Acne: When a Healthy Lifestyle Doesn’t Cure It

Acne: When a Healthy Lifestyle Doesn’t Cure It

I’ve got an embarrassing secret which if you’ve seen me face-to-face isn’t really much of a secret at all. I have adult acne. I am also a high raw vegan.  I also have the cleanest diet and lifestyle of anyone I know. I do everything right. So what gives?

Acne is a psychological issue with a self-esteem-deflating trickle-down effect.  If we can’t cover it up well, it may keep us from attending events, and if it’s bad enough, it will most certainly drop our confidence levels in work and personal life.  Acne on someone who is supposed to be a model of health for others just plain isn’t fair.  Supposedly, it is my body’s external sign that something isn’t right internally.  But what’s wrong?
I’ve made every lifestyle change the experts recommend.

First, let’s examine some of the advice commonly given for healing acne naturally.

If you’re suffering from acne, one or more of these may actually work for you.  And if they do, I’ll truly be happy for you – you’ll have no jealousy from me.

  1. Diet

    Avoid foods that create an acidic internal environment such as added sugar, processed foods, fried foods, coffee, alcohol, and, of course, animal products.  Increase your intake of alkaline-promoting foods especially green leafy vegetables, and eat mainly whole foods.  Clear skin is almost always listed as an added benefit when switching to a raw food diet.  You can also try an elimination diet where you remove common food sensitivities like dairy, soy, and gluten. Check.

  2. Digestion

    Follow proper food combining rules, including eating fruit alone on an empty stomach.  Eat raw vegetables like celery before cooked meals.  Wait a few hours in between meals to allow food to digest fully.  Eat a low fat raw vegan diet to optimize digestion with fruit meals and minimal ingredients per meal.  Drink plenty of water but not during meals so you don’t dilute your digestive enzymes.  Check.

  3. Exercise

    Get moving regularly to promote healthy circulation and increase blood flow, helping to flush toxins.  Bikram yoga is supposed to be especially good for this.  Check.

  4. Skincare

    There are two different camps on this one.  An ideal held in the uber-natural, raw foods community is to stop washing your face completely and it will balance out.  I tried this for a few weeks, and the only thing it got me was stressed because I couldn’t wear cover up.  I spent my work time hiding in my office, and a social life or public speaking was out of the question.

    The more traditional camp says to wash your face twice a day, use toner to balance skin pH, apply moisturizer to avoid the overproduction of sebum, and use a gentle exfoliant regularly to unclog pores.  Over my long history of acne, I have tried dozens of products ranging from doctor-prescribed medications to recipes I created from ingredients in my kitchen.  I use commercial products, but make sure they hold to my high standards (no parabens, phthalates, etc.) – Ecobella and Aubrey Organics are two of my regular brands.  Check.

    (Update 11.16.13: Here is my current skincare routine that has freed me from purchasing products but still allows me to cover up any pimples. It hasn’t single-handedly cured my acne, but my skin sure feels nice.)

For those of you who haven’t mastered these first four steps, read this ebook for a nice holistic overview of the basic causes of acne, especially diet. It’s written by Fran from High on Health, one of my go-to people for real-world acne advice. Check out her YouTube channel for some more great info.

I wish I could give you a magic bullet, but the truth is that I’ve been battling with this for 15+ years, and I don’t have clear skin yet.  If you, like I, are an A+ student when it comes to the above four categories, why do you still have acne when the person next to you stuffing their face with a cheeseburger has glowing skin?

Well, first of all, both you and I need to learn to let that envy go.  Everyone is different, and the “cures” that work for some may not work for others.  It will help both of us to view our breakouts as a helpful suggestion from our bodies to look into things because something isn’t right.

Here’s a short list of what could be the real problem:

  1. Unbalanced hormones 

    My acne is along my jawline, typical for hormonal acne.  I’m working with a holistic doctor to get to the bottom of this. (Update: read about how working to balance my hormones has started to heal my acne.)

  2. Nutrient deficiency

    Zinc and vitamin D are two concerns.  Diet tweaks and supplementation based on blood work results is my probable course of action.

  3. Stress

    I, like many people, have too many balls in the air.  Stress never goes away, but better stress management will help.

I’ll keep you posted on how this goes.  If you have skin problems, I want to hear from you.  Please leave your comments below.  

My Other Acne-Related Articles:

More Unforgettable Insight

69 Responses to Acne: When a Healthy Lifestyle Doesn’t Cure It

  1. I have been a vegan for 9 months now and have the worst acne. Before my skin was totally clear. I have stopped consuming soy and even tried a juice cleanse, with no change. I am just going to try everything until hopefully something works out. Please keep us updated on your journey and thank you for the suggestions.

    • If the acne came on since you were vegan, I would definitely examine your diet now versus before to see if there is something you eat a lot more of as a vegan. For example, are you eating a lot more bread and gluten-containing foods? Sounds like you are already starting to think along these terms since you did cut out soy. Are you consuming other processed meat-substitutes? You also might want to try tracking your nutrition in a program like cronometer to see if you are missing any essential nutrients. Omega 3 and zinc are two to watch to prevent inflammation.

