10 In health/ who am I

Sometimes you are NOT what you eat

Face care products

I’m kicking myself. Not literally but mentally and repeatedly.

You see for the past decade I’ve been struggling with my face breaking out on a regular basis and totally all.over.the.shop.  It actually started before that but when you’re 18 or even 28 you can get away with pimples and still look cute, but when you’re 38, the cute isn’t happening even without pimples so let’s just say that when it comes to my face, it’s not been a great decade.

I’m kicking myself because I’ve spent a LOT of money trying to fix the issue. Here are some of the things that have eaten a hole in my wallet:

  • Proactive products
  • Obagi treatment course (worst thing on the planet)
  • Microdermabrasions
  • Clarisonic brush
  • Washing face with olive oil (yes. really. it’s a thing. but definitely not the thing for me)
  • IPL laser treatments
  • Agnus Castus capsules
  • Zinc tablets
  • Probiotic capsules
  • Inositol capsules
  • Betaine HCT capsules
  • Hyaluronic acid capsules
  • Skinade collagen (drink)
  • Collagen Shots (drink)
  • Serums (all the brands)
  • Masks (all the brands)
  • Moisturisers (all the brands)

I’m sure I’ve forgotten something because it’s been over 10 years of a major battle.

Through all the treatments and supplements I’ve also given up eating sugar and dairy because everyone (read: The Internet) suggests to me that if you give up eating those things your face will be so clear it’ll glow.

Both of these changes in my diet have been very positive for my body and my mind but they have not had a significant influence on my skin. And that actually makes me really sad. At some point I was so sure that if only I ate all the right things (+took all the right supplements) and didn’t eat all the bad things that my skin would then be beautiful and not get pissed off with me every few weeks and turn into a shiny, bumpy, spotty mess.

A month ago I went to the GP and said I’d had enough of trying to fix this by natural methods and I was ready to go back on the pill, the one thing that did help to clear my face a bit.  The doctor started umming and ahhing and saying that it would not be a permanent fix as I could only be on the pill for maximum of 2 years. I listened to him all confused, thinking “What’s he on about? I’ve been on the pill for years before and no doc ever had a problem with that. Is he some kind of weird anti-birthcontrol guy?”

I asked him to explain and he said the risks associated with birth control increase a lot after the age of 40. I thought “So what? What’s that to me?” and then I realised – holy heck, he means ME – I am turning 40 in two years. I am THOSE women that are almost over 40.

A lightbulb moment and then total grief and realisation that I might have to wait until menopause to get rid of those pimples. 😐

But then he suggested that I could try a topical solution that contains antibiotics and zinc. He wasn’t a 100% certain that  it would help since my breakouts are very cyclical and predictable, therefore most likely hormone related, but I got that prescription and had it filled within 20 minutes.


It’s been 5 weeks now.

I have not had a single pimple in those 5 weeks. I have gone through a whole cycle and my face is cool, calm and collected.

And therefore I’m kicking myself. Because I should have done this a lot earlier. I should have talked to my GP earlier. I should have realised a long time ago that eating really well is not going to fix my face. I could have avoided so many of the scars I have by now.

But. But, but, but, there’s always a but, right? A catch. There possibly is with Zineryt as well, my face might become immune to it after a few months and it might become less effective. BUT – right now I’m not thinking about it. Right now I’m happy. Right now I feel normal. Just a normal 38-year old with a few wrinkles, a bit of old pregnancy melasma still poking through here and there, and old scars but hallelujah – no new depressing breakouts.

I’m realising through this experience that even though I mostly believe in the statement that “you are what you eat”, sometimes we actually are NOT what we eat.

Sometimes our bodies are more complicated than that. And as much as I would love to believe that one could cure EVERYTHING with clean eating and clean living, with daily green juices and turmeric in tea (very good for you, by the way :), sometimes things just are not as simple as that and it’s ok to ask your doctor for medicine.

