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Diet For Resistant Adult Acne


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#1 cvd

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Posted 02 December 2013 - 02:41 PM

I posted this originally in the nutrition section but realized it would also be helpful for those who might not read that forum and suffer adult acne.  The diet works really well on resistant chronic adult acne that responds poorly to meds.  I've suffered acne for decades since my teens and used all kinds of meds and natural methods to control it.  Even now I'm on a regime (see signature below).  Despite everything I still broke out...maybe not cysts like before but still had small pimples and whiteheads pop up everyday.

 

Here's the diet and reasons why.  It's based on years of research and my interest in nutrition and cultures that do not get acne.  It's also based on the work of Dr McDougall who has studied extensively the diets of people who do not get inflammatory deseases, and particularly the effects of vegetable oils on acne.  Since following this diet religiously I'm now almost 100% acne free.  I might get a tiny whitehead occasionally but they go away in a day...and this is how normal skin is anyway. 

 

Eat only whole foods versus manufactured foods or junk foods (i.e. apple versus apple juice) --- manufactured foods or junk foods are made as cheaply as possible with additives, sugars, poor quality oils, etc. that increase inflammation throughout the body.  If you are prone to acne then the inflammation will occur there causing more sebum, more blockage and hence more acne.  Also avoid foods made from flours as much as possible...instead eat whole foods like yams, potatoes and rice.  Flours are very concentrated and can raise inflammation if eaten in excess.

  

Avoid all dairy including yogurt and cheeses.  Dairy has natural hormones produced by cows as part of lactation.  These hormones are made for calfs, not adult humans.  If you are sensitive to hormones which most adult acne sufferers are, then they will make your acne worse.  Plus cows milk has iodine as part of the milking process which can inflame acne.

 

Avoid all sugars including fructose, alcoholic beverages, honey, maple sugar, etc.  Acne sufferers are sensitive to changes in insulin levels and the resulting inflammation comes out on their skin.  I read people posts who are upset because those who don't get acne seem to be able to eat anything...but actually if you talk with them you will find out they have gut problems or rashes or heart disease or diabetes, etc....also inflammatory problems but just not acne.  You may find it is helpful to also avoid high sugar fruits (high fructose) and instead eat berries which are low sugar.  If you must have pancakes, etc. then make your own without sugar and add a fruit topping made by microwaving or cooking berries into a saucy syrup (yum).

 

Avoid all caffeine in drinks and foods.  Adult acne often has a rosacea component to it...a generalized inflammatory response that caffeine is a known trigger for.  Avoiding caffeinated foods and drinks helps the skin stay calmer...not to mention the rest of the body!

 

Avoid all oils, except EVO for cooking.  This means avoiding all salad dressings, margarines, butters, cooking oils and the foods they are in.  The only thing that seems to be less inflammatory is extra-virgin olive oil and that may be because humans have been consuming this for thousands of years.  However it was a precious commodity so only tiny amounts were traditionally used...not like we do now where we drown our salads and pasta in oil.  Vegetable oils (canola, safflower, etc.) only became part of our diet after industrialization when solvents were discovered that could extract the oils cheaply eneough to market at a profit.  Our bodies do not know what to do with these manufactured oils and so they cause inflammation...and acne.  If you are careful you can find breads made with olive oil...which was the oil that was used for breads by our ancestors.   

 

Eat only wild fish and free-range organic fowl in moderation.  Cultures that traditionally have less inflammatory disease also eat much less flesh food...even so-called healthy ones like fowl or fish.  They eat these things sparingly because they are hard to hunt.  Avoid all red meat which takes a long time to transit the body and can cause gut inflammation which also can inflame acne.

 

Hope this helps.  It has taken me a very long time to figure this all out but it has made a real difference.  Most recently I discovered the part about oils and it made the most positive difference...to the point that I will be weaning off some of my oral meds below.  My derm is amazed with my progress.



#2 DayneCarter

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Posted 02 December 2013 - 02:46 PM

how long do u have to keep this up? i dont want to live without pizza, burger, cake and stuff like that



#3 jlcampi

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Posted 02 December 2013 - 03:39 PM

how long do u have to keep this up? i dont want to live without pizza, burger, cake and stuff like that

 

As long as you want to stay clear or hormones tank as you get older.



