I didn’t struggle with acne till my second year of college. My second year of college was full of stressful life events. Between a misunderstood relationship to my grandfathers battle with cancer (and death) and two car accidents with both cars being totaled, my face was a telltale sign of my emotions and declining nutrition.
Below is a photo of my cystic acne at its worst on the left. On the right is my face healed!
In college and high school my diet consisted of a lot of processed foods, sugar, and dairy. All of these foods are inflammatory, so they weren’t helping .
The mainstream approach is to go to a dermatologist when you have acne. I dId this. I did a course of antibiotics for 6 or more months, differin gel, clindamyacin, and birth control. All of these things worked toward covering up the acne, but failed to get to the root of the cause. Anytime I stopped a treatment, my acne would come back. Not to mention it never fully cleared up. So, when I stopped birth control to prepare for baby making, my cystic acne returned. It was a price I was willing to pay for having a baby, but that doesn’t mean it was not an emotional roller coaster. I continued the creams until we started trying to conceive. I didn’t feel comfortable using them as they were not safe to use during pregnancy.
Numerous times I had heard of people having success clearing up their acne eliminating dairy from their diet. This sounded like an impossible feat, as I was a dairy addict! I loved cheese, and milk, and yogurt, and ice cream! Eliminating dairy seemed crazy to me. Wasn’t dairy the only good source of calcium out there?
Fast forward to our two year stretch of infertility, I discovered dairy was also linked to PCOS. So, acne and PCOS were both found to be helped by a dairy free life? I was officially motivated !
I also read about certain vitamin deficiencies being linked to acne and infertility. A specific supplement came up in my online searches that had glowing reviews for acne sufferers, and the supplements were similar to the suggested fertility supplements.
Between this supplement, going dairy free (and possibly gluten free), eliminating sugar for awhile, getting vitamin d (sunshine or d3), and lots of fresh pressed carrot juice, I am cystic acne free. I still have scars, but I am working on those too.
Ive been using carrot seed oil to help my body heal the scars. It’s also a really great natural sunscreen!
Going dairy free is hard initially because dairy has an addictive quality to it (I forget the scientific reason). However, clearly my body responds to dairy. Anytime I try to reintroduce it (even grassfed raw milk) I get a cyst or two. If my body is responding to it externally through my skin, what effect is it having me internally that I don’t see? For me, it may be PCOS too.
I encourage you to try going dairy free for 6 weeks at a minimum to see if your acne improves. What do you have to lose besides your acne!
There are plenty of other sources for calcium. Don’t let that stop you. And there are tons of dairy alternatives out there today! I could do another post on dairy substitutes In the future if that interests any of you?