  2. I have been a vegan for 9 months now and have the worst acne. Before my skin was totally clear. I have stopped consuming soy and even tried a juice cleanse, with no change. I am just going to try everything until hopefully something works out. Please keep us updated on your journey and thank you for the suggestions.

    • If the acne came on since you were vegan, I would definitely examine your diet now versus before to see if there is something you eat a lot more of as a vegan. For example, are you eating a lot more bread and gluten-containing foods? Sounds like you are already starting to think along these terms since you did cut out soy. Are you consuming other processed meat-substitutes? You also might want to try tracking your nutrition in a program like cronometer to see if you are missing any essential nutrients. Omega 3 and zinc are two to watch to prevent inflammation.

  3. Hi. I have adult acne as well but I am really starting to clear up. Im no strict vegan allthough I take a lot of inspiration from your world of delicious raw food and the diet has some effect, especially if I’m in the lower on carbs higher on fat part of the raw veganism. I’m for example depending on some flax seed oil every day for skin dryness. Offcourse I drink at least 8 glasses of water a day. I have found that some breathing exercises the “4-7-8” breathing morning and night and saying to myself in the mirror that I’m good enough is starting to help on the stress part. Bikram yoga helps a lot for skin glow. Some people experience that bikram worsens their skin maybe do to acidity in the sweat however it helps circulation and for me clears up my skin. I put zinc cream (same as used for infants) on the inflamation parts and that really makes a difference so it doesn’t spread and I can keep the inflammation under control! I use argan oil every night. And then I use only one thing thats a little bit stronger twice a weak that is a little bit of BHA from this company: http://www.paulaschoice.com/shop/skin-care-categories/aha-and-bha-exfoliants. It’s not at all organic and a little bit tougher, but sometimes thats what it takes. Hope you can use that as inspiration.

    • Thanks for sharing Enna. Good advice – it’s nice to see what others are doing. And I’m so happy for you that your acne is starting to clear up!

  4. Hi. I have adult acne as well but I am really starting to clear up. Im no strict vegan allthough I take a lot of inspiration from your world of delicious raw food and the diet has some effect, especially if I’m in the lower on carbs higher on fat part of the raw veganism. I’m for example depending on some flax seed oil every day for skin dryness. Offcourse I drink at least 8 glasses of water a day. I have found that some breathing exercises the “4-7-8” breathing morning and night and saying to myself in the mirror that I’m good enough is starting to help on the stress part. Bikram yoga helps a lot for skin glow. Some people experience that bikram worsens their skin maybe do to acidity in the sweat however it helps circulation and for me clears up my skin. I put zinc cream (same as used for infants) on the inflamation parts and that really makes a difference so it doesn’t spread and I can keep the inflammation under control! I use argan oil every night. And then I use only one thing thats a little bit stronger twice a weak that is a little bit of BHA from this company: http://www.paulaschoice.com/shop/skin-care-categories/aha-and-bha-exfoliants. It’s not at all organic and a little bit tougher, but sometimes thats what it takes. Hope you can use that as inspiration.

    • Thanks for sharing Enna. Good advice – it’s nice to see what others are doing. And I’m so happy for you that your acne is starting to clear up!

  5. Uhh in the same boat. A plus girl all the way but it does not go away. I think it is a hormonal imbalance because the only thing that has ever cleared my acne has been the birth control pill called Tri Sprintec. I stopped taking it because I could not see myself taking the pill the rest of my life, but I am now seriously considering taking it again. Please inform us if you find an alternative that works. Many thanks!

    • Claudia, I feel ya! I know how desperate you must be to consider going back on the pill. I think hormonal acne is such a complex issue that even if I find something that works for me, it won’t be a magic bullet that automatically works for you or anyone else. I think your best bet before resorting to the pill would be to find a holistic professional (doctor, naturopath, kinesiologist, etc.) who is willing to look closer and work with you to determine the root cause… In my experience, there is a lot of tweaking to be done. Sorry I can’t be more helpful, but as you know it’s such a challenge! And, of course, I will continue to post updates on my own acne as well as anything I think is useful for you.

  6. Uhh in the same boat. A plus girl all the way but it does not go away. I think it is a hormonal imbalance because the only thing that has ever cleared my acne has been the birth control pill called Tri Sprintec. I stopped taking it because I could not see myself taking the pill the rest of my life, but I am now seriously considering taking it again. Please inform us if you find an alternative that works. Many thanks!

    • Claudia, I feel ya! I know how desperate you must be to consider going back on the pill. I think hormonal acne is such a complex issue that even if I find something that works for me, it won’t be a magic bullet that automatically works for you or anyone else. I think your best bet before resorting to the pill would be to find a holistic professional (doctor, naturopath, kinesiologist, etc.) who is willing to look closer and work with you to determine the root cause… In my experience, there is a lot of tweaking to be done. Sorry I can’t be more helpful, but as you know it’s such a challenge! And, of course, I will continue to post updates on my own acne as well as anything I think is useful for you.

