Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Incurable Cystic Acne? Maybe Not

I wanted to address this topic because I see so many beautiful people walking around with a face full of obviously painful, scarring cystic acne.  It makes me feel bad and I would like to shed some light on the subject for those of you have given your fair share of time and money to a dermatologist who is treating the symptoms and getting little results.  I'm assuming that considering your acne incurable means that you have already tried a good diet and exercise, increased water intake, special cleaning products, antibiotics and other medications to no avail.  If this is you, do not give up hope.  You may be able to clear up your face for free, which is inherently awesome.  Read on.

Although acne in general is often related to hormone changes, and can be treated with things like birth control pills, long term cystic acne may be caused by a reaction to certain ingredients in foods.  I can tell you this because I've seen it in some of the people in my personal life and I've read many a testimonial from people I know indirectly.  The more I read about it, the more I see patterns of information.  If you have already tried everything else, it is time to start experimenting with your diet.

The two most common ingredients people claim to cause their cystic acne are casein (a protein found in milk) and gluten (found in grains like wheat and barley).  This may account for the common belief that junk foods cause acne, since they are typically high in wheat and possibly dairy.  It is not a typical food allergy.  Quite likely, the only notable symptom will be the cystic acne.  There is no guarantee that this is the cause of your acne specifically, but finding out is easy and only requires a little discipline to read food labels and faithfully avoid some thing for a little while.

If you would like to find out if one or both of these ingredients is the cause of your acne, try cutting one or both from your diet for two to three weeks.  You should experience a significant difference within that time frame if it's going to work for you.  For example, try avoiding casein first.  If it works, great.  If it doesn't work, try avoiding gluten next.  If that doesn't work, try removing both casein and gluten from your diet for a couple of weeks and see how that works.  If neither one worked for you, it was worth a try and didn't cost you anything.  Hopefully, it did work and your precious face is on the road to recovery.

Awesome Tip of the Day:  Many people have gluten allergies these days, so it's not difficult to find gluten free foods on the market.  Also, a casein/gluten free diet is a relatively new idea for the treatment of autism, so there is a lot of information on buying and cooking gluten and casein free available online.  You can Google it if you need ideas.

Success!  Now what?  First of all, congratulations.  Now, you may want to find out exactly how sensitive you are.  If you're only mild to moderately sensitive, you may be able to get away with still eating certain foods.  Let's say, for example, casein is the culprit.  Some people report that any casein in their diet at all has their face exploding with painful pustules.  Other people say that certain foods are okay, but that others with a higher concentration of casein will cause a flare up.  Maybe drinking milk isn't enough to have an effect, but protein powders or energy bars can be a cause for panic.  Find out exactly what your body can and can't handle and feed yourself accordingly.

My hope is that the information above will help people all over the world get their faces back.  I know chronic cystic acne can create both physical and social discomfort.  If you know someone who suffers from cystic acne, help them potentially avoid years of facial scarring that, over time, will become permanent.  Please, feel free to share this article.


  1. I feel obligated to point out that some underlying medical conditions like polycystic ovary disease, cushing's syndrome, and the ever popular pregnancy can also be to blame for acne. You might want to discuss this with your doctor because it might be a symptom of a potentially serious condition. (or just a crappy one, like adolescence)

    Also, don't do Rx oral antibiotics. If you're going that route and the topical stuff isn't doing the job, have the cojones to talk about Accutane with your physician. You don't want to be to blame for your grandmother's drug resistant bone infection.

    And if you're interested in what the scientific literature has to say on the subject of the link between diet and acne: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20361171

  2. Thanks Gabe. Another thoughtful comment, as usual, and thanks for reading.

  3. Thanks for all the free awesome. I've been to plenty of places charging considerably higher rates for much lower levels of awesome (and oftentimes, it was counterfeit awesome, or just really well marketed suck)

  4. both gluten and casein cause(d) my cystic acne... and possibly peanut butter. thanks for posting this!

  5. After many debates and temper tantrums, I removed all casein from the house. Only to find a new jug of Chocolate creme Gold Standard Natural 100% casein on the shelf again. My son age 17 has had severe acne for over two years along with diagnosed PDDNOS. One symptom has been brain fog, short term memory loss, forgetfulness ( which his doctor says is normal) He doesn't know which day it is or what time it is; ow what he did yesterday, he forgets gym clothes for PE, assignments, phone, computer, keys, jackets, jeans in locker room, leaves car unlocked with keys in ignition, asks questions in class on answers just discussed.. He is 6'3 and 150 and has been working out and taking supplements from GNC for two years. He saw great with gain results with casein, but I think this has attributed to his short term memory and acne. He's got his Dad convinced that the Natural is ok after I threw away $100's of the body building stuff with caseinnates. He also throws in half a cup of Peanut Butter (JIF) in each shake, even though I have tubs of the expensive PB from the health food store in the fridge. He doesn't like that it is refrigerated. He swears this one bar of soap (from his orthodontist office) has stopped his severe acne, when he uses it. So my attempts to win this argument based on your article are failing.

  6. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  7. New Diet Taps into Innovative Idea to Help Dieters Get Rid Of 20 Pounds within Just 21 Days!