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Way back when in 2011 this thread motivated me to get my healthy eating act together. It's 2013 and here I am adding It's possible, people. For many of us, diet is the key for clearing acne. It takes time, patience, commitment, and (initially) tremendous will power, but you won't regret it. Don't give up. Where would I be today if 3 or 6 months down the road I'd given up on my eating plan because I wasn't seeing results?

I eat what is known as the paleo diet, meaning I:

  • Do not consume gluten, dairy, or refined sugar;
  • Eat plenty of leafy greens and other veggies, quality meat and eggs, and fruits;
  • Avoid cooking oil and use only animal fat and organic coconut oil; and
  • Avoid commercially processed foods: if it contains additives (like preservatives or flavoring), I'm not eating it.

To treat insulin resistance I:

  • Consume a gram of cinnamon spice (the everyday spice used in cooking and baking) after each meal;
  • Practice intermittent fasting by going without food for 15 or more hours a day. On a typical weekday I eat between 13:00 and 20:00; and
  • Supplement with minerals zinc, chromium, and magnesium. At present, I am now only taking 150mg of magnesium.

To care for my face I:

  • Only wash it 2-3 times a week with plain water;
  • Regularly apply home made face masks consisting of avocado or honey or both;
  • Exfoliate by gently rubbing off dead skin with my fingers. I then brush the dead skin off my face with moist cotton wool;
  • Use honey as a lip balm; and
  • Use apple cider vinegar as a shampoo. I'll sometimes mash a chunk of avocado, spread it over my hair leave it in for 30 minutes, and wash it off. Fantastic!

I've read that others in this success compilation thread find eating a healthy diet difficult and restrictive. I don't. I'm very comfortable with this way of eating and I will continue to eat paleo for the rest of my life. I don't miss junk food and sugar. Because of this diet, I am depression and anxiety free, 20 pounds lighter, happier, more energetic, calmer, and I have better skin. I'm going to stick with this.

These are my results: (the first pic was taken February 2012 - five months into the paleo diet - and the second pic was taken March 2013)

Do you consume extra virgin olive oil?

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The fabled success thread, never thought i'd make it.

Anyone reading this, go through my previous content if you wanna find posts about my acne experience, the link above tells you how to get rid of that last nagging bit of acne.

Next week i'm going to a nightclub to celebrate my 18th with 12 other people who are on the guest list. Acne forced me to eat well and exercise and because of it i'm looking good, that is to say i've never been more confident. I just wanna say to anyone on their last legs to not give up. Clear skin is not a carrot on a stick, even though it feels like that sometimes, it will come if you stay focused and remember the real reasons why you're doing this!

If im honest, i did it for a girl! But it turned out she weren't that great!

feel free to PM

and heres a pic from 9 months ago in case you're wondering what i look like:

much love!

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Woody Harrelson would like to contribute:


"I was on a bus and some girl sees me blowing my nose," Harrelson is saying of his early years trying to make it as an actor in New York. "I had acne all over my face, which I'd had for years and years. And she's like: 'Hey, you're lactose intolerant. If you quit dairy, all these symptoms you got will be gone in three days.' I was like twenty-four. And I was like, No way. But three days later: gone."


He also doesn't eat sugar or flour.

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I wanna see more success stories! ! I'm currently eating a low gi/anti candida/paleo type diet. All of my meals consist of meat, healthy fats such as extra virgin olive oil, extra virgin coconut oil and avocados and lots of veggies except I'm not consuming nightshades at the moment. I'm not eating starchy veggies either, so no sweet potatoes, yams, etc.. I'm currently taking probiotics, cod liver oil, milk thistle extract and a multivitamin. I also juice veggies only, once in the morning and drink some acv with each meal. My face wash is from a brand called simple, which you can purchase at a drugstore. It doesn't contain any perfumes or dyes and is great for sensitive skin. I also apply acv as a toner at night only, then moisturize with jojoba oil. I'm posting here because my skin hasn't been this great in years. I'm breaking out less often and my scars are lightening up fairly quick. I've only been doing this for about 1.5 weeks and I believe that if I continue this, I could be 100% clear within the next few months or so. It's still VERY early to tell, but I'd love to be able to find this page later, that way, I can post my success story!:) Congratulations to everyone that has had success in clearing up their acne! :)

Edited by nikkimixam
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Bump. Because we seem to have a handful of people around who need it.

