Acne—inevitable affliction or simply a bad diet?

My beautiful children
Anna, 12, Zac, 17

Most people accept acne as an inevitable part of growing up. Acne is blamed on everything from “evolutionary biology”, which I found interesting, to genetics, hormones, chocolate, or too much sun.

The most common explanation is hormones. ‘Experts’ claim that during periods in our lives, hormones become unbalanced and ‘wreak havoc’; most notably during puberty. While we do have times in our lives where our hormones change, they certainly should not be wreaking havoc. And that includes menopause, but that is another story.

The simple fact is, acne is a modern disease. Traditional societies didn’t suffer from acne. However, between up to 95% of teenagers are afflicted with acne today. In addition, up to 54% of adults over the age of 24 also suffer with a degree of acne. And for up to 12% of women and 3% of men, it can continue well into middle age.

Our Western diet is the cause, which means, there is a very simple, and exciting solution. Acne is not caused by bacteria or genetics; it is a result of our overconsumption of refined carbohydrates and sugar.

Grain consumption increases insulin and an insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1), which increases male hormones and leads our pores to secrete more sebum; oil that traps acne-causing bacteria.

A more natural, low carbohydrates diet can cure acne permanently. Stress can also impact acne, so keeping our stress levels low not only benefits our health, but our looks as well.

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9 Responses to Acne—inevitable affliction or simply a bad diet?

  1. Ellen says:

    I do believe it is diet related (and that sugar and grains are the major culprit in most people!) but in my personal experience giving up dairy also did wonders. Although I wouldn’t class my condition as ‘acne’, I cannot remember a time since before high school when I didn’t have at least 1-3 pimples, especially around my chin. The spots seemed to flourish during particular times during my cycle too, so it was easy to buy into the whole ‘blame it on the hormones’ game. I have been sugar and wheat free for almost two years now. The spots remained. I have recently gone paleo (so my main carb source is veg and some fruit). The only major change this involved was to give up/restrict dairy (full fat cheese, butter and cream aka the loves of my life, of which I consumed a lot). The change in my skin has been unbelievable. It has never been so clear and bright; I had a girl the other day ask me what foundation I was wearing (I wasn’t wearing any!). I guess maybe I had a slight lactose intolerance I didn’t know about? I do miss it (way more than sugar actually!) but am happy with how I feel and look now so will stick with this new style for now. I am still using ghee and clarified butter for cooking which is delicious so I’m not missing out too much there. I hope eventually I will see it as I see sugarm and have no desire to ever go back!

  2. Kimberley says:

    This is so very, very true. I have suffered from severe cystic acne from the time I was 10 years old (I’m almost 40 now). Doctors, dermatologists and naturopaths all eventually put me in the “too hard” basket. One even told me at 24 years of age to just give up, because according to them I would have severe acne my entire life. That was a soul destroying day.

    I accidentally came across this site a few months back which started me thinking about my skin again.
    I’ve always been very health conscious and followed what would be considered a very “healthy” diet. I now know how wrong that was! I started researching more to educate myself about all the hidden sugars in my diet and convince myself that fat is not the evil we’ve all been conned into believing

    I decided to cut all grains and sugars out of my diet. I’ve tried this before on the recommendations of naturopaths, but have never been able to stick to it for more that a week or two. I would be ravenous all the time and craving sugar uncontrollably. The missing link for me was my fat intake. I decided to increase my fat consumption considerably with coconut oil, avocado and other good fats. Guess what? I’ve found the ‘miracle’ cure I’ve been searching for for so many, many years!

    Within a week my skin was starting to heal, now a couple of months on and my skin is clear for the first time in 30 years – literally. If I mess up and allow sugar and grain into my diet, I will break out – the link between sugar/grain and my acne is undeniable.

    I wish I had access to this info 30 years ago, it would have saved me from a lot of suffering. Acne is not a serious health issue, but a cosmetic one according to the medical profession. I tend to disagree. While acne may not be life threatening, only other acne sufferers can fully understand the serious effect it has on your self esteem and the self loathing and depression it can cause.

    Thankyou Christine – you have changed my life!

  3. Diane Smith says:

    I have suffered from severe cystic acne all my life – I am now 42 – my teenage acne never went away. I tried every prescription drug available and even had the risky drug accutane in my mid twenties. It had lots of nasty side effects and only kept the acne away for about 5 years.

    I started a low carb diet 2 years ago and it has helped a lot but to completely clear it up, I had to also give up all dairy products, wheat products and also take Vitamin D supplements to get my blood levels up to 50 ng/ml. I also have to keep the carbs in my diet very low (20-25g a day). If I go over this, even a little, spots will start to re-appear.

  4. Anne says:

    I am now 57 & until 2 years ago when I gave up fructose & more recently wheat, I still had spots appearing all over my body – face, neck, arms etc. but since eliminating sugar & wheat my skins has cleared up & I rarely have any eruptions. As far as I am concerned the cause is totally diet related.

  5. acne rosacea says:

    It is very useful information for every one. Nice post, I would like to request you to one more post about that Keep it up.thanks for sharing!!!

  6. Bec Rosewall says:

    Hi, this is interesting. When you say no grain do you include oats, quinoa or brown rice?

    • Christine says:

      It just depends on how each person reacts to those things. I am far better off on no grain at all, but my family occasionally eats brown rice and oats. Quinaoa is a seed, rather than a grain, so some people tolerate it quite well. The best way to know is to see if you get bloated when you eat it. And, keep those things to a minimum, so that you are still eating low carb.

  7. karen west says:

    Just to comment on the acne thing, my 13yold son has been semi paleo ( still eats dairy) for two years. He still has acne however so i dont beleive it is related to grains and sugar although those things are bad for us, but i beleive it most certainly related to dairy consumption which he wont give up.

    • Christine says:

      Have you checked his pH? If he is acid, he can take lemon juice, lime juice, and apple cider vinegar, which will help balance it.

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