So it's been two weeks since I posted on here! Here's the update:
So my first trigger food once I started reintroducing foods back into my diet was eggs. I added grains and my skin was fine. Then I added chicken - another breakout. Then red meat - another breakout. Then dairy - another breakout. (I did let my skin breathe in between adding foods for a few days so I knew it was the food and not a residual breakout from a previous food)
I will say that the breakouts were not bad, just whiteheads, not the cyst that popped up when I had eggs. So, I have decided to go vegan. It looks like animal products are the things keeping me from clear skin. It's been three days since my last breakout and for the past three days I've been eating vegan and my skin is looking goooooooood. I am honestly amazed that my skin is this good right now.
I will say, I am not going to a very strict vegan. If someone offers me a non-vegan cookie, I'm gonna take it and deal with the whitehead the next day. But hopefully staying vegan for the majority of my meals will keep the serious acne away.
I'm still only washing my face with micellar water. No harsh creams and no foundation. I'm thinking maybe once I'm really confident in my vegan diet, I might reintroduce foundation, but I haven't decided when or if I will do that. I've really loved being proud of my natural skin
My skin is still so clear!! After chocolate I added whole wheat in the form of Ezekiel bread, whole wheat crackers and whole wheat eggless waffles. No breakouts at all!
Next on the list is refined flour. I figured that if whole wheat is fine for me, I've already introduced gluten. The only reason I want to get refined flour out of the way is not because I really want to eat much of it, but because I have a bridal shower coming up that's tea party themed and I really want to be able to eat scones and tea sandwiches without worrying about my skin.
So the next food I introduced into my diet was chocolate (mostly because I've been craving it hardcore). I introduced it three days ago by making my own chocolate, since I wanted to avoid dairy and processed sugar. Basically I melted down unsweetened chocolate, added coconut oil and some maple syrup, flavored it with either cayenne, coconut or cinnamon (I made three batches), then layered the melted chocolate in mini muffin liners with slices of banana. Then I just cooled them in the freezer, easy peasy, no refined sugar or dairy needed! And they're SOOOOOOO delicious! I can't wait until I can do this with peanut butter and pretzels.
Anyways, today is day three of chocolate and no new acne!! I have one little bump between my eyebrows but that's just because I was plucking too vigorously. The cyst from the eggs is disappearing nicely. I really hope eggs is the only allergen but my prediction is that the casein in milk products is going to be another culprit. One step at a time...
So yesterday I introduced eggs. I made shakshuka and then I also made a dairy free custard (both were absolutely delicious!). About halfway through yesterday I saw the beginnings of a cyst on my cheek. I was hoping that it would go away but today it got even bigger, plus I had some tiny bumps form too. So it looks like eggs are one of my trigger foods
I'm pretty bummed, because I know how many foods have eggs in them, but I'm hoping that if they're present in trace amounts it won't bother me. I'm kind of pumped that this whole experiment is working, but it sucks because I love fried eggs. Oh well - clear skin is definitely worth it!
So I have officially started reintroducing foods into my diet. I was going to wait until this Saturday, but I went to an event last night thinking I could just have salad, but the salad was already pre-dressed in Caesar and parmesan, so I chose to eat gluten free pasta, which seemed to be the lesser of two evils. I ended up having two plates of it, so at the same time this will be a test for gluten free pasta and high glycemic load.
So far so good. No cysts. I had a tiny whitehead pop up around my mouth but I think that's more because I've been wearing lipstick a lot lately. I've been getting some small red bumps but they're not cystic and they don't turn into whiteheads. It's almost as if they're not even acne, just little red bumps, so I'm not really concerned with them at all. As of right now it looks like gluten free pasta is safe for me!
I just realized I never really included a before pic since I started this blog on Day 5. So this pic I'm attaching was my skin the day before I started the no foundation / fasting / elimination diet routine. And so you can see how far my skin has come I'll also include a pic from today.
How has it already been 20 days?? Since the mini breakout after eating pineapple, I have had no new breakouts! Yesterday I introduced coconut oil back into my diet, which I'm not worried about, and so far it has done nothing to my skin.
My hyperpigmentation is still fading. Can't wait till it's totally gone because that's really the only thing that's making my skin look blemished. I started wearing lipstick again since my skin has been so stable. The whole waiting 4 days to introduce a new food is really going to test my patience, especially if my skin is doing well, but I can't disrupt the 'experiment'. (That's how I have to think of it or else I'll cheat!) Lord, give me patience!!
