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Jollyhohnson

Dairy-free but still have acne - what am I doing wrong?

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So after suffering from an extremely severe bout of cystic acne (caused by stopping topical antibiotic lotion) at the end of 2016, I decided to give the dairy-free diet a go. I cut out all dairy from my diet, all of it. No milk, no cheese, no cream, no butter, no chocolate, none of it. Used to have cheese sandwiches quite a bit and a chocolate bar  nearly every day - gave it all up. I've been dairy free for over six months now and to be completely honest, I don't really see much difference to what my skin was like before I used the topical antibiotic lotion. Just the same moderate, inflamed acne. So many people have had such success with this, and I honestly believe there is a link between diet and acne, so what am I doing wrong?

My diet on a typical day is as follows:
Breakfast: a bowl of low-sugar cereal or porridge made with almond milk. 
Mid-morning: black coffee
Lunch: salad with spinach and other greens, tomatoes, cucumber, chickpeas, red onion, sometimes avocado, cous cous, or red pepper. Dairy-free dressing.
Afternoon snack: an apple and a handful of nuts
Dinner: Stir-fry/Beef and Bean Chili/Chicken Curry/Fish and Chips with veg/etc
Evening: Green Tea and, occasionally, a few pieces of dark chocolate (no dairy)

I also take a Cod Liver Oil and Evening Primrose Oil Supplement.

Any suggestions?

Edited by Jollyhohnson
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It probably seems pretty confusing. I was confused too when I started dieting, and I made a lot of mistakes, but I also experimented a lot to find what works. Let me tell you something: Diet and acne do have a connection, they did for me. Finding that connection is the real crux of the problem. Cutting out all milk and dairy should be step number one, and you should continue eliminating foods until you figure out what is causing your acne. There are also a lot of other things you can try to improve your situation, but diet is a good place.

From personal experience, your lunch will give me an outbreak if consumed repeatedly. I have a histamine problem, and when I eat foods that can produce or release histamine, it causes my digestion a lot of stress. Spinach and avocados are two examples of such foods. Some people also have a problem with nightshades, like tomatoes, which is another problematic food for me.

I also know that coffee can influence people to form cycstic acne based on what I read (but hey, so can a lot of other stuff). So can chocolate, especially dark chocolate. Nuts are also an allergenic food for a lot of people. I personally can't eat almonds or drink almond milk more than once or twice a week.

Right now I mostly eat buckwheat, (gluten free) oats, quinoa, sweet potatoes, and small portions of carrots, cucumber, cauliflower, celery, and broccoli. My protein comes from lean chicken and ground beef, sometimes salmon, though the chicken is my go to. I also eat eggs and clams every four days. I might also get a small bite of something else throughout the week, and eat one meal of whatever I want once a week. This is just an example that works for me. I eat basically no fruit because of digestion issues. I don't have perfect skin, but it feels like I'm getting there every day.

I've been doing this for a while. I didn't see any kind of result until around 9 months in, and it took over a year before I really started getting where I wanted to be. You just have to stick with it and try everything, as unfortunate as that sounds.

Edited by Athe
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On 17/07/2017 at 6:22 PM, Jollyhohnson said:

So after suffering from an extremely severe bout of cystic acne (caused by stopping topical antibiotic lotion) at the end of 2016, I decided to give the dairy-free diet a go. I cut out all dairy from my diet, all of it. No milk, no cheese, no cream, no butter, no chocolate, none of it. Used to have cheese sandwiches quite a bit and a chocolate bar  nearly every day - gave it all up. I've been dairy free for over six months now and to be completely honest, I don't really see much difference to what my skin was like before I used the topical antibiotic lotion. Just the same moderate, inflamed acne. So many people have had such success with this, and I honestly believe there is a link between diet and acne, so what am I doing wrong?

My diet on a typical day is as follows:
Breakfast: a bowl of low-sugar cereal or porridge made with almond milk. 
Mid-morning: black coffee
Lunch: salad with spinach and other greens, tomatoes, cucumber, chickpeas, red onion, sometimes avocado, cous cous, or red pepper. Dairy-free dressing.
Afternoon snack: an apple and a handful of nuts
Dinner: Stir-fry/Beef and Bean Chili/Chicken Curry/Fish and Chips with veg/etc
Evening: Green Tea and, occasionally, a few pieces of dark chocolate (no dairy)

I also take a Cod Liver Oil and Evening Primrose Oil Supplement.

Any suggestions?

Athe is right. What effects someones acne might have no impact on yours. Nuts break me out like crazy. So do fruits since they are high in sugar. Almond milk and avocado would break me out too. The sauces you use in your stir fry could be high in sugar. 

