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Skin just won't clear up!


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Hello!  I have been eating paleo for a while now but my skin hasn't really improved and is even getting a little worse.  Congestion and some acne or bumps that dont want to clear up.  My undereyes are a bit dark and a bit puffy.  I have already figured out certain foods that cause inflammation and don't eat those (gluten, dairy, corn, soy, and peanuts.)  I have been pregnant or breastfeeding (still am) since 2009 and am wondering if this could be part of the problem.  Its just so frustrating to be putting in the effort with my food and still have bad skin!!  if anyone can relate or has a suggestion or two, I would appreciate it!  I am taking omega 3's and GLA.


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Have you had an allergy test? Maybe you're allergic to a common food that is allowed on paleo. Just an idea. Working with pregnant moms, I know post pregnancy acne is completely normal. How have you been sleeping?? Your quality of sleep with have an impact on how puffy your eyes look. I would try to drink a lot of water to reduce the puffiness, and sleep on your back with your head elevated. Also look into how much salt you're taking in.


Hope it gets better! Thank goodness for make-up but seriously it sucks when your skin isn't cooperating even when you're eating clean wholesome foods.

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I must say that I break out the second after I eat something irritating to my gut. As said above (omg name change!) it is an error and trial thing. I personally figured out that to have clear skin I must stay off eggs (very common allergen ) and nightshades. When not on whole30 I am watching carefully for chocolate and cocoa as they cause irritation for the skin often too (and additives like soy lechitin). 


Sleep, stress and hormones. Yep. Big influence. 


Hope you will figure it out soon. Maybe you can try a super clean, all potential irritants, AIP  style 10 days? Then do reintros of potential foods that influence skin condition. 

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As a fellow acne sufferer, I can relate. Eggs and nightshades can be tested (as someone mentioned) and you may see improvement. However, over-nut-consumption seems to be the most common piece of anecdotal wisdom (with some science to back it up).


Are you consuming any coconut oil? Coconut oil contains a compound called monolaurin, which is excellent for many reasons, most noteworthy its antibacterial, antiviral, and antimicrobial properties.


You can read about that here:



Another study you may be interested to read:

"Acne vulgaris, mental health and omega-3 fatty acids: a report of cases"


In this study, the subjects took:


1000 mg EPA

200mg EGCG

15mg zinc

200mcg selenium

200mcg chromium


Results: inflammation and acne lesions improved!


The awesome Emily Deans, M.D. writes about this study here:



Caffeine releases cortisol (if you are an avid drinker, this can be a huge issue) and even though it's a vasoconstrictor (constricts blood vessels, and therefore, blood flow) it won't help with your acne.


Sleep is another obvious point, as someone mentioned, but I would try the above suggestions, and let us know what works for you!


Best of luck! :)

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Hi Casey,


Thank you for your suggestions!  I do wonder if there is some connection to nuts.  I already know eggs are not something I tolerate well right now (boo hoo) and use a lot of coconut oil and some omega 3's.  For some reason, I didn't correlate the change I made in my skin care products to when my blemishes got worse --- I was so impressed initally with the products (evan healy) I didn't even question thigns when my skin started to change.  I switched back to my castle soap and avocado oil and things actually improved some!  In addition, I looked at this chinese face map to see if it would give me any direction http://www.eruptingmind.com/chinese-face-map/  I don't know of the accuracy of this but I do seem to have things show up in a simlar area of digestion and kidneys... I'll try to post again if I learn anything else that may be helpful to someone else!

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That's a really good site in regards to the Chinese face mapping. I have heard of that before, and no doubt there is SOME correlation. Don't know exactly how much, but it makes sense, from a science standpoint, to some degree.


I noticed you said you were taking omega-3s. I'm assuming this is in supplement form?


Believe it or not, some people have reported improved skin from LOSING fish oil from their regimen (amazingly weird, but true).


This study more definitively links linoleic acid DEFICIENCY in skin cells (follicular epithelium) which may or may not be related to dietary intake of linoleic acid (the acid commonly found in nuts). Some people say yes, some people say no...and it's all anecdotal.




Another interesting study, that I received while debating with Alan Aragon (Men's Health nutrition advisor) was this paper:




It pretty much disproves the 'balance of omega-6 vs. 3' theory, or at least shows some evidence that it may not make as much of a difference as we think. I'd highly encourage anyone to read that full text, it's a good little study.


Hope this helps :)

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