#4 cvd

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Posted 02 December 2013 - 05:56 PM

I'm 62 and my hormones never tanked.  My derm says that he's seeing more of this...ongoing acne all through adult life into one's 80's.  This is a fairly recent phenomena which points to environmental factors that may be playing havoc with hormones.  Such environmental factors can be things like the consumption of vegetable oils...a fairly recent development...and the direct use of hormones in conventional meat, fowl, and fish production.  Antibiotic use in animal food production also affects hormones.  That's why it's so important to do everything you can like diet to ensure hormones are not getting so affected.

 

So to answer your question, Dayne, --- yes, you would have to continue this diet for as long as it takes.  And for those of us with resistant acne it can be your whole adult life.  Regardless, it is a very healthy diet that will help make sure you don't succumb to other inflammatory diseases as well (heart, diabetes, etc.).

 

You mention pizza.  Actually you can make your own pizza with olive oil that is very good.  You don't have to avoid flour products but just don't eat them all the time.  For example --- the usual western diet is cold cereal (ground grains) for breakfast, sandwich for lunch (flour) and pizza for dinner (flour).  Instead for your daily starches eat oatmeal for breakfast (with raisons and fresh fruit), leftover dinner (potatoes or rice with vegies and a little meat) or a salad or soup for lunch, and potatoes or rice for dinner (make extra for lunch next day).  Then only eat flour products when nothing else is available...like when traveling.

 

It's just a different way of eating that actually follows the way 80% of the world's population eats...ie rice, potatoes, yams, etc.  In cultures where there is no acne, flour products are rarely eaten and if they are they are from course ground grains.


Edited by cvd, 02 December 2013 - 05:57 PM.


#5 WishClean

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Posted 06 December 2013 - 01:11 AM

cvd, if you are still taking antibiotics, plus spiro, plus using BP daily, the only way to truly put this to the test would be to go off anything else, drugs and topicals, and rely only on this diet. Otherwise, I find it hard to believe that this is what is clearing the most you when your signature states all these other variables. I would be interested in an update a few months after you wean off your medication. I think that will be the true test, don't you think so? Because at this point, it's very hard to tell what % the diet is playing in your regimen, and if someone chooses to follow this diet they should be aware that you are also using a bunch of other stuff to control your acne. I wouldn't want anyone to think this is the cure to all types of adult acne because it's only ONE factor, it will most likely not clear the majority of acne sufferers 100% if they are not relying on other things too, like a good skincare regimen. 


Edited by WishClean, 06 December 2013 - 01:13 AM.


#6 bamboomama

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Posted 06 December 2013 - 11:53 AM

what she said ^

 

i thought for some reason this was addressing only using diet to clear ones skin.



#7 cvd

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Posted 07 December 2013 - 07:40 PM

Sorry for any confusion!  If it's important to know if diet alone will clear adult acne...then you're right, meds should not be taken at the same time.  But that's not important to me.  I just want clear skin...however I can get it.  If I need to take meds while also following a diet, then that's okay with me.

 

I felt I needed to share about this diet because it's what finally got me totally clear.  Despite everything I was doing with meds I wasn't getting totally clear...eventhough I'd been doing it for years.  So I know the clear skin I have now was not the med regime alone!  I did not get totally clear until I added on the diet.

 

Adding the diet component, at least for me, seems to be what finally did the trick.   I can't begin to tell you how many meds and med regimes I've done over the past decades but they never completely worked...ever...except for full strength antibiotics and accutane.  But you can't take those things forever.  The med regime below stopped my cystic acne (for which I am eternally grateful) but I was still breaking out in small pimples and whiteheads everyday.  And my rosacea was still acting up too. 

 

I've always followed a healthy diet but it was switching to mainly whole foods (versus flour products, even whole grain flours), avoiding dairy and sugars, and most recently avoiding oils that did the trick. 