I realize that many of the examples in the OPs initial posts are goofy and not really about healthy diet & lifestyle. There's nothing I can do about that. But the majority are good stories. Also, not everyone who announced in this forum that their skin cleared by their diet & habit changes are included in this thread. It was unpinned by the moderators along with other important threads when they recently reorganized the board & I haven't been asking everyone to post their story here before they disappear lately. There's been quite a few.

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100% clear

The gist:

I suffered from acne from early puberty to my late teens when I was put on hormonal birth control. I enjoyed a brief period of time in college where my skin was mostly under control. When I went off the HBC for environmental and health reasons, my acne returned and drove me bonkers trying to deal with it. I was at a complete loss, and was, at the time, still guzzling milk, eating tons of bread, pizza, pastas, sugars, and drinking sweetened alcoholic beverages (hey, I'm in my twenties). I was also overweight, and my menstrual cycle was irregular and/or nonexistent depending on its mood. 9 months later, I am (cow) dairy free, (mostly) grain free, sugar free, and thankfully acne free. My menstrual cycle is now like clockwork, and I have lost 15lbs so far and keep losing weight. My diet includes lots of vegetables, particularly carrots and beets which are my best foods. I also eat liver, meat, butter, ghee, goats cheese (and milk sometimes for cooking), and plenty of fish and shellfish (I'm from the gulf coast).

I denote half of my success to the foods I have eliminated and the other half to the nutrient-dense, life-giving foods I have included. When my skin was bad, I was eating processed foods and denatured foods. My food was devoid of nutrition whether it was on the "naughty" list or not. I am now much more aware of the role nutrition plays in acne. Too many people think that simply "giving up" certain foods will guarantee them clear skin and are disappointed when elimination only gives them partial success. Elimination is only the first step. Acne sufferers are the canary in the coal mine of malnutrition. Most people go on in their lives malnourished and inflamed, but don't notice until they have rampant tooth decay or cancer. Acne sufferers have a very visible and embarrassing condition that lets them (and the entire world) know when they are malnourished and eating inflammatory foods. I consider it partially a blessing. I might have ended up with some kind of disease from the terrible diet I was consuming, but have instead turned my health completely around. All because of an unsightly skin condition.

I know when I have eaten something unhealthy because my skin will show it roughly 12-24 hours later. Now, I just make some carrot and beet juice and move on, whereas a year ago I would have utterly lost my mind with endless topicals and makeup, trying to mitigate the damage or at least cover it up. I feel empowered, freed, and happy. Since removing the offending foods from my diet, I feel more alert, my sleep is better, and of course, my skin looks great! Because of all the colorful vegetables and nutrient dense foods I am eating, my skin's coloration is more radiant, and my dark under-eye circles (that the doctor said were genetic) are completely gone. I can't emphasize enough that elimination is only the first step. You have to eat for health and really be committed to it for it to work 100%.

xxxxxooooo and good luck to all!

Edited by dscully
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100% clear, 34 year old male. I had moderate acne as a teenager that I didn't really care about, as I chalked it up to just going through puberty. When I was 20 my acne went away for about 3 years or so, before slowly creeping it's way back into my life gradually. The acne I got as an adult was a bit different than the acne I remember having as a kid. The zits I got as an adult were deep, hard, and they throbbed throughout the day. The main concentration was just under my mouth, and around my chin. I also had occasional breakouts on my temples, and on the sides of my nose.

I tried Dan's regimen, and it worked wonders for about 6 months. At that point, the same breakouts returned, following the regimen or not. A fresh wave of research let me to believe that diet may be a contributing factor to my acne, and so my journey began. I experimented and kept a journal for almost 3 years, with very little success, however I eventually stumbled upon Tom Naughton's documentary "Fat Head" which completely turned everything around for me.

