How I cured my acne with a plant based diet

So you have acne, right? You want to know if the vegan diet will help it right?  Well, let me jump into the reasons why a whole foods vegan diet will help... but also why you may not completely clear up just because you went vegan!


Firstly, a study came out in 2012 called "dietary intervention in acne" that shows an increase in something called mTORC in our bodies when we eat certain foods. When we have an elevated level of this mTORC, our sebaceous glands become more active.  Our sebaceous glands are the oil glands on our face and if you are someone predisposed to acne then having more oil production will definitely cause more acne on our face.  In this study, they have quite a bit of information but to summarize it they show that milk, meat, high sugar, high calorie, alcohol and fat intake all play a part in mTORC levels.  This is a huge reason why most people see an improvement in their acne when they move to a plant based diet! Of course, there is no meat or dairy in a vegan diet so most people will also eat a bit healthier, and have whole foods as well which decreases total fat/sugar consumption (as well as calories sometimes) as well as causing an increase in fruit and vegetable intake.


 

I did want to mention that study though to show that even if you do go vegan and take the meat and dairy out of your diet you could DEFINITELY still cause a raise in oil production by simply eating high fat, high sugar and high calorie foods!  This is what lots of new vegans will do, they will replace all of their original meals with meat replacements and frozen vegan food!  If you are vegan and still have acne consider eating a more whole foods diet and watch your sugar, fat, alcohol and possibly total caloric intake.  

In addition to these causes of acne there are also certain things I personally have noticed improved my acne.  My biggest improvement with acne came when I first removed dairy entirely out of my diet AND upped my vegetable intake to 12-16 servings a day while making sure to get plenty of hydration (which for me is around 2 gallons of water).  I specifically aim for dark green cruciferous vegetables as they have a higher vitamin/mineral profile as well as having plenty of antioxidants and phytonutrients. The water will show more improvements for people who specifically have been lacking on their water intake before increasing. 



Finally, I want to mention individual food allergies.  After people hear the advice given above they may say that they are vegan, they eat tons of veggies, they have lots of water and yet they still see acne pop up.  Firstly, your genetics play a huge role and if your genetics predispose you to having acne, the best thing you can do is follow the advice above so that you'll have less severe acne but you will still have the acne you're genetics give you.  Secondly, we are all provably tolerant and less tolerant of foods we eat and EVERY PERSON IS DIFFERENT.  This is what makes giving advice the hardest for me because it's not objective, instead some people will break out from coffee and others won't.  Some very common allergies are gluten, coffee, caffeine, soy, chocolate, nuts, red sauce and there are lots more. You personally have to do an elimination diet to see what foods do or do no exacerbate your acne.

An elimination diet is simple yet difficult to perform. Basically, you must remove or add something to your diet for a week or two and see if it worsens or lessens your acne severity.  This isn't a perfect test as our diets are not the same every day but it gives you a general idea of what foods to avoid or not, then in the future you can test them again to see if your original testing was correct (or if your body is more tolerant to those foods now). For example, when I was having tons of dairy and my acne was already very severe, having artificial sweeteners and colors would break me out heavily.  Now, I very much so try to avoid them at all costs but if I do have some art. colors or sweeteners I will not break out as easily. 

Acne is a dynamic thing and there is so much you can do to improve it once you start looking inside at what is causing it.  The last thing I do want to mention is that even if you can't get rid of your acne completely, it does not change your inner worth or value as a person.  So many times I've met people who watch my channel and they say something like, "I just can't wait to be clear, life's going to be so much better then" and I cringe when I hear that because you should never bank your inner self-esteem off of an external factor like how you look or what shape your skin is in.  What will happen is you will eventually clear up and realize you should have been working on your self esteem all along!  You should always look at yourself inside and see what you love and respect and find what you need to work and improve on.  Find your passion and dive into that, it will keep the negative things that people say at bay, or at the very least, much less loud and important to you.

You are beautiful and you are not alone, team acne!


Top tips to improve your symptoms of acne:


- Eat a whole foods, plant based diet with at least 10 servings of fruits and vegetables every day.


- Limit your intake of sugar, oils and processed foods.


- Limit your intake of cacao products. There is growing evidence to suggest that consuming cacao is linked to increased symptoms in those prone to acne.


- Drink a minimum 2 - 3 litres of water per day.


- Prioritise getting 8 hours of sleep every night.


- Avoid harsh face washes and cleansers. Instead opt for a natural soap, oil cleansing, or just plain water.


- Try to avoid excessively touching or scratching your face.


- If and when you do break out, don't let it get you down! You are so much more than your acne, and you deserve an amazing life with or without pimples.

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