 

I can't begin to emphasize how avoiding oils really caused the final clearing of my skin.  Over the past 3 months since stopping oils my skin has gotten progressively better and better.  It really cleared up within the first month but now it is even clearer.  It just looks so much healthier which is nothing short of a miracle to me.  Maybe avoiding oils changes the quality of the sebum or something.  Who knows?  I'm just sharing what is working for me.

 

Next year I plan to start weaning off my oral meds...not to see if diet alone will keep me clear but instead for my general health because oral meds are generally not good longterm.  The doxy is for my rosacea.  It's not an antibacterial dose but instead an anti-inflammatory dose (like Oracea).  The spiro is an anti-androgen that I've been taking since 2001.  It's never gotten me clear by itself.  However I will try to lower the dosage of that and see what happens.

 

I plan to keep on using the BP cleanser and Cleocin-T because they are topicals and topicals are generally okay longterm.  FYI --- by themselves and as part of a med regime they have never kept me clear.  They help stop cysts but not regular pimples, at least for me.

 

And the monthly microdermabrasions I plan to do for life...they are wonderful for keeping skin like mine in better condition. 

 

I have dealt with acne for over 40 years and if I've learned anything it is that there is usually never one thing that will clear adult acne.  Adult acne is different than typical teen acne.  It is more complex and to get clear it usually requires a multi-prong approach that includes killing acne bacteria, helping skin cells to shed better, lowering sebum amount and type, and doing everything possible to balance hormones and lower inflammation.  This is where diet can help.

 

That said, I too look forward to seeing what will happen when I stop the oral meds.  But I may be too afraid to stop the topicals.  I've been too scarred emotionally by acne.  I really do not want to have to deal with it.  I'll share just one story that is typical of my struggle with this...and it may be instructive for younger adults who haven't had to deal with acne as long as I have.  Several years ago at age 59 my old derm had this brilliant idea that I should stop everything and see what would happen.  At that time I was on Spiro, retin-a, and an oral antibiotic.  This regime helped...I was getting fewer cysts but I was far from clear...I still got several cysts per month and was also breaking out with small pimples everyday.  However she was adament...so I stopped everything.  Within a month I returned to full blown acne --- cysts everyday, the works.  This is at age 59.  Can you even begin to imagine my dispair.  I am a pretty woman but I have always had acne...always.  After about 4 months I found my current derm who immediately put me on the regime below.  The cysts went away within a month (sigh of relief).  My skin started to heal. 

 

I never want to return to having the acne I had before.  So you can see...it really doesn't matter to me how I stay clear.  If diet is what I need to do along with taking meds I will do it...and vice versa.



#8 cvd

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Posted 07 December 2013 - 08:10 PM

In other words --- this is a very good diet to follow if you have resistant and chronic adult acne (like me).  It will help regardless if you do it alone or as part of a regime that includes meds.  For some people it may clear their acne without having to do anything else.  For others they may need to add some meds to get clear.  Dr McDougall recommends first following the diet and then adding on meds if needed.  He advocates also avoiding meat but when I researched these cultures I found they did eat wild fowl and fish but very sparingly.

 

I came upon this diet approach while I was already doing meds --- so for me it was different.  I will try weaning off meds to see if the diet works alone...but as I shared above I'm not sure I have the guts to wean off the topicals...we'll see. 

 

Personally I believe a multi-prong approach is what clears up adult acne.  It takes a lot of experimenting to find what works because everyone is so different.  And with adult acne it usually is not just one thing that does the trick...it is usually a combination of things that finally gets the skin clear.



#9 WishClean

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Posted 07 December 2013 - 10:00 PM

Ok, thanks for clarifying. I understand your point about attacking acne from all possible angles. Hopefully you'll reach a point where you won't need any meds or harsh topicals.



#10 OrganicLemonade

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Posted 13 December 2013 - 06:39 PM

I think most of the food mentioned in this thread can trigger acne.  Especially carbohydrate and dairy.  They almost always cause a zit to pop up the next day I consume them in high quantity.  Goat cheese, however, doesn't cause acne for me.  So if you are one of those people who cannot live without dairy, try goat cheese.  Also, nori (or anything with high iodine) triggers adult acne, at least for me.  Hope this helps. 



