12 Jun Deep + Personal
Today’s topic is close to my heart.
Still bring tears to my eyes whenever I think about it because the experience was a nightmare.
Having plagued with zits ever since hitting puberty, I’ve tried ALL sorts of topical creams Oxy 5, 10, Proactiv, Dalacin, tea tree oil, home remedies, toothpaste (what was I thinking!?) to visiting the pharmacy, GPs, specialists for antibiotics, oral contraceptive pills, going for painful facials etc you name it, I’ve tried it – so much money was spent.
It was a long journey and emotionally painful one especially when I developed cystic acne along the way.
You think that’s bad?
It spread to the back.
My self-confidence dipped even further when I see no improvement to any of these remedies no matter how diligent I was with the products.
Worst still, when relatives and loved ones were passing off hurtful comments. Maybe they were teasing lightly.
But I felt there was no empathy at all.
I cried and prayed so hard every night that acne will magically clear.
Of course, that’s wishful thinking.
Until one day, I noticed one of my schoolmate’s complexion cleared up so quickly and so I approached her to seek her ‘magic solution’.
So, I went to her doctor and was prescribed Roaccutane – HOLY MOLY, my acne started clearing up!
I couldn’t believe it.
In 2 weeks, I saw a drastic improvement. I finally had hope. My prayers were answered.
Only for 6 months. I was deeply concerned of Roaccutane’s side effects. So I stopped.
Although the enemy eventually came back, I was immensely grateful they weren’t those nodular, angry, inflamed type. Still those little papules were plain annoying.
I knew I couldn’t go back to Roaccutane. It was also expensive, about RM3.50 per capsule back then. I can’t do contraceptive pills either because I had bizarre mood swings and eating disorder. I decided to give pills a pass because of those nasty side effects.
So, I put up with diligent facial care. I felt like I was given a second chance to really take care good care of my skin.
But the small pimples were always there, occasionally the big ones will erupt. Especially along the jaws and forehead. I can never seem to get rid of it.
One colleague observed and commented that I tend to break out at a certain area. That’s when I began took more notice.
Here came the RADICAL CHANGE.
I started to re-learn about acne and food. It’s funny because I was being taught during undergraduate studies that acne is not triggered by food, it’s about the hormones. So it took me awhile to change that perspective.
I did more research and experimented out for fun. And WOW! The result surpassed my expectations.
Here’s what I learnt and experienced –
#1 Acne and Milk
It appears that there is a relationship between acne and drinking milk according to many studies like this. Factory animals are injected with hormones and antibiotics to beef them up and keep them healthy. As a result, it comes no surprise that there will be traces of hormones in the milk produced and when we consume, this in turn affects our hormonal system. True enough, when I stopped drinking milk, sugary drinks like Milo and yoghurt, there was a HUGE difference in having clearer skin ESPECIALLY along the JAWLINE. Not to mention, there is increasing evidence that insulin like growth factor (IGF-1) [from consumption of animal, dairy and excessive soy] may be linked to cancer. The biggest test is when I re-introduced dairy back to my diet, the pimples came back again.
#2 Avoid Harsh Facial Products
Knowing how to read ingredients is extremely important if you want to protect yourself from being ‘tricked’ into buying a product just because the salesperson says it’s good. Read the label and judge for yourself. This is a good place to get you started. Go for natural products with no artificial colouring, fragrances, and preservatives. You don’t need to be triggering skin reaction unnecessarily regardless of how pretty it looks with the colour or smell.
All of us respond differently to different methods – this is what worked for me and I’m incredibly grateful that I found my ‘holy grail’ method after all these years.
Where To Start?
In my line of work, I’ve the privilege to talk to so many people and many noticed the same pattern – cut dairy, less acne problems.
So, I’d encourage you to experiment with eliminating dairy for instance, milk and cheese for 2 weeks and see if that makes a difference to your skin and energy level.
Take small steps, perhaps on alternate days and followed by full weeks.
Once you notice the different, you’ll never go back to eating the way you did before.
You’ve found the solution.
P.S. Worried about your calcium intake when you stop drinking milk? I’ve got you covered here.
P.P.S. Swap milk to nut milk (almond milk, hazelnut milk, soy milk which are plant-based that don’t have those nasty growth hormones)