Back in the day, it would really piss me off when people would blame acne on bacteria and dirty faces! It made me feel so ashamed of my face, like it was betraying poor hygiene habits for all the world to see. OF COURSE, my hygiene, ESPECIALLY when it came to my face, was a thousand times more fastidious than most people’s. I washed my face ALL THE TIME and applied retin-A and benzoyl peroxide religiously – I would have a breakdown if I ran out of the stuff! IT SUCKED. (And it was REALLY bad for my skin! AND my acne never went away!)
Today we know that acne is actually not caused by dirt and lack of face washing and makeup – it’s NOT!
Full disclosure and sordid personal anecdote – I didn’t use to wear a whole lot of makeup but I wore some – and I went to sleep with it on ALL THE TIME (yup!) – and I swear to you, that was actually PREFERABLE to my skin than to wash my face with soap and apply zit zapping, skin stressing stuff.
Check it out – my acne FIRST went away when I was having a break down and was so stressed and so out of whack that I could barely drag myself through the day, and my hygiene habits went to pot! (yes, this is slightly scary)
I stopped washing my face, like I mentioned. I stopped even caring about my appearance and looking in the mirror. But a few months later, I noticed – my skin was clear! Little did I know, I had stumbled upon what people are calling the Caveman regimen – it involves leaving your skin COMPLETELY alone – the really hardcore people don’t even let water touch their face! (I did, when I showered, but I was only showering like once every 3 days) And no soap or chemicals of any kind! No oils, no skincare – nothing, zip, nada. (I also kept putting on a little bit of face makeup here and there – concealer and blush mostly – but I would never wash it off. Honestly, it mostly disappeared over the course of the day just wearing off on its own. IDK what would happen if you wear a lot of makeup and don’t wash it off…. I say, go easy on the makeup, especially your stuff you wear every day! Makeup is not for HIDING flaws, it is for ACCENTUATING BEAUTY!!)
Anyhoo, back to my rant: 99% of acne is cause by your OWN SKIN. That’s right – people with acne tend to have stickier sebum AND more dead skin cell build up – the perfect storm for clogged pores. They also tend to have a heightened sensitivity to acne bacteria. That is like 100% hormonal and genetics. Has NOTHING to do with your hygiene habits, I repeat!! (I am proof! 🙂 )
OK, well, that’s myth #1, and I feel like at this point we (hopefully) pretty much know that getting rid of acne isn’t as simple as washing your face more.
Which brings me to myth #2: Your Diet Causes Acne
These days, it seems like people with acne are again being judged – this time, not for their hygiene habits, but for their (allegedly) poor diets.
OK, yes, diet DOES have a lot to do with acne, and in many cases, cutting out dairy or sugar is the magic solution – skin clears right up.
BUT, for MANY others, they are eating lots of greens, lots of fiber, no dairy, no sugar, no carbs, no this and that, and basically KILLING themselves, and the acne is still there. And their lives are miserable and full of green smoothies that taste bitter and hint at a long life of severe restriction. WTF.
I am here to tell you, if you are one of those people, then cheer up. It’s NOT YOU. And there IS a solution. Diet just IS NOT IT! You gotta look elsewhere! Right? If something IS NOT WORKING, then it’s NOT the solution – you can’t jsut keep doing it and killing yourself!
Here are some other things to look into, some other possible causes BESIDES DIET. Because while food is sometimes the answer, it IS NOT always the answer!
- Vitamin or mineral deficiency – if this is the case, you have to eat SPECIFIC foods that contain that compound and they can be really weird and specific – like pumpkin seeds (magnesium and manganese) or nutritional yeast (B vitamins). An easier thing to do is to just take a supplement! Common vitamins and minerals that really seem to help are Zinc, Beta Carotene,
- Hormonal imbalance (genetic or environmentally produced. A lot of people with acne jsut have a genetic androgen sensitivity. For info on how your hormones cause acne, check out this post.). Here the answer might be again, very specific foods OR you may need a supplement and to change your lifestyle a little. For example, there are xenoestrogens in A LOT of places and things we interact with daily. Xenoestrogens can cause your hormones to imbalance and that will cause acne. Do some research. Get your hormones tested. Take Estroblock.
- Parasite infection – these are MORE COMMON than you might think – some research indicates that 75% of the population will have a parasite at some point. Again, a few well chosen supplements will help clear this out of your system. Do your research.
- Liver weakness. (Could be genetic and chronic; could be temporary…) Eating all the greens in the world won’t help if your poor liver can’t detoxify your body. Again, in this case we have to turn to supplements or very specific diet/lifestyle mods.
- Food allergy. Maybe you’re ALLERGIC to the kale and the KALE is causing your acne. I’m serious. The human body can develop an allergy to ANY food, including random, seemingly innocent foods like carrots, potatoes, eggs, parsley, kale, apples, etc. If you eat the food a lot, your chances of developing an allergy INCREASE. If you suspect a food allergy is the culprit, there are tests you can take to determine what foods you’re sensitive to so you can remove them from your diet. Common ones of course include wheat, sugar, nuts, legumes and dairy.
- Intestinal weakness. Again, eating all the right foods and even all the right supplements in the world isn’t going to help if our body can’t ABSORB them, right?!? Healing your gut is AGAIN about a VERY specific diet, protocols and supplements. See a naturopath or a nutrition specialist here – they can help.
- PCOS. Also caused by hormonal imbalance, possibly genetics, but seems like people have good luck healing this with diet and lifestyle therapies. Again, research and possibly a naturopath can assist you here.
I’m sure there are other causes of acne, but this is just to say, if it seems like you’re doing everything right diet-wise and still getting acne, it’s not your fault!!!
Sorry if this post seems a little rant-y BUT I am totally one of those people – I eat soo healthy and my acne is quite persistent. Supplements are what really help me. To read more about what I personally take, check this post out. And keep searching for the culprit in your particular case – don’t give up! BUT in the meantime, chill out and enjoy life! Send your face some love and go DO something you love.
In beauty and bliss,