I suffered from acne for about 15 years. I tried everything and spend a lot of money on 'miracle treatments' like micro dermabrasion, acid peels, beauty creams, antibiotics, gels, tea tree oils, contraceptive pills (strongly not recommended) etc etc.... The list is so long, that I am not going to waste my time. I don't know if you realised that all those treatments are advertised because pharmaceutical companies know that people who suffer from acne are so desperate to treat it that they will pay every price. Let's face it - they just want our money. Those people don't care how we feel and what it is like when you have acne - they just want our money! I would like to share my experience with you on how to treat acne just with diet and I hope some of you may find it useful. I used to have really bad acne on my back, chest, and all over my face. I ended up depressed, not wanting to go out, ashamed to go on holidays or at the swimming pool because I would have to expose my awful at this time looking skin. I look so much better at the moment and I am able to control it now since I changed my diet few years ago. I can wear and do whatever I want if I stick to my healthy diet. Acne is a very complex - I would say metabolic disease and none of doctors know what exactly is causing it and how to treat it effectively. They try to treat symptoms without treating a cause. If you treat the cause you will not have symptoms which would make more sense I think. Apparently it does not happen in developing countries and it is more and more common in civilised countries (European countries, US). People in some developing countries when they start eating processed food like us suddenly start having problems with acne, diabetes, allergies etc..What is the reason for it? Well, if you think about it our diet is very different from what we used to eat originally a long time ago and what they eat in some developing countries. So, just think about it! By changing your diet you can control your acne and also improve your health.
Before I tell you a little bit more about my diet I would like to share my views on some acne treatments. My acne is a bit complicated because I also suffer from PCOS. Usually people start having problems with acne when they are teenagers and there are some hormonal changes in their body going on. It is worth checking if you have problems with hormones by visiting your GP. A lot of doctors may tell you that your acne will ease or disappear when you pass your 30s. Well, this is not always the case! Don't believe in it! Some people may improve, but some won't. It is very common that doctors will recommend you some topical creams. My experience is - they don't really do much, unless you have a mild version of acne. They may prescribe you some contraceptives - didn't work on me much. I had a very little improvement and I tried a whole range of contraceptives as I didn't tolerate them very well. First of all contraceptive pills have a lot of side effects (check some medical articles and NHS page for side effects). If your doctor is good he/she should do some blood tests before they prescribe them as not everybody can have them. If you have problems with liver or blood clotting I don't think you should take them. Contraceptives increase risk of cancer and stroke -bear it in mind! Doctors didn't tell me about it and I was taking them for 10 years. I had nausea, 'heavy legs', my veins were popping out and I started having really bad migraines. My migraines could last for as long as 1-2 weeks and trust me - the pain was so bad I can't even describe. I think it is better to avoid contraceptives completely unless you don't want to live very long and you want to spend most of your life at the hospital.
Other common treatment is - Roaccutane which is a toxic dose of vitamin A. You probably know what it does to you (check NHS direct for side effects). I refused to take it as I really don't think it is worthy. Acne comes back once you stop taking it in most of cases so you just waste your money plus damage your liver and joints. My friend ended up with bipolar depression, very painful joints and his acne was back once he stopped taking it. Unfortunately you can't restore completely the damage you have done to your body by taking it. His acne and joint problems disappeared after a month when I convinced him to change his diet, but he still suffers from depression.
Antibiotics - well they are also toxic and have a lot of side effects. I had all sorts and none of them helped me. I was taking them topically and orally. Tetracyclines caused that I ended up with irritable bowel syndrome and candidasis. Once you stop taking them - acne comes back.
Tea trea oil, aloe vera juice and gels, benzoxyl peroxide, chinese medicine, herbal teas - I tried everything. It had no effect on my acne at all.
Don't use cosmetics with alcohol and anything which irritates and dries your skin. Try do not pick your spots too much. Use the most natural (small ingredient list) cosmetics you can find at the shop or internet. Do not wash your skin more than twice a day. Try jojoba oil or coconut oil at the evening before you go to sleep - even if you have oily skin. Your skin produces grease not without a reason! If you dry your skin you strip the protective layer off and bacteria can penetrate your skin more easily plus you get opposite effect (your skin will be even more greasy and you will end up with more spots). Make sure your cosmetics are paraben free, alcohol free and lauryl sulphate free.
