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Help! What Was I Doing Wrong? Dairy, Gluten, Legume, Sugar Free And Not Clear.

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#1 RockingRedhead

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Posted 17 April 2012 - 10:33 PM

recently I went 6 weeks on a diet I would describe as paleo plus rice, quinoa, and gluten free bread from TJs. I had minimal fruit and sugar, plenty of eggs, meat, fish, chicken, nuts, veggies. Still, after 6 weeks I was not clear. As for skincare, I was using a zinc and clindmycin cream at night where I break out the most (between cheek and chin is the best way to describe it). I was taking zinc, fish oil, a probiotic, and saw palmetto.
I was so frustrated with my lack of clearness that I went off my diet and onto SAD during a weeklong trip to Hawaii. At the end of 9 days of eating dairy, sugar, and gluten my skin was a bit worse than it was before I started but nothing really dramatic. I had a few tiny pimples on my temples and hairline (where I used to struggle the most, and I am almost always completely clear of inflammatory acne on my entire forehead when eating a clean diet) and some regular ones on my chin and lower face.
However, in the last two days they suddenly got much better and went down in size and redness. Note I did not use any acne products while in Hawaii, just sunscreen, grapeseed oil to remove sunscreen, mineral makeup, and some plain soap.
Since getting back monday, I have been back on my usual diet (except w/o the supplements). I'm also not going to have any red meat (see below)

Rant time: it is just SO EFFING FRUSTRATING to seemingly be doing everything right and still breaking out. Yes, my skin is better on a clean diet, but definitely not clear. So many people are like "oh just cut out dairy" or "I cut out gluten and got clear" well I did BOTH OF THOSE and am not clear >:( and DON'T EVEN GET ME STARTED on those damn lucky souls who eat absolute crap and have awesome skin.

I think the only thing I DIDN'T eat while in Hawaii was red meat. I had fish almost every day I think.

When I got back I did some research on pubmed and stuff and there were several articles about lipid peroxidation and its role in triggering the "inflammatory cascade" of acne. The articles suggested vitamins A, C, D, E and selenium as antioxidants that would help stop the lipid peroxidation and prevent acne.

Also what about essential oils and coconut oil? right now I am experimenting with lavender oil and organic virgin CO as a spot treatment. Some people have had really bad experiences with coconut oil so I am being very cautious.

I'm also going to start having green smoothies for breakfast tomorrow morning. I tried them a long time ago but I think I wasn't using enough greens and also had a lot wrong with my diet.

Anyways, sorry for all this rambling.....my real question is, WHAT WAS I DOING WRONG WITH THE DIET I WAS ON FOR 6 WEEKS AND STILL NOT SEEING RESULTS??????

I just have to say THANK YOU SO, SO, SO MUCH GUYS!! this forum has been amazingly helpful and supportive!!!

#2 SodapopVII

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 04:43 PM

Did you spend a significant time outdoors during those six weeks, or notice an improvement when in Hawaii at all? The only thing that ever helped my skin significantly was a stable sleeping pattern and covering miles worth of walking distance outdoors day in day out... It is quite frustrating that my diet consisted of Sandwiches, Fizzy drinks, Pizza, Spaghetti and yes chocolate bars... and there I was living a life of confidence. Then stay indoors daily and cutting most of that out and waking up with a sore face!

I guess I cannot stress the importance of oudoor light and general activity for some people. Probably just strenthened immune system and body function improvement overall.

Oh and I had a bad experience using Coconut Oil... but everyone is different. I will be trying an Oil that is high in Linoleic Acid content as a moisturizer next, something EV CO is not.

#3 Omnivium

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 06:37 PM

You shouldn't just take antioxidants to prevent lipid peroxidation, but you should avoid the fats thats cause it. If I understood it correctly, this study says fish oil can cause lipid peroxidation: http://jn.nutrition....1/2190.full.pdf I once took a multi omega pill with fish oil, flax oil and borage oil, and it broke me out. I don't know if one of them or all of them caused it, but I think it was from lipid peroxidatin. I also broke out from a "healthy" peanut butter that contained palm oil, which I'm assuming also causes lipid peroxidation. (But in that case, it said to refrigerate it and I didn't notice until a week after I bought it.)

A lot of supplements cause inflammation for me, because they contain magnesium stearate or stearic acid that attacks white blood cells. I think the only really "safe" foods are whole foods, not vitamin or oil supplements. Try getting your antioxidants from vegetables, instead of supplements, and try getting your fish oil from fish.

And about gluten, I don't know why everybody is so concerned with gluten when there are many other things in grains that can cause an allergic reaction. It's almost like a fad to avoid only gluten. Wikipedia lists some proteins in wheat that can cause an allergic reaction: http://en.wikipedia....i/Wheat_allergy

And I thought this part was interesting: "Respiratory allergies are an occupational disease that develop in food service workers. Previous studies detected 40 allergens from wheat; some cross-reacted with rye proteins and a few cross-reacted with grass pollens.[8] A later study showed that baker's allergy extend over a broad range of cereal grasses (wheat, durum wheat, triticale, cereal rye, barley, rye grass, oats, canary grass, rice, maize, sorghum and Johnson grass) though the greatest similarities were seen between wheat and rye [9] and that these allergies show cross reactivity between seed proteins and pollen proteins[10] including a prominent crossreactivity between the common environment rye pollen and wheat gluten."