  7. I’m 37 and have been fighting acne all my life. I find that I now get most of my acne on my jaw line, I thought that was so strange. I have tried almost everything and finally decided that I was to old for acne and wanted to get to the bottom of this on-going battle, so as advised by my doctor I’m going to take a hormonal test.
    Thanks for sharing your story, it’s encouraging.

  8. I’m 37 and have been fighting acne all my life. I find that I now get most of my acne on my jaw line, I thought that was so strange. I have tried almost everything and finally decided that I was to old for acne and wanted to get to the bottom of this on-going battle, so as advised by my doctor I’m going to take a hormonal test.
    Thanks for sharing your story, it’s encouraging.

  9. Thanks so much for sharing your post and experience!! I suffered from it too when I came off birth control a few years ago, and mine was also along the jaw line (hormonal) but also on my cheeks (potential food sensitivities/digestion/liver toxicity). It took a lot of time to improve the state (or “terrain” as my ND liked to call it) of my digestive system, and my entire savings account went to my Naturopathic doctor. He even had me taking snake and spider venom at one point to release negative beliefs I was holding on to through dreams – needless to say I was willing to try anything! (And also, I wasn’t and am not a ra vegan.. I was vegetarian at this point though.) I did allergy testing, saw a holistic allergist, did bio-feedback, every holistic modality possible. (I am also a holistic nutritionist and felt the exact same – who would take advice from me, if I don’t even have clear skin!? Also did all of the above steps diligently. The most frustrating situation, ever.) What I found was after months of taking a probiotic really helped (but I guess may be conflicting if you’re strict raw vegan) but mostly.. what really made my skin glow and took away the breakouts was cilantro. I took it in capsule form on an empty stomach first thing in the morning and my skin cleared up back to the way it was before I came off birth control (which prior to and during taking it, was always quite clear)

    I do hope everything settles and rebalances for you quickly! Thanks for all the great information on your site!

    • Thanks for sharing your story Brandi. It’s nice to hear from someone who understands! Luckily, my acne is now under control. I’ve been slowly healing the scarring on my cheeks. I am fine with probiotics and have taken them in the past. I still do regularly eat fermented foods like raw sauerkraut. Cilantro helps detox heavy metals from the body – I may try adding that in my green smoothies. Can’t hurt – it’s quite healthy! Adria

  10. Thanks so much for sharing your post and experience!! I suffered from it too when I came off birth control a few years ago, and mine was also along the jaw line (hormonal) but also on my cheeks (potential food sensitivities/digestion/liver toxicity). It took a lot of time to improve the state (or “terrain” as my ND liked to call it) of my digestive system, and my entire savings account went to my Naturopathic doctor. He even had me taking snake and spider venom at one point to release negative beliefs I was holding on to through dreams – needless to say I was willing to try anything! (And also, I wasn’t and am not a ra vegan.. I was vegetarian at this point though.) I did allergy testing, saw a holistic allergist, did bio-feedback, every holistic modality possible. (I am also a holistic nutritionist and felt the exact same – who would take advice from me, if I don’t even have clear skin!? Also did all of the above steps diligently. The most frustrating situation, ever.) What I found was after months of taking a probiotic really helped (but I guess may be conflicting if you’re strict raw vegan) but mostly.. what really made my skin glow and took away the breakouts was cilantro. I took it in capsule form on an empty stomach first thing in the morning and my skin cleared up back to the way it was before I came off birth control (which prior to and during taking it, was always quite clear)

    I do hope everything settles and rebalances for you quickly! Thanks for all the great information on your site!

    • Thanks for sharing your story Brandi. It’s nice to hear from someone who understands! Luckily, my acne is now under control. I’ve been slowly healing the scarring on my cheeks. I am fine with probiotics and have taken them in the past. I still do regularly eat fermented foods like raw sauerkraut. Cilantro helps detox heavy metals from the body – I may try adding that in my green smoothies. Can’t hurt – it’s quite healthy! Adria

    • Zephora – it depends on who you are. For me having acne is posion – much more than a low dose of Accutane is. I have chosen to take it. Although as I wrote earlier on I was starting to clear up, I flared up again. And I couldnt keep on going after so many years (15 years). Eventhough I’m a big believer in a natural cure Im also a believer in modern society and taking help where there is some. Accutane stems from retinol which is a sort of vitamin A in a very large dose. For me it hasnt been posion so far. Ofcourse I have some side effects like dry skin (NONE psychological though) but it is incredible to see the acne vanishing and the constant pain go away. I know there can be long time side effects for some people. However I was at a point where having acne was equally as longterm damaging. I dont want to reach a point where I cant eat at somebodys house without bringing my own special food, and I dont want to be so obsessed with health that its no longer healthy. Everyone has to make their own choice. The only thing I want to say: don’t go any higher than a dose of 40 mg a day. Thats what they reccomend here in Europe, and everyone Ive spoken to here hasnt had any long term side effects even after years. If you do have real acne that you can only keep at ease, not kill, and you’ve tried everything else – I would say go for it. But be shure that it truly is acne.