When I tried using diet to control acne, it worked because i eliminated everything except whole wheat bread, white rice and chicken and beef. And then after a month of sticking to this diet, l slowly started introducing food items to see what breaks me out and what doesn't.
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Thanks for all the suggestions - not really sure where to start! I guess trying gluten free for a couple of months could be an option, but I've never had an adverse reaction to eating wheat. 

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Hello,
I would focus on what you can cram into each day to HELP your acne, which will crowd out anything that is either neutral or inflammatory. I find that eating a ton of dark green leafy veg really clears my skin up and calms existing acne. Eating lots of lightly steamed veg also makes my skin heal super fast after years of having a healing problem.

You could try adding in some more nutrient-dense veg to your salad, like steamed broccoli, beetroot, garlic etc and a handful of anti-oxidant rich berries.

Another thing to look at is where you are getting your vitamin A from. People with acne are more likely to have lower levels. More cooked carrot (not raw as not bioavailable), sweet potato, orange veg and liver as you eat meat. 

It would be good to throw flaxseed and pumpkin seeds (for zinc) on your breakfast every day too.

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In terms of dark green leafy veg, what are we thinking?: I eat broccoli, normally lightly steamed or stir-fried as I like it with a crunch. I eat Mangetout and Peas. I also eat lots of spinach and occassionally watercress. With anti-oxidant berries I'm assuming you're thinking of blueberries?? I believe broccoli, spinach and carrots (even raw ones) provide vitamin A. I want to eat Kale but I have no idea how to prepare it so that I'd actually want to eat it.

Seeds are a great idea. I already add them to salad, but I could add some to my breakfast too I guess.

I will not be eating beetroot. I tried and it's gross. Or liver. Also gross.

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On 7/20/2017 at 10:20 PM, Jollyhohnson said:

In terms of dark green leafy veg, what are we thinking?: I eat broccoli, normally lightly steamed or stir-fried as I like it with a crunch. I eat Mangetout and Peas. I also eat lots of spinach and occassionally watercress. With anti-oxidant berries I'm assuming you're thinking of blueberries?? I believe broccoli, spinach and carrots (even raw ones) provide vitamin A. I want to eat Kale but I have no idea how to prepare it so that I'd actually want to eat it.

Seeds are a great idea. I already add them to salad, but I could add some to my breakfast too I guess.

I will not be eating beetroot. I tried and it's gross. Or liver. Also gross.


Hi, the best ones are: Kale, mustard greens, bok choy, collard green, cabbage and broccoli. Only 3% of the beta-carotene in raw carrots is bioavailable unfortunately, going up to 43% when cooked (hopefully you can google to original journal paper!). Raw carrots are still good as excess oestrogen sweepers though :)

I usually saute kale in a frying pan with tamari for taste, but equally it's good lightly steamed with other veg and dressing. 

Any berries are packed with anti-oxidants (well, what we refer to as berries, as technically bananas and aubergines are actually berries, but strawberries are not!) Yes, spinach is an excellent source of nutrients and vitamin A. Watercress is excellent too. Try some of the dark green leafies above. Any cruciferous vegetables are excellent!
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Thanks Foodforthought. What are Mustard Greens and Collard Greens? And where would I be able to buy them? I really like bok choy and broccoli, especially in stir-fry. Gonna try them with this kale and ginger ramen recipe at some point. That's a shame about the cooked carrots though. I hate cooked carrots because they're really sweet - much prefer them raw. 

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I do eat beef, chicken and fish still. What would break me out are almond and a whole lot of other nuts.. But I swear I do try my very best to incorporate more greens and fruits in my diet! haha

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Hi there,

Your diet sounds pretty good. Have you ever looked into your gut health? 
I had cystic acne for 3 years and tried everything including cutting out dairy, and had no results!! I then did some gut healing and it cleared up within months.


Good luck with it!!

14947428_1225579937513413_2333669687421747557_n.jpg

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On July 18, 2017 at 6:22 AM, Jollyhohnson said:

So after suffering from an extremely severe bout of cystic acne (caused by stopping topical antibiotic lotion) at the end of 2016, I decided to give the dairy-free diet a go. I cut out all dairy from my diet, all of it. No milk, no cheese, no cream, no butter, no chocolate, none of it. Used to have cheese sandwiches quite a bit and a chocolate bar  nearly every day - gave it all up. I've been dairy free for over six months now and to be completely honest, I don't really see much difference to what my skin was like before I used the topical antibiotic lotion. Just the same moderate, inflamed acne. So many people have had such success with this, and I honestly believe there is a link between diet and acne, so what am I doing wrong?

