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Teenage Acne and Diet

Updated on July 24, 2010

Teenage Acne and Diet

 

Much has been written about teenage acne and diet, and I have to be honest; I don’t agree with a lot of what I’ve read. It’s one thing to say a bunch of stuff because you’ve done some quick “research” on the Web, but it’s another thing entirely when you’ve actually experienced something for yourself and can talk about it without having to look up anything in the dictionary or on Wikipedia. That’s the angle I’m coming from with this hub. This topic hits close to home with me because I was the poster child for acne as a teenager. I wasn’t sure what exactly the cause was, but I was no doubt suffering from the effects for years. I had really bad breakouts—constant breakouts—on the area near my temples, my upper cheeks near my eyes, and on my forehead. Basically, I had zits and pimples all over the place, some of which I still have the scars from when I tried to pop them prematurely (forgive me for getting graphic). I tried every acne remedy under the sun, including Sea Breeze (which burned the crap out of my face), Noxzema (which felt great, but I really didn’t see much of a difference when I was using it), St. Ives (which smelled really good, but again, I didn’t see much of a change), as well as some orange-looking soap bar that I forgot the name of, but I remember that it had salicylic acid in it, which tore my face up. I even tried just straight rubbing alcohol with a cotton swab at times to hopefully dry the zits up, but all that did was damage my skin even worse. No matter what product I tried, they all seemed to really dry out my face, and my skin was so dry that it would flake up real bad (like dandruff all over your face or something), and it would hurt so much that I remember not even wanting to smile because I felt like if I smiled, my skin would rip apart. What a horrible feeling. I was embarrassed all the time, because I did get snide comments and insults from people every now & then, and man, that stuff sticks with you. I just remember feeling desperate for some kind of solution, and not even wanting to go outside until my skin would clear up.

Teenage Acne and Diet

In this photo, courtesy of Google Images: the link between bread and acne.
In this photo, courtesy of Google Images: the link between bread and acne.

Teenage Acne and Diet

 

It didn’t dawn on me until much later (and many skin products later) that I had sensitive skin, and it really didn’t matter which product I used, they were all basically going to dry my skin out, but leave the acne untouched. Once I got desperate for a solution, I started reading up on how diet affects the skin, and that’s when a real change started to happen. This is why I disagree with a lot of things I’ve read on the Web; there are some websites and people that claim that it’s a “myth” that junk food and poor diet can cause acne…I’m living proof that there’s quite a bit of truth to that statement. In high school, I wasn’t thinking two things about diet and nutrition, so my daily diet was nothing but chocolate bars, pizza, French fries, peanut butter wafers, and chocolate milk, plus a ton of soft drinks (Dr. Pepper especially). I drank no water, so my body was severely dehydrated (which, by the way, is one of the main causes of skin problems). I started reading up on how diet affects the skin, and I decided to put into action the things that I was learning. I was so desperate to see my skin change that I quit drinking soft drinks cold turkey and instead drank nothing but water, juice, and milk (primarily water). I was drinking 10 or more 12-ounce glasses of water a day. This one change alone was responsible for what I believe to be the majority of the difference that I started seeing in my skin. I cut out fried foods and opted for baked foods instead. I cut out as many greasy foods as I could, and I stopped eating chocolate (a HARD habit to break for me). Once I made these changes, I started seeing a very significant difference in my skin. The cool thing is, I wasn’t even using any skin products any longer once I got ahold of the diet piece. I remember the day that I felt like I “arrived”—I was working at a deli at the time, and an older lady would always work the same shift as me. We were talking about skin or something along those lines, and I made some random comment that I can’t fully remember, but then she said to me “Well, you have beautiful skin.” I’ll never forget that moment, because up until that time, I always saw myself as the kid with acne. I wasn’t even really aware of how much my skin had changed. After she said that, I went home and looked in the mirror, and sure enough, I really saw my “new skin” for the first time. I was absolutely thrilled. I have adopted those dietary changes as permanent fixtures in my life now, and I don’t regret it one bit (I’m 35 now). So any time someone talks about teenage acne and diet and they’re claiming that there’s no connection between the two, I call “BULLCRAP”. I’m living proof that diet does make a difference.

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