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Cured My Acne Of 6 Years By Cutting Out Sugar!

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#1 detective

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Posted 26 September 2013 - 05:55 PM

Hey everyone!  I have been lurking on the Acne.org boards for some time now, but this is my first time to post.  After living with persistent back acne for about six years, I’ve finally found a way to stay clear!  I know everyone’s acne has different causes, and what works for me may not work for you, but I wanted to share my story just in case it could help someone out there.  Thanks for reading and please share your thoughts!

 

Some background/stats:

 

I’m female, 20 years old.  My acne began ~6 years ago, at 14.

 

My breakouts have only been body acne – my face has always stayed relatively clear.  At 14 or so, my acne started out as light shoulder acne, but progressively got worse until my back and shoulders usually had 2-3 cysts at a time, with milder acne covering most of my upper back, and some on my lower back and chest.  At its worst, my back acne was between moderate and severe.  The frustrating thing was that it just kept spreading – farther down my back and onto my chest to the point that I couldn’t wear anything but a crewneck without showing my breakouts.  Topical treatments didn’t do much either, and I tried several:

 

Dan’s cleanser

Dan’s AHA

Dan’s BP

Topical ACV

Neutrogena anti-acne body wash

 

I never had great results with topical treatments, although I wasn’t super faithful with all of them.  AHA left a sticky residue on my shirts, and BP bleached them and spread in the wash, so neither were great options.  I still use Dan’s cleanser and Neutrogena acne body wash to cut oil, but I don’t think it has a huge effect on my skin.

 

My cure? Diet.

 

Since age 11, until about 3 months ago, I was a vegetarian – so for 9 years total.  While I felt great during my early years of vegetarianism, it eventually began to take a toll on my body (although I didn’t make the connection until later).  I always ate a fairly “healthy” diet: very little “junk food,” soda, etc.  However, cutting out meat meant that carbs made up the bulk of my diet.  I had a host of health problems… just random stuff, not feeling well, getting sick frequently, etc.  Among my health maladies were some symptoms of high androgens, or a PCOS type hormonal imbalance – another link to acne.

 

Three months ago, I decided to switch back to meat for health reasons.  Within a week, the texture of my skin notably improved.  I was by no means clear, but adding in meat made a significant difference. 

 

The final piece of the puzzle was sugar.  Currently, after 26 days with virtually no added sugars of any kind, my back is almost completely clear.  I have next to no active acne, and the significant scarring I once had is actually getting a chance to fade.  My skin isn’t oily like it once was, either.  Overall, I would say that my skin is 90% of the way to acne-free, and that’s in less than a month free from sugar.

 

 

What I avoid:  Anything that is highly concentrated and sweet.  No desserts or added sugar obviously, but I also avoid natural sweeteners like honey, maple syrup, etc.  I stay away from dried fruit, fruit juice, and white grains too… basically anything with a high GI.

 

What do I eat?  I focus on eating low GI and relatively low carb to prevent blood sugar spikes.  My diet consists of mostly unprocessed food, a lot of fresh vegetables, healthy fats, dairy (no milk, just yogurt/cheese), and a good bit of protein.  Eggs, meat, salads, etc.  I do eat carbs, but try to keep them as minimal as practical (50-80 g/day) especially those with gluten.  Fresh fruit is the only “sweet” thing I eat, and again, in moderation.  I do make an exception for very small amounts of sugar added to non-sweet foods, like what’s in a sandwich wrap or certain condiments.  In addition, I drink a good bit of tea (green tea is great) and hot apple cider vinegar water most days.

 

Cutting out sugar might not sound like a fun diet, but it’s honestly not as bad as it sounds.  Sugar cravings disappear pretty quickly once you stop eating it regularly, and it’s smooth sailing from there on out.  Losing the acne is definitely worth any sugar I’ve had to give up – it feels amazing!

 

 

So to sum up, if you have any inkling that blood sugar issues are playing a role in your acne… be it hormonal (PCOS, high androgens) or anything else, please give no sugar a try!  Please let me know if you have and/or what you think. :)



#2 WishClean

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Posted 26 September 2013 - 10:39 PM

Hey everyone!  I have been lurking on the Acne.org boards for some time now, but this is my first time to post.  After living with persistent back acne for about six years, I’ve finally found a way to stay clear!  I know everyone’s acne has different causes, and what works for me may not work for you, but I wanted to share my story just in case it could help someone out there.  Thanks for reading and please share your thoughts!