    • Zephora and Enna, though each person’s choice is their own, in my experience medications end up creating a greater internal imbalance over time and it’s not necessarily something that someone would directly notice. If you have the main areas I outlined in my article dialed in, its likely you have hormonal acne. Read my acne and hormones post I linked to in this article if you haven’t already. I’ve also found the website http://highonclearskin.com/ to be very useful for info on acne in adult women. My own acne has been clearing somewhat as I deal with my hormonal issues (and stress!). Hope that helps and good luck! Adria

      • Helloo
        I agree that harsh medications are not the way to go and I realized that so I quit accutane within a week of starting.
        But I have great news!!! My skin is clearing up!
        I am taking spironolactone 100mg per day

        Everyone you should all consider it I think it works

    • Zephora – it depends on who you are. For me having acne is posion – much more than a low dose of Accutane is. I have chosen to take it. Although as I wrote earlier on I was starting to clear up, I flared up again. And I couldnt keep on going after so many years (15 years). Eventhough I’m a big believer in a natural cure Im also a believer in modern society and taking help where there is some. Accutane stems from retinol which is a sort of vitamin A in a very large dose. For me it hasnt been posion so far. Ofcourse I have some side effects like dry skin (NONE psychological though) but it is incredible to see the acne vanishing and the constant pain go away. I know there can be long time side effects for some people. However I was at a point where having acne was equally as longterm damaging. I dont want to reach a point where I cant eat at somebodys house without bringing my own special food, and I dont want to be so obsessed with health that its no longer healthy. Everyone has to make their own choice. The only thing I want to say: don’t go any higher than a dose of 40 mg a day. Thats what they reccomend here in Europe, and everyone Ive spoken to here hasnt had any long term side effects even after years. If you do have real acne that you can only keep at ease, not kill, and you’ve tried everything else – I would say go for it. But be shure that it truly is acne.

    • Zephora and Enna, though each person’s choice is their own, in my experience medications end up creating a greater internal imbalance over time and it’s not necessarily something that someone would directly notice. If you have the main areas I outlined in my article dialed in, its likely you have hormonal acne. Read my acne and hormones post I linked to in this article if you haven’t already. I’ve also found the website http://highonclearskin.com/ to be very useful for info on acne in adult women. My own acne has been clearing somewhat as I deal with my hormonal issues (and stress!). Hope that helps and good luck! Adria

      • Helloo
        I agree that harsh medications are not the way to go and I realized that so I quit accutane within a week of starting.
        But I have great news!!! My skin is clearing up!
        I am taking spironolactone 100mg per day

        Everyone you should all consider it I think it works

  11. Hello! I’ve been a vegan for 3 years now. I am also an acne sufferer… had it since I was 11 and I am now 29. It has gotten better when I started a vegan lifestyle but that was until a week ago. You see, I usually ate veggies, pasta, bread, very little fruit, etc. Sometimes I would eat chips. About a week ago, I have eliminated pasta and all junk foods, and consumed more steamed veggies, raw veggies, fruit, soy milk, and water. That is when I noticed my skin breaking out like crazy. I was a raw vegan for a short amount of time and the same amount of breakouts occurred. I am guessing it has to do with detoxing the body. The healthier I eat, the more I break out. The crappier I eat, the less I break out. I’m assuming my body has so much toxic buildup and is trying to rid all the toxins through healthy eating habits. Hopefully, I can transition to a raw vegan lifestyle and stick with it. I’m also hoping this stubborn acne will subside. Eighteen years is long enough… LOL!

    • Amy-Lee, how long did your skin break out for? Detox shouldn’t last more than a couple weeks and usually lasts only a few days, depending on how bad your diet was before. Was your type of raw the high fruit, low fat type? I found that after a while of eating that way, my face became very inflamed and I had to make sure to have omega 3 every day (flaxseed, etc.). Check out my article on acne and hormones if you haven’t already. I talk a little about this. Good luck! Adria

  12. Hello! I’ve been a vegan for 3 years now. I am also an acne sufferer… had it since I was 11 and I am now 29. It has gotten better when I started a vegan lifestyle but that was until a week ago. You see, I usually ate veggies, pasta, bread, very little fruit, etc. Sometimes I would eat chips. About a week ago, I have eliminated pasta and all junk foods, and consumed more steamed veggies, raw veggies, fruit, soy milk, and water. That is when I noticed my skin breaking out like crazy. I was a raw vegan for a short amount of time and the same amount of breakouts occurred. I am guessing it has to do with detoxing the body. The healthier I eat, the more I break out. The crappier I eat, the less I break out. I’m assuming my body has so much toxic buildup and is trying to rid all the toxins through healthy eating habits. Hopefully, I can transition to a raw vegan lifestyle and stick with it. I’m also hoping this stubborn acne will subside. Eighteen years is long enough… LOL!