My wife and I decided to give a low carb / high fat diet a try, since virtually everything else had not helped (vegetarian / vegan / etc.). After I really committed to cooking and eating most of my meals at home, the change in my face was enormous. I still got occasional spots, however they were infrequent enough so that it allowed me to really analyze what I had eaten prior to the breakout, and help potentially eliminate and reintroduce foods and really determine what the causes were for me. The results were completely surprising to me, and so I felt that now might be a good time to share with this community. I have been clear since the second week of December, 2012, so here is the list of things that cause acne flare ups for me:

1. Corn - This is the absolute biggest issue for me, and it took me the longest to figure it out. Ingestion of any corn product will cause a reaction in less than 12 hours. The corn is also what causes the hard, cystic breakouts which can take weeks to heal.

2. Chocolate

3. Olive oil - this was another absolute stunner for me, as I believed for so long that olive oil was a healthy oil and was not the likely culprit. Making that assumption prolonged my frustration for sure.

4. Letting my dog lick my face - This one breaks my heart, because I love a good dog kiss. Sure enough though, if my dog licks my face I'm guaranteed a breakout. Luckily, if I slip on this one they are usually smaller pimples that heal in about 2-3 days.

Interestingly enough, regular sugar, dairy, and wheat are NOT acne triggers for me. I have verified this over and over again, as I usually will have some sort of ice cream with my wife about once a month as a treat, and it never causes a problem. I do not eat wheat / gluten regularly, since I get rashes and hives when I eat it. I also learned that pecans make my throat itch, so I leave those alone as wel. I eat tons of eggs, red meat, pork, fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds, and I feel pretty terrific overall.

Other things to note: I don't take any supplements whatsoever, and I do not wash my face ever either. I'll let a little bit of water run over my face in the shower, but that's about it. I am fairly active, but I don't have any specific workout schedule or routine. Lately I have not been sleeping well either, as we now have a newborn in the house. Throughout all of it, my face remains clear as long as I avoid the 4 triggers above.

If I could give any advice to someone who wants to explore clearing their acne through holistic / dietary methods, it would be this: Commit to doing a proper food journal, and either make your own meals from raw ingredients, or from purchased ingredients that you can trust. Do not discount ANY food as a trigger, as it could end up being that one of your go-to "healthy" foods is the real culprit. It was annoying that it took me so many years to get to where I am, but I am so glad and relieved that I don't have to worry about acne any more. Good luck!

Edited by bigsnack
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So, weirdness? Or something deliberate?

There was an additional thread like this called "The Holistically Clear Skin Club" started & maintained by Healthoid in which people had to provide before & after pictures to be included. I wanted to 1) see how many members it ended up having & 2) bump it, but it's nowhere to be found. There should be links in this thread, and in many other posts made by Healthoid. I found some links, but get page not found when I try them. Visiting his profile & clicking on topics also yields zero results. And he had topics.

It should be here: http://www.acne.org/messageboard/The-Holistically-Clear-Skin-Club-t172701.html but that is probably the path before one of the many updates they've done that changed the paths broke all the links. Still, the search should find it.

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So, weirdness? Or something deliberate?

There was an additional thread like this called "The Holistically Clear Skin Club" started & maintained by Healthoid in which people had to provide before & after pictures to be included. I wanted to 1) see how many members it ended up having & 2) bump it, but it's nowhere to be found. There should be links in this thread, and in many other posts made by Healthoid. I found some links, but get page not found when I try them. Visiting his profile & clicking on topics also yields zero results. And he had topics.

It should be here: http://www.acne.org/messageboard/The-Holistically-Clear-Skin-Club-t172701.html but that is probably the path before one of the many updates they've done that changed the paths broke all the links. Still, the search should find it.

That's strange...the thread just disappeared?

Well, while I'm here, let me add my own regimen that has managed to make my cystic acne go away after a year. Now left with scarring, congestion, and some under the surface bumps that I'm working on.

Supplements: inositol, DIM, digestive enzymes [don't need them every day anymore, only on cheat days], herpanacine & vitamin C with rose hips [not every day], regular sun exposure for vitamin D3.

Lifestyle & Skin Care: Low histamine diet, avoiding unnecessary stress, balancing skin's PH (using Image Ormedics), using distilled/ filtered water to wash face, monthly high frequency facials, red/blue light treatment & Clear Touch Light (pulsed red light)

Acupuncture, yoga, relaxation, and anything that relieves stress.