So over the weekend I made a discovery - pineapple makes me break out!! I'm not really sure why, because I can handle other high sugar fruits like mango, maybe it's because of the enzymes? But whatever the case, I now know one of my trigger foods! So exciting!
This really just gives me hope that this is all going to work out in the end, that I'm going to know 100% what makes me break out and what doesn't. The reaction wasn't bad, just a couple tiny whiteheads, but obviously the goal is no whiteheads at all, so that means pineapple has got to go!
Skin is still looking good besides the 3 tiny little whiteheads that formed after drinking pineapple juice. In the pics, you can barely see them so I'm hopeful that they'll be gone soon.
Still wearing no foundation but I added some retinol cream every once in awhile to help with the hyperpigmentation.
So the red splotches and whiteheads that formed after the sugar scrub are now subsiding, so that's good. Still drinking only juice and water. This time was much easier to start juice fasting because my body has been totally detoxed from carbs so I don't crave them at all. Yes, I do miss the taste of them, but my body isn't like, "GIVE ME CARBS". I'm really happy I am reintroducing foods one at a time after this - it's going to give me so much clarity as to what causes my acne.
I'm also hoping that I can stick to this no foundation thing forever. I love not having to worry about putting it on before I go out or taking it off at night. Part of me is hoping that makeup was the issue the whole time and I'll be able to eat whatever the heck I want! But let's be realistic. That's probably not the case. *sigh*
Another benefit of juice fasting is I have SO MUCH free time now! I am amazed at how much time we spend preparing and eating food. It's kind of crazy...
So on my Day 5 blog post, I said that I had been juice fasting for two weeks for spiritual reasons and then switched over to eating just fruits and vegetables. But for whatever reason, I can't do partial fasts. I mean I can DO them, but I get so spiritually distracted by eating that it feels like a waste. I end up constantly thinking about what I can and can't eat instead of thinking about connecting with God and my own spirit. So I've decided to go back to juice fasting until March 16th, and then reintroduce a new food every 4 days.
My skin was healing very effectively on the first two week juice fast, so I'm expecting the same results. On Friday I tried a sugar scrub to get some dead skin off. The day I did it my skin looked great! But then the next day the skin around my nose was irritated, creating tiny little whiteheads, and I'm assuming it's from the scrub since I don't know what else it could be. Since they're not cystic, I'm not worried - I'll just remember to be more gentle.
This is the first time in a looooooooooong time that I've woken up every day for a week straight excited to look in the mirror! Every day I can see my active pimples getting smaller, my hyperpigmentation getting lighter, and no new pimples forming!!! *does a little dance*
The saving grace of this diet has been avocados w/ Frank's hot sauce on top. I initially wasn't going to eat spices but I LOVE Frank's and had to try it - it hasn't caused me to break out so I'm keeping it in my diet. But seriously, if you haven't tried straight avocado w/ Frank's on top, do it. It is HEAVEN.
This morning I tried out a gentle sugar scrub on my skin and it really brightened up the texture. I was SUPER gentle and my skin didn't get aggravated at all. Yay! Besides that, I'm still only using burt's bees moisturizer for sensitive skin, garnier micellar water and acne.org's AHA+ lotion once every 5 days.
Since this is going to so well, and I haven't been tempted to break my diet or my routine at ALL, I'm only going to update this maybe once a week, unless I see something drastic happen or if I start breaking out again.
I am feeling so good about the caveman regimen this time around.
Every time I look in the mirror, I feel like my skin is looking better and better! No new breakouts, and the two spots I have on the left side of my mouth are getting smaller (well, the one is coming to head so it's further along in its healing process). AND it looks like my scars are fading more quickly (but it's hard to tell). All in all, I am VERY optimistic.
My diet is still just fruits and veggies, nothing else. I really thought the sugar in all the fruit I'm eating would've been a problem but it isn't at all. And I still haven't put any makeup on my skin, I've only been wearing eye makeup.
If you've been following my blog, my last post basically said I was going to keep wearing natural makeup, restrict my diet and maintain a minimal face care routine.
Well...it didn't work.