    • Amy-Lee, how long did your skin break out for? Detox shouldn’t last more than a couple weeks and usually lasts only a few days, depending on how bad your diet was before. Was your type of raw the high fruit, low fat type? I found that after a while of eating that way, my face became very inflamed and I had to make sure to have omega 3 every day (flaxseed, etc.). Check out my article on acne and hormones if you haven’t already. I talk a little about this. Good luck! Adria

      • Hi Adria!
        I recently had a tubal ligation in September 25th 2014 and therefore went off my birth control pill. August 19th 2014 I started up on a raw/rawtill4 vegan diet, but wasn’t as strict as I could have been. I wasn’t checking my nutritional intake and had quite a bit of wine and vegan chocolate in October, ughh. Before I went vegan, I was eating fish for a few months and consuming dairy.
        That been said, I haven’t been eating as super clean until November, but have still had higher salty hummus up until now. I’ve hence cut the hummus intake down since!
        My acne started up a few months ago, now I’m not sure if it’s from coming off my birth control or from a vegan diet- as both kind of happened one after the other. I also have celiac disease and wasn’t exactly doing myself justice by eating dairy either (considering I have a slight intolerance to it as well). Since my tubal, my period also has vanished since September!!
        I switched from a face wash that I discovered had gluten in it (my poor skin, ahhh!) and am currently washing my face with a gentle combination of coconut oil and brown sugar. It feels a lot softer, minus the nasty pimples. I also added a Selenium pill which also contains vitamin A, C, E and Zinc (other than A and C, chronometer said I was low in these). I haven`t been on the Seleniums for long, but I`m hoping this helps!
        So with my rocky start and only recently better choices, can you offer me any insight on my acne problem? Right now it’s focused a bit on my chin but mostly on my forehead. I`d love your imput! So would my face haha…

  13. I went veggie when I was 16 and had spots from age 14. I am FIFTY ONE now still veggie and still have acne. My biggest envy is people with perfect skin! Yes its made my life a misery over the years – convinced people do a “join the dots picture” whenever they see my face! I do get abit smug though when someone moans they have a single blemish on their otherwise wonderful face and tell myself how I have overcome decades of the wretched things and am a super heroine for enduring it!! Thing is i have a lovely husband of 28 yrs who has even seen me without make up! My theory is certain blood groups are more prone to suffering acne when vegetarian and having had hormone issues too that may be the reason also…I am blood group O so I dont know for certain but I saw my daughters complexion deteriorate when she went veggie. So thank goodness for make up!

    • Hi Kerry, My sympathies – such a long time to have to put up with acne. I know what you mean about skin envy. And about how wonderful it is to have a husband who accepts you as you are – mine doesn’t even see my pimples anymore. My blood type isn’t O… Is there something specific that changed about your daughters diet (more bread, soy, etc.) when she went veggie? Cheers, Adria

      • Hi Adria,
        Thanks for responding to my message. My daughter didn’t stick to a veggie diet, I remember her moods went really up and down and as I said her skin deteriorated. She has switched to a restricted dairy diet cutting out cows milk but having goats, it has meant giving up shop bought bread and pastry since they contain lactic acid butter etc. Her energy and complexion has got better, but at 25 it might have improved anyway. Since I have endured hormone issues for years I think that for some a vegetarian diet may create hormonal issues plus acne. I just couldn’t go back to eating meat now after thirty odd years even if I could overlook all the animal welfare issues involved, so just endure the downside and am considering reducing my intake of dairy to the non animal alternatives.Who knows it might well be the dairy that’s the culprit. Just love cheese and cream though!
        Almost didn’t revisit this site having stumbled across it by chance…hope you are not affected by the cold weather there. Here in England we’re being washed and blown dry!!!

        • Kerry, Yep, dairy is the hardest one to get rid of for most people! Sadly, it has been shown to be connected to acne, including hormonal. Often when people switch to vegetarian, they increase the dairy in their diet (I know I did!). Perhaps that could be the vegetarian connection you are noticing.

  14. I went veggie when I was 16 and had spots from age 14. I am FIFTY ONE now still veggie and still have acne. My biggest envy is people with perfect skin! Yes its made my life a misery over the years – convinced people do a “join the dots picture” whenever they see my face! I do get abit smug though when someone moans they have a single blemish on their otherwise wonderful face and tell myself how I have overcome decades of the wretched things and am a super heroine for enduring it!! Thing is i have a lovely husband of 28 yrs who has even seen me without make up! My theory is certain blood groups are more prone to suffering acne when vegetarian and having had hormone issues too that may be the reason also…I am blood group O so I dont know for certain but I saw my daughters complexion deteriorate when she went veggie. So thank goodness for make up!

    • Hi Kerry, My sympathies – such a long time to have to put up with acne. I know what you mean about skin envy. And about how wonderful it is to have a husband who accepts you as you are – mine doesn’t even see my pimples anymore. My blood type isn’t O… Is there something specific that changed about your daughters diet (more bread, soy, etc.) when she went veggie? Cheers, Adria

      • Hi Adria,
        Thanks for responding to my message. My daughter didn’t stick to a veggie diet, I remember her moods went really up and down and as I said her skin deteriorated. She has switched to a restricted dairy diet cutting out cows milk but having goats, it has meant giving up shop bought bread and pastry since they contain lactic acid butter etc. Her energy and complexion has got better, but at 25 it might have improved anyway. Since I have endured hormone issues for years I think that for some a vegetarian diet may create hormonal issues plus acne. I just couldn’t go back to eating meat now after thirty odd years even if I could overlook all the animal welfare issues involved, so just endure the downside and am considering reducing my intake of dairy to the non animal alternatives.Who knows it might well be the dairy that’s the culprit. Just love cheese and cream though!
        Almost didn’t revisit this site having stumbled across it by chance…hope you are not affected by the cold weather there. Here in England we’re being washed and blown dry!!!

