Wednesday, November 16, 2011

10 Days of Thanksgiving: Day 5

Today I am thankful for my clear complexion.

Oh my, the journey to a clear complexion has been a long and painful journey.  I don't think anyone can understand how awful it is to deal with acne unless they have experienced it themselves.  I know it sounds vain to obsess over a physical imperfection, but the fact of the matter is that we all want to look nice and no one wants to attract negative attention.

My skin struggles started in my mid-20's and the problem has sort of ebbed and flowed, becoming especially bad starting last fall.  Appearance aside, it was extremely painful to deal with adult-onset acne.  The blemishes I dealt with were very painful.  Just touching or washing my face was unpleasant, and the pain would almost radiate out of the deep, cystic blemishes.

I tried a lot of different things.  Proactiv.  Mineral-based make-up.  Various antibiotics and other prescriptions from the dermatologist.  Regular facials.  The Clarisonic.

Nothing.  Worked. 

Then in April, I decided to try something new.  I eliminated dairy from my diet.  I was extremely strict that first month.  And the results were amazing.  So much so that my brother commented on my complexion - and anyone with a brother knows they don't notice/comment on things like that.

Now, I will say, this apparent cure is medically unfounded.  No medical profession will agree that removing dairy had anything to do with my skin clearing up in the span of a month. 

But I guess for me, the proof is in the pictures.  I hate to post pictures of my skin, and the pictures probably don't do it justice, but it gives a good before and after means of comparison...

My skin was really starting to flare up on my marathon trip with Amber.

Fall of 2010 - my skin was getting to it's worst at this point.


Here I am on April 23, 23 days into my dairy-free experiment...  with no blemishes.

Months later, my skin is still blemish free

I don't really know how else the difference can be explained.  And I guess I don't really care about the fact that the impact of going dairy-free is medically unfounded.  It worked for me. 

These days, I am not as strict about being dairy free.  I usually allow myself one day to cheat each week.  The strange thing is that I really do not miss dairy at all...  And that is surprising given the fact that I am a cheese lover.  Skin benefits aside, I actually feel better overall after removing dairy.  I have less tummy troubles and on those days when I do cheat and eat something with alot of dairy in it?  Ouch.  My stomach rebels.

I am careful about my calcium consumption, though.  I take a supplement and am diligent about incorporating non-dairy sources of calcium into my diet.

I know it might not be a cure for everyone, but it sure has appeared to be a cure for me.

16 comments:

Kelly (She Wears a Red Sox Cap) said...

Actually my dermatologist (well old dermatologist I had to switch because of insurance) recommends a "clear skin diet" before trying any medicines and this clear skin diet does not have dairy! So that is ONE medical professional who will agree with you :) Anyway, when I was a teenager I saw a pretty strong link between greasy foods and acne for me so I would believe that our skin is pretty affected by the foods we eat (isn't everything). I'm so glad going dairy free worked for you! I eat very little dairy because of my tummy so I know it can be tough at times but I really don't miss it either (it's mainly only tough because restaurants insist on not listening when I say no cheese haha)

Stephany said...

Hey, if it works, it works, right? Who cares if it's not medically founded - it cleared YOUR skin up and that's all that matters. :)

Marisa A. said...

Wow that is amazing. I'm a vegetarian and have been wanting to try to eliminate/really cut back on dairy. This is just extra motivation! Thanks for sharing.

Jess said...

That's pretty amazing...and I am a huge believer that someone's diet definitely affects their complexion.

Breaking out is a pain. I don't know what it is lately, but my face has just been totally rebelling against me. Not ideal as I just started a new job and am building new contacts and would rather not have to present myself with my skin the way it is now. (The stress of a new job and my breakouts are likely connected, I am sure.) Maybe I'll take a tip from your book and see what happens if I cut out dairy for a while.

Gracie (Complicated Day) said...

Wow, your skin looks fantastic. I remember when you posted that you were trying this out, but I don't remember hearing about results. Obviously it was a success!

Carolina John said...

Wow, Kelley has the same problem, and it's like it has gotten worse since her mid-20's as well. I'll have to suggest giving up dairy. Good call!

missris said...

Maybe you just photograph well but until you pointed it out, I had never noticed you had any skin issues! But I'm glad you found a way to take care of it!!

Raquelita said...

I was noting what a lovely complexion you have when we were having coffee on Friday!

Leigh said...

Seeing the difference that it has made for your face makes me want to try eliminating dairy. I hate zits!!

Amber (Girl with the red hair) said...

Ah I love this post!!!!! I am all about natural remedies over medicine and I think this is AWESOME. I have shared your story with lots of people because I think it's so awesome. Yup, it's not "medically founded" but like you said the proof is in the pictures and in how you feel about yourself now and that is really all that matters!

Megan Schmidt said...

I have dealt with acne since I was 13...meaning for half of my life I've hated my skin. I tried oral meds, many different skin care packages, topical creams and nothing ever worked perfectly. Its always been *just* bad enough to be really really annoying.

I love dairy...ice cream, cheese, milk, more cheese...but I will have to give this a try just in case it does actually work! Thanks for sharing Lisa!

J said...

Wow that is so amazing that it worked for you to go dairy free. I often wonder if I should do that because I sometimes get acne flair ups and I wonder if it because of dairy. I DO know that when I have dairy (like ice cream) I get stomach problems too. Guess we aren't supposed to have too much dairy in our diets.

Kyria @ Travel Spot said...

Your skin looks great! I remember you going off the dairy earlier this year. I am glad that was the answer! Have you found out if you are actually lactose intolerant at all? Anyway, keep it up. You look great!

I love cheese! I have tried to go off dairy before when I was a vegetarian, but I really didn't like the substitutes at the time. It seems like they have a way better line of alternate options these days! Like coconut milk!

Marlys said...

Because your stomach doesn't like dairy, it sure could be a sign that your body doesn't like it either! It has to be the reason your face has cleared up! When you were little, you always had stomach aches, especially before school! Do you remember that? I'm so happy for you that it has cleared up as I know how painful it was for you!

Jeanie said...

Congratulations, Lisa. You look simply beautiful -- and I'm thinking you've come up on something! Glad you're at a point you can cheat when you need to and love the fact that you don't miss it! Makes it all the easier to continue. Three cheers!

Jolene - EverydayFoodie said...

You have beautiful skin!

Thanks for sharing this - very interesting post.