I’m in the way of becoming a Nutritional Therapist. I’ve still got 2 years to go until graduation and many more years to keep learning, so I know I will be able to help people get rid of their acne eventually. However, until that day, I have to get rid of mine.
It’s been a long journey, still not complete because I didn’t get rid of my acne thoroughly. However, I feel like I finally found the major triggers. FINALLY. Because it’s been 10 years since I’ve been suffering from it. And I would say it got worse with age, whereas I always cheered me up in my teens thinking it would go away as soon as my sexual hormones would calm down in adulthood. However this was not the case. At all. The acne evolved for sure: from my face+chest+back until about 18 – it was above all really bad in my whole back – to my T-zone only (forehead+nose+chin) from 18 to 23, and to my cheeks this past year. The only thing that got rid of my acne was the pill that I took during 1 year. However I don’t want to take it anymore, because I know it’s not the best for my health, and because I’d rather try and find the real causes of it instead of trying to suppress the symptoms.
I would say that this past year has been the worst, because it was quite infected (sorry, gross…) and… let’s say “intense”… and because I was getting older and older and it wouldn’t come off! I was totally desperate until I finally found something that worked! So I thought I’d let you know what I tried over the years and what worked for me – which, by the way, might not work for you, as everybody reacts differently.
One very sensible thing my mother taught me is to change my pillow-case as often as I feel the need to. Indeed, considering we spend quite a few hours with our faces on them each night, our pillow-cases are full of sebum, bacteria and stuff – which is actually gross! Especially when suffering from bad skin: you don’t want to add any bacteria to the load you already have. So I now change my pillow-cases every three nights, and it definitely helps.
When it comes to skin care, I have tried everything from clay masks to gentle cleansers, adapted moisturizers, zinc sprays, jojoba oil… everything. Sometimes it didn’t change a thing, sometimes it made it worse – especially with jojoba oil. However, I recently came to trying one thing I didn’t dare to: scrubbing – gentle scrubbing adapted to bad skin. And I am actually noticing a difference! So I’ll keep on scrubbing twice a week and see how it goes.
I must confess I tried to supplement without any professional advice beforehand. I know Agnus Castus can do miracles for some people with hormonal issues (one of the many causes of acne someone can have) so I tried it for 4 months. But the truth is it made my skin worse than it ever was! So I stopped and decided I wouldn’t ever supplement again without a proper professional check-up of what I personally need – and that’s an advice for everybody!
At first, my changing of diet didn’t have anything to do with my skin. Actually, at the time it was because I was becoming aware of health issues related to the food I used to put in my body. So I massively reduced my animal-product intake, and become mostly dairy-free & plant-based. Skin-wise, I can’t say I noticed any major change, but overall it definitely made me feel better. And as I am a huge advocate of listening to my body and intuitive-eating, I kept eating this way. Besides, I noticed my skin was doing better when I reduced the amount of chocolate (i.e. sugar) I was eating daily, and also the amount of almonds or chestnuts or walnuts I was eating in one go – I have a tendency of not being able to stop when eating nuts in general, there are so good! I guess my skin mirrored the fact my body couldn’t process huge amount of fat or sugar. I just needed to be reasonable when it came to portion-control with fat (even good fats) & sugar.
As of today, I continue this dairy-free, plant-based and portion-control diet but I also added something that radically changed my skin life: I stopped eating gluten. I had heard gluten could cause acne in some people. However, as I am a huge oat eater, I always told myself it would be the last thing I’d try. Well, I’ve come to this day and oh my word, the difference! It’s worth mentioning I also stopped eating nutritional yeast. I did my own research and fount at vitamine B6 – which is found in high amounts in nutritional yeast – can worsen acne. So I had to try cutting it off and it may have played a role in the improvement I’ve been witnessing.
My skin had not healed completely and it is still bad sometimes but it’s clearly doing better! So my journey is not complete and I have to learn so many things about my skin and overall health still. However, these are the things I learnt so far through personal experience. I’m not saying you should also try them, because you might not react the same way, but I thought it may be interesting for those of you who also suffer from acne. Hopefully I’ll be able to update you on this subject when I become a Nutritional Therapist and tackle this subject with professional eyes.