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Diet For Resistant Adult Acne


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#21 EVM

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Posted 11 January 2014 - 11:14 AM

I can only agree that diet has a huge role in my adult acne, I am 40 years old.  For the most part my skin has been clear but I sometimes do get one cyst or pimple which I treat with clindamiyacin and differin but the goal is to only use that on an existing pimple. 

 

I only eat baked chicken breast tenderloin, steamed vegtables, bland quick one minute oatmeal in water, small amounts of unsalted almonds, cashews but be careful on the nuts; I only eat nuts because I weight train for a living and need small amounts of fat/calories, no sugar but I do substitute with splenda in my green tea which I drink a lot of, sometimes I will eat a can of tuna raw, no salmon as it makes my skin break out,  no carbs, no bread, no natural fruit because a bananna will send my sugar levels crazy,  no greasy foods, no fatty foods, I have recently experimented with cooking egg whites and I think I can eat those too. 

 

I know this diet sucks and I can never eat anything fun  but I know what triggers my body to have break outs now and I can usually pin point what caused a break out and eliminate it from my diet.  I do think I am rare in a sense that I hate acne so much I have been able to control my food cravings to avoid breaking out. 



#22 cvd

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Posted 11 January 2014 - 08:37 PM

I can totally understand your ability to be disciplined about diet.  Since making the connection between diet and acne I've been able to avoid foods most people would feel they can't live without.  This is because I suffered with acne for so long despite doing meds that I am willing to do anything to have clear skin!   

 

I do marathons and am already at a low weight so I have to be careful not to lose too much or I will lack stamina (much like your weight training).  To eat more like cultures that don't get acne, I avoid processed flour products like bread and instead get my carbs from foods like beans, rice, and potatoes.  But eating only these carbs barely keeps my weight up so I also eat pasta and/or a flour burritos once a week because they don't seem to flare up the acne.  Not sure why pasta or burrito doesn't cause a flare and bread does (blotches on cheeks within hours)...except that bread is made from yeast.  So maybe yeast is the issue for me!  Also bread has more sweetener and I don't tolerate sweet foods very well but even non-sweetened sourdough bread will cause a flare-up.  So it must be the yeast.  And I can drink soy milk that has some sweetener in it with no problem. 

 

To test the yeast theory and rule out flour, I made a quick bread today with soda, whole spelt, a tiny amount of olive oil, less than half the honey listed which was already low, unsweetened applesauce, eggs, sunflower seeds, cinnamon and raisons.  To compensate for lack of oil I put in an extra egg and to compensate for less honey I added cinnamon and raisons.  The bread is delicious and packed with nutrients.  I'm curious to see if I have a reaction.  It would be nice to eat something with whole flour on occasion.  I do eat brown rice flour waffles once or twice a month and they are good but it would be nice to have something that is more like a treat but still very very low in oil and sweetener since these things can be a problem for me if too much.



#23 JovialCabinet

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Posted 13 January 2014 - 07:18 PM

Hi cvd,

 

I just wanted to let you know that I was inspired by your posts and have also been having success with using diet to manage my adult acne and skin issues.

 

I'm female, 41yo, and have had seborrhea and seborrheic dermatitis (SD), with a lot of blocked pores and the occasional pimple, since the age of around 11 yo. I also get inflammation in the skin around my eyes, called blepharitis- which I've had since 5yo!!- so like you, inflammation seems to play a big role in my skin issues. There are some dematologists who view SD/blepharitis as forms of rosacea. I've also, in the past, had IBS, which is definitely diet related (too much sugar and caffeine), and if that flared, so did my skin problems.

 

My diet was already very good compared to most people, as I'd already worked out that it played a big role. Like you, I've become a bit more philosophical as I've realised how these health issues have forced me not to take my health for granted.

 

But inspired by you and some other stuff I've been reading, I made the following tweaks to my diet around 3 weeks ago:

-very minimal dairy (ie tiny amount of milk in black tea, or tiny amount of real parmesan on pasta); this was a big change, as previously I was eating 2-3 serves of yogurt, cheese and full-fat milk daily

-very minimal fat and extracted oils (I found your take on that very helpful- so I now use, say, 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil in a salad dressing, but no other added fat in a meal; before I might have used 3 tsp oil in the dressing AND roast potatoes in oil)

-some animal protein (so an egg for breakfast, a small amount meat, fish or shellfish for other meals)

-lots of starch; I focus on sources of resistant starch (this is something you might like to read up on- because of the positive influence on blood sugar control and gut bacteria); minimally processed grains eg cooled and reheated brown rice or parboiled rice, cooled and reheated potato, sweet potato, some pasta, and cooked, minimally processed grains such as freekeh (wheat), rye, barley, and non-grains like quinoa, buckwheat, well-prepared pulses

-lots of vegetables, cooked and raw

-some fruit (but not loads) including under-ripe bananas for the resistant starch content

-minimal caffeine (two small cups tea per day), alcohol, sweets (1 piece of 85% choc at the end of the day, with dandelion tea...)