        • Kerry, Yep, dairy is the hardest one to get rid of for most people! Sadly, it has been shown to be connected to acne, including hormonal. Often when people switch to vegetarian, they increase the dairy in their diet (I know I did!). Perhaps that could be the vegetarian connection you are noticing.

  15. You need meat!! In animal fats are fatsoluble vitamins that are killing your acne! Try it, none of that vegetables will significantly improve your skin rather than meat, animal fat and butter. Check out the weston a price foundation for any futher information. The masai are an unwesternizised culture and are consuming only meat diary and blood and are enjoying perfect health despite to their high cholesterol intake. They have amazing low cholesterol levels. To everyone else here: grains are your enemy. know this sounds wrong in your ears compared to what you have heard in your vegan societies but please give it a shot! I mean it!

    Wish you all the best,
    Sophie

    • Hi Sophie,
      Thank you for sharing your opinion – I was wondering when I was going to get a comment like this. 🙂 That’s why I mentioned in my followup post on Hormonal Acne that I had acne when I was a die-hard meat eater, cheese-loving vegetarian, as both a high and low fat (grain-free) raw foodist, and now whole foods (gluten-free) vegan. However, this is not the place for a carnivore vs vegan debate.
      Thank you for being so respectful! Adria

  16. You need meat!! In animal fats are fatsoluble vitamins that are killing your acne! Try it, none of that vegetables will significantly improve your skin rather than meat, animal fat and butter. Check out the weston a price foundation for any futher information. The masai are an unwesternizised culture and are consuming only meat diary and blood and are enjoying perfect health despite to their high cholesterol intake. They have amazing low cholesterol levels. To everyone else here: grains are your enemy. know this sounds wrong in your ears compared to what you have heard in your vegan societies but please give it a shot! I mean it!

    Wish you all the best,
    Sophie

    • Hi Sophie,
      Thank you for sharing your opinion – I was wondering when I was going to get a comment like this. 🙂 That’s why I mentioned in my followup post on Hormonal Acne that I had acne when I was a die-hard meat eater, cheese-loving vegetarian, as both a high and low fat (grain-free) raw foodist, and now whole foods (gluten-free) vegan. However, this is not the place for a carnivore vs vegan debate.
      Thank you for being so respectful! Adria

  17. Hi I had gall bladder removal surgery about 3 years ago, went off Birth control probably two years ago.. and have been gluten and lactose free for the last two years. I recently have decided to go vegan ‘meat free’ for the last 6 months and have suffered horrible acne. Please note, even in my teenage years I have never had acne.. a pimple here or there but nothing out of the norm. Now I am embarrassed to even socialized as I am so self conscious. I went ahead and got rid of my facial products as I knew they were not the best for me. So I am currently using Boots brand face wash… with raw honey mask every few days and apple cider vinegar as a toner and Coconut oil as a moisturizer. I have been using this regime for about 3-4 weeks and noticed no more harsh breakouts but still have enough to make me uncomfortable, and my skin is still red and inflamed. I am not sure if there is something I am lacking since I am not eating meat, however I know I do the food combining properly. I have a kale/apple/celery shake in the morning… fruit bowl when I am hungry. A salad for lunch (apv dressing) and then veggies with quinoa for dinner. I don’t really know what else to do.. Not 100% sure why I am spilling my heart and soul on here but I guess I am just exhausted. I know I am healthy but is it a hormonal imbalance? If so how do I fix it? and why didn’t I break out tremendously after I got off birth control? Oh the questions I have… Is it due to not having a gall bladder? HELP! Thank you for sharing all your stories they are very helpful!

    • Hi Jennifer, the one thing I can think of off the top of my head for you is to make sure you are getting some fat in your diet, especially if you’re like me and don’t eat oil. Specifically make sure to have 1 tbsp ground flaxseed, chia, hemp, something with Omega 3. And then possibly some avocado or other seeds daily. When I had red and inflamed skin, it was helped drastically just by increasing the fat (I was doing 80-10-10 so less than 10% fat). As for the rest, I’m not a medical professional, but it could likely be hormonal. I’m convinced that being on birth control threw off my hormonal balance and it took years to smooth back out. Perhaps this article will also help: http://highonclearskin.com/how-dora-prevented-acne-after-going-off-the-pill/. Good luck – I’m rooting for ya! Adria