My diet on a typical day is as follows:
Breakfast: a bowl of low-sugar cereal or porridge made with almond milk. 
Mid-morning: black coffee
Lunch: salad with spinach and other greens, tomatoes, cucumber, chickpeas, red onion, sometimes avocado, cous cous, or red pepper. Dairy-free dressing.
Afternoon snack: an apple and a handful of nuts
Dinner: Stir-fry/Beef and Bean Chili/Chicken Curry/Fish and Chips with veg/etc
Evening: Green Tea and, occasionally, a few pieces of dark chocolate (no dairy)

I also take a Cod Liver Oil and Evening Primrose Oil Supplement.

Any suggestions?

You mentioned you eat cereals for breakfast, see if it contains wheat or gluten as those can cause inflammation to your body. Inflammation=acne for us sufferers.

Caffeine can weaken your immune system thus affects your body's healing.

Salad dressing may contain HFCS. Sugar spikes up our insulin which also causes inflammation.
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Eliminate the cereal, I assume it is made of gluten/grains/some sugars? That all leads to inflammation. Eliminate the coffee too, switch to green tea & lemon water. 

I would drink Kombucha & eat more sauerkraut. You need probiotics to kill off bad bacteria in your gut

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On 7/17/2017 at 6:22 PM, Jollyhohnson said:

So after suffering from an extremely severe bout of cystic acne (caused by stopping topical antibiotic lotion) at the end of 2016, I decided to give the dairy-free diet a go. I cut out all dairy from my diet, all of it. No milk, no cheese, no cream, no butter, no chocolate, none of it. Used to have cheese sandwiches quite a bit and a chocolate bar  nearly every day - gave it all up. I've been dairy free for over six months now and to be completely honest, I don't really see much difference to what my skin was like before I used the topical antibiotic lotion. Just the same moderate, inflamed acne. So many people have had such success with this, and I honestly believe there is a link between diet and acne, so what am I doing wrong?

My diet on a typical day is as follows:
Breakfast: a bowl of low-sugar cereal or porridge made with almond milk. 
Mid-morning: black coffee
Lunch: salad with spinach and other greens, tomatoes, cucumber, chickpeas, red onion, sometimes avocado, cous cous, or red pepper. Dairy-free dressing.
Afternoon snack: an apple and a handful of nuts
Dinner: Stir-fry/Beef and Bean Chili/Chicken Curry/Fish and Chips with veg/etc
Evening: Green Tea and, occasionally, a few pieces of dark chocolate (no dairy)

I also take a Cod Liver Oil and Evening Primrose Oil Supplement.

Any suggestions?

Ok based off what I see
dairy didn't make much diff for me either
but try eliminating sugar coffee
so I'd just do oatmeal skip cereal
and coffee wouldn't do black or not tomatos red pepper any night shades of eliminate
its very hard to do but could improve 
fish and chips fried
do wild caught salmon
maybe add digestive enzume
probitoic 
vitamin d
 
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Be careful with almond milk. It was the cause of cystic acne for me. If you look at the ingredients, it is actually only about 2% almonds. The rest is just horrendous ingredients..

Also spinach breaks me out for some reason. Not too sure why.

Make sure you don't cook with vegetable oils, they are so bad for you. Use saturated fats if you have to, I try to avoid using oil where possible it doesn't agree with me.

Nuts are ok but in small amounts, they are very high in omega 6 fats, and the western diet is already way too high in omega 6. Your omega 6s and omega 3s SHOULD be balanced, although the majority of peoples arn't. This can cause all sorts of health problems, acne being one.

Sugar is just no, consume as little as possible. 


My diet basically consists of meat, a lot of veg, salad, eggs, macadamia nuts (mainly omega 9 not 6), and greek yogurt because I believe the benefits of it outweigh the negatives. This diet definitely helps, although it's not easy to stick to.

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There is a ton of good advice on here that will definitely help you on your journey.

I think the main piece of advice here is that there IS a link between diet and acne. Also, it will be difficult to stick to and will take some time and self discipline.

My approach has been to eliminate certain food categories  (gluten, dairy, processed, etc.) and see where it gets me. Keep in mind that you have to read ingredients because certain things will appear in foods you never expected. Like bread having corn syrup or gravy having gluten.

Gluten - main cause of my acne and even a small amount causes huge breakouts 

Dairy - Definitely causes breakouts but not as bad as other things

Caffeine/high fructose corn syrup - causes cystic acne

Concetrated sugars(found in cereals, pasta sauce, almost anything in the grocery store) - causes whiteheads

Nuts - no problems

Stay away from the obvious like soda, dairy, caffeine and other groups people in general say cause them problems.

What's left to eat after eliminating all this stuff? Find a good Raw Vegan Cookbook and then go shopping at whole foods in the produce section.
 

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