Hey guys, it's been awhile and I am glad to say I can finally discuss a positive update. For the past 4 months my skin has made a miraculous change for the better; I now get significantly less acne and my oily skin has been cut around 70%. I used to use ACV and Cetaphil religiously, and I found that I don't even need to do that anymore. Seemingly overnight it normalized and balanced itself out, all I do to clean my face is rub it with my hands in the shower and wash it with warm water before I got to bed. This is a far cry from the specific and methodical routine I used to do.
Now whenever I tried that lax a cleaning routine in the past, my skin would explode with acne. There truly has been a change in my skin, and I have spent the last couple months trying to nail down what it is. But the problem is that I could not make a perfectly controlled experiment; life would sometimes force me into certain dietary changes or lifestyle adjustments that I had not planned.
I have narrowed it down to a few factors that may have contributed to this change in my skin. These are the only things that changed in the last few months, so whatever combination is responsible for the results I'm seeing is somewhere in here. I'm putting this up in case someone else is looking to test factors that could affect their oily skin. One of these (or a combination of) is what caused the dramatic change, and I hope this can be of use to someone.
- Less Dairy- I have always drank ridiculous amounts of milk (maybe 30 oz a day) and had literally 3 servings of Greek yogurt a day. I have cut this down to a reasonable amount (8 oz a day of milk, and maybe 1 yogurt).
- More Reasonable Caloric Intake - Due to my workout and sport endeavors, I had been in weight gaining mode for the last three years, eating everything I can get my hands on, probably to the tune of about 6000 calories a day. My engineering studies/career has forced my hand in lessening the time I can go to the gym, so I'm focusing on more practical goals and eating about 2500 calories day
- No More Whey Protein- I really think this one was a huge culprit, I noticed the bulk of the changes after stopping this, but I can't say for sure it wasn't just a coincidence. I didn't need it and it was too expensive, so out it went.
- Lowered Intensity and Volume of Strength Training- I'm not working out to be an athlete anymore, only to look good, and I think that my hormones were able to come down from the heightened levels they've been at from the hard workouts. I've switched to more cardio and circuit training, which is less stimulating to androgens than traditional weight training techniques. Less androgens = less oily skin
- Regular Vitamin D Supplementation - I had been diagnosed "moderately low" in Vitamin D by my doctor, and have been taking 1000 IU per day for the last 3 months. I think this one too may have been a large factor. I will be getting testing again soon to see if the levels are within the targeted range.
- Recognized Food Allergy (Soy) - Turns out while I love soy milk, it gives me crazy, red, headless cysts on my face and chest. It also makes my throat itchy for about 30 minutes after drinking it; clearly an allergic reaction. Certain foods with large amounts of soy lecithin also give a similar reaction.
These are all things you can look into if you have problematic oily, sensitive, and acne prone skin like I do. Browse this list and see if anything jumps out at you in terms of parallels in your own lifestyle. I also strongly recommend trying vitamin D because while it may not be the sole contributor here, I think that it can be effective for a fair proportion of the population and is relatively safe at the doses I mention above. Remember that if you cut out diary, you must find another sourse of calcium. And do not think that eating less calories means less acne, this only applies if you are eating two or three times the recommended, average daily caloric intake of 2000 calories.
And believe it or not, there is a possibility that one more factor could have affected my skin...
I got older.
It is definitely possible that the fact that I am 21 means that my skin is changing into a more mature and less reactive state than it used to be. This unfortunately means that there may be little you can do to change your skin until it is ready. It is bittersweet, but good in that someday you may grow out of your acne; as millions do.
I hope this was informative to someone, and questions are welcome.