UPDATE: Sept 2018 edited this a bit. The original post is from May 2017, before the all beef diet.
A couple of days ago I got an Instagram message asking about skin problems. First I’d like to say, this is what I did and it worked for me. I can’t guarantee it will work for you but I definitely think you should give it a try.
Basically before I went on this diet I had serious skin problems. I had acne as a teenager, and then in my early twenties it started turning into cystic acne. Having arthritis was terrible. Being depressed is terrible. Being chronically fatigued is terrible. But at least those things are invisible. When you start getting big red bumps on your face, life gets pretty unfunny real quick.
My cystic acne was on another level. It wasn’t even called cystic acne. I went to a dermatologist and to doctors. One doctor thought it was bacterial, and a dermatologist told me to stop doing it to myself. NO JOKE. He literally suggested I was poking holes in my own skin. Then when I went back and told him it was diet related he laughed at me. I didn’t see him again.
These are not photos of my skin at its worst (it’s not fun taking photos at that time), but they show a bit.
My skin got worse until I went on the diet (age 23). There was one Christmas when it was so bad I needed to wear band-aids. My skin wouldn’t heal. Eventually, it did, a couple of weeks into January. I got acne on my face, my back, my bum, and I started getting bumps on my arms and legs. I have a couple of scars from them. It wasn’t just the fact that people can see it. It was painfullll. Those lumps hurt! So even if you can’t see it, you can feel it all the time. That wasn’t fun either.
Turns out the worst thing for my skin was gluten. My skin used to get worse around exams and I thought it was stress. Nope. You have exams before Christmas, then what? Then you eat dessert every day. What do you eat when you’re studying for exams? If you’re 19-22 year old me, you survive off of cheese and Ichiban (a particularly delicious form of Mr Noodles that is really not good for you). My diet would get worse while cramming for exams, and then during my exams, my skin would pay for it.
Steps to fix your skin:
- Try not to blame yourself.
- Ignore everyone telling you to wash your skin more (f*ck those people)
- Get the IgG food sensitivity test done and LISTEN TO IT.
- Screw it and go all meat.
I can’t stress the IgG food sensitivity test enough. If you google it, a bunch of articles on how the whole thing is BS will pop up. Take a leap of faith and ignore those. I wish I had done that earlier. If you live in a city, find a Naturopath and give them a call. See if they’ll do IgG food sensitivity testing. I’m warning you, it’s pricy. In Canada it’s approximately 450$ (plus the Naturopath appointment). Doing this test will save you a lot of pain in the future, and it’ll help you figure out those skin problems faster. They do a blood test and show you what food your body is creating antibodies to. If you cut out the foods your body is creating antibodies to, your skin should get better. This should only take about 3 weeks.
If you don’t want to spend the money to do the IgG testing (I REALLY recommend it though), you can start an elimination diet. Go down to that list of foods I typed up. Or go all meat…
If you can’t manage a full elimination diet, cut out the following foods:
Those were the main problems for my skin. When I started cutting out food I only cut out gluten and that wasn’t enough. My skin got better, but not enough. So if you only do a little bit, it might not help. I had to remove almost everything in order to make a difference, but again, my skin was in REALLY bad shape. If you suffer from minor acne, maybe cutting out gluten and dairy will be enough.
The reason I’m really stressing doing the IgG testing is because there were some foods that I react to that were really not obvious. Kelp noodles and white cabbage (but not red cabbage). I found this out the extremely hard way, but if you do the test and listen to it, you can avoid testing it out on your poor body.
When I eat something I shouldn’t eat (especially if I eat a large amount of it), 6 days later I’ll start feeling painful bumps come up, then at around day 8 the bumps will start weeping. I believe this is from your body starting to expel large amounts of antibodies. If you stop eating the foods that are making you produce the antibodies, your body won’t be trying to get rid of them in a very uncomfortable way.
