This article has been a long time coming, and it is hard for me to post pictures and write about my journey with acne. I started getting lots of pimples when I was eleven years old, and tried everything to get rid of it.
Finally, after years of struggling with facial and body acne, I feel like I am ready to share what I have learned to stop zits and breakouts. I’m by no means an acne expert, I share only what has worked for me.
Acne photos – before and after high raw diet
Hormonal Acne, Pimples, and Sugar
I started having lots of acne and breakouts when I was 11 years old. At that point in my life candy was a staple in my diet, and so were processed sugary foods like cakes and cookies. I also drank soft drinks left and right.
Oh, and I should mention that my favorite restaurant growing up was McDonald’s. For the toys.
Since I started breaking out at a young age (no one else had acne yet) my parents and I tried all kinds of things. I went to the dermatologist, the esthetician, and bought every type of cream and “system”.
I kept hearing “rumors” that acne was caused by chocolate, or soda, or sugar. When I asked my dermatologist, the answer was a flabbergasted – of course not! Diet has nothing to do with breakouts, it’s all hormones. (Now I know that the body is a sum of the whole, and that nothing is ever isolated!)
Nothing really put a dent into the acne, no matter how much on the spot acne treatment stuff I applied. The years went by and I continued to eat peanut butter sandwiches, lots of sugary snacks, junk food, and soda.
Acne and Birth Control Pills
Finally in an act of desperation when I was 16 I went on the birth control pill, as recommended by my dermatologist.
I saw a slight improvement in my skin, even though the acne never completely went away. Unfortunately the birth control pill would go on to affect a lot of other things in my body.
I gained about 20 pounds in one summer when I started on the pill. This exacerbated an already messed up relationship with food and emotions.
It also put my hormones out of whack. In fact when I decided to stop taking the birth control pill 5 years later, I had a hard time getting my period back.
Oh, and when I stopped taking the birth control pill my acne remained at the same level. So really, I think the pill did more harm than good… especially when you take into account the side effects and how it threw off the balance of good bacteria and yeast in my body.
Homemade Acne Treatments
So what do I think is the best homemade acne treatment? A change of diet, quite truthfully. I’ve tried all the creams, all the homemade masks, and the closest I’ve come to clear skin is by eating right.
So what do I consider to be “eating right”? Eating lots of high water content fresh fruits and vegetables, reducing or even eliminating sugar, wheat, and dairy.
Here’s a little bit of what might be going on underneath your skin, and why what you eat really influences acne and breakouts:
- You get breakouts and pimples when oil glands get infected with bacteria, causing an inflammation response and filling up with white blood cells and pus.
- Eating foods that boost your immune system will help your body fight the bacteria, thus reducing the inflammation. Immune system boosting foods include those high in Vitamin C like oranges, kiwis, and broccoli.
- Sugar causes spikes in energy and blood sugar, and generally leads to a compromised immune system, low energy, and a cycle of eating more sugar.
- Sugar also feeds the yeast, causing an imbalance of good bacteria in the body. Without the good bacteria to protect you, you are more vulnerable to breakouts.
- Stress has an impact on the immune system, essentially shutting down our digestion and other auxiliary “services” to undertake the fight or flight response. That’s why you get more breakouts when you’re stressed.
- Toxins and other unwanted substances can get lodged in the body, either through the foods we eat, the air we breathe, or the products we put on our skin. If you observe breakouts after using certain products, discontinue their use.
- Allergies and food sensitivities cause your body to go into an immune response, leading to constant inflammation, and reducing your body’s immune response sensitivity over time.
- Water is essential for flushing out the toxins, hydrating the body and the skin. Make sure you’re drinking enough water every day.
Here are some other acne tips I’ve learned along the way.
- Check out Acne.org for videos on how to wash your face to reduce inflammation.
- Picking pimples is not recommended, it causes scarring, and just encourages more pimples in the same spot.
- Be gentle on yourself – a lot of this is about mindset, and change is never an overnight transformation.
Finally, I need to say that I’m not totally blemish free. I still get some acne and pimples, but it’s much more manageable.
In fact, I usually know exactly why I am getting breakouts. Lack of sleep, too much stress, not eating right, a certain type of make up or lotion, that time of the month, etc.
Got Any More Acne Treatments or Tips?
I’d love to hear your acne story. If you found a natural way to reduce or stop your acne, let us know in the comments!
We’re all in this together and the more we share, the better for future visitors who are in need of advice.