How I Got Rid of My Acne Naturally
I’m a very private person and usually keep myself out of the articles I write, in an attempt to remain objective. So I never thought I’d use this platform to discuss my personal struggle with chronic skin issues. However, something happened today that compelled me to do so: for the first time in our nearly five year relationship, my husband told me how nice my skin looked. I was speechless. For someone who has battled with acne for more than a decade and has tried every product, supplement and diet possible, this compliment was immensely gratifying and spurred me to share my story.
If you’ve ever suffered from acne, you know how frustrating and disheartening it can be. No one seems to have any answers and there are endless products and so-called remedies on the market. Moreover, we’re always lectured about how to wash our faces properly and to eat more fruits and vegetables. However, for most people, such as me, these attempts are futile in healing and preventing acne.
Now approaching 30, I’ve been dealing with skin issues such as oily skin, cystic acne, dandruff and keratosis pilaris (a skin condition in which a protein forms hard plugs within hair follicles) since about the age of 17. I’ve tried dozens of products (Proactive, Retin-A, birth control, antibiotic, etc.) and different diets (dairy-free, gluten-free, vegetarian, anti-candida, etc.) but nothing helped.
Out of everything I tried, the anti-candida diet seemed to help the most. My complexion was much clearer, but I still had oily skin, white and black heads, dandruff and keratosis pilaris. Through my research to learn more about candida, other internal pathogens and leaky gut, I stumbled across the Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS) diet.
For those of you unfamiliar with the GAPS diet, it’s a highly restrictive nutrition plan based on the work of Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, who holds two PhDs in neurology and nutrition. She believes that the condition of the digestive track is responsible for chronic and mental illnesses, learning disabilities, food allergies and more. In the simplest of terms, the diet removes foods that commonly irritate the already damaged gut, such as grains, sugars, dairy, etc., to give the digestive track a chance to heal itself.
It turns out, according to Dr. Campbell-McBride, that many of the acne solutions that I had tried in the past, such as antibiotics and birth control, only exacerbated my gut problems, which explained why the situation only seemed to get worse. I decided to give the GAPS diet a try. Since I was coming off my anti-candida diet and was already avoiding sugar and wheat, I figured I had nothing to lose. There are two parts to the GAPS diet: the full diet and the intro diet. It’s actually suggested that you start the full diet first to get used to the lifestyle change and then proceed into the intro diet. This is exactly what I did.
For about two months I followed the full GAPS diet and noticed a big improvement in my complexion. However, I didn’t realize that my gut wasn’t healing; it was just less irritated. This was keeping my acne at bay, but not fully solving the issue. Then the holidays hit and I had a few cheats, like cheesecake, spiraled ham and corn tortilla shells, which negatively impacted my skin of course. After the holidays I went back to the full GAPS diet expecting great results, but was upset to not have the same success as before. My skin wasn’t getting back to its pre-holiday clarity. That’s when I decided that I had to do the very restrictive introduction diet if I ever wanted to be free of my acne forever.
The introduction diet consists of six stages, with the first involving mostly well cooked meats and vegetables, along with a lot of broth (basically only stews and soups), and then you slowly add new foods back in. This helps soothe and heal the gut, but it’s very challenging. Around day three you’re begging for “real” food again. However, within those few days, you really begin to see your symptoms clear. The first sign that made me truly start believing in the diet was the reduction of oil that my skin produced. It was like having brand new skin! My skin was softer, suppler and the fine lines and dark eye circles began to fade. Here I am, only 10 days into the introduction diet and all of my skin issues are nearly gone and my husband is complimenting my glowing complexion. There are no words to describe how wonderful it feels. Here are some other changes that I’ve noticed from starting the introduction diet:
- Less plaque on my teeth
- Reduced food cravings
- Happier and more consistent moods
- A heightened sense of smell
- Less brain fog
While I never thought I had digestive issues, like many GAPS patients do, only skin issues, the introduction diet actually made me realize that my gut wasn’t as healthy as I thought. For example, when I tried introducing egg back into my diet, my body completely rejected it. This was surprising to me because I had been eating eggs for breakfast nearly every morning for the last few years. My body had just gotten so used to tolerating the irritant that I was dulled to the signs. Some people show their gut issues with illnesses like ADHD, Chohn’s disease, autism, schizophrenia and food allergies, while others show it outwardly with conditions like eczema and acne.
I know I still have a long road ahead to fully heal my gut as I move through the intro diet and into the full diet, but there’s definitely a light at the end of the tunnel knowing that I finally have an answer and that my health is mine to control.
If you struggle with chronic skin conditions, I highly recommend that you check out the GAPS diet. You can learn more at http://gapsdiet.com/.