The Paleo Diet And Acne


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Now that is some ill skin!

Yesterday I wrote about how the Paleo Diet was able to completely eradicate my allergies…..however, this subject is something that Paleo wasn’t able to solve for me. You see, when I was a teenager, I had horrible acne…..horrible! My face was literally covered by ugly, angry looking, puss filled pimples. My entire face was red and inflamed, and it was apparent that my skin was producing way too much oil.

Other kids made fun of me constantly. I got called “pizza-face”

natural skin care

on a daily basis, and none of the girls I was interested in, would even give me a second glance. They couldn’t see past the wreck that was once my face. My self-esteem was at an all time low, and I was desperate for something to be done.

I tried all of the usual face washes, acne scrub pads, all of the extra strength acne cream I could get my hands on, and I was on antibiotics for over a year, but nothing worked. Sadly, no-one was around back then to tell me about any possible dietary interventions, so instead I did what I’m sure many teenagers did….I went to see my Doctor. The Doc put me on a drug called Roaccutane.

Roaccutane (Isotretinoin) is a very effective, yet very harsh drug that works by significantly reducing the production of oil from sebaceous glands in the skin. Over the course of the treatment, I was subjected to frequent blood tests, to be sure that the drug was not harming my kidneys. I suffered severe side-effects, like headaches, cracking and bleeding skin and lips, dry eyes, dry mouth, and daily nose-bleeds. However, after about six months, my acne was GONE. Surprisingly, I don’t even have any scaring to speak of. If someone doesn’t know that I ever had chronic acne, they would never guess by looking at my skin now.

Was it all worth it? Well, it did what it was supposed to do, but in hindsight, I think I may have decided against the drug, if I knew then what I know now. A few years after the Roaccutane

treatment, I was diagnosed with a supposedly congenital heart defeat called Wolf Parkinson White syndrome, which I am now beginning to believe, may actually have been caused by the Roaccutane drug. The link is weak, but it’s there, and it’s ironic that I never displayed any symptoms of the syndrome until after my Roaccutane treatment.

So, what about the Paleo Diet and acne?

Yep, this is another one of those grey areas that is not directly supported by scientific data. There’s no study out there yet that says, “Paleo Diet Provides Relief From Acne”. As usual, what we do have is a ton of anecdotal evidence from people who cleaned up their face, at the same time as they cleaned up their diet.

Here’s a relevant scientific study or two:

If you eat crappy food everyday, you’re not nourishing your body, and when your body is not nourished, it reflects in all areas of your body, including your skin. Oxidative damage, free radical production, and glycation are all things that can affect toxins both in and on your skin. Another thing that can keep your skin in less than healthy condition is eating too many polyunsaturated fats… know, the kind that every fast food joint in town fries all of their food in. Generally speaking, the Paleo Diet tends to be a lower-carbohydrate diet….lower than the S.A.D anyway….which means that it is a lower-glycemic index diet, just like the ones they spoke about in those studies I linked to.

Once again, if you want to see how it works, give the Paleo Diet a try for 30 days and see what happens. I haven’t had much acne since I’ve been an adult, but I will say that my body acne has been greatly reduced or even eliminated since I started walking down the path of the Paleo Template.

They may not be terribly scientific, but here are a few interesting links on the subject:


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Barry Cripps is a Paleo-based, Certified Nutrition and Wellness Consultant, who operates out of Bowling Green, Kentucky.

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3 Responses to The Paleo Diet And Acne

  1. Eric's-Rose April 30, 2012 at 4:46 am

    I had severe acne for 14 years as an adult, but had good skin as a teenager. I eat Paleo and feel SOOO much better for it but also unfortunately found it did nothing to help my acne. However, I gave up dairy…. and after three weeks I noticed a difference, now just over three months later… IT’S GONE!!!!

    I also tried absolutely everything and anything; vitamins supplementation, face creams, went to several doctors, read books and articles, went to dermatologists and took several antibiotics, including roaccutane. After six months on roaccurabe my acne was a bit better - a few months later, it just came back again. It’s absolutely horrific. Don’t take it…EVER. I had so many aweful side effects.

    Going dairy free with a Paleo low sugar and grain diet worked for me. I was the biggest sceptic there is initially and I loved dairy! I would say to anyone with acne to go strictly dairy free for at least three weeks before trying anything else (and dont worry about calcium, you can get loads of calcium from leafy green veg etc etc). If you suffered half as much as I did with it, you’ll know it’s worth a try. And if you are in any doubt? DO IT, Do it, do it!!!! ;)

  2. Connie May 3, 2012 at 12:13 pm

    My acne began in the 3rd grade and continued into my 40s and I took antibiotics throughout my entire childhood for it, which didn’t get rid of it. This was before accutane. I’ve heard acne referred to as diabetes of the skin. Finally, I have clear skin - probably due to my diet and somewhat due to my age. I follow the Perfect Health Diet (PHD) which is paleo/primal, so I’m much healthier now. This diet allows for “safe starches” such as potatoes and white rice as well as fruit and dairy. I do have some dairy - cheese and kefir - with no problem now. I do wonder if dairy is a problem only when the fat and/or sugar intake isn’t optimal per PHD. Or perhaps now that I’m healthier, I can tolerate the dairy better. Can’t say for sure except that my skin is clear! I think it’s really important to make sure your Omega 3/Omega 6 ratios are good and that you get enough good fats - something that I am finally doing after years of low carbing and getting too much Omega 6. My diet before had vegetable oils, too much chicken and chicken fat, not enough beef and coconut oil and not enough seafood. Most of my fats were Omega 6. Just because you’re eating whole foods and paleo or primal doesn’t automatically mean that your fat intake is optimal. Beef and lamb have less Omega 6 than chicken and pork. I really try to favor fish/seafood, eggs, beef and lamb now. I’m also supplementing per the Perfect Health Diet, which has improved my health. Their book and website both have a huge amount of information. And the blog comments are full of great information too! Here’s some info from their blog: And another link: (search the comments for Acne).

  3. V May 3, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    I would caution everyone that dietary changes are not always useful in this area. I went gluten free dairy free a few months ago, and though I do intend to stick with it, it has had no discernable effect on my skin. if anything I would say my skin looks worse than it did before. I will probably go on another round of Accutane, at least it is effective. It’s not worth it to spend years obsessing over every single thing one eats, especially with no sign of improvement.