 

I also drink a tablespon of potato starch in cool water, after meals. This is to increase the resistant starch content of the meal. To anyone experimenting with resistant starch, it is very important that you build up taking resistant starch slowly, or your digestion will act surprised and unhappy! Again, I'd suggest reading up on it- a blog called FreeTheAnimal has a lot of great info about it (but be prepared for a lot of swearing). So, I started with a small teaspoon in water, after meals, and built up from there. Its extremely important that you take the starch in cold water, and that the potato starch is from uncooked potatoes.

 

Effects noted after 2 weeks:

-vastly improved energy; I no longer get shaky and vague due to blood sugar issues, which I used to every 2.5-3 hours if I didn't eat; yesterday I didn't need to eat for 5 hours!

-amazingly improved running performance (I have had to extend my running trail)

-very good sleep

-my skin is not oily by the end of the day, and my hair is also markedly less oily

-all seborheic dermatitis is GONE; I get it on my hairline, around my nose, and eyebrows

-skin tone generally better (much less pink)

-blepharitis (eye inflammation) much improved

-digestion has had some minor whinges along the way, mainly I think because of increasing resistant starches too quickly. These have now settled down.

 

I think I am starting to see a reduction in blocked pores (there is definitely a reduction around my nose), but it's probably too soon to report definitively on that. My experience is that you need to give something around 6 weeks to see positive changes in the condition of your skin. Whereas you can see negative changes in a matter of hours! I have made no other changes to my skincare regime in this time. I don't use any prescription medication to manage my skin- I would rate my SD as mild, seborrhea as moderate, blepharitis as moderate, prior to starting. My SD is now gone, the seborrhea is almost gone, and blepharitis now very mild.

 

Like you, cvd, I had to really increase the amount I was eating overall, to make up for the calories that used to be provided by fats and oils, dairy products and larger servings of protein. However, I am finding it an enjoyable way to eat, and I don't feel deprived. I'm aiming to stick with it for 6 months, and then see what happens if I reintroduce a serve of dairy. I don't mind the lower fat or protein, but I would like to know whether I can eat yogurt or kefir...



#24 cvd

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Posted 14 January 2014 - 11:01 AM

It's interesting, isn't it?  It took about a month to really see the difference avoiding oils was having on my skin.  My rosacea is almost nonexistent now and I rarely if ever get a pimple or clogged pore.  Like you, I've always eaten a very healthy diet compared to the typical western diet but about two years ago I started tweeking my diet based on what I was reading about cultures that don't get acne.  Then I read Dr McDougall's info on the relationship between oils and acne and that really got my attention.  It was then (last summer) that I started avoiding all oil except for teeny tiny amount of olive oil for cooking.  That change added to already avoiding dairy, sugars, alcohol, caffeine and flour products has made an incredible difference.   I also had a bit of mild seborrheic dermatitis and that is completely gone.  Maybe seed oils are too concentrated and too high in omega 6 and that is what causes inflammation.  Personally I don't think one has to be absolutely religious about avoiding all foods that are a little high in omega 6, as long as there are sufficient high omega 3 foods in the diet to compensate. To me this means following as best I can the diets of cultures that don't get acne...tweeking them to fit what is readily available here and easier to do in our culture.  Whatever I'm doing seems to work for me!  And everyone is different.  Personally I can't eat even a bit of dairy without breaking out but others can and stay clear --- go figure!

 

Another amazing thing about this diet is the amount of food that can be eaten without gaining weight.  Although I need to keep my weight up due to marathon walking so that's why I add some oatmeal...a whole food but has more bulk for me than just eating potatoes or yams for my starch.



#25 JovialCabinet

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Posted 15 January 2014 - 04:16 PM

Yes, the amount that you can eat is pretty amazing- the other day I ate half a sweet potato, and potato for dinner (with other things!). The reduced oil is not that hard, if you're already used to cooking for yourself, and I'm starting to appreciate how the flavours of things, cooked without oil, are really clear. Yesterday I cooked up red peppers/courgette/mushrooms/onion/garlic and herbs; once I would have sauted the onion and garlic in oil, but I just used water to get it all started (then the liquids starting coming out of the veg on its own). This morning my husband commented how delicious it was, how you could 'really taste the flavours intensely'. I've also worked out a good way to roast sweet potato and potato slices in the oven, again using water, and it really concentrates the flavours.

