Hey guys! A while ago I posted about my experience with applying coconut oil on my face and thought I’d do a follow up post. Unfortunately things didn’t really get better. If anything, it seemed to trigger a series of breakouts on my face which went on to last about 4-5 months. Especially as adult acne is rarely spoken about, I wanted to candidly share my experience in case it helps anyone going through something similar.
Given the amount of toxins we are exposed to on a daily basis, adult acne has become extremely prevalent. Stress levels, changes in hormones, various medications (e.g. birth control) also act as triggers. Although pimples can show up anywhere on your face from your forehead, chin, cheeks and lips, my breakouts were particularly around my jawline and in the form of cystic acne – think large, inflamed & extremely painful bumps. As someone who grew up with flawless skin, it got to a point where I didn’t recognise my complexion at all. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t take somewhat of a toll on me mentally.
During this period, I am truly grateful to have worked closely with a fantastic skincare specialist in Mumbai Mala Punwani who guided me in terms of my skincare routine – talk about a godsend! While switching over to milder products with less chemicals helped, I am almost certain that changing up my diet helped tremendously in the healing process. While we all have different skin types and responds to foods differently, here are some of the dietary changes I made to heal my acne:
- I switched over to a more plant-based diet i.e. I drastically reduced my intake of animal products. While I still love dairy, meat, & seafood, I’m now eating them a couple of times a week (e.g. when I’m out) rather than on a daily basis. Especially given the amount of hormones and antibiotics pumped into meat and dairy, it’s no surprise that this switch has helped tremendously. As someone who started her mornings with yogurt bowls and always had a packet of chicken breast in the freezer, this change has actually been so much easier and more enjoyable than I could have ever imagined…and I have a newfound appreciation for beans & legumes.
- In line with the above, I cut out eggs from my diet completely. Given the vast amount of nutrients in eggs, I never even thought to consider them as an acne trigger. When Aunty Mala initially suggested cutting eggs from my diet, I was extremely reluctant but was also desperate to try anything…so I did. Especially as I used to rely heavily on eggs & egg whites as a convenient source of protein, part of me hoped that they weren’t a trigger for me. Lo & behold, this dietary change seemed to make the biggest difference. Within 3 days of cutting down my egg consumption, I noticed my skin improving and the breakouts had almost ceased. It turns out that eggs are extremely heaty and inflammatory. Eggs are an allergen but never seemed to affect me before so why now? That’s the thing about our bodies – they just keep on evolving.
- During the healing process, I also made an effort to keep my veggie intake high. Between their vitamin & mineral content and alkalising properties, veggies naturally help repair & rid the body of impurities & excess oils. In particular, I tried to increase my intake of dark green veggies which tend to be more nutrient-dense (e.g. broccoli, kale, spinach, bok choy).
- I made use of nature’s free acne medicine i.e. WATER. In order to keep my body hydrated, I continued to drink at least 3 litres of water daily. Ultimately this helps moisturise and cleanse the cells from any built-up waste.
- Our gut is the root of all our bodily functions so it only makes sense to ensure it’s running optimally. As the skin is very closely connected to the gut, inflammation in the gut can also lead to inflammation. Even though doctors usually prescribe antibiotics for acne, I introduced a daily probiotic. Probiotics create ‘good’ bacteria in the gut which helps it digest food & better absorb the nutrients. When the body doesn’t have enough of this good bacteria, it can wreak havoc on your entire body and cause immunity levels to drop along with a series of breakouts due to inflammation. Consequently, eating probiotic-rich foods (e.g. tempeh, miso, kombucha, pickles, yogurt) helps balance bacteria levels in the gut and essentially reduce irritation of the skin. Given I don’t eat nearly enough probiotics in the form of food, relying on a daily supplement is just a more convenient way for me to cover my bases.
While my skin is still on its way to looking 100% better, I’m thrilled that I am about 97% along the way. I can’t remember the last time I had a breakout and the marks have almost completely faded. As I’m sure anyone who has experienced acne before will understand, it feels SO liberating to be able to walk out of the house without the need to apply any cover-up and/or foundation!
Have you ever experienced acne? What foods work for/against your skin?