 

Some background/stats:

 

I’m female, 20 years old.  My acne began ~6 years ago, at 14.

 

My breakouts have only been body acne – my face has always stayed relatively clear.  At 14 or so, my acne started out as light shoulder acne, but progressively got worse until my back and shoulders usually had 2-3 cysts at a time, with milder acne covering most of my upper back, and some on my lower back and chest.  At its worst, my back acne was between moderate and severe.  The frustrating thing was that it just kept spreading – farther down my back and onto my chest to the point that I couldn’t wear anything but a crewneck without showing my breakouts.  Topical treatments didn’t do much either, and I tried several:

 

Dan’s cleanser

Dan’s AHA

Dan’s BP

Topical ACV

Neutrogena anti-acne body wash

 

I never had great results with topical treatments, although I wasn’t super faithful with all of them.  AHA left a sticky residue on my shirts, and BP bleached them and spread in the wash, so neither were great options.  I still use Dan’s cleanser and Neutrogena acne body wash to cut oil, but I don’t think it has a huge effect on my skin.

 

My cure? Diet.

 

Since age 11, until about 3 months ago, I was a vegetarian – so for 9 years total.  While I felt great during my early years of vegetarianism, it eventually began to take a toll on my body (although I didn’t make the connection until later).  I always ate a fairly “healthy” diet: very little “junk food,” soda, etc.  However, cutting out meat meant that carbs made up the bulk of my diet.  I had a host of health problems… just random stuff, not feeling well, getting sick frequently, etc.  Among my health maladies were some symptoms of high androgens, or a PCOS type hormonal imbalance – another link to acne.

 

Three months ago, I decided to switch back to meat for health reasons.  Within a week, the texture of my skin notably improved.  I was by no means clear, but adding in meat made a significant difference. 

 

The final piece of the puzzle was sugar.  Currently, after 26 days with virtually no added sugars of any kind, my back is almost completely clear.  I have next to no active acne, and the significant scarring I once had is actually getting a chance to fade.  My skin isn’t oily like it once was, either.  Overall, I would say that my skin is 90% of the way to acne-free, and that’s in less than a month free from sugar.

 

 

What I avoid:  Anything that is highly concentrated and sweet.  No desserts or added sugar obviously, but I also avoid natural sweeteners like honey, maple syrup, etc.  I stay away from dried fruit, fruit juice, and white grains too… basically anything with a high GI.

 

What do I eat?  I focus on eating low GI and relatively low carb to prevent blood sugar spikes.  My diet consists of mostly unprocessed food, a lot of fresh vegetables, healthy fats, dairy (no milk, just yogurt/cheese), and a good bit of protein.  Eggs, meat, salads, etc.  I do eat carbs, but try to keep them as minimal as practical (50-80 g/day) especially those with gluten.  Fresh fruit is the only “sweet” thing I eat, and again, in moderation.  I do make an exception for very small amounts of sugar added to non-sweet foods, like what’s in a sandwich wrap or certain condiments.  In addition, I drink a good bit of tea (green tea is great) and hot apple cider vinegar water most days.

 

Cutting out sugar might not sound like a fun diet, but it’s honestly not as bad as it sounds.  Sugar cravings disappear pretty quickly once you stop eating it regularly, and it’s smooth sailing from there on out.  Losing the acne is definitely worth any sugar I’ve had to give up – it feels amazing!

 

 

So to sum up, if you have any inkling that blood sugar issues are playing a role in your acne… be it hormonal (PCOS, high androgens) or anything else, please give no sugar a try!  Please let me know if you have and/or what you think. smile.png

Hey! Congratulations! I started eating meat again too, after 16 years of being a vegetarian. What types of meat do you eat? Do you eat fish?

I had some digestive issues with some types of meat, but I think it might be just my body adjusting to it after all these years.



#3 mrsrobinson

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Posted 27 September 2013 - 04:51 AM

Thank you for posting that!  Many here just give up when the drugs don't work...it's hard finding the diet triggers, you do have to be a detective!

 

Congrats to you- and once you see success, it's not quite as hard to keep going!