 

The change to my blood sugar highs and lows is the most noticeable thing at this stage. Weirdly enough, it's as though my body expects the dip, and then the adrenaline response that follows, and starts preparing for it, but then nothing happens! Plus I am seeing (I think) a reduction in blocked pores, and the dermatitis is still gone. Still a bit oily sometimes- but that could be because it is summer here, and so I'm having to use sunblock, which my skin detests!

 

I am pretty much dairy free- if this works, then as I said, I'll see if I can eat a little dairy every so often. Like you, I've found avoiding flour products is really important- I just don't like the way I feel after eating them on a regular basis, as they tend to lead to really big dips in blood sugar. I love having sustained energy!

 

Can I ask, what kind of oatmeal do you eat? Do you favour any particular kind eg steel cut? And how do you prepare it??


Edited by JovialCabinet, 15 January 2014 - 04:16 PM.


#26 cvd

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Posted 17 January 2014 - 08:59 PM

I eat steel cut organically grown oatmeal from my local health food coop.  I prepare it with about a half teaspoon of chia seeds (great omega 3), a small handful of raisons, and about a teaspoon full of oat flour that I grind myself (adds a bit of bulk).  I microwave this and then add a handful of frozen blueberries and diced peach that I picked last summer.  I top it off with some Silk soymilk. 

 

You are cooking exactly the way I am and I agree the flavors are so much more intense when not smothered in oil.  Like you, I can easily eat a potato and a half along with the rest of dinner...a lot of food but I feel great.  It's interesting what you say about the sugar highs and lows...I've found that avoiding flour products and eating whole foods instead results in a very calm and satisfied feeling after eating that lasts for a long time.  My body feels very nourished and my whole system feels calmer.  If I do eat a burrito or some pasta once a week I also eat something high in fiber with it like beans and diced vegetables. 



#27 JovialCabinet

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Posted 19 January 2014 - 03:01 AM

Thanks for that information cvd. I have some steel cut oats- I'm going to see how that goes, prepared in the manner you describe.

 

Due to social gatherings, I've eaten some greasier food then I'd prepare for myself. And my skin is definitely a bit oily but, strangely, minimal blocked pores and it has a good 'glow' about it. No signs of dermatitis (for anyone interested!) despite the oiliness. My eyes have flared up somewhat, thought (but, as I said, that can be the swimming and sunblock, as sunblock often makes my eyes flare up). 

 

BUT I am so enjoying the sustained energy, and as you say, the calm mood. This morning I had breakfast (a high-fibre bread wrap with hummus and some tuna, grated carrots, tomato), and was good to go until lunch. In fact, I didn't even think about food until lunch. This is an ENORMOUS change from only a month ago.



#28 cvd

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Posted 20 January 2014 - 12:51 PM

I can't help but think that eating this way is good for adults since so many chronic illnesses are inflammatory in nature and this diet is really an anti-inflammatory diet.  I too am finding that eating this way 99% of the time is what keeps my adult acne at bay.  If I am out and eat a meal with something oily once in a great while then my skin doesn't act up...but if I find myself having to eat multiple meals with too much oil or yeast, sugars, etc then I always get a flare-up.  For example, this past weekend I was at a potluck and ate some white rice that looked plain but was actually smothered in coconut oil.  I didn't get a reaction but I'm not used to eating oily foods anymore and my digestion acted up a bit.  Once I was eating my usual diet I was fine. 

 

When I'm hiking and we take a lunch I pack a sandwich for my husband that he likes but for myself I pack some homemade bean dip, mashed avocado and brown rice cakes.  He was actually looking at me enviously as I mounded bean dip and avocado onto the rice cakes for a delicious lunch...followed by fresh pear slices.  I was totally satisfied and lots of energy for hiking.  I love this way of eating...so fresh and satisfying.

 

I had a derm visit last week and he commented on how incredibly clear my skin looks.  I told him about my diet and he said to keep doing what I'm doing because it's working.  We're going to lower some of my oral meds this year and see if I maintain the clear skin.  I'm really curious to see if that is the case.  Always before meds alone never kept me clear...not until I started this diet of avoiding oils, sugars, dairy, caffeine, and alcohol has my skin become totally clear.