I used to take antibiotics for my skin, birth control, and topical dapsone. Occasionally oral dapsone. I don’t recommend any of these. They didn’t help me enough anyway, all those pics are with those medications.
Last thing, if you have any open wounds, especially scrapes (or acne!), get these or something like these (blister bandages work too!). They’re made with water so they’re hypoallergenic (for those of us allergic to band-aids). I find they speed up the healing process. They sell them at Shoppers drugmart in Canada. They work way better than band-aids. It’s best to keep wounds moist (the cells can move faster to get where they’re supposed to get to during healing, also extremely useful for burns).
After I cut out everything my skin was better in less than a month. Now when I react (after I try to reintroduce something and depending on the food), my skin flares up in 7 days and it’s over after day 28. Get the IgG test done. It’s not a quacky thing, and it’s not a money grabber, take it from me – someone who’s not earning any money telling you to get it done. I got it done when I was little and my family didn’t believe it so we threw away the results. It probably would’ve saved my hip and ankle, but definitely would’ve saved me from years of frustrating acne.
Here’s my skin now, makeup free – excuse the lack of enthusiasm. I’m feeling rather puffy from the pregnancy. I just wanted a clear picture of my skin.
It feels amazing now. And even when I get a pimple, it’s a TINY one. It heals in 1-2 days and it’s easily covered by makeup. And they’re rare. But man my diet is clean. Good luck! I know how frustrating skin problems are. Especially when they hurt and can’t be covered by makeup.
After reading about your condition, it almost feels to me like I have something similar but milder.
I have gotten the cystic acne before…I think after soy or alcohol…and not sure what else.
I would like to take a reputable food sensitivity test.
Do you know the name of the lab that did your testing, if you don’t mind sharing? Some labs will do direct-to-consumer testing, so you don’t have to pay for an appt with a Naturopath.
I saw this one at EverlyWell, but am not sure if it is reputable. https://www.everlywell.com/products/food-sensitivity/
It is a surprise for me that these tests are done or interpretet by Naturopats. I am from Slovakia, East Europe and work in a lab as doctor. We offer these tests with consultation with doctor – immunologist- because it’ s obviously his field , of course if you are as a patient recommended by doctor to do this type of tests,it’s paid from health insurance . Are these Naturopaths doctors? Are these tests concidered by some sense not valid for diagnostics of patients with obvious problems with immune system? By the way I really really like your page and articles. Sorry for my english 🙂
I had really bad acne until I was in my mid-twenties. In high school, my skin was so oily I had to mop it off my face every hour. One of my favorite HS memories is this guy who was extra-cool coming up to me and telling me I should just use something like Clearasil. I told him that actually, I’d been on prescription meds for years at that point. Low-dose antibiotics, Retin-A, blah blah blah…
Anyway, the thing that cleared it up? I stopped eating highly processed foods and junk food. DONE! Today, on a paleo-ish diet, no gluten, yada-yada, my skin is clear and it has a lovely shiny-yet-not-oily “finish”. I wish to god I had known about diet years ago. I also wish my multiple dermatologists would have known better!!
I follow Jordan Peterson on Twitter and his re-tweet about your blog caught my eye. Thanks for sharing your story with us. People don’t seem to make a connection with what they eat and what ails them.
I had acne for 20 years (ages 14 – 34 ) and visited multiple doctors who did nothing for it. I have no idea how much money I spent on them and for various skin care products. Finally sick of them and sick of acne, I did some research on acne. I cut sugar out of my diet and 2 weeks later my acne was all gone.
Today I run my own blog for women with acne and most of them get results when I ask them to change their diet. Not one doctor I visited all those years I had acne told me anything about diet.
I can totally relate to what you say about pimples healing in 1-2 days these days, compared to the 3-4 months it took me previously.
Again thanks for sharing your story.
There seem to be some online companies that perform tests for less than $100. They take 2 strands of hair to perform the tests. Does that seem reasonable to you or is it likely a scam?
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