- Personal Health Information & Self-Help
Vegan Diet and Acne ~ The Best Cure
Treatments That Do Not Cure
I remember my teenage years and how I used to feel most days. I have pale skin and like many teenagers, I suffered from acne. Acne is bad enough to any ego, but if you have sensitive, pale skin, as I do, it really shows up badly. I and my parents spent a lot of time and money treating this problem, which persisted into my adult years. It was not until I learned some very important information that I was finally able to kick the acne problem out of my life permanently.
I remember how I used to feel in high school and even college. Part of every morning was spending time to see how bad the damage was and what I could do about it. I went around wearing cover up makeup and treating my skin with lotions and special soaps.
In high school my mother took me to a dermatologist for treatment, who not only prescribed effective treatment and recommended I go on birth control pills to help control my acne problem. As a teenager, I felt a bit embarrassed about this, but agreed to go with the program. I soon disliked my sensitive breasts and worried about the effects of the birth control hormones on my developing body. It's not that I knew what those effects were ~ I was only a teenager after all ~ but l felt letting my body grow and develop naturally would be healthier. I also wondered if I were born a guy then what would have happened? Obviously I would not have been put on birth control pills.
Furthermore, in the dermatologist's office I'd occasionally get injections and suffer through some painful poking of my face. It made me wonder if this was supposed to be normal. Does everyone in the world have bad skin during their teenage years? Who does and who doesn't? Why was I one of the unlucky ones when I was so careful about my skin and had the best in Western medicine on my side to deal with this problem?
Besides all of this, I also had acne on my back, and was given a different medication lotion soap to address this problem. The skin care regime to treat my back acne was different than that to treat my face acne. I was conditioned to believe that acne was a usual, teenagers' problem, and not a treatable, preventable condition, so treating the problem topically made sense. I didn't understand then that I could address an underlying problem that would cure my acne altogether. But I felt dissatisfied with the results of the treatments I underwent.
So for many reasons, I always felt the treatment for acne was left wanting. The bottom line was that even with the best treatment available, my clear skin would only last for a short time. My acne would come back, particularly when I was stressed. As I said, I entered my adult years with embarrassing spots on my face. As a teenager, I got used to acne being an on/off ailment with me ~ it seemed my face would respond well to treatment for a time being, but no sooner had the problem faded then I'd wake up with yet another pink spot on my face.
Because I saw a dermatologist, was on the proper medication and followed a careful skincare regime, I felt I was caring for my skin the absolute best way possible, and yet still today I have some acne scars on my face. I wish I had known when I was a teenager something that I'm happy to share with you now. I believe anyone who follows the advice in this article can safely kick acne out of their life a lot earlier than I did.
There is one other reason I'm glad to share my knowledge with others. I know that certain very effective medicines for treating acne can have some dangerous effects on some internal organs of the body. I think it's high time that people learn how to solve this problem in a natural, healthy way, rather than risking harm to their internal organs.
A Natural Cure
While proper skincare is particularly important if you suffer from acne, what most people don't realize is that so much more can be done to help prevent pimples from even making an appearance.
What you must understand is your skin is a reflection of not just the outside factors in your life, but also what you put into your body. It's not just enough to treat acne topically. What you want to do is treat acne with your fork and plate.
What follows is my summary of the best thing you can do to fight your acne.
Eat a whole plant food low fat vegan diet, with an emphasis on starches, supplement Vitamin B12, get regular exercise, and follow a very careful and natural skincare regime.
It's one simple sentence but it deserves further explanation so that you will understand for certain how to fight your acne.
A New Diet
You will be following a new way of eating that is very healthy and that's going to clean your skin from the inside out. It is as follows:
- Vegan, meaning no meats, cheese, dairy, milk, butter, margarine, eggs, or fish. Animal and animal product free. While pizza, fried chicken, burgers, and scrambled eggs with bacon might be some of your favorite foods, you'll never be able to get a handle on your acne problem if you continue to eat them. They must be eliminated completely or you will just continue aggravating the problem. By the way, even ranch dressing is out. Even a glass of skim milk is not what you want to be drinking if you have acne. There have been two medical studies done (that I know of) that show acne is connected to dairy intake. The problem is related to the hormones that are present in dairy and what they do to your body and skin. Both studies showed that those eating less or no dairy had less pimples. In my own life, from personal experience, I know that if I go off my vegan diet and enjoy dairy the pimples can return easily. But when I'm strict with avoiding dairy and the other no-no's, my skin is nice and clear.
- Low to no oil. Oil, unlike what you may have been taught by marketers and even many doctors, is not a health food. Oil is a manufactured product that does not occur naturally in nature. It is 100% fat calories. Fat calories behave in the body differently than carbohydrate calories, which behave differently than protein calories. The important point is that if you have acne, you do not want to be consuming a lot of oil. Give up your fried foods and start learning to cook with water rather than oil. You do not need to worry that you won't get your essential fatty acids if you eat a varied diet including whole nuts like walnuts. Since there is a lot of misinformation out there about this, it's important to really research the subject thoroughly if it interests you. The vegan program I follow is taught by Dr. McDougall.
