne so he can eat and drink what he likes. You may need to wait until he's decided that cute girl (or guy) is worth giving up those foods!

35a8b223ae5d863f17a8c9e3a8eed5eb

(571)

on February 20, 2012
at 02:54 PM

Mat Lalonde gets zits when he consumes dairy. This is just a personal anecdote.

7dc950fc76a046048e683d2a27dced37

on February 19, 2012
at 11:26 PM

If he gets serious, might be worth checking out Cordain's book (http://thepaleodiet.com/dietary-cure-for-acne-book). I suspect the less NADs you eat, the better your results!

35a8b223ae5d863f17a8c9e3a8eed5eb

(571)

on February 20, 2012
at 02:51 PM

Does your brother eat liver? There is no need give up dairy as long as he balances it with retinol. I got this idea from Dr. Ray Peat. It's easier to convince him when you allow him some foods he likes and milk should be the last one to sacrifice.

363d0a0277a8b61ada3a24ab3ad85d5a

(4642)

on February 19, 2012
at 11:08 PM

Haha that is the same line I gave him (about the cute girl.. or guy lol). He is a creature of habit like no other I have ever seen with his stupid bagel and redbull every morning... but I do know that the acne is stifling his confidence in the girl department, now that it is back, so maybe I can take that angle with him. He's 18 after all!

363d0a0277a8b61ada3a24ab3ad85d5a

(4642)

on February 21, 2012
at 04:21 PM

Thanks for the link Beth, and thanks for the note Paul. I definitely think it is a dairy issue for him, but I also don't know if less exercise and other changes that happened since he got his job and started school at the same time.

0
Medium avatar

(10663)

on February 19, 2012
at 10:21 PM

In my experience, my acne was the first thing I noticed a vast improvement in when I started Paleo. I got occasional breakouts every week and had a bunch of acne scars. I'd been suffering throughout all my teenage years. Even my mom told me that no one else in the family ever had acne as bad as I did. I didn't think I was gluten intolerant but going Paleo confirmed it. My friends even commented on how much clearer my skin looked. And then for Thanksgiving, I decided that a little piece of chocolate pie couldn't hurt. I woke up the next morning with about 3 new breakouts on my face. So for me, I'm definitely guessing it was gluten and sugar that kept my acne active for all these years. I haven't gotten around to experimenting with dairy yet to see if that will trigger anything.
I do take a Zinc supplement (50 mg, from Solaray) but I really don't know if that's really doing anything. In the morning, I only rinse my face with water. Then at night, I use a cream cleanser from Olay. If I do get breakouts (which are now rare and small), I'll put the Proactiv mask on it overnight as a spot treatment. And once a week, I use Queen Helene's Mint Julep Mask all over my face for 15 minutes and my skin feels very refreshed.

363d0a0277a8b61ada3a24ab3ad85d5a

(4642)

on February 21, 2012
at 04:20 PM

Thanks April. I gave him some zinc to start on yesterday, and keep trying to talk to him about food sensitivities, and how they can manifest in different ways but he can't imagine what he could possibly eat if not his morning bagel.. I will keep trying though. Hopefully the supplementation helps too.

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