#11 SDR WellnessCoach

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 08:43 PM

If you knew what I know you wouldn't be using EVO. It's my 2nd highest toxin and everyone I tested, even my Italian wife, tested positive for EVO. The heart surgeon in the documentary Forks Over Knives even mentioned to avoid EVO.

I use Grape seed oil which is the same quality only with out the immune response. If you have a sensitivity to grapes, however, you might want to avoid that too.

#12 cvd

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Posted 20 December 2013 - 12:12 PM

I am not sure what you mean by EVO being toxic. If it is organic extra virgin cold pressed oil then it is not toxic. EVO is not meant for using with high heat but if you are using EVO like I am which is basically hardly any at all and only for light sauteeing then it is fine. At high heat EVO will smoke and is not good for you.

Grape seed oil is normally used for high heat cooking and is usually made with solvents such as the toxic solvent hexane. There are some high-end grape seed oils such as those made by Spectrum which are not made with solvents but they are still heat processed which affects the quality of the oil.

#13 SDR WellnessCoach

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Posted 22 December 2013 - 03:53 PM

I am not sure what you mean by EVO being toxic. If it is organic extra virgin cold pressed oil then it is not toxic. EVO is not meant for using with high heat but if you are using EVO like I am which is basically hardly any at all and only for light sauteeing then it is fine. At high heat EVO will smoke and is not good for you.Grape seed oil is normally used for high heat cooking and is usually made with solvents such as the toxic solvent hexane. There are some high-end grape seed oils such as those made by Spectrum which are not made with solvents but they are still heat processed which affects the quality of the oil.


I have my clients get food allergy testing performed by the top lab in the country. We are testing positive to Olives. People tell you it's good for you, science tells me it is toxic to us.

I can give you the test name and have your Dr order it for you so you can see for yourself. Hey, ya never know, you could prove me wrong

Ps... did you hear that less than 60% of EVOO on the shelves is actually EVOO? Check out Dr Oz online to view it. The only way to tell is by sticking it in the freezer. EVOO does not freeze.

#14 cvd

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Posted 24 December 2013 - 09:25 PM

I totally agree with the concept of getting high quality allergy testing. My doc had that done via blood test with top rated lab and for several years I had to avoid certain foods. Now I can eat most of those foods in rotation except for dairy, shellfish, and fructose which I have to avoid. The testing was comprehensive but olives did not test positive for me. So sorry to hear they test positive for you! Everyone is different as far as allergens go. I also agree with knowing your source of olive oil. I use an organic extra virgin olive oil from California that is very highly regarded as being one of the best. Many low end EVOO's sold in supermarkets may be suspect. It's hard to get high quality foods these days, especially when you don't know your sources all the time!

#15 SDR WellnessCoach

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Posted 25 December 2013 - 12:47 PM

I totally agree with the concept of getting high quality allergy testing. My doc had that done via blood test with top rated lab and for several years I had to avoid certain foods. Now I can eat most of those foods in rotation except for dairy, shellfish, and fructose which I have to avoid. The testing was comprehensive but olives did not test positive for me. So sorry to hear they test positive for you! Everyone is different as far as allergens go. I also agree with knowing your source of olive oil. I use an organic extra virgin olive oil from California that is very highly regarded as being one of the best. Many low end EVOO's sold in supermarkets may be suspect. It's hard to get high quality foods these days, especially when you don't know your sources all the time!


out of curiosity, what lab did the testing? The top 3 labs are Quest Diagnostic, Lab Corp, and Bio Reference. In that order. Outside of them testing is suspect to say the least.

Quest offers even more testing that no one else has. That's what puts them over the top. That and most hospitals use them as their Reference Lab.

Ps... just a fyi, once allergic always allergic. Stem Cell research has shown that and Quest Diagnostic confirms it.