This doesn’t mean that I will start eating sugar or dairy on a daily basis (I eat a tiny bit of both) or that I will give up my other healthy habits. The way I eat and live may not have helped my skin but it has a lot of other tangible benefits for me. I’m hugely impressed by how sugar- and dairy reduced life makes me feel, but when I look at my face, I’m also pretty darn impressed by medicine right now.

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  • Reply
    Sometimes you are NOT what you eat
    December 25, 2014 at 4:50 pm

    […] Read the rest of the post at its original source […]

  • Reply
    December 5, 2014 at 10:06 pm

    I thought you might like this post: http://paleomg.com/conquering-my-acne/. I am running an interesting experiment with coming off the pill after spending most of my adult life on it – skin first got really bad but seemed to calm down after about 4 months, but I have lost at least 1/3 -1/2 of my hair. Bodies are so funny! Maybe mine thinks I have been postpartum for a year?! Hard to know what is going on with them. 🙂

    • Reply
      December 6, 2014 at 3:17 pm

      Thank you for sharing that post! Sometimes I feel like I’m the only clean eater on the planet who doesn’t get glowing clear skin out of it. It’s reassuring to read that other health conscious people are struggling with the same thing and that they too have found that sometimes it is ok to get a prescription for medication.

      And don’t get me started on hair – mine is such a mess here in London – I think the water is crap here, I just cannot get my curls under control lately at all 😐 I don’t think I’ve lost any but the frizzy mess is annoying. I hope you get your hairloss under control, it totally might be due to the changes in your hormone levels as you’ve stopped taking the pill. Usually the body adjusts to these things after a while.

  • Reply
    December 5, 2014 at 5:23 pm

    As we have discussed before we have similar issues with our face.

    I also over the years have been through all the brands, done oral anti biotics that just made me feel so ill, I have used the harshest over the counter products, the pill, and more creams, face washes and lotions than I could ever list.

    When I did paleo and stopped dairy, my skin really improved, and I knew that was the key. And as I cut dairy out long term, even though I got occasioanl spots it wasn’t as much the anrgy sore cysts that scare and really hurt.

    On eating dairy on holidays and when I just really needed that cheese, I would then get the cysts back. So it was simple for me. Stop eating dairy full time.

    And that worked, for a year. But then 2 months ago it started again, the cystic acne, the big lumps, the sore ones, on my chin and cheeks. And I again went and spent money, my fall back cream quinoderm had been dicountinued (madness of tubes going for £50 on ebay!!) So I knew my skin was passed the point of normal stuff so I went with some panoxyl 10.

    This stuff is harsh, it peels your skin, I had the gorgeous look of cysts on face mixed with peeling off skin. And once the skin had fallen off (yes I am that attractive!) the spots were still there.

    After reading your blog this week I made an appointment with my GP today, and I will be going with the name of that stuff written down.

    Why the hell I didn’t go before, I guess it was as I thought there is nothing that can be done apart from Roctane (which I have read about and just really don’t want to risk taking)

    But it is stupid, I should have gone and at least asked instead of self medicating.

    I will let you know how I get on. Big issue for me is finding out how the hell I heal up what is already there 🙁

    • Reply
      December 6, 2014 at 3:09 pm

      Let me know how it goes. As for the healing bit, I’m doing a course of mild peels right now, they should erase some of the red scars that I have. I don’t have that much confidence that they will be totally gone but I’ve only had one treatment out of 6 so far so let’s wait and see.

  • Reply
    December 4, 2014 at 8:58 pm

    I also struggle with hormonal acne and the amount of people who tell me to give up dairy is bloody insane – I gave it up for nearly 12 months when I was feeding Oliver and we discovered he had CMPI and it didn’t make the blindest bit of difference!

    I’ve actually recently started the combined pill (mini pill messed with my head) for contraceptive reasons so I hope that as a side effect my spots calm down a bit. Seem to be getting worse right now though 🙁

    • Reply
      December 5, 2014 at 9:44 am

      I think dairy makes a minute difference but minute isn’t good enough for me 🙂
      I hope the pill works for you, the initial worsening of the symptoms might just be the hormones re-adjusting. Hopefully they’ll calm down soon 🙂

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