 

Dr McDougall on his site says that adult acne sufferers should try an approach that first avoids oils and then only add topical meds if necessary.  Last resort is oral meds.  But he says that for most people avoiding oils, lowering sugars, and eating only whole nourishing foods will calm inflammation and control acne. 

 

For me, I was already on the oral and topical meds when I started eating this way so I am doing it backwards...but I say whatever works!



#29 JovialCabinet

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Posted 20 January 2014 - 10:57 PM

That will be exciting, seeing how you go with reducing the medication! A bit nail biting, I am sure. I know how it feels to have just got to a point where your skin is behaving, you DO NOT want to muck it up, but also don't want to have to use more products then are really needed.

 

OK, I am sorry for yet again be asking more food questions- I do hope I am not overtaxing your patience.

-how do you prepare your beans (do you use tinned? or always soak your own? how long do you soak for?)

-how often do you eat legume products?

-do you target anything in particular for calcium?



#30 cvd

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Posted 21 January 2014 - 01:29 PM

I'm happy to answer questions.  I'm just so amazed how well this diet is working for my skin and actually my whole body.   My skin is clear, my digestion is great and I have lots of energy.  And interestingly even some arthritis I had is no longer there...or at least I'm not feeling it at all...which says to me the inflammation I had before is calming down!

 

I eat organic canned whole and oil-free refried beans that come in safe BPA-free tins.  I keep meaning to make my own and will try that soon.  I eat legumes often, almost daily, and my system seems to like them.  I know there are many pros and cons to eating legumes but I like them.

 

For calcium I eat tons of dark greens like kale, spinach, etc...daily.  I also take one slow acting calcium pill daily.  I don't take lots of calcium suppliments because I'd rather get most of my calcium from real food sources.  My soy milk is also fortified.  I also walk a lot and actually walk in marathons.  I am constantly moving at work and picking up heavy items (library) and I work out so I hope that will do for keeping my bones strong. 



#31 Dolan Duck

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Posted 22 January 2014 - 12:54 AM

In all respect cvd, the BP, spiro and all those other topicals are the reason you are 99,9% acne free AND I think you know it deep down in the back of your head. That is why you don't stop using those things and prove me wrong. If the diet that you are following would be the reason for your success you could just wash your face with water and do nothing else and get no acne. No reason to argue here, stop using all that topical shyt and spiro and prove me wrong, with all respect.



#32 JovialCabinet

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Posted 22 January 2014 - 04:25 AM

Thanks for that info, again, cvd.
This thread is v helpful, also the other thread where another member is trying strict kitavan. Coconut oil always makes me break out, big time, so that is not for me!

#33 cvd

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Posted 24 January 2014 - 01:46 PM

Hi Dolan --- I have shared this several times before and will do it again now.  I have never been clear while using oral and/or topical meds...never!  The only exception is when I was on accutane and sometimes full strength antibiotics but you can not do those forever.  I had been using the meds below - some for over 10 years and some for several years but I still broke out in pimples everyday.  When on the exact regime below I stopped getting deep cysts but I was still getting inflammed pimples and clogged up pores.  I've always eaten mostly organic and well compared to typical western diets but before doing this diet I was still eating lots of oils, margarine, french fries and potato chips, etc.  First I switched to eating mainly whole foods because I was following an allergy diet prescribed by my doc and I couldn't eat things like wheat, etc.  Then I started reading more and more about cultures that don't get acne and that led me to avoiding oils except for a teeny amount of EVOO for cooking.  And I did my best to avoid processed foods like bread, chips, etc. 

 

I noticed a change switching to mainly whole foods and had fewer breakouts.  But it was when I stopped eating oils and oily foods that within a couple of weeks my skin dramatically cleared up...dramatically.  I wish I could shout this --- it was dramatic!

 

All I can say is to try it.  I have never said that the meds I was taking weren't helping --- they have but they didn't get me clear.  I am much older than most on this site and have tried and tried over and over during the decades of having acne to get clear using oral and topical meds alone but they just didn't do it...never (except as described above).

 

I won't argue that stopping all meds and just doing the diet would be an interesting test but why?  My goal is to be clear and I don't care how.  I am just sharing what is working for me in the hope that it may work for someone else.  And I think that especially avoiding oils and oily foods along combined with eating mainly whole foods will help any adult who has acne.  Diet has it's place and may do it alone for some but for others will help achieve the goal along with doing some meds. 

 

I've already started weaning off one of the oral meds that are used just for inflammation (very low dose doxy).  I am just as curious as the next person to see what role diet has in keeping me totally clear.  We'll see!  It's all a journey of self-discovery - eh?


Edited by cvd, 24 January 2014 - 01:48 PM.





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