So you might want to try avoiding all grains, and not just gluten.

#4 duracell

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 06:38 PM

just sent u a message cause I'm in the same boat as you right now. I went to a skincare person yesterday and she was pretty much telling me that everything i was doing was right... the one thing she told me about that I hadn't really read about was the effects of Iodine on acne. She said that was really bad and I never really paid attention to it before

#5 DaftFrost

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 10:56 PM

You could be just intolerant or allergic to eggs, or nuts. You won't know.

Some of us are naturally sensitive to certain foods.

I am quite on the same boat as you, I think I may be allergic to wheat, but I can't go on a no wheat regimen because at school everything they have consists of wheat so I'll probably go on some pill until summer. Then during summer I'll control my diet completely .

#6 irischang

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 03:58 AM

Stop eating your nuts and stop taking the ALL your supplements. You can keep the rest of the food in your diet. Also eat in moderation. Don't eat A LOT of anything. Stop when you are 90% full. Drink 1 to 1.5Ls of water (room temperature) everyday for a week (do not drink during meals). THIS SHOULD CLEAR YOUR ACNE problem.

Oh yes and stop using the cream.

#7 alternativista

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 08:08 AM

Also what about essential oils and coconut oil? right now I am experimenting with lavender oil and organic virgin CO as a spot treatment.


Wrong oil. Your skin needs linoleic acid. There's very little in coconut oil. Try grapeseed. And read this: http://www.acne.org/...pical-solution/

You also could be consuming something you have an intolerance for. And if you have a damaged digestive tract, 6 weeks of gluten free might not be enough to heal it, Especially if you are not taking steps to consume healing foods and are still eating other things that can harm it such as any seed. We've had people here that never noticed a difference from going gluten free until they avoided all seeds.

And all that frustration you expressed is a huge factor in acne. You need to learn to calm down.

Edited by alternativista, 19 April 2012 - 09:34 AM.


#8 RockingRedhead

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 06:04 PM

thanks, everyone :)
since getting back on the paleo bandwagon I haven't had any supplements.

I have experimented with cutting out nuts/seeds before but it didn't seem to help. I think I will give it another try in a couple of weeks.

Alternativista, I happen to have grapeseed oil at home. The date on the cap says 7/5/12 and it's in a clear bottle, but out of the sunlight. I've had it for about a year I think. I use it to remove makeup or sunscreen that won't come off with soap and water.I've never used it consistently enough to notice any difference in my skin though. I might try half my face grapeseed oil, the other half coconut/lavender.
http://paleohacks.co...s#axzz1sXAqsaPD
^ this first answer is intriguing enough I want to try that vit d/a/burdock root combo. what do you think about it?

#9 NewBrigade

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 12:06 AM

Stop eating your nuts and stop taking the ALL your supplements.


I agree about the nuts but ALL the supplements, actually? Because supplements like Zinc have been shown in clinical trials to reduce acne.

Anyways, sorry for all this rambling.....my real question is, WHAT WAS I DOING WRONG WITH THE DIET I WAS ON FOR 6 WEEKS AND STILL NOT SEEING RESULTS??????

I understand your frustration: after 4-5 weeks of very strick no grains/no dairy I am still suffering. In fact, based on the pictures I've taken I am /worse/ off then when I was eating what I wanted and taking topical BP. It is very difficult for me to explain since I have not been eating nuts either. If I start 'healing foods' and see no improvement I will be at a loss.

On the other hand, I can tell also that I am emotionally suffering from mood swings and lately, insomnia, so something is wrong.

I am going to cut my beloved sweet potatoes = (

#10 alternativista

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 08:08 AM

I am going to cut my beloved sweet potatoes = (


Why? And is your diet rich in nutrients that help with mood?

#11 RockingRedhead

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 08:24 AM

Alternativista: what do you mean by healing foods?

#12 alternativista

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 08:53 AM

Alternativista: what do you mean by healing foods?

http://www.acne.org/...19#entry2574119

#13 NewBrigade

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 09:37 AM


I am going to cut my beloved sweet potatoes = (


Why? And is your diet rich in nutrients that help with mood?


I am going to cut my beloved sweet potatoes = (


Both the GAPs diet and SCD both suggest no starch. Sweet potatoes also have a considerable amount of maltose which is not suggested on SCD. And maybe it's because I overeat on them, but I often feel bloated after I eat them. I would appreciate a suggestion for another source of carbohydrates though--berries are not easy to come by. And I worry about blood sugar. Anyway, it's just an experiment to see if things become better.





Why? And is your diet rich in nutrients that help with mood?


