Last week I was asked about low carb / keto for acne reduction in teens. At the high level, we are fairly certain sugars and “cheap” starches do impact skin health, but few of us understand why.
It’s hormonal. And not just the ones we think we see ranging against the mom and dad machine, but the continuous ones…. The ones behind the scene that are a necessary part of life. #Insulin and Friends.
See the additional posts on insulin here (look left). Acne is not as simple as keeping your skin clean. There are several factors below the surface that can thwart even the most diligent, squeaky clean kid (or adult). For some specifics, go here:
Anecdotally, here’s a story from 28 year old woman who dealt with years of scripts and experiments until she landed on Keto. She found her symptoms condition cleared up fairly promptly when on LCHF and returned promptly when she tested her old eating habits. It isn’t the food that drives the skin – aka berries make your skin glow because the antioxidants are magically carried to your skin from your gut – but rather her body’s hormonal reaction to the foods that drives the skin result. Her acne was most likely the result of elevated insulin levels and IGF-1 levels off whack. And she figured it out after 15 years of derm scripts.
If you or a loved one are having challenges with skin issues, LCHF and keto may help you tame the beast. If you’re still having trouble after the switch, there is a next step: Carnivore. By eating nothing but meat, you are doing one form of an elimination diet. If you are willing to eat liver and the ribeye, you can get all the nutrients you need. Some have demonstrated that they can get everything they need from just the ribeye. Remember, you may need to go a little off range to get yourself to ideal health.
Add foods back in after you’ve adjusted (3-4 weeks). If you go carnivore for 4 weeks, consider testing cheese before you test milk. Or test milk before cheese. But do keep them separate. There are a variety of things that can trigger you in dairy. But not all dairy has the same triggers. You may be able to tolerate cream, butter and cheese, but not milk. It would be far less common to tolerate milk but not the rest. It’s not as simple as “lactose intolerance” for many people who react to dairy. So a breakout from a glass of milk does not mean (yet) that all cheeses are out.
One thing I wish I had done sooner in my own journey was judge my doctors by their health. Is he or she the picture of health as he hands me a script? Does he even understand how this cocktail of prescriptions will interact? That’s not enough reason to walk away from a doc, but you certainly should throw some red flags. Would you go to a dentist who has crooked teeth?
Skin issues are not just vanity issues. Your eruptions may point to gut issues, food tolerance issues, and master hormone issues. The easiest way to test it all, try carnivore for 4 weeks. Watch what happens.