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jbauer

My Acne story - Lots of diet patterns or am I crazy? Cured myself twice?

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Hi everyone,

New to the forum and thought I post my story for some comments/discussion. I've bullet pointed my journey below as succinctly as possible:
 

  • 8 years ago when I was clinically obsese I decided I needed to lose weight after seeing my horrible graduation photo. I lost almost 20 kg but in a very unhealthy way. I was over training (gym 5 days a week) and severely under eating which most likely completely threw my system out of wack.
  • I noticed during the weight loss that I started getting pimples, mostly on my scalp and some on my face (T zone area).
  • These weren't regular pimples though. The ones on my scalp were extremely painful. They would bleed and several would join together to make clusters. It got so bad I couldn't sleep and I was getting a really bad smell from my head.
  • My skin on my scalp and face became extremely oily too. You could fry an egg on my forehead seriously.
  • The Dr put me on Flucloxacillin which mostly cleared thing's up but since I wasn't changing my diet, The spots kept coming back.
  • Doc put me on long term tetracyclins which allowed me to control the pimples. I've always had the scalp and face pimples and they've never fully cleared on the drugs, just 'under control'
  • My hair condition has also changed. I seem to have Chronic Telogen Effluvium. I shed a lot! Also I feel a pain in the follicles when I brush my hair to the opposite direction the hair grows.
  • I always seems to have brain fog and am less alert. I also have a general feeling of being unwell.
  • The above continued for roughly 4 years and then randomly I found my cure. I decided to eat everything under the sun and give up training. I put on a good 12kg of blubber and guess what, MY ACNE WAS CURED! I was extremely happy, I noticed so many things had changed:
    • Pimples were fully clear. I could actually brush my hair without my head bleeding.
    • Oily skin had disappeared
    • Brain fog had gone
    • Wasn't tired all the time anymore
    • Hair became thicker and fuller
  • But then I hated being fat and became depressed again. I went back to my old ways to get my slim physique back and literally everything returned to the way it was above and I ended up on the antibiotics again.
  • I realised there was a pattern with my gym and my diet so I decided to change things up. I started training 3 times a day rather than 5 and eating around maintenance so when I hit my target weight, I wasn't gaining or losing any. My skin didn't fully clear  but I noticed that I was getting far less pimples than i did before. In fact, it was so much better I could survive without the antibiotics yay!
  • To this day I am not taking any medication for the acne. I have mild face acne and non painful scalp pimples.
  • I went to see a Professor of Dermatology. She did a skin biopsy (I've had these twice now) and the results always come back as normal skin flora! She said I'd probably have to take Accutane to cure myself but I refused of course.
  • Found my second cure! My skin clears up during Ramadan which is the Islamic holy month where you fast for 30 days. I eat everything I usually do, but in smaller quantities. My diet actually gets worse sometimes where I binge on desserts like crazy. During Ramadan, I go roughly 18 hours everyday without eating anything (daylight hours). The first couple of weeks I have a blowout and then the last 2 weeks, my skin clears. I am still at a loss to explain why
  • As soon as Ramadan is over, my skin goes back to normal, even if I eat the same food as I was during Ramadan. That lack of food for extended periods seems to be the factor clearing my skin.

Current condition:

I have oily hair skin which I have to wash twice a day,
I have face and scalp pimples
I am eating to maintain my current weight and training 3 days a week
I am not on any antibiotics.
If I allow myself to become obese again, my skin clears itself.
When I fast during Ramadan, my skin clears itself
What I eat doesn't seem to affect my skin, only how much I eat and how long I go without food.

What I am going to try next:

I am going to start taking VSL3 and eat Kefir/Kimchi to see if that cures me.

Any advice/comments/questions after reading the above? Would love to hear from you guys, am I crazy? :)

 

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Fasting is the only radical way to detox
physically, mentally and spiritually 
Fasting does microsurgery in every cell
i know one story where one guy fasted and he cured his vision by just fasting, other guy does fasting to clear his skin
 

Cause of brain fog is usually from bread/gluten
apply kefir/buttermilk on hair like mask for one hour before hair wash, it might cure your scalp
it might be hormonal too 
try drinking these herbs tea/tinctures, 20-30 min before every meal
nettle, red raspberry leaf, honeybrush, burdock, milk thistles 

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What are you eating usually?

The fact that 18 hours without food is clearing your skin might indicate blood sugar levels, as you won't be spiking your insulin constantly throughout the day (main link to acne).

Exercising that much will cause huge spikes in stress hormones such as cortisol. Acne is hormonal so this is not good! Hair loss a usually linked to testosterone levels and nutrient deficiencies. Also, when larger, men have higher levels of oestrogen (oestrogen is stored in fat), which your skin obviously likes. Weight changes hormones significantly.