I was still breaking out around my mouth, which based on face mapping means that it was hormonal (which I've known forever). I restricted my diet even more and went on the Candida diet for a month. Still no change. Now, I'm a very spiritual person, and a little over two weeks ago I felt that God was telling me to fast for 40 days, drinking only juice and water.
For two weeks, I drank only fruit juice and water (which at first I was worried about because, well, sugar!) and realized that my skin was actually getting better! After two weeks, I drank some juice that was pureed fruit and had fiber which kickstarted my stomach acid, causing me excruciating pain, and decided to finish the fast by only eating fruits and veggies (no oils or spices). Since my skin was looking better (and God was teaching me about inner beauty), I also decided to finish the fast without wearing foundation. When I had done the caveman regimen previously, I noticed great improvement in my skin, it was just way too dry, so this time I'm still cleansing and moisturizing, just not wearing makeup.
Right now I only have two active pimples around my mouth which is the best it's been since I was on the strict caveman regimen before. After seeing this improvement, I'm realizing how awesome our bodies are! While we fast, the body eats away what is unhealthy and balances itself out. It really is quite amazing.
Since I now know I can literally go two weeks without food and still feel amazing, I'm definitely going to be incorporating fasting days regularly, I'm thinking full water only fasts every Monday and Thursday.
So anyways, here's to seeing what the future holds!
Current regimen: -micellar water for cleansing -burt's bees daily moisturizer for sensitive skin -acne.org aha+ lotion once every 4 or 5 days -eating fruits and veggies only for the rest of my 40 day fast -light exercise (yoga and walking)
(Attached pic is mostly scarring, I swear only two of those pimples are active)
I have decided to change my routine once again. This should be the last time I change my mind!
So I overestimated my ability to stop wearing makeup. After wearing makeup for two weeks and actually feeling pretty, going these past two days with no makeup was a serious stab at my confidence. I got pretty bummed out last night, drank a bunch of wine and binged on steak and chocolate. I know, weird.
So I decided makeup is going to have to stay in the routine. I found this website where you can copy and paste the ingredients list of your makeup and it will tell you which ingredients are comedogenic. (Here's the link: http://acnemantra.com/comedogenic-ingredients/) I put in all the ingredients of the foundations I had used in the past and they ALL had comedogenic (pore-clogging) ingredients!! So I went through a bunch of different foundations ingredients list online and finally found a foundation that had NO comedogenic ingredients: Physician's Formula Organic Wear BB Cream. I'll start wearing it tomorrow and see how it goes!
I also am putting masks into my regimen (a dead sea/algae mask, a charcoal and coconut mask, a cucumber and aloe mask) and adding acne.org's AHA+ cream into my moisturizer at night.
Tbh the only time I feel acne form is when I'm wearing makeup, which is why the caveman regimen was working so well for me. So maybe all along my comedogenic makeup was the issue (although I KNOW dairy was a culprit too). So let's see if this switch and this regimen works for me!
(This definitely is no longer a caveman regimen! I'm basically logging this as my own way of tracking data, so sorry for anyone who was following with the intention of seeing how the caveman regimen worked!)
Good news - I decided to go back to the caveman regimen!
My skin definitely needed some to time to normalize while I was moisturizing and introducing hydration back into my skincare. My skin texture is back to normal, nice and hydrated! But I'm still breaking out around my mouth. Boo.
Since the caveman regimen really was creating results for me, I've decided to go back to the caveman regimen but this time, moisturize twice a day and I will wash with a really nourishing, all natural cleanser at night. So basically I'm cutting out the makeup and makeup remover and HOPEFULLY this will be the cure! (Also side note: Bio-Oil made me break out and was not good for my skin, so I've switched over to Burt's Bees Sensitive Skin moisturizer with a drop of jojoba oil at night)
AM: Burt's Bees Sensitive Skin Moisturizer
PM: Burt's Bees Sensitive Skin Cleanser Burt's Bees Sensitive Skin Moisturizer (with added drop of jojoba oil)
Diet: Dairy free
Vitamins: Betaine HCL L-Lysine Fish Oil Vitamin A Women's multivitamin Turmeric ACV
So sad news. I think I'm giving up on the caveman regimen.