#4 Ribbonettes

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Posted 30 September 2013 - 10:40 AM

Hey Congratz!! I cut out sugar also and have great results. I take raw honey, royal jelly & propolis everyday though.. I'm very sensitive to high sugar fruits, I ate a banana the other day and had a very bad fructose intolerance problem.  For some reason honey is alright for me.



#5 detective

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Posted 30 September 2013 - 07:48 PM

Thanks everyone!  WishClean, I've eaten most kinds of meat since becoming an omnivore again, fish, chicken, turkey, pork, beef, etc.  I stay away from weird stuff like bologna and hot dogs, haha, but I eat most anything else.  I did initially have some digestive problems, but they cleared up pretty quickly.  It may depend on the meat you're eating... for me beef was an adjustment even after working back into chicken.  

From a lot of what I've read on the acne boards, people are often identifying trigger foods and things that make them break out, but with meat I'm pretty sure what I wasn't eating was causing the acne.  I'm no nutrition expert, but my guess is that in 9 years of being veg (and w/o supplements), I probably racked up some deficiencies.  

Have you noticed any improvements since reintroducing meat?



#6 hopeforthebest

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Posted 01 October 2013 - 09:08 AM

hey.. your case sounds similar to mine..  i have been avoiding all grains lately and it seems to help.. but too early to tell.. i wanted to ask you do you consume grains a lot?? (wheat, corn , rice, oats)



hey.. your case sounds similar to mine..  i have been avoiding all grains lately and it seems to help.. but too early to tell.. i wanted to ask you do you consume grains a lot?? (wheat, corn , rice, oats)



#7 detective

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Posted 01 October 2013 - 01:55 PM

Hi, Hopeforthebest, I do eat all types of grains, but they make up a much smaller percent of my diet now.  I won't eat bread by itself generally, but for convenience I eat things made with some grain.  I'm more careful about wheat than I am with gluten free or low gluten grains like oats and quinoa.



#8 WishClean

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Posted 02 October 2013 - 07:34 PM

Thanks everyone!  WishClean, I've eaten most kinds of meat since becoming an omnivore again, fish, chicken, turkey, pork, beef, etc.  I stay away from weird stuff like bologna and hot dogs, haha, but I eat most anything else.  I did initially have some digestive problems, but they cleared up pretty quickly.  It may depend on the meat you're eating... for me beef was an adjustment even after working back into chicken.  

From a lot of what I've read on the acne boards, people are often identifying trigger foods and things that make them break out, but with meat I'm pretty sure what I wasn't eating was causing the acne.  I'm no nutrition expert, but my guess is that in 9 years of being veg (and w/o supplements), I probably racked up some deficiencies.  

Have you noticed any improvements since reintroducing meat?

Hmm, I'm not sure if I noticed an improvement from reintroducing meat because I've been doing so many things to help my skin and it's improving, but it could be from other factors. I mostly eat ham and chicken, sometimes turkey, and it helps me reduce the amount of grains I eat. I used to eat more grains when I was vegetarian because I was hungry, but now I try to fill up on ham, vegetables, and sometimes fish. 

I haven't tried beef yet. Do you cook it yourself? 



#9 CookieJ

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Posted 03 October 2013 - 03:35 AM

I think sugar is a factor for me too. But I think it's eating too much sugar in a short period of time that's the problem. This is typically easiest to do when you eat junk/sweets/chocolate. I only ever break out from sugar if I eat a huge pack of sweets/chocolate lol. A lot of gluten-free foods have more sugar the the non gluten-free ones, but they don't cause me any problems (because the sugar content is still much lower when compared with sweets etc.), so that's why I think it's more about how quickly you consume it.


Edited by CookieJ, 03 October 2013 - 03:36 AM.


#10 alternativista

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Posted 04 October 2013 - 06:26 AM

I think sugar is a factor for me too. But I think it's eating too much sugar in a short period of time that's the problem. This is typically easiest to do when you eat junk/sweets/chocolate. I only ever break out from sugar if I eat a huge pack of sweets/chocolate lol. A lot of gluten-free foods have more sugar the the non gluten-free ones, but they don't cause me any problems (because the sugar content is still much lower when compared with sweets etc.), so that's why I think it's more about how quickly you consume it.


