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Acne & Dairy…

by Laura

I speak a lot online about the trials and tribulations of having multiple food allergies (Yes I know coeliac isn’t an allergy, it’s just easier to condense it into one for the purpose of my writing.) But I’ve hardly ever touched on one aspect that’s perhaps upset me either above or along with the rest.

My skin.

I’ve rewritten this post three times because in all honesty, I didn’t want to write it in a way that at all seems whiny and self pitying, whilst also trying to convey how affecting acne can be. I didn’t have the most severe acne and if you’ve known me a while but not known me as a close friend, you may not know how it was for me. I didn’t really like to highlight it when I was going through it!

The reason I’ve not really touched upon the topic is for two reasons: the first being that at the time that I was having all the problems, I adopted Elsa’s mantra of, ‘conceal, don’t feel.’ Ohh baby was I concealing – three layers of foundation plus my war paint concealer was standard for a night out and I was frantically buying any skin care that made wild promises that it was a super cure for acne. The second reason is that after the acne went away, I did all I could to forget about it and at this point – I was so relieved that it was gone that I didn’t want to speak about what for me, was a really confidence knocking thing at the time.

Starting slowing in my second year of uni, the spots appeared despite me trying everything (skincare, changing washing detergent, ‘cleaning up’ my diet etc.) and nothing was working. At the worst point, I had acne up both of my cheeks, my chest and bacne (which I really think needs to be spoken about more!) After more than a few tears, and when my mum realised it wasn’t just a terrible uni diet of alco-pops and cheesy chips (though oops they weren’t helping – especially those delicious cheesy chips; I miss you) that were giving me the spots, we went to the doctor for a chat – which resulted in more tears when she waved me off with ‘oh yeah, just a bit of acne love.’ I’m aware GPs have a whole lot more on their plate than little ol’ me, and acne isn’t always seen as terrible if it’s not to an extreme, but still – it’s not ideal when you have it.

Whilst my 5x zoom mirror was NOT helping, it was mainly the fact that I was so conