Sunday, May 19, 2013

How I Conquered Acne with Diet

Not many 44-year-olds can say that they still get acne--but I can. I've been on just about every acne treatment out there for pimples and cysts, but my acne came back every time I went off them. None of the over-the-counter products did any good. (Luckily, my skin didn't incur much damage from all this.) But on my new regimen, I'm almost 100% free of acne, and I've also noticed I don't sunburn as easily. I spent much of yesterday wearing shorts, but not sunscreen, in the sun and my legs didn't even tan, despite my fair skin and the high altitude. (My back burned the previous weekend, but didn't peel.) Here's what I'm doing:

No dairy except for butter. Certain dairy spikes insulin beyond what the carb content would suggest; some people are also sensitive to dairy proteins. "Nuclear FoxO1 deficiency [which dairy can cause] has been linked to all major factors of acne pathogenesis," says this study. This article by Loren Cordain presents observational and intervention studies indicating that dairy consumption can lead to acne.Again, though, I haven't found that butter affects me, which makes sense since butter doesn't spike insulin and doesn't have whey or casein. I get dark chocolate made without dairy; Theo is one good brand.

No flavored or instant coffee. Some of those nut-flavored coffees are flavored with chemicals and solvents that tear up my stomach and my skin. I don't know what the story is with instant coffee, but it doesn't work for me, either.

Vitamins. I take a daily multi-vitamin called Hair, Skin & Nails by GNC that has vitamin A and zinc, among other things, and herbs that are supposed to lower blood sugar. Even though I eat a nutrient-rich diet, I have trouble absorbing nutrients, so the vitamins are necessary for me. I also take vitamin K2 and vitamin D3.

Low-carb, high-fat, nutrient-rich diet. Keeping the carbs low helps control the insulin, and dietary fat is necessary for good skin. When I started a LCHF diet a few years ago, I noticed how much smoother and more resilient my skin was overall. I eat 1/4 to 1/2 pound of calf liver and at least two cans of sardines or other fatty fish per week because they're so rich in nutrients. I don't eat grains, beans or fruit. A typical day's menu is two scrambled eggs with mushrooms, black decaf coffee, a can of sardines with some bell peppers, mayonnaise and salt, a bacon hamburger with a green salad, salted sweet potato fries and a diet soda, and a handful of nuts and one-third bar of dark chocolate as a snack. Any frying is done in real lard (not the hydrogenated kind); I make my own mayonnaise with light olive oil.

Exfoliating. I use a gritty exfoliant every other day to get the dead skin cells out of the way and keep them from clogging my pores.

Drying up pimples. I use a dab of Queen Helene Mint Julep Mask on breakouts at night. Just remember to wash it off in the morning!

2 comments:

Lowcarb team member said...

Interesting to read your article and what you have found definitely works for you. It is always good to share and learn other peoples experiences. I was most interested in your comment "I noticed how much smoother and more resilient my skin was ", since I have been on a LCHF lifestyle I have found the same, I just wonder how many others may have found this too?.

All the best Jan

Lori Miller said...

My sister had acne--a lot worse than I did--and she was constantly drinking Pepsi and coffee with milk.

I wish I'd known what I know now 30 years ago. Back then, doctors said that diet didn't have anything to do with acne.