I'm not sure. I have definitely upped my intake of omega 3s fatty fish--usually as fresh as I can get them. I am slaying my daily nutrient requirements except I don't get enough Retinol from diet or Zinc from diet--I am supplementing that though. And vitamin D.

#14 RockingRedhead

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 05:14 PM

thanks for the link alternativista! very helpful!! :)

what do you guys think about...
1. the vitamin A/vitamin D/burdock root combo

2. essential oils--lavender, tea tree, rose hip?

3. chia seeds or flax seed meal (for smoothies)?

4. paying for an ALCAT food sensitivity test?

#15 RockingRedhead

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Posted 22 April 2012 - 09:54 PM

bump??

#16 cml

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 01:10 PM

Sorry to read about your frustration, but making dietary/lifestyle change IS hard and requires patience, persistence and some experimentation.

I went dairy-free two years ago and it took me about 4-5 MONTHS to really see the effects. I was also very strict about my dairy intake during those first few months. That meant no pats of butter on toast. No baked goods made with butter/cream. No splashes of milk in my coffee. No ranch/blue cheese dressing on my salad. No extra grated cheese on my pasta. All of these matter and there is no easy way around it. I sometimes use soy or rice milk as a substitute, but not often and not a lot. More often than not, I don't bother with a dairy-substitute. And there were a couple of days when I felt depressed and annoyed and all I wanted was a spoonful of ice cream to soothe my mood, but you get past it. You get past the desire to reach for the quick fix or the convenient meal.

Fortunately for me, I discovered that dairy was the culprit. It took a couple of months to notice that I wasn't getting any NEW cystic acne around my chin and mouth, but it took those extra 3-4 months to see that my existing ones were calming down and healing as well.

Today, I don't even use topical acne products (just gentle cleanse and a moisturizer) and even when I get my period, I don't even get little whiteheads. In fact, my periods are lighter and shorter. I have never been this happy with my skin since before puberty (I'm in my 30's) and I battled with adult acne and tried all sorts of harsh topicals before settling on a diet change.

Now that my skin is in balance, I do allow myself some dairy occasionally. I enjoy baked goods made with dairy (croissants, muffins) on a regular basis. I'll have a very small serving of cheese or ice cream once a month. But if I ingest too much, or too many days in a row, I will either get a cyst or a plugged pore that takes months to heal. So no, it's not easy for me to maintain clear skin, but I make the effort because it's worth it to me.

I would also suggest taking on one "culprit" at a time to see what allergen is contributing to the acne. It will take a long time, but it will be easier for you to adjust to the new dietary changes as well as help figure out what's helping/hurting.

I hope you found some encouragement from someone who was once in the same boat as you and still deals with it. Good luck and don't give up!

#17 RockingRedhead

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Posted 28 April 2012 - 10:44 AM

Thank you for the words of encouragement cml. I feel like I have no choice but to just keep going for a few months. I'll try posting pics later.

#18 Quetzl1

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Posted 29 April 2012 - 01:18 AM

I'd recommend doing a food sensitivity blood test and a stool test if you really want to get to the root of the problem. With that said, you should know a couple of things first:

1 - Food sensitivity blood tests measure the amount of antibodies in your blood. What this means is that if you have been avoiding a food for some time (a month+) because you suspect it's a trigger food, and you get the tests done, your results will show minimal antibody presence to that food.

2 - To avoid the above problem, eat a wide variety of foods in the week(s) leading up to the test, even if you think they are trigger foods. This way, you will get more accurate results.

3 - If you've been avoiding a lot of foods and still have acne you may very well have gut dysbiosis, which is an imbalance in intestinal flora. This imbalance could either directly affect your skin by disrupting the mucous layer of the intestine and colonizing the intestinal wall, or indirectly by causing your immune system to overreact to food antigens.

Hope this helps

#19 NewBrigade

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 08:58 AM

I'd recommend doing a food sensitivity blood test and a stool test if you really want to get to the root of the problem. With that said, you should know a couple of things first:

1 - Food sensitivity blood tests measure the amount of antibodies in your blood. What this means is that if you have been avoiding a food for some time (a month+) because you suspect it's a trigger food, and you get the tests done, your results will show minimal antibody presence to that food.

2 - To avoid the above problem, eat a wide variety of foods in the week(s) leading up to the test, even if you think they are trigger foods. This way, you will get more accurate results.

3 - If you've been avoiding a lot of foods and still have acne you may very well have gut dysbiosis, which is an imbalance in intestinal flora. This imbalance could either directly affect your skin by disrupting the mucous layer of the intestine and colonizing the intestinal wall, or indirectly by causing your immune system to overreact to food antigens.

Hope this helps


This seems like sound advice for me too!

#20 RockingRedhead

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 06:49 PM

I've been back on my usual diet for 2 weeks and my skin isn't back to the condition it was pre Hawaii yet. I have some inflamed and comedonal acne on my forehead nose and chin which wasn't there before. I'm hoping this goes down soon.
I'm also using dead sea warehouse soap just at night.

Quetzal which test would you recommend?

Also how do I know if I have gut dysbiosis and what do I do to fix it?