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How I solved my skin problems

My skin is terribly sensitive to food. As a teenager I thought is was just bad luck, but after a lot of trial and error found the perfect solution. In fact, my current passion for health is partly rooted in my previous quest for good skin. Note that this is not a science backed post like with IF and cholesterol. This is based on my personal experiences. Non-food tips:

  • Don't touch your skin (especially face) without washing your hands and in front of a mirror
  • if you do squeeze, only if the head is white, and only with your fingertips (but not nails)
  • Don't shower warm/hot for too long
  • Creams etc can help, but I did better without

Food plan simplified:

  • Cut synthetic sugar entirely
  • Eat low GI foods
  • Drink a lot of water

Non-food practices

Diet had the most results for me, but some habits helped a lot.

First off, do not touch your skin.

I used to mess with my skin a lot, trying to pop zits hoping they went away sooner. They will not. Never touch your face without a mirror, and do not touch zits that have no white head. And when you do, do not use your nails, but squeeze with your fingertips.

Second, don't shower hot and long.

I love heat, including hot showers. Turns out it washes away skin oils, causing your already dysregulated skin to try to overcompensate by making more. That can clog pores.

Third, creams can help but are not needed.

I used clearing skin creams and such, but they do not address the core issue. They also cause an imbalance on your skin, drying it out etc. Where possible don't use them.

Fourth, use concealer (make up) if you have to

A small amount of make up can make it easier to forget about your blemishes. Apart from feeling good it makes it easier not to touch them throughout the day. One day a female friend of mine used some concealer makeup (one of the stick things) because my skin was dry/red. She took 5 minutes to talk me in to it. Next day I got one for myself, best $10 ever. To the guys out there, get over the whole 'make up is for women' things. I'm not suggesting you go all 'British face', but a tap of concealer on your face can make life a lot easier.

Acne diet plan

I tried some crazy things. Ranging from eating only golden delicious apples for 3 days to protein shakes for lunch.

Paleo diet for acne

The paleo diet is based on evolutionary theories. This means no grains, potatoes, rice, dairy, added sugars etc. I agree with some parts, and disagree with others. The bottom line however is that it is a great basis if you want to get rid of acne. For me the most impactful things were:

  • No more grains or grain derived products (bread, pasta, beer)
  • No more potato and rice
  • Absolutely no added sugar, especially liquid (e.g. soda)

Low GI

One of the biggest acne related effects of the paleo diet is the glycemic index. This is the measure of how fast food is absorbed, and the insulin spike they cause. Things high in GI (bad) are sugars, simple carbohydrates etc. Things low in GI (good) are proteins, fats and complex carbohydrates. Curious about the Gi of a food? Check it here.

On fasting

It sounds weird, but my apple fast of 3 days worked really well for me. The principle is simple:

  • You can eat only Golden or Red Delicious apples (without skin)
  • You can eat as much as you want, and drink water with it
  • You consume nothing else It was quite a challenge, but surprisingly worked great for me. I have no science to back it up, but suspect it was a nice 'reset point' to continue with my paleo diet.

Skin as a mirror

When I eat something bad, my skin reacts immediately. The next day I get spots. It's a very good feedback mechanism to keep you in check. Take it from me however: stick to the program. After 6 months I figured "oh, it should be fine to eat a pizza" and BAM. Use your skin as a guide to whether you are doing it right...