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Trying to determine ROOT CAUSE of my acne

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Hey people,

I am 21 and have had moderate acne for a number of years now and only in the past few years have I actively been trying to correct certain lifesytle factors to try and find a cause of my acne. First of all here is a list of habits I have implemented into my daily life:


- I generally consume less carbs and the carbs I eat are on the lower end of the Glycemic Index (whole grain, legumes, rye etc.

- I cut out all fruits (sad) except for berries (low GI) -> cutting out bananas especially seemed to work very well for a while 

- I limit anything with artifical sweeteners (e.g. rice protein powder)

- Incorporate a lot more (healthy) fats (e.g. fish, almonds, hummus, avocado, organic eggs, tahini)

- cut out ALL dairy and mostly red meat too

- I intermittently fast (16/8 scheme) 

- supplements : Fish oil, Vitamin D (winter), Zinc/Vitamin C complex and I also add a lot of curry (contains turmeric) to certain dishes (turmeric is supposedly strongly anti-inflammatory)

- Generally try to consume a lot of vegetables (or other potent sources of minerals and vitamins)

- drink a glass of carrot juice daily (Vitamin A/beta-carotenes) as Vitamin A is supposedly beneficial for skin health

- two cups of green tea a day (early during day so the caffeine doesnt interfere with sleep)



- I go to bed around 10-11pm (whenever I can) and turn off most lights and devices an hour befored bed -> goal is to get the best sleep quality I can.

- Mostly sleep 7-8 hours


Hygiene and Acne topicals:

- Use a serum with salicylic acid every night (after using a gentle face wash lotion) and moisturize subsequently. I rinse my face with cold water only (supposedly dries out skin less)

- Use some lighter topicals in the morning.

- When I work out and I sweat on my face, I never pat it dry with a towel but rather rinse my face at the sink (I only use paper tissues to dry my face at any time...what a waste I know /:)

- Showers are also always cold *feels good man*

- Change my bed pillow every 3-4 days and the rest every week

- keep the air in my room nice and clean (hoovering, open windows a lot)


I also workout a lot and ride my bike everywhere I go.. so I'm fairly active as well.


Most of these habits I incorporate into my daily life after doing a lot of online "research", especially concerning nutrition (reduce insulin insensitivity etc.), and some I'll admit are simply out of slight paranoia...although these habits don't stress me...

The one thing I feel is almost beyond my control is STRESS. I notice, during times of stress (emotional stress, Uni stress, etc.) I break out more. Stress is the one thing I have a tough time managing. (I am thinking of getting my cortisol levels checked to see if they are alright) and I should probably meditate more or something.

According to a recent blood test my relevant hormone levels are in the ordinary range (testosterone etc.)

As for serious treatment: I have never taken accutane (as my acne isn't too bad and I feel that stuff could do my body more harm in the long run), but I am considering topical tretinoin ("retin-A")...although maybe after summer, as it makes your skin much more sensitive to UV light.

At this point my guess is that I have a genetic predisposition to develop acne and that my sebaceous glands are overactive or whatever... although I'm the only one in my family to have proper acne.


So I guess my questions are:

- Am I missing a big factor that could be contributing to my acne?

- Could stress alone (high cortisol) be sufficient to cause me to break out, even when I seemingly have "everything else under control"? 

- Anybody else paying attention to SO MANY things, yet to no avail?


Anyway, if you made it this far (lol), thank you so much for your time and I would appreciate some feedback. Have a great day!

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wow, you do everything I don't do... I wish I even tried half of what you did!!

seems crazy tbh, surely if you did all of that acne shouldn't be an issue. My acne is mostly from stress, based on my personal experience. 

Perhaps it could be that?

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Have you considered trying out the "acne.org regimen"? I have been using benzoyl peroxide for 1,5 years and my face is 90% clear, although I suffer a lot from red and irritated skin due to BP... 

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