My last post detailed the elimination diet for yall. I talked a little about my personal experience too but now I’m going to dig a lil deeper.
In my caveman regimen blog, my first post ever talks about how my acne developed. The short of it is this: I had clear skin up until I was 18. I never used soap on my face growing up. Just water. I started using products when I went off to college. I started breaking out and it got progressively worse every year. You can see my skin at its worst in the caveman regimen blog. I’m 24 now, so this has been six years in the making.
I tried a lot of shit; Retin-A, clindamycin, benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, glycolic acid, face mists, hyaluronic acid, vaseline, oil cleansing method, lemon, steaming, apple cider vinegar, probiotics, paleo diet, biom-8 oil, cerave, hada labo gokyujun lotion, lotion p50, supplements, caveman regimen etc etc.
I gave some of these treatments 6 months of my life. And to no avail. For six years I have been on and off different products, facing the worst depression and self esteem. It held me back from new friends, new opportunities and life in general.
If you read my caveman regimen blog, which covers about 3 months of my experience, you’ll know I gave it up around October 2019. It didn’t work. Not even a bit. I kind of accepted my fate and went back to hopping between products for a while. Then some things happened. Read the caveman blog to find out how I ended up with the elimination diet in detail. But the short of it is; I got really fuckin fed up. I decided to commit to a total diet overhaul in May 2020. I was running out of ideas and Accutane was becoming my only option left. I decided to give this my best effort.
I started with the elimination diet because I read that certain foods can trigger an immune response in certain people, causing widespread inflammation. In the first two weeks, I ate an extremely plain diet. I had grilled chicken and green veggies every day. I used avocado oil for cooking and salt and pepper for seasoning. That’s it. I won’t lie, it was HARD. In the first week, my skin was suffering. Photos at the bottom. But I decided to push through. After the first week, inflammation seemed to die down. By the end of the second week, I hadn’t had a new breakout in days. I’m one month in and my skin continues to clear. Even the dryness that plagued my skin the past two years improved greatly.
After two weeks of a highly restricted diet, I’ve been reintroducing a handful of foods back in; eggs, coconut milk, garlic, onions, almonds. I keep track of my skin carefully. And I only reintroduce a new food once every three days.
The only food I had a problem with was brown rice. I added it back in because I was dizzy and nauseous and starving all the time. Immediately after adding it, I felt the uncomfortable dryness I’d been feeling for the past two years. I knew it was a bad sign. I removed it and I don’t plan to add it back in again soon. My skin immediately felt better.
I wanted to find out why my skin had reacted that way to brown rice. And a few things came up in my research; candida overgrowth (which I took with a grain of salt because it sounds sketchy), and insulin resistance from diabetes. Seeing as rice is a carb which gets converted to sugar in your body, these two explanations made sense to me. But one of them stood out, and it gnawed at me; diabetes.
I was in denial. I thought there was NO WAY I could have diabetes. I didn’t eat a lot junk. My family and friends would say I eat less junk than the average person. I don’t even have a sweet tooth! I go to the gym 3-4 times a week. No way do I have diabetes. But I remembered that my dad is type 2 diabetic. And despite that family history, I’ve been so ignorant about diabetes. Since then, I realized how much my past habits could have triggered insulin resistance. In college, I had a love affair with sweet wines, pastas, potatoes, burritos and rice. While I was healthier than the average college student, my genes got the best of me I think. My skin was at its worst in the past two years. And those two years just happen to correlate with junior and senior year of college when I was stressed out and eating more carby, processed things than usual. And its true that insulin resistance causes so much cell damage—not just to your skin, hair, nails but your entire body. My skin suffered so much the past two years. I also developed dandruff I never had before and fungal infections of nails. Who knows what else has been happening to my body? Due to Covid, I havent been able to get formally tested for diabetes. A commenter informed me that PCOS could be another possible condition but I don’t have any other symptoms of PCOS except acne.
Anyway, I’m extremely grateful that this diet helped me take a genetic condition seriously before it was too late. This became more than skin. It’s my health for the rest of my life. Low carb diets really help diabetics and it even puts it in remission for some, so I don’t plan to stop soon. I keep my net carb intake between 20-30 carbs a day. And since then I haven’t had a problem with my skin. This experience has actually changed my life. And I wonder how many people out there dealing with acne are pre-diabetic or diabetic, hopping from product to product not knowing that the foods they eat everyday could be causing their acne. We’ve been told that food doesnt affect acne. It’s a lie. It does. Whether its diabetes, a food intolerance or PCOS, or something else. Food matters. Take care of yourself.
1st photo is from Sept or Oct 2019. I chose it because it’s pretty representative of the severity of acne Ive been dealing with for the past two years.
2nd photo is 5 days into my elimination diet
3rd photo is 1 month into elimination/low carb diet