It is about the glycemic impact of your meals. And it is a problem for you and every other human being.

#11 CookieJ

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Posted 04 October 2013 - 11:42 AM

I think sugar is a factor for me too. But I think it's eating too much sugar in a short period of time that's the problem. This is typically easiest to do when you eat junk/sweets/chocolate. I only ever break out from sugar if I eat a huge pack of sweets/chocolate lol. A lot of gluten-free foods have more sugar the the non gluten-free ones, but they don't cause me any problems (because the sugar content is still much lower when compared with sweets etc.), so that's why I think it's more about how quickly you consume it.


It is about the glycemic impact of your meals. And it is a problem for you and every other human being.

 

Right - excessively high blood sugar levels over a period of time is a risk factor for diabetes and general health. But of those who are concerned about getting acne from consuming sugar, the majority have nothing to worry about. That's why there won't be any decent scientific evidence for it- because it's only the people in the minority who are affected by it (me included).



#12 alternativista

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Posted 04 October 2013 - 01:14 PM



I think sugar is a factor for me too. But I think it's eating too much sugar in a short period of time that's the problem. This is typically easiest to do when you eat junk/sweets/chocolate. I only ever break out from sugar if I eat a huge pack of sweets/chocolate lol. A lot of gluten-free foods have more sugar the the non gluten-free ones, but they don't cause me any problems (because the sugar content is still much lower when compared with sweets etc.), so that's why I think it's more about how quickly you consume it.

It is about the glycemic impact of your meals. And it is a problem for you and every other human being.
 
Right - excessively high blood sugar levels over a period of time is a risk factor for diabetes and general health. But of those who are concerned about getting acne from consuming sugar, the majority have nothing to worry about. That's why there won't be any decent scientific evidence for it- because it's only the people in the minority who are affected by it (me included).
There's a genetic tendency towards developing acne. And if you have that, high glycemic meal habits have a huge impact on the many different factors that lead to acne. And there's been plenty of scientific evidence of that.

And any time you consume more sugar than your cells can take in, damage is caused. Whether or not your body can recover from that damage or if that damage just keeps accruing depends on what else you do to yourself.

Edited by alternativista, 04 October 2013 - 01:14 PM.


#13 CookieJ

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Posted 04 October 2013 - 01:42 PM

There's a genetic tendency towards developing acne. And if you have that, high glycemic meal habits have a huge impact on the many different factors that lead to acne. And there's been plenty of scientific evidence of that.


And any time you consume more sugar than your cells can take in, damage is caused. Whether or not your body can recover from that damage or if that damage just keeps accruing depends on what else you do to yourself.

 

Plenty of evidence on sugar impacting factors that (debate-ably) lead to acne, but not evidence about acne from sugar itself-- otherwise they'd have been published on sites like the NHS etc.

 

I'm sure most people have no problems with sugar (in terms of acne)-- otherwise a genuine link would've been discovered by now (it's been at least 75 years). And if it's the minority who have this problem (which it seems to be...the genetically predisposed etc.), then it'll always be ruled out as an anomaly in studies, which is why no links have been found. Either way, I don't have time to wait for science to catch up...

 

Also, the glycemic index system is rather outdated. It only really makes sense with regards to a fasted state in the body. If you've already eaten beforehand, or eat other things (fats and proteins etc.) with the said high glycemic foods, then the numbers become useless. In addition, sugars also have similar (and sometimes lower) GI ratings than most carb sources. So unless a person's diet is stupidly bad, there should be no problems.


Edited by CookieJ, 04 October 2013 - 01:53 PM.


#14 detective

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Posted 05 October 2013 - 05:59 PM

Thanks everyone!  WishClean, I've eaten most kinds of meat since becoming an omnivore again, fish, chicken, turkey, pork, beef, etc.  I stay away from weird stuff like bologna and hot dogs, haha, but I eat most anything else.  I did initially have some digestive problems, but they cleared up pretty quickly.  It may depend on the meat you're eating... for me beef was an adjustment even after working back into chicken.  

From a lot of what I've read on the acne boards, people are often identifying trigger foods and things that make them break out, but with meat I'm pretty sure what I wasn't eating was causing the acne.  I'm no nutrition expert, but my guess is that in 9 years of being veg (and w/o supplements), I probably racked up some deficiencies.  