- Whole plant foods, with an emphasis on clean, healthy starches. Starches are complex carbohydate plant foods such as beans, potatoes, yams, whole grains, and corn. Unlike what most people believe, these foods will not make you gain weight. The reason you actually want to emphasize these foods is because if you want to become vegan, I don't want you to go around eating only tofu burgers and salads. Tofu can have a pretty high fat content and you'll never feel full and satisfied on a diet of just lettuce. Starches and plant fiber fill you up and give you energy. Excess starch calories are burned by the body as heat. It's the fat calories that get easily converted to fat in the body and help contribute to acne. According to the Physicians Committee for Responsible medicine, the average American diet is between 37% to 40% fat. If you haven't noticed, the average American is overweight and will die of heart disease (the most common cause of death in America). However, it is equally important to have a lot of fresh, raw veggies and fruits in your diet. These pure foods will help your skin, especially those with Vitamin A, like carrots and sweet potatoes. (Sweet potatoes have more Vitamin A than carrots, so enjoy them!)
- You're to avoid sweets, sugars, and heavily processed foods Like oil, sugar will also increase the sebum in your skin, and thus aggravate your acne. If you're looking to cure your acne naturally, start researching meals. Once you have enough healthy meals and recipes you know you like in your head, you'll find giving up processed foods and sweets to be much easier.
- Supplement Vitamin B-12 Vitamin B-12 is actually a bacteria, not a vitamin. Sources of Vitamin B-12 include decaying meat, algae, and dirt. Since we live in a society where our water is purified and vegetables and fruits cleaned off, it's necessary for vegans to supplement their Vitamin B-12. I recommend supplementing with vitamin pills rather than with fortified foods as if you follow the instructions on the bottle, you're unlikely to ever suffer from Vitamin B-12 deficiency.
- Low Fat This is very important. Avoid the fatty plant foods such as avocado, nuts, seeds, coconut, oils, and tofu. I would recommend you read the following success story for more about the importance of keeping your diet low fat: Nina and Randa Cure Their Acne
A Careful, Natural Skin Care Regime
You'll have to find a natural, mild soap that's right for you. Oats are famous for helping fight acne, and you can find oatmeal soap at your local health store. While there check out the other choices for natural, mild soaps, such as coconut soap, carrot soap, castile soap, or a glycerin soap without perfumes and scents.
These are just examples ~ my own grandmother had great success getting rid of her acne using Ivory soap. When I was a teenager I used Neutrogena mild face soap but in time, had a hard time finding it, and so have moved on to natural alternatives with success.
Choose a basic mild soap since regular soaps can often be too harsh for your skin. Experiment with different soaps and see which one works best ~ you want your skin clean, yet moisturized.
Wash your face regularly, particularly if it seems oily, and pat it dry with a very soft, clean towel or washcloth. Avoid touching your face as much as possible and definitely avoid popping any pustules ~ you can end up with a lifelong scar. Change and wash your pillowcase frequently.
Also avoid oil-based makeup ~ in fact, I feel it's best to avoid makeup entirely until you kick your acne problem by following this diet and regime. Once your skin is clear regularly, you might not even want to cover it with makeup. So give your skin a chance to heal up. Just as you likely wouldn't rub makeup over a sore on your leg, treat your sore facial skin the same way. Once your skin is clear you can always experiment very slowly with natural, water-based makeups and see which ones don't aggravate your problem.
While it may seem like it wouldn't matter, it's important to get regular, daily exercise. Exercise keeps your body in shape, helps rid your body of toxins, and has a beneficial effect on the skin.
There are many natural acne skin care treatments like facials and masks you can try to help your skin heal and to prevent acne. Success has also been found by applying tea tree oil to a the skin. Manuka honey is also very popular, because it also moisturizes the skin, helps acne heal up quickly, and kills bacteria that causes acne. Apply Manuka honey mixed with cinnamon directly as a mask.*
Be consistent and diligent with your skin care efforts, both with diet, exercise, and skin care. It's no fun to slack off for a day or two, and then find more blemishes. Once you are consistent with the diet, exercise, and cleaning, you'll be able to enjoy the reward for your effort ~ consistently clear skin.
*If you watch this video, do not replace the Manuka honey with regular honey as she suggests as an alternative ~ it will not have any effect!
If, after following these steps very strictly, and giving yourself a good month or two to test out your improved diet and skincare regime, you do not see enough improvement, try topical acne medications which you can find in most pharmacies and supermarkets.
However, the better you are at following my other recommendations, the better your skin will be, and it's likely your skin will be less oily than when you were following a more standard diet.
Incidentally, a healthy vegan diet and a careful skin care regime also affect the incidences of acne associated with an adult woman's menstrual cycle.
A Healthy Life with Good Skin
I've found that since following a vegan diet my acne has completely disappeared. However, even at my age, I still get acne if I veer off my healthy vegan diet and indulge in some of the no-no's ~ dairy, oily foods, or too much heavily processed foods and sweets. This has only brought home the fact to me that I'd likely still be suffering from acne if I started eating as I did in high school.
Because you'll be following a very healthy diet, eating lots of veggies and fruits, getting lots of vitamins and minerals, your general health and mental health will improve, and your body will have better regulated hormone levels. This diet has been shown to be successful even with acne associated with a woman's monthly cycle and pregnancies.
Please also understand that a vegan diet, contrary to popular belief (myths, really) ~ is very healthy and not dangerous. If you are worried about calcium, protein, or fatty acids deficiency, I encourage you to do more research as your fears are unfounded. Just because you've been told you'll keel over without a ton of milk and meat every day, does not mean it's true. Alternatively, there are plenty of elite athletes out there that swear by a vegan diet since it gives them more energy and allows their bodies to heal faster after workouts. So it helps to become more knowledgeable in general about a healthy vegan diet rather than dismiss it because of what are likely just notions that a lot of people share.
There you have it. The best cure for acne starts with a change in diet, and is maintained by taking good care of your skin with a mild soap. That's it. It works, and I encourage you to try it and see for yourself.