Anyone who has had acne knows how debilitating it can be to your life and your self-esteem. Since I was a teenager I had small bouts of hormone related pimples but I never really had acne.
When I turned 28, things changed. I suddenly developed chronic on-set adult cystic acne. I was mortified. I had just moved back to Los Angeles and started taking an interest in my diet again after some years of eating pretty poorly while living in Germany.
I started working in a Vegan restaurant, trying to eat less meat and dairy and diving deeply into the many books, lectures and anything I could get my hands on about health.
I thought, my skin should be looking better not worse!
It got to a point where I didn’t want to leave the house without makeup, which became an issue because of my active lifestyle. I wasn’t going to go to Yoga, the beach or run outside with makeup on but I felt so insecure that I’d spend far too long inside the house debating whether to leave or not. Not to mention how insecure I felt waking up next to my partner and not having makeup on to hide my acne.
Acne was showing me how deep my insecurities were and not being able to hide them because they were directly planted on my face, was heartbreaking to say the least.
I learned so much about myself in this time. I cried, I got angry, I felt like a victim and I felt like a crazy person. My grumpiness about my face became my personality.
I also tried every diet under the sun, believing my acne was mostly coming from something I was eating.
I tried a standard Vegan diet, I tried versions of Paleo diets, I cut out sugar, I cut out salt, I cut out carbs all together. I went raw Vegan. I juiced, I cleansed, I fasted. Sometimes my skin would clear up for a while, but then acne would come back with a vengeance.
I also went to a dermatologist, my raw vegan diet book in hand, searching for a glimmer of hope that she would verify my suspicion that it was my diet. She didn’t. She even told me that my diet had nothing to do with my acne and that medication was the only answer.
I argued with her, refused the medication and left feeling completely deflated.
While I highly doubted it, maybe it wasn’t my diet, maybe it was my skin care routine! Over a period of a year, I tried many different skin care products and routines, some natural and some conventional. Most of them made my skin worse and few of them improved my skin at all.
One day, while I was searching for a new juicer online I ran across a You Tube video from YouTuber’s Fully Raw Kristina and John Kohler reviewing their favorite juicers. I was intrigued by Kristina’s energy and glow. I wondered what she was eating.
This is when I learned about a low-fat, high carbohydrate vegan diet, often known as the 80-10-10 diet. This diet consisted of eating at least 80% whole food, fruit based carbohydrates, no more than 10% fat and 10% protein from fruits and vegetables only. It sounded extreme but this girl Kristina had what I wanted- energy, happiness and glowing skin!
I started watching Kristina’s videos and learned how she healed a whole host of illnesses with low fat- fruits and vegetables only.
I devoured Youtube Videos from Kristina, John Kohler, Dan McDonald and Megan Elizabeth, completely astonished by their results.
I read the 80-10-10 diet book by Doug Graham and I was convinced to give it a try.
This is also when I found Tara Millen’s YouTube channel, 40 Below Fruity. She was new at the time but I saw a video that truly pushed my skin healing to a new level. In one of her videos she explains her own journey with deep chronic acne and he she healed herself. Apart from following a low-fat vegan diet (80-10-10) she changed her skin care routing completely. Instead of covering up with makeup and using lotions, potions and tonics she gave everything up completely. She said that she stopped putting anything on her skin, except water and that she’d use a dry skin brush before washing.
40 Below Fruity You Tube Video: Healing Acne & Dry Skin
WHAT??? Stop putting everything on my skin?? This chick must be nuts, is what I thought to myself. Still it made sense and something pulled at me to give it a try.
I packed away all of my skin care products and makeup and vowed to give it a shot for a month.
The reason for doing this skin care and diet routine was simple. I know animal products are not meant to be consumed by humans for a variety of reason and therefore create an unbalance in our bodies, including our largest organ, the skin.
Makeup clogs the pores while lotions; creams and face washes unbalance the natural bacteria on our skin and irritate it. The skin also needs to breathe and has a hard time doing so when it’s covered with products- even when natural.
Skin brushing, opens the pores, takes of the dry, dead skin and stimulates new skin cells and encourages circulation and breathing.
When you think about it, it makes perfect sense.
The first few days and weeks were some of the most awkward, painful moments that I can remember (on such a superficial matter).
My skin was so dry, it felt like it was going to crack off completely. The acne got worse than ever and my resolve in sticking to the routine and even my new 80-10-10 lifestyle got weaker by the day.
I wanted to give up so badly. I wanted to cover up my face and look like everyone else more than anything and even though I was starting to feel great eating so many fruits and vegetables, I also started feeling very alone.
But I pushed on because I had a feeling somewhere inside me that this made sense and I needed to see it through the month goal I gave myself.
One month later of continuing to eat a low fat, raw, vegan diet, keeping my skin make-up free, lotion free and chemical free while dry brushing every day, I started to see a small improvement. There was a light at the end of the tunnel!
Two-three months later my skin healed to the point that I all I had left were scars and no new breakouts.
Over the course of six months, my skin and scars became clearer, more consistently than any other time in my life.
I started eating cooked food again after three months, as I was working on a new boat and found it very difficult to maintain the 80-10-10 lifestyle. I stayed Vegan (and still am) and kept my fat intake low, while choosing my foods wisely and keeping up with my skin routine.
I also started counseling with Disease Avoidance Specialist, Don Bennett of Health101.org and he insisted on me getting my Vitamin D levels checked. When I did I found out that I was dangerously low on Vitamin D and that could have major consequences for my skin and hormone health.
I started taking a therapeutic dose of Vitamin D shortly after and believe this is also a contribution to my skin balancing itself.
Additionally, and equally as important I changed my lifestyle to make sure I was getting enough sleep, water, and exercise each day.
Two years later, with consistent effort with my diet, supplements and lifestyle change my skin is consistently clear. I still get a round of small breakouts and maybe a cystic pimple every six months or so but as a whole I am enamored with my skin. I am thankful every day for the experience I had with acne and what it taught me about myself. It was also the catalyst for me to dig deeper than I ever imagined with my health and create a healthy lifestyle that I truly love and cherish.