#16 cvd

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Posted 25 December 2013 - 07:53 PM

I can't remember the lab that did my original testing years ago but I was tested again this year...a complete panel...by Genova Diagnostics --- the same lab used by our hospitals here in Oregon. The testing was for food antibodies which registered as very low - low - moderate - high. There were foods I had a low to very low response years ago and that I don't have a response to at all anymore. I never had serious allergies but my doc thought it would be good to avoid all foods I had even a little response to in order to get my system to calm down and not be so reactive. It worked and now I can eat those foods again with no problem and I also rotate them to be extra safe. I also had fructose testing and the complete panel for gluten. Gluten was negative over and over again and this is what prompted the fructose testing. I have continued to test positive to fructose and so I avoid all high fructose foods...and my gut thanks me! I have a high response to grasses...and of course I get hay fever every year but I manage that with quercetin and generally avoiding grains in my diet during the spring.

#17 SDR WellnessCoach

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Posted 27 December 2013 - 03:49 PM

I can't remember the lab that did my original testing years ago but I was tested again this year...a complete panel...by Genova Diagnostics --- the same lab used by our hospitals here in Oregon. The testing was for food antibodies which registered as very low - low - moderate - high. There were foods I had a low to very low response years ago and that I don't have a response to at all anymore. I never had serious allergies but my doc thought it would be good to avoid all foods I had even a little response to in order to get my system to calm down and not be so reactive. It worked and now I can eat those foods again with no problem and I also rotate them to be extra safe. I also had fructose testing and the complete panel for gluten. Gluten was negative over and over again and this is what prompted the fructose testing. I have continued to test positive to fructose and so I avoid all high fructose foods...and my gut thanks me! I have a high response to grasses...and of course I get hay fever every year but I manage that with quercetin and generally avoiding grains in my diet during the spring.

Your lucky to have a smart doctor. The tests he ordered sounds like the panels I do. Their primary function is to tell how well you're following your diet as opposed to finding allergens. I use them for both but if I told you how it would kill my business. Lol.

thanks for your replies. I appreciate it.

ps... I just visited Genova Diagnostics website. They are similar to the testing I do. From what they say, they are new to testing (patent pending) . They don't, however, offer individual food IgG testing which is more accurate and with a actual number. The are more like the other online lab tests you can get without a order from your own doctor.

Edited by SDR WellnessCoach, 27 December 2013 - 04:04 PM.


#18 cvd

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Posted 27 December 2013 - 07:37 PM

What's also a good "test" is eating something you haven't eaten in a long time and then remembering why that food was avoided in the first place! I had my "test" this holiday when I ate bread (sourdough) for a number of days while visiting relatives. I thought I could avoid any problems because sourdough is made without oils or sugars...but forgot it's high glycemic and, although natural, is made with a yeast process. I had a minor rosacea flare-up with a couple of flat pink spots on my cheeks...nothing to worry about...but reminds me once again that diet makes a difference. I have to stick with WHOLE foods (not flour products or yeast or sugary foods, etc.) if I want to maintain clear skin. This can be hard to do when traveling but it's possible.

I just wish our culture's diet wasn't so wheat-based and, especially these days, so oil-based (fried, grilled and sauteed in cheap plant oils). Whatever happened to meals like steamed vegetables and poached fish in herbs? Or even a decent sized baked potato? It's hard to find good rice meals on the road ---not everyone wants to eat Chinese every meal. My relatives are like most people in western culture eating sweets for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch and pizza for dinner. A day or two of this and I'm blotchy, itchy and spotty. I bring foods with me but it's not always feasable to eat them for every meal without creating a fuss. Everyone knows I have allergies and try to order clean fresh foods when out but it's still a bother.

#19 SDR WellnessCoach

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Posted 28 December 2013 - 07:58 AM