Have you had a hormone level test? There are natural ways to correct or balance levels with herbs or natural supplements.

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On 12/07/2017 at 7:31 AM, Foodforthought said:

What are you eating usually?

The fact that 18 hours without food is clearing your skin might indicate blood sugar levels, as you won't be spiking your insulin constantly throughout the day (main link to acne).

Exercising that much will cause huge spikes in stress hormones such as cortisol. Acne is hormonal so this is not good! Hair loss a usually linked to testosterone levels and nutrient deficiencies. Also, when larger, men have higher levels of oestrogen (oestrogen is stored in fat), which your skin obviously likes. Weight changes hormones significantly.

Have you had a hormone level test? There are natural ways to correct or balance levels with herbs or natural supplements.

So I usually eat very good I would say. I typically eat:

Carbs:
Oats, Wholemeal Breads and other Wholemeal products, Brown Rice, Pulses, Lentils, Sweet Potato
Loads of Vegetables: Brocolli, Kale, Spinch, Beetroot, Green Beans, Tomatoes, Onions etc
Relatively low fruit, max 1 a day if that 

Fat:
Olive Oil, Nuts, Eggs, Avocado, Full Fat Dairy products in moderation, 85%+ Dark Chocolate

Protein:
Chicken, Lamb, Eggs

Other:
Honey (with oats)
Coffee with Milk
Black Tea with Milk

I stay away from high sugar fruits, junk food and pre-prepared food. I cook with fresh ingredients everyday. I track all my intake via a health app and my figures are as follows:

I was looking to gain weight between 1st Jane 2017 till 27th May 2017 and on average I was having 350g Carbs, 85g Fat and 140g Protein = 2750 Calories per day average. My skin was but still I had the typical acne symptoms.

During Ramadan between 27th May 2017 - 25 june 2017 I was having 287g Carbs, 83g Fat and 119g Protein = 2400 calories per day average
Note that during Ramadan I was drinking less or no coffee, I had less stress and I was getting more sleep (As I took 2 weeks off for annual leave)
My skin cleared up, and the other symptoms were gone too.

Currently I am looking to lose weight and my skin and scalp pimples are worse than even before Ramadan. I am averaging 262g Carbs, 64g Fat and 141g Protein = 2200 calories per day average.

So far my theories include:

1. I need to eat my fats and carbs together and generally eat more fat. I believe this to be the case because:
a. When I eat like a pig my acne goes
b. During Ramadan my fat intake percentage goes up and my skin clears
c. I eat more fat with my carbs together, increasing the absorption of fat soluble vitamins and minerals.

2. I need to look into my insulin sensitivity and figure out if there is some issue there? Although I recently had a full body MOT done and all my hormones, thyroid, cholesterol and sugar etc came back normal or excellent.

3. If I was allergic or intolerant to anything then I wouldn't have cleared up in Ramadan as I eat exactly the same foods?

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Coffee might be the problem here, since you mention you drink less during Ramadan
if you drink with nonorganic milk it might be a problem too for skin (cause organic milk doesn't cause acne)

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Because you weren't changing your food intake during Ramadan (except giving your body a huge break during the day to repair), it looks like cortisol levels are affecting you the most. Coffee increases cortisol (as well as spiking blood sugar); coupled with work stresses it will drain the adrenals and cause your hormones to go off whack. That's mainly why people often see their skin clear up on holiday! 

I don't think that macronutrients will play a massive role, as yours look very balanced. When you eat more food to put on weight, do you increase your nutrient intake? Interestingly I discovered that I have a gene which meant that I had low levels of folate and therefore methylation, in addition to low omega 3. Supplementing with both caused my acne to decrease dramatically. Both stress and coffee, for example, deplete B vitamins massively (but most supplements contain folic acid, which ironically, people with the same gene can't break down, and a cheap form of B12 (cyano-). One with folate and methyl-B12 is best. Would need to have your gene sequencing (it is the MTHFR gene).

I also find that good fats improve my skin-tone too!

You have already identified that low blood sugar works well for you, and this is a big factor in acne, but your diet looks very balanced (could try a banana on oats instead of honey to sweeten?), minus caffeine.

It is worth making the switch to drinking your coffee/tea black for two reasons. Firstly the strong link between dairy and acne, but secondly, the sugars in the milk cause an even bigger insulin spike in combo with the caffeine (you should be able to find graphs for this on Google from research papers). It sounds hard, but once you make the switch, it will seem normal to drink black! (I did this).

Finally, there are many anti-inflammatory foods you can add in also. Fresh ginger, fresh green herbs, like parsley, the dark green veg you have every day. I find they calm the severity of any breakouts.

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