At 25 years of age (or, any age really, older than the awkward, pubescent, ‘teen’ years) you’d think that you’d have reached a safe enough distance from the blattle fields of acne, right?
I was furious to find that, at 25, I was still saying good morning and good night to a face full of pimples. Just recently, it had been putting up a fight, acting out worse than it usually did, even spreading onto my back and chest and down my jaw.
Terrific, I thought. Just two months out from my engagement party, I’ll be looking like a leper. It was becoming like a needy best friend, following me around day to day, hoping that I hadnt forgotten about it.
Rebecca, remember me? Acne? Still here — and here and here and here, it jeered, as it blotted pimples randomly all over my face. Predominantly around my jawline and down my neck.
Back when this all began, at the age of 16, my mum took me off to see a skin specialist. Apparently he was very well respected, however, looking back at his treatment, I dont know what the fuck for. He told me to get on the pill, Estelle (for acne. You know, the once that has since been linked to blood clots in women?) and prescribed me heavy dose antibiotics, minocycline, which resulted in skull crushing migraines and I had to stop.
Next was the topical creams, such as, Duac, Retin-A, Proactive (fuck, fuck and fuck to all of those, I say). Each practically peeled my face off and left dry patches which would show through my foundation, causing ‘flakes’ to sit on my face. Out with one problem, in with another. I was scared to even moisturise in case that brought back the acne.
I went on the pill, offf the pill, on and off again.
I decided, by 24 (shamelessly late, I know) that medicated treatments were NOT the way to go, they were simply band-aiding a bigger problem, a problem that was probably starting with my diet and gut health.
I saw a very well known naturopath when I was visiting Melbourne recently and she even did some accupuncture on me, encouraging me that acupuncture has many cures, including ACNE. She stuck these little needles in my belly and my feet and of course, my face. I lay there, trying not to smile, convinced that she would surely cure me.
Still, nothing did the trick.
Fabo I thought. At this point I was basically just giving my reflection a sarcastic thumbs up, with every look in the mirror of a morning and only chose clothes from my wordrobe that would cover me up my back and chest.
I was pissed now, but still determined to get to the bottom of it.
As a last stab at clear skin I gave another Naturopath a shot — one closer to home and a little more ‘genuine’. Her name was Rochelle and she was the picture of health herself — glowing, peaches-and-cream skin, shiny healthy red hair, clear eyes and always smiling. She took copious notes and asked me a hundred questions about what I ate, my menstrual cycle, exercise and sleep.
After a long consultation of my history, you know what she said to me?
Will you consider cutting out dairy, Rebecca?
You’ve just told me that you’re mother, father and brother are all dairy intollerant — extremely so, and yet, here you are, chugging back coffee milkshakes, eating soft exotic cheeses as you please and toasties every other day. It’s got to be the dairy. Do me a favour and go without it for two weeks, will you?
Why, Rochelle my darling, I will do whatever you say, I thought.
She was right, butter, cheese, big takeaway coffees every day (made on cows milk )— I had, up until this point been consuming all of that on a daily basis.
She suggested a couple other things such as upping Zinc and taking a herbal concoction in the form of a nasty , black-coloured drink — again, no complaints though, Rochelle — I’ll do whatever you say. However, I do put the most empahasis on the dairy because it was abosolutely the major change I made that resulted in my skin clearing. And how fucking simple, yeah? After thousands of dollars and enduring harsh chemicals, FOR YEARS — all I had to do was cut out one food group from my diet. Dairy.
According to a June 2016 study of 1200 people by the CSIRO and University of Adelaide, One in six Australians are saying goodbye to milk.
I’ve now done a month of no dairy and my chest and back have totally cleared up. My face has improved immensely and my tummy is even less bloated. NOTE: I’ve experimented twice in that month and re-introduced dairy here and there and, like clockwork, back came the acne.
I’ve since done some research into dairy and its acne (and tummy bloating) tendencies, you can read here and here and here. I’m learning that 1GF1 is the growth hormone found in milk and, you know what it does for humans? promotes inflamation in your skin, leading to ACNE. Milk and dairy products can cause an insulin spike in you that then causes your liver to produce even more of this hormone (1GF1) which leads to excess oil production and then of course, ACNE.
It’s all coming together for me now.
I don’t usually choose to write about food and nutrition and this will probably be the first and last time, BUT, I figure if anyone else just got outrageously excited to learn that their acne woes could potentially be caused by that little bitch called DAIRY, then I’m glad I could share this with you and save you the heartache.
Experiment for yourself! Try substituting Almond Milk in your coffees and coconut youghurt in place of your yoghurt snack. I have not been substituting with soy products and several wellness experts have advised against doing so (it’s kinda shitty for you too)— but I enocurage you to do your own research into it, for fear of this article becoming too boringly long. Here are some more Dairy-Free Survival Tips for Beginners (scroll to the bottom) if you need extra help!
(Also published on the writer’s personal accounts)