What's also a good "test" is eating something you haven't eaten in a long time and then remembering why that food was avoided in the first place! I had my "test" this holiday when I ate bread (sourdough) for a number of days while visiting relatives. I thought I could avoid any problems because sourdough is made without oils or sugars...but forgot it's high glycemic and, although natural, is made with a yeast process. I had a minor rosacea flare-up with a couple of flat pink spots on my cheeks...nothing to worry about...but reminds me once again that diet makes a difference. I have to stick with WHOLE foods (not flour products or yeast or sugary foods, etc.) if I want to maintain clear skin. This can be hard to do when traveling but it's possible.I just wish our culture's diet wasn't so wheat-based and, especially these days, so oil-based (fried, grilled and sauteed in cheap plant oils). Whatever happened to meals like steamed vegetables and poached fish in herbs? Or even a decent sized baked potato? It's hard to find good rice meals on the road ---not everyone wants to eat Chinese every meal. My relatives are like most people in western culture eating sweets for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch and pizza for dinner. A day or two of this and I'm blotchy, itchy and spotty. I bring foods with me but it's not always feasable to eat them for every meal without creating a fuss. Everyone knows I have allergies and try to order clean fresh foods when out but it's still a bother.


I'm going on a 4 day cruise to the Mayan Ruins and staying 5 days in Miami. I'm scared to death about what I'm going to eat. I know I have to live my life but this really sucks.

The masses have no idea how bad the western diet really is or how many have the Gluten Allergy. And we both know gluten is in everything.

What's even worse is I get reactions from all most all of allergens because I have avoided them for so long. I lost my tolerance to them.

It's really nice talking to someone else that knows what I know. There are not many of us. My wife follows her diet plan for the most part but she is able to cheat. Her only noticeable reaction is a migraine. That drives me nuts.

Ps... her acne trigger is chocolate and she knew this long before it became a problem and it's easy to avoid. That's how she has flawless skin. I wish my trigger was something like that.

#20 cvd

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Posted 28 December 2013 - 12:52 PM

I can certainly empathize with your dilemma! It takes away the joy of traveling when you constantly have to think of what to eat and what to avoid. Also being on a ship and then in motels makes it virtually impossible to cook things that are gluten-free such a nice big pot of rice or fresh potatoes or something else that can fill you up. I don't have a problem with gluten but instead it's the plant oils, sugars and yeast in many of these foods (bread, sauces, breading, etc.)...but it could just as well be the same thing as gluten allergy given the hassle it is to avoid. I tend to lose weight on trips because I'm subsisting on salads and lean meats...and I'm already at lower weight.

I have trouble with restuarant food like vegies because they're usually drowned in butters or cheap oil preparations despite my asking for dry or steamed. And it seems to be getting harder and harder to get even a plain baked potato. Everyone is going gourmet with prepackaged potato "creations" (scalloped, baby yukons, stuffed, etc.) and vegetable medleys (think large packages of frozen vegies already in sauces) that are doctored up with spicy seasonings (rosacea triggers) and oils and then microwaved or fried (yes - even whole potatoes). I used to run a restaurant long ago and this happened all the time because it is more cost effective than actually cooking something from scratch and bought in bulk...sometimes from China --- yes, China. And this was happening back in the late 70's...think about what is happening now with prepackaged frozen foods and all the junk in them! This is why there is such obesity and inflammatory diseases...cheap oils infusing everything and food that has been prepared months before from dubious sources to maintain low cost. The food in restaurants can sound fresh (grilled salmon with string beans and baby potatoes) but it is usually all prepackaged, often partially or totally precooked and then just warmed up. The only way to know for sure that food is being freshly prepared is to talk with the owner and visit the kitchen. Staff don't know (or care) and if you ask if food is prepared on-site...they say yes - because it is being microwaved or fried on site.

I try to frequent more organic restaurants or ones that advertise they cook locally sourced foods. These are hard to find tho on trips sometimes. I ask locals to recommend fresh food restaurants. My worse dilemma is visiting with relatives who think a good meal out is eating at Elmers!

I take along baggies of pre-mixed oatmeal with raisons and chia seeds for breakfast that I can usually find a microwave for or ask staff to microwave up for me. I pack brown rice cakes --- yes they are somewhat high glycemic but don't seem to bother me too much, a can of refried beans and some avocados for snacks. I use the beans like a spread on the rice cakes and put slices of avocado on top...nice filling snack. But this strategy only works if you have access to a fridge to store the beans and unused avocado. And TSA has a field day with the can of beans, rice cakes and avocado stored in my suitcase...I always get checked --- must look suspicious!

Hope this helps. Tell me how it goes!




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