It was working really well! But then as soon as the weather started getting colder, the skin around my nose and mouth was getting way too dry, and the dryness was causing it to break out again. So I needed moisture and started using Bio-oil. On top of that I REALLY missed makeup. Like REALLY REALLY missed makeup.
So here's my current regimen:
MORNING -moisturize w/ bio-oil -foundation on spots only, not all over skin
ONCE A WEEK -exfoliate w/ clarisonic brush -mud mask
It's still definitely stripped back. I used to use benzoyl peroxide twice a day as well as retinol and hyaluronic acid products. So hopefully with this 'modified' caveman regimen we'll see some results!
I can't believe it's already been over a month!! That went by so freaking quickly.
So I've definitely pegged dairy as the culprit of my cystic acne. Last weekend, I ate a pumpkin roll with cream cheese frosting in the center, then went to a Friendsgiving dinner in which EVERY DISH had dairy (except the turkey itself) and the next day - BAM. Cystic acne on my forehead. Since then I've been good about avoiding dairy and no more cysts - though today I ordered bubble tea not even thinking about dairy and I'm pretty sure it had milk in it. So we'll see what happens over the next day or two. Hopefully it wasn't enough to make a real difference!!!!
So I live in PA and it's getting colder which is not helping the whole 'no moisturizing' part of this regimen. The area around my nose has been getting red, so I'm trying to see if I can add some kind of moisturizer once every couple of days. I tried jojoba oil but that made me breakout. Then I tried an argan/coconut blend and that made me breakout too. I just bought BioOil (mostly because my mom raves about it) so I'm going to see if applying that around my nose / lips area can moisturize it without making me breakout.
This regimen (plus the elimination diet) has definitely revolutionized my skin. I feel like at this point it's just a big experiment to see which moisturizers will help deal with the dryness. I still am not wearing any foundation / concealer and am not washing at all. I definitely don't want to be a purist about this forever though. If I find a moisturizer that works and can get my skin clear on a consistent basis, I do want to add some kind of mineral powder foundation and a super gentle cleanser back into my regimen because I really miss makeup BUT I will not do so until I find the perfect balance and equation to clear skin for me. We'll see how long this takes.
I cannot believe it is day 21!! I thought I was going to be way more diligent about posting here but life gets busy, what can I say?
Anyways, I've been really good with my diet after I had an incident. It's actually pretty funny now that I think about it. My last blog post talked about how much I missed cheese. Well, the next day I split half a pizza with my husband and yes - I broke out! And I don't mean the whiteheads I had before, I mean big ugly cysts. It took awhile for my breakout to mellow down but now I know that dairy definitely causes my acne! Before I just assumed it did because it does for so many other people, but secretly I didn't want to believe it, but now I have concrete evidence. Also, I've been eating a bunch of gluten with no breakouts so I know that's not an issue. It may still be sugar related as well (I'll have to eat sugar without dairy sometime soon and see if I break out) but at least I know dairy does for sure.
Anyways, my skin is now pretty clear. I have a couple tiny whiteheads that I don't really know how to get rid of. I started using jojoba oil around my nose since it's been a little dry because of the cold and it's definitely been helping with redness. Part of me wants to start adding products and makeup back into my routine but the other half of me is scared to! I think I'll wait a little longer and see if the whiteheads clear up on their own.
I didn't update over the weekend and I wish I would have. Because, like I said in my first post, I was trying not to binge on weekends and what did I do?? Exactly that. We'll see over the next couple days if anything pops up because of it.
So the zit on my lip got HUGE over the weekend and it's finally going down but it's still super red. The forehead bumps are finally going away too.
I haven't had any new cysts form yet since starting the caveman regimen (which is HUGE because I just got my period and I ALWAYS get cysts before!! Not this time!). I'm still nervous though because I had two huge sandwiches on nice gluten-stuffed white bread on Saturday AND I had my first bowl of ice cream in two months on Sunday (my husband bought my favorite flavor, what was I supposed to do??). So I'm praying no new cysts form because of my food mistakes this weekend.
I do kind of feel one forming under my skin on my right cheek. I hope I'm just being paranoid and it's nothing. There's nothing to do but wait now. Booooo.
I feel extra gross about my skin today. The ones on my forehead got inflamed, but the same thing happened to the ones on my chin, so hopefully that just means they're healing. I also got some whiteheads around my lip lines, which I'm honestly not surprised about because I was wearing lipstick basically everyday to try and distract people from the fact that I wasn't wearing any foundation.