Have you noticed any improvements since reintroducing meat?

Hmm, I'm not sure if I noticed an improvement from reintroducing meat because I've been doing so many things to help my skin and it's improving, but it could be from other factors. I mostly eat ham and chicken, sometimes turkey, and it helps me reduce the amount of grains I eat. I used to eat more grains when I was vegetarian because I was hungry, but now I try to fill up on ham, vegetables, and sometimes fish. 

I haven't tried beef yet. Do you cook it yourself? 

I don't generally cook my own meat, since I have a meal plan at school.  If you haven't tried beef, I would encourage you to! :)  May just be me, but I felt like my body/skin really appreciated it.



#15 Gladiatoro

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Posted 05 October 2013 - 11:06 PM

I read this about a woman who found a way to get rid of her severe acne by in part eliminating all forms of sugar and going on the GAPS  diet , interesting. Here is what she wrote.

 

I went on the GAPS diet and my severe acne dissapeared. You need probiotics to heal the problem. Acne is a sign of candida overgrowth in the body. You need the candida by avoiding ALL forms of sugar including fruit. Avoid grains and unfermented dairys. Avoid all grains and starchs. It take alot of effort but it works . I promise



#16 alternativista

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Posted 06 October 2013 - 09:04 PM





There's a genetic tendency towards developing acne. And if you have that, high glycemic meal habits have a huge impact on the many different factors that lead to acne. And there's been plenty of scientific evidence of that.

And any time you consume more sugar than your cells can take in, damage is caused. Whether or not your body can recover from that damage or if that damage just keeps accruing depends on what else you do to yourself.

 
Plenty of evidence on sugar impacting factors that (debate-ably) lead to acne, but not evidence about acne from sugar itself-- otherwise they'd have been published on sites like the NHS etc.
 
I'm sure most people have no problems with sugar (in terms of acne)-- otherwise a genuine link would've been discovered by now (it's been at least 75 years). And if it's the minority who have this problem (which it seems to be...the genetically predisposed etc.), then it'll always be ruled out as an anomaly in studies, which is why no links have been found. Either way, I don't have time to wait for science to catch up...
 
Also, the glycemic index system is rather outdated. It only really makes sense with regards to a fasted state in the body. If you've already eaten beforehand, or eat other things (fats and proteins etc.) with the said high glycemic foods, then the numbers become useless. In addition, sugars also have similar (and sometimes lower) GI ratings than most carb sources. So unless a person's diet is stupidly bad, there should be no problems.
I said Glycemic impact of meals. I didn't say anything about the glycemic index. So, thanks for the lecture, but really don't need it. The typical diet these days is 'stupidly bad.' That's why we have become a culture of sickly drug dependent people riddled with lifestyle caused disease.

And there has been a great deal of evidence on how elevated blood sugar and insulin the various factors that lead to acne such as the hormones and inflammation involved.

And yes, most people are not genetically prone to developing acne. Therefore their bad diets don't contribute to them de eloping acne.

Edited by alternativista, 06 October 2013 - 09:11 PM.


#17 CookieJ

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 12:48 AM

I said Glycemic impact of meals. I didn't say anything about the glycemic index. So, thanks for the lecture, but really don't need it. The typical diet these days is 'stupidly bad.' That's why we have become a culture of sickly drug dependent people riddled with lifestyle caused disease.


And there has been a great deal of evidence on how elevated blood sugar and insulin the various factors that lead to acne such as the hormones and inflammation involved.

And yes, most people are not genetically prone to developing acne. Therefore their bad diets don't contribute to them de eloping acne.

Still, what I said about GI is relevant. If the GI becomes irrelevant in a non-fasted state or if you're combining fats/proteins with your carbs, then it also shows that the overall glycemic impact in most cases is going to be normalised. Unless you eat a bag of sugar when you wake up

 

Where is this evidence, and why hasn't it been posted on national health sites? Surely those are the first places that things like this would go. Or did you read these things on an article lol?

 

Yes and no. Of the subset of people that are genetically prone to developing acne, it's only a small proportion of those who get acne from a bad diet. So not even a small proportion of the general population - but a small proportion of a subset of the general population.


Edited by CookieJ, 07 October 2013 - 12:48 AM.





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