  18. Hi I had gall bladder removal surgery about 3 years ago, went off Birth control probably two years ago.. and have been gluten and lactose free for the last two years. I recently have decided to go vegan ‘meat free’ for the last 6 months and have suffered horrible acne. Please note, even in my teenage years I have never had acne.. a pimple here or there but nothing out of the norm. Now I am embarrassed to even socialized as I am so self conscious. I went ahead and got rid of my facial products as I knew they were not the best for me. So I am currently using Boots brand face wash… with raw honey mask every few days and apple cider vinegar as a toner and Coconut oil as a moisturizer. I have been using this regime for about 3-4 weeks and noticed no more harsh breakouts but still have enough to make me uncomfortable, and my skin is still red and inflamed. I am not sure if there is something I am lacking since I am not eating meat, however I know I do the food combining properly. I have a kale/apple/celery shake in the morning… fruit bowl when I am hungry. A salad for lunch (apv dressing) and then veggies with quinoa for dinner. I don’t really know what else to do.. Not 100% sure why I am spilling my heart and soul on here but I guess I am just exhausted. I know I am healthy but is it a hormonal imbalance? If so how do I fix it? and why didn’t I break out tremendously after I got off birth control? Oh the questions I have… Is it due to not having a gall bladder? HELP! Thank you for sharing all your stories they are very helpful!

    • Hi Jennifer, the one thing I can think of off the top of my head for you is to make sure you are getting some fat in your diet, especially if you’re like me and don’t eat oil. Specifically make sure to have 1 tbsp ground flaxseed, chia, hemp, something with Omega 3. And then possibly some avocado or other seeds daily. When I had red and inflamed skin, it was helped drastically just by increasing the fat (I was doing 80-10-10 so less than 10% fat). As for the rest, I’m not a medical professional, but it could likely be hormonal. I’m convinced that being on birth control threw off my hormonal balance and it took years to smooth back out. Perhaps this article will also help: http://highonclearskin.com/how-dora-prevented-acne-after-going-off-the-pill/. Good luck – I’m rooting for ya! Adria

  19. I had NEVER had acne in my life. Then, when I was 24, I started getting moderate to severe acne and I had no idea what to do. I tried about a dozen different things before I went gluten free.
    Life as amazing! I went almost an entire year with clear skin! I barely ever even got one pimple! I thought gluten free was my big answer.
    Then, just like before, out of nowhere, it started coming back. I decided to go mostly raw vegan to fix it. Three weeks in this lifestyle and the acne is still progressing! I’m so frustrated, I really don’t know what to do!
    Any suggestions? (I am doing the raw till 4 thing, but not very low fat, as I still eat flax seed, coconut oil, avocados and peanut butter)

  20. I do not see a mention of WATER in your diet. You MUST drink plenty of water to flush out the toxins. 64 oz of pure, filtered or spring water……and also….go organic…..fruits and vegetables have lots of pesticides and other toxins on them, even when washed….buy organic apples, bananas, etc. as much as you can….check out the ‘Dirty Dozen”……..Cut out ALL white flour…no bagels, bread, pasta…..make smoothies with organic fruits and vegetables…..and lots of Water every day….And don’t forget SLEEP….THAT is when the skin heals itself…..

  21. You make some good points Nim! Organic is important to us because if it is labeled organic then it is not Genetically Modified (GMO).
    Water is also very important in everyone’s health, and at our business we have been using reverse osmosis water that we get from a water filtration place right around the corner. For .35 USD gallon, they fill up our 5 gallon BPA free water bottles.
    For drinking water, this is perfect as it has no pharmaceuticals, no pesticides, BPA free, and all of that other stuff that sometimes doesn’t get filtered out before entering your body.
    This is all very important when detoxing your body so your skin can heal! Thanks for sharing!!!

  22. Hi Adria!
    I recently had a tubal ligation in September 25th 2014 and therefore went off my birth control pill. August 19th 2014 I started up on a raw/rawtill4 vegan diet, but wasn’t as strict as I could have been. I wasn’t checking my nutritional intake and had quite a bit of wine and vegan chocolate in October, ughh. Before I went vegan, I was eating fish for a few months and consuming dairy.
    That been said, I haven’t been eating as super clean until November, but have still had higher salty hummus up until now. I’ve hence cut the hummus intake down since!
    My acne started up a few months ago, now I’m not sure if it’s from coming off my birth control or from a vegan diet- as both kind of happened one after the other. I also have celiac disease and wasn’t exactly doing myself justice by eating dairy either (considering I have a slight intolerance to it as well). Since my tubal, my period also has vanished since September!!
    I switched from a face wash that I discovered had gluten in it (my poor skin, ahhh!) and am currently washing my face with a gentle combination of coconut oil and brown sugar. It feels a lot softer, minus the nasty pimples. I also added a Selenium pill which also contains vitamin A, C, E and Zinc (other than A and C, chronometer said I was low in these). I haven`t been on the Seleniums for long, but I`m hoping this helps!
    So with my rocky start and only recently better choices, can you offer me any insight on my acne problem? Right now it’s focused a bit on my chin but mostly on my forehead. I`d love your imput! So would my face haha…

  23. Hi Adria! Thank you for your useful info and tips. I am 21 and 3 years on a vegan diet ( I have simple cooked meals almost everyday and sometimes don’t have any fat.. there are day when I really want to feel fresh and even avocado turns me off).