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Just made a rare visit to one of the general acne forums and found this diet success post. In addition to the OP there's a commenter or two talking about their diet success.

This list is far from comprehensive. Many never post here even when specifically asked to do so.

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I have seen this thread many times over the years.

It is good to be adding my success story now.

I am a 23 year old male

What I do:

  • No chocolate
  • No dairy
  • Aczone in the morning (Rx only topical)
  • Wash face and beard at night with Head & Shoulders shampoo
  • Cetaphil lotion after shampoo
  • Tazorac after lotion (Rx only ropical)

Things that do not matter either way for me:

  • Gluten
  • Sugar
  • Oils, fats, unhealthy food
  • Organic/GMO
  • Orgasms
  • Sleep
  • Sun exposure
  • Exercise
  • Stress

My advice:

If you tend to be holistic (as I was), go and see a highly rated dermatoligist. Medications work.

If you tend to be mainstream, go on an elimination diet, and make some lifestyle changes. Avoiding food triggers works.

Remember there is no god of naturalness that will reward you with clear skin just for suffering through the most disgusting of holistic remedies.

Also remember that the popular medical advice can be wrong or not apply to you.

Take what works, and move on.

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Thought I'd add my success story to this thread!

I have had acne for 17 years, which has only cleared up through taking Dianette (which gave me depression) and went from moderate to mild when taking Mercilon. In the past year I had been getting very painful cystic acne on my cheeks though, which was really getting me down. It also took a really long time to heal. In desperation one weekend, following one of those horrible breakouts where you just don't want to leave the house I decided to do a ton of reading and changed my diet. I had thought that I had a very healthy diet, occasionally having 'clean-eating' weeks where I ate completely vegan, but none of it helped my acne, which stayed at the same level. However, I also noticed that if I had a bite or cut, my body took a really long time to heal itself and my digestive system just wasn't functioning well. I was definitely suffering from chronic inflammation and gut issues.

What DID completely clear up my skin 100% was an antioxidant-rich, alkaline diet and it started clearing me up within 24 hours... All my constant inflammation started to go down and my gut started working properly again. THE most significant change was swapping my morning black filter coffee (+ one sugar) for a green smoothie with kale, spinach, apple, banana, parsley and ginger. Almost immediately I was bouncing off the walls with energy and felt so much better each day. I also started eating tons more greens and cut out dairy completely. I have also avoided nightshades in that time, but do not yet know if there was a link until I reintroduce them.

Positive impact
Green smoothie once or twice a day religiously - Especially kale
Tons of greens/salad
Gazpacho when possible (cucumber, celery, avocado, lemon and herbs)
Green tea
Alkaline diet (kept between 60:40 - 80:20)

Negative impact
High GI foods (the only day in a month I got a spot was the day I ate carrot cake with cream!)
Bread (after cutting out it gives me digestive issues when I try to reintroduce)
Eggs (non-organic; gave me a forehead rash that went the next day)
Nightshades? I cut them out at the same time as coffee and haven't had a spot since... will need to reintroduce to verify.

No noticeable impact so far (when balanced out with alkaline foods)
White pasta
Red wine
Olive oil
Some nuts (cashews so far)
Bananas (some people mention a problem on here, but I've been eating them twice daily)

Other info
I took ACV twice a day at the start as it is alkalising and lowers blood sugar
I have no special face routine, I wash my face once a day with Microfoliant. I use BP on spots, but haven't needed to in over a month.
I find that sleeping on a non-dyed silk pillowcase benefits my skin.
Have been taking a good multivitamin, 30mg total of zinc and Omega 3 (my skin cleared before adding these in though)
Now take a probiotic daily as I believe that healing my gut was pivotal

It seems that people with acne suffer from high inflammation and low levels of antioxidants, so correcting these two factors through an anti-inflammatory, alkaline diet high in dark, leafy greens (mostly raw), and avoiding foods that spike IGF, seems to be the way forwards. I can now have a slightly more relaxed diet and remain 100% clear, as long as I follow this rule!

I found this article after getting clear, but it summarises everything I had read up until that point nicely: http://kriscarr.com/blog/do-milk-and-sugar-cause-acne/

Good luck!


Edited by Foodforthought
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