The problem is we (people with acne) are so desperate that we expect a quick remedy while this sort of remedies are a myth! Our body is not a hoover or TV that you can repair it within a day by changing a burned engine or replacing a disconnected cable.Human body is complexed and in order to treat any condition you have, you need to understand a bit of physiology and how it works. And remember - chronic diseases like acne develop slowly so don't expect a 'quick cure'. Give your body time and 'tools' to recover.
Diet - the cheapest and most effective treatment for a lot of diseases (acne included) I know. It has no side effects. To live and keep your body in good health you need to eat - pretty obvious! Most of diseases are caused by diet and your genotype (diabetes, infertility, cardiovascular, obesity, metabolic syndrome, acne etc.). Diet and exercise stabilise your hormones, helps to regulate your insulin level, weight and extends your life. Unfortunately in civilised world most of us literally eat - CRAP. We do not eat enough fruits and vegetables which our bodies love and we eat too much saturated fat and sugar. There are some studies done by Robyn N Smith "A low-glycemic-load diet improves symptoms in acne vulgaris patients: a randomized controlled trial". Just have a look at this - it is just an example. There are a lot of articles indicating that diet has an influence on your health and ACNE included, but unfortunately a lot of people don't have an access to a proper medical journals and even if they did - they would not know what they write about and what to look at in this paper unless they are academic with a scientific background.
What I would recommend for acne is avoid table sugar in any possible form. Sugar is in so many products that I must say it is hard, but possible! The best is to prepare meals, lunches at home so you know what you eat. Be aware that sugar is added to all bought at the shop or eaten at the restaurant sauces, ketchup, mayonnaise, to breakfast cereals, cakes, biscuits, crisps - even in burgers! If you go out for a meal - (don't do it too often) try to choose a healthier option - salad just with vinegar and olive oil, steamed veg with plain chicken breast (not fried - boiled or roasted without sauces- keep it as simple as you can). Avoid food with preservatives. Reduce your salt intake. Stop eating fast food. Avoid milk and if you really have to eat something with milk - choose sugar free, reduced fat plain yoghurt. Avoid wheat and everything with gluten - replace it with buckwheat, brown or wild rice and oatcakes. Avoid fried and fatty foods. Eat fish more than twice a week and as many fruits and veg as you can. Eat potatoes boiled with skin - not fried, roasted as a treat only. Use a lot of fresh and dried herbs. Limit your fat intake - especially saturated fats. Eat a lot of seeds and nuts but not roasted and salted. You can add them to salads or have them as a snack during lunch. Eliminate alcohol from your diet - it is really bad for your hormones and it is the main cause of cancer! Don't eat crisps as they are full of saturated fat, salt and preservatives. Avoid coffee - affects your hormones. Most of my male friends had problems with acne after eating soy products, which I find very interesting. I would say - eat soy products in very moderate amounts. Milk you can replace with oat milk, rice milk, coconut milk, almond milk - just check what is available at your supermarket. Drink moderate amount of black or green tea and not directly before or after meal as it stops you from absorption of certain minerals from your food (e.g. iron). You can have camomile, mint tea and plenty of water. Make sure you are hydrated - water helps to remove toxins from your body, delays appearing of wrinkles and makes your skin look bright. Avoid juices - unless you squeeze it by yourself at home. They usually add sugar and they rise your blood sugar level too quickly. Ok, this list is really long. I could carry on, but I would say if you have any questions - just ask me.
USE YOUR COMMON SENSE. Processed and chemically modified food is bad for you! If you hear something else in media - it is more likely some companies producing food are trying to get money out of your pocket.
I can guarantee that if you stick to this healthy diet you will start seeing improvement after one week! If you acne is very severe you may wait a little longer, but it is worthy. The main thing is - you have to stick to this regime at the beginning and don't give up even once! Also - start exercising - it is very important too. You will not only improve your acne but also may loose some weight and start feeling more energetic and happy. If you are healthy - you are happy! Just give your body a chance to recover!
I wish everybody the best and GOOD LUCK! Don't give up! If I could do it - you can do it too!!!