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I need help in explaining anomalies with my acne. DOCS are no help

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hello

I’m a 23 year old male from London, who leads a healthy lifestyle, eats a balanced diet with pretty much no junk food and alcohol.

My acne can be at times quite severe especially concentrated around my cheek bones and side of face. They tend to be quite cyst like with whiteheads. (horrible)

However i have noticed whenever i take a vacation to Africa my acne clears up completely after about 2 weeks. 100% gone and only traces of scarring.

The moment i come back to London, it reappears and the best DOC in UK supposedly can’t explain it. So I’m prescribed the usual laser treatments and creams.

I have now been back to Africa last 3 years for 4 weeks each time and on all 3 occasions my acne completely disappears, and again reverts back to original state when i come back home. It usually takes around a week and half for symptoms to reappear.

What could be causing this?

The only real difference in my diet is that i have virtually zero milk and milk based foods, cheese etc. and hardly any wheat and bran. Instead i eat what the locals eat, which is the same as my London diet minus the milk and wheat. Things like meats, lots of vegetables, rice, spaghetti and lots of fruits with plenty of water.

The Doctors haven’t got a clue, so i was wondering if anybody has had similar experiences.

I have cut out all milk for the last 3 days and I’m now constipated. My doc says to try and do without milk as it sounds like i have intolerance for milk, hence my body relying on it to go toilet. My next step would be to do with bread and wheat in particular, and all refined sugars.

Just wondering if anyone has had similar experiences before I embark on my little experiment.

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What kind of water are you drinking when you are in London and what kind of water are you drinking in Africa? The tap water from my current residence was a contributing factor to my acne, could be the same for you?

I've written a little more about water in my regimen (link in my sig)

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What kind of water are you drinking when you are in London and what kind of water are you drinking in Africa? The tap water from my current residence was a contributing factor to my acne, could be the same for you?

I've written a little more about water in my regimen (link in my sig)

in africa it was bottled water. and in London its the good old tap water from the thames.

thats very interesting. Ill take that into account and just drink bottled water for a month see if that helps along with other stuff.

many thanks

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So try avoiding those foods when at home. It's very common for dairy to be a huge trigger in acne for about half a dozen reasons. It's a common allergen. Many can't digest it. It contains IGF-1 which is what causes hyperkeratinization. And possibly the other hormones and iodine.

Same with wheat and other gluten grains. Common allergen. Many can't digest gluten and it leads to leaky gut/IBS which leads to other allergies. Inflammatory...

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What could be causing this?

Most likely, your relationship to light and darkness drastically changes when you go to Africa. To sleep in darkness and live in outdoor (much more intense than indoor) light during the day is to restore the normal melatonin cycle that prevents the disease of acne.

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^Well, yes, sleep, physical activity and stress also likely affect you, especially considering this is a vacation. Where in Africa are you going?

And those veggies are likely fresher and therefore more nutrient dense.

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i was in Tanzania, Somaliland and Kenya. they all have same weather, i was doing an internship on democratisation, so not really a vacation.

what i'm doing now is to stop all dairy and wheat, also cut out my Duac and Isotrexin gel treatment, as i get really bad side effects such as skin irritation and excessive dryness.

can it really be as simple as something to do with the sun ?

Also no one in my family suffers from acne, i'm the youngest and have 6 older siblings with perfects skin, My parents tell me i'm the first in the fam. why me :(

Hopefully this little experiment will have positive results or else i'm well and truly buggered.

Does anybody else find a cardiovascular workout helpful, i only ask because i sweat bucket loads, which makes my skin feel fresher afterwards. im not sure what this means in long run for skin.

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It could also have to do with some sun exposure which can help in a few ways, the most important of which is vitamin D. And brighter light during the day helps you sleep better at night. Less important is the fact that UV rays kill bacteria.

And it could be the extra physical activity which helps in a number of ways such as improving glucose metabolism.

Also, how much sugar or high GI meals/drinks do you have at home vs on your internship?

It could be a combination of all the above. You are just plain healthier as a result of these trips. I'd try to duplicate the lifestyle as much as possible. Do you feel better?

Your internships sound fascinating, btw. Are you in urban or rural areas?

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Yes my lifestyle was generally healthier in that I would minimise the use of cars.