I really miss cheese today. That sounds like such a silly thing to say but I LOVE cheese. Grilled cheese is my comfort food. I miss pizza and lasagna and goat cheese with crackers and ravioli and sharp cheddar and cheesecake and cannolis. I'm praying that once my face clears up, I'll be able to introduce cheese again. But who knows if that'll actually be a reality. UGGGGGGGGG
The good thing when I first started this regimen I was super oily, but I don't have to blot anymore! Also my pores have definitely shrunk. I still have hope!! This is just way more difficult than I thought it was gonna be.
On another note, it's the weekend!!!!! I've caved and eaten crap basically every other weekend before, I'm declaring this weekend will be gluten/dairy/sugar free! (Hopefully!)
Nine days in a row of no foundation. CRAZY. I've been getting more down about it lately. I just want to feel pretty and I don't at all. I feel self-conscious about the state of my skin and it sucks. BUT I'm committed and will 100% stick through this for at least three months. I'm committed.
So I've been good about the regimen, despite the impulse to put SOMETHING on my skin. It is nice to have such a short bedtime routine, so that's good. I've also been good about my diet, though when I went to the bank today, I got all shaky and impulsive when I noticed a bowl of chocolates at the window. I grabbed one and chowed it down when I got to my car. I'm pretty embarrassed at my reaction, but maybe writing it down will help me bring awareness to it and have better self-control the next time something like that happens.
The white heads below my noise totally dried up overnight!! Also most of my chin bumps are totally gone. Sadly, little red bumps have been forming on my forehead but they're barely noticeable. I just hope they heal as quickly as the ones on my chin! The cyst on my temple started scabbing (I think I might have bumped it when pushing my hair back) but I'm hoping that goes away soon. I just know that one will scar. Boo.
So the tiny white bumps from yesterday are still there. Three of them got inflamed and got bigger - I'm thinking this is from me washing my face yesterday. They just want to be left alone!
The cyst on my temple is pretty red and raised, which could mean any number of things.
I did pretty well with my diet yesterday! (Dairy/gluten/sugar/caffeine/hard-liquor free) The only place I slipped up a bit was a co-worker offered me a 100 calorie pack of pretzels. I figured since it was such a small amount, no harm done!
Side note - I'm also doing intermittent fasting during this, so that could be playing a part in all of this. (I fast 16 hours, eat for 8) Some women experience hormonal fluctuations while IF, but for me I feel like it's regulated it. I'm thinking that because I am restricting my calories by restricting the time I eat, I'm overall eating less carbs and inflammatory foods. Yay!
My story is similar to so many users on here, especially those who have tried the caveman regimen, because I have been on everything (antibiotics, topicals, retinoids, Accutane, birth control, BP, medicated cleansers, vitamins, you name it) and NOTHING has worked. Everything works for a little while and then the acne comes back at some point or another. So I guess everything worked but nothing lasted.
So here I am, trying to heal myself the au-natural way. Thanks to blogs like Organic Olivia and The Love Vitamin, as well as so many user experiences here, I'm pretty confident and excited to move forward with the next step...the Caveman Regimen.
So like the blog title says, I'm on Day 7 but I woke up with some tiny little whiteheads around my mouth and chin and freaked out and immediately washed my face and put on some nice chemically boosted facial spray. Ug. SOOOO hopefully writing everyday (or so) will give me some accountability. I'm also trying to cut out dairy/gluten/sugar/hard liquor so I'm hoping for some added accountability there too.
Up until now, my skin has been clearing up SIGNIFICANTLY. The weird thing is, I never had whiteheads before, my problem was always inflamed cysts. I only have ONE cyst right now (on Day 1 I had 6 cysts) but these tiny whiteheads have popped up. I read some other blogs and other people have had the sam problems, but they did end up going away on their own. I'm going to try and NOT wash and moisturize again because my face is dry and red now and it looked better before I washed it, despite the whiteheads.
I trust the process!!
Also in an attempt to not eat ice cream before bed, I've been eating frozen mangoes. A little too many frozen mangoes, which might be contributing to my little chin breakout. I'm gonna stop eating those for awhile and see what happens.
If anyone has done this before and had the same reaction, let me know if you have any tips!