    2 months ago I started to break out, and for a girl with clear skin through my puberty it is really frustrating. My boyfriend is a meat-eater as well as his whole family and spending my vacation in their company, I really feel so so frustrated of my breakouts! I eat healthy and do a lot of sacrifices to achieve it. It is very hard to promote the vegan lifestyle, when you look sicker than your junk eaters girlfriends..

    Please give me an advice!
    2 month of acne.
    what I eat:

    drink water first thing in the morning—–>

    breakfast:fruit platter. a big one! mangoes in season, so I have around 5 middle sized mangoes and I also like to compare it with all sorts of other fruit.
    * may be I shall try mono meals??

    lunch: cooked meal. super clean and healthy. boiled potatoes/rice + veggies( sometimes avocado or hummus)
    * lunch is my only cooked meal usually, all other meals are fruit and green smoothies, do you think it is very important to have fat every day?? and how much

    dinner:
    since having the acne that started 2 month ago, I changed the first thing I noticed I was doing “wrong” – not eating enough veggies.
    almost every dinner having big organic spinach/lettuce+ chia seeds+ spirulina +banana +orange green smoothie

    * about ORGANIC! I CAN ONLY AFFORD HAVING ORGANIC VEGGIES! ONLY MY SPINACH AND LETTUCE IS ORGANIC. THE FRUIT IS BOUGHT ON THE MARKET. (..I live in Hong Kong)

    Sorry for the long message. I am looking for help!!!!

    Love,
    Elena

  24. Hello, i’ve got the same problem, i have a raw organic vegan diet, I don’t smoke, don’t drink, and still have some spots…
    I ve noticed it is variable reguarding the peroid of the month (hormonal), but also very related to my intestines.
    But i have also a theory, mabe wrong, but the skin is an organ, as we know that the liver the more he is healthy the more he react, maybe it is the same for the skin, maybe the person who eats junk food, might have not bad skin, because the organs are lazy, and the pollution goes deeper. A body which cures itself react, you feel pain,…
    Maybe some accupuncture to channel the energy.
    Sorry for my english, i m french.

    • Hi Marine, it’s being some time since I posted my desperate comment in here..guess what, my acne is still there! its being half a year. Just a quick update on the changes I made so far —–> Steaming my face with a basin of hot camomile tea under a towel really eases the pain and opens your pores.

      I also think by now that my acne has something to do with hormones, recently I have been having really severe acne around my chin, that should suggest it’s hormonal acne..
      I also noticed that when I am calm and present, my acne goes away. Once I am worried and all over the place it’s here again.

      May be someone sending us a harsh reminder to be present?? I definitely learned a lot through my acne story and really hope I can change it to better soon))

      Please share your tips and nice to meet you! ))

      • Hi Elena, seeing someone taking meat and not having a single pimple while you’re so compassionate and eat only vegan but yet suffer from acne does freak you out. Constantly feeling unfair causes pressure and being worried or stressed will cause acne. According to http://FussyBody.com/use-coconut-oil-for-acne/ you should also try to balance your pH level. But then it encourages treating acne with coconut oil. I think that site talks much sense about how you can reduce pimples, but I don’t think coconut oil can cure acne. Just my two cents.

  25. You can’t beat acne with food! It’s ladies who get it and I bet your bottom dollar that they produce too much testosterone. There may be an environmental cause, but food isn’t it.

  26. I haven’t had clear skin since I was 8 years old. That’s when I began puberty.
    Fortunately the worst passed (my whole forehead looked awful, like a red volcano) when I was in the teenage age (knock on wood), but now I have small red blemishes here and there. And of course hormonal acne comes and goes. Overall the face isn’t bad but this is the problem with sensitive, fair skin.

    However, Retin A gel/ cream does help with stopping hormonal acne (for me). Hormonal acne is the worst; get minor cysts on the chin and they’d go away as long as there is no touching. But sometimes if there was blood inside them, there would be a horrible deep red spot for months! These spots, even if you don’t touch them, can last for months or even a year or two.
    Try Retin A, it minimizes hormonal acne, the red spots, and it also prevents wrinkles too.

  27. Hello,
    I am reading all of this and feeling slightly better that I am not alone. I have been cutting out gluten for 7 years. I notice when I have gluten I do break out. My skin gets really bad around my period , which is normal. But as soon as summer ends I notice my breaks out are longer and more frequent than just a week every month. So I tried cutting out diary. It was great for a month! But than it got bad again. I am trying the paleo diet now. It’s only been 8 days … so 8 cannot say much yet.

    Itt could be possible that vitamins d is what I need. ? I have also tried maca powder. I just feel like when ever I make progress a new variable gets thrown in, and I can never seem to get to the bottom of it.
    But all your suggestions are helpful.

  28. I’m having this issue also but, I am a raw vegan newbie. Vegetarian 1 year and vegan 6 months. i was never a big meat eater to begin with. Nor did I enjoy dairy, processed, fast, or sweet foods. I’ve always been pretty healthy and eating the right stuff. Why does this happen!? 🙁
    I want to cry! Its like constantly walking on glass when it comes to my diet…

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