I also had virtually zero refined sugars in my diet and usually the home cooked meals were low in the GI index. However this is no different to my London diet.

In fact the only time of day i had any sugar would be in the mornings along with my black tea.

On the physical aspect, i work out regularly and train and play football in a team on weekends.

Thanks to databased’s input, i will try and work on improving and rebalancing my melatonin cycle.

So early mornings accompanied by long walks and increased sun (however much there is) exposure should help. However i must apply a strict regime of getting enough sleep (8 to 9 hrs) every night, in Pitch Black Darkness. This means blacking out windows and making sure there isn’t any light leaking into my bedroom.

By doing this coupled with a healthy and active lifestyle, i hope to cure the cause of my acne.

I was in Africa from Jan- May, mainly in urban areas with the occasional vacation into rural areas. I hope to go back after i finish my masters.

One key aspect besides the re-emergence of acne once back in London, is whilst in Africa my bottom lip remains dark and of a proportional colour to my top lip (I’m black) but this changes and my bottom lip become lighter and more red, with constant peeling of skin once back home. Only bottom lip is affected. i was 18-19 when i first experienced acne.

PS! As part of my dairy free diet i had tried Soya milk and within hours I had two large cyst like bumps, the painful type, and they appeared in the same exact area on both side of my cheek-bones. It’s symmetrical.

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PS! As part of my dairy free diet i had tried Soya milk and within hours I had two large cyst like bumps, the painful type, and they appeared in the same exact area on both side of my cheek-bones. It’s symmetrical.

Good sleep is important. But bright light in daytime is just about as important as darkness at night. And I think dimming lights in the evening as you wind down to start the melatonin conversion is more important than pitch blackness during sleep. After all, it's rarely pitch black outside with the moon and stars in the sky.

Also, soy is a common allergen. It's also estrogenic which can help some people and make others worse, but that wouldn't affect you that fast. And it's a highly processed food likely with a lot of added sugar.

I get cysts from a citrus allergy but they don't appear until the next day, but usually in the same areas. I've seen others post similar things like a few people saying peanuts cause cysts between their eyebrows.

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And I think dimming lights in the evening as you wind down to start the melatonin conversion is more important than pitch blackness during sleep. After all, it's rarely pitch black outside with the moon and stars in the sky.

This is demonstrably untrue, at least for nearly all people researchers have ever studied. The intensity of starlight is much less than even having a big LED alarm clock in your bedroom (because of the beautifully nonlinear sensitivity of the retina to light, it's easy to imagine they are comparable -- our eyes can detect remarkably few photons once they "adapt"). Moonlight is intense enough to have an effect (e.g., it can sync menstrual cycles), but primitive humans usually don't sleep exposed (e.g., Trobrianders sleep in huts), and the retinal/pineal/melatonin system itself is designed to adapt to and reject the "signal" of the dim light of the moon (probably specifically because of moonlight during evolution) as it increases night by night. I can find my way around a room from the light of a streetlight leaking through the curtains. I cannot do so with what little full-moon moonlight leaks through curtains.

The most stunning example of how little artificial light is needed to quash the nighttime melatonin surge is the tale of of the "light behind the knees". Because of what we know about bilirubin, some folks decided to see if light on the skin could shut down melatonin. Sure enough, they showed that turning on an intense light behind the knee could dampen circulating melatonin levels. Pseudo-scientists everywhere drew insane conclusions like "You can see with your skin" (an actual quote). Melatonin researchers just shook their heads. Eventually, another group tried to reproduce the results. No effect. Another group did the same. No effect. The clear lesson was that the original researchers, despite all their best efforts had allowed some small amount of artificial light to get to the eyes of the subjects when they flipped the switch to turn on the light behind the knees. Likewise, I seem to recall a breast cancer doctor telling me about a study indicating that just electronic device LEDs in the bedroom statistically significantly affected women's estrogen levels (the route being melatonin, of course). A few hours looking through the search results for "melatonin light" on PubMed will convince you that this is a well-studied area.

Individuals vary in how their retinal/pineal systems respond to light (and the precise frequencies involved can matter greatly), but the overwhelming experimental evidence is that the nocturnal surge can easily be dampened by trivial amounts of artificial light.

Say, don't you need to change your handle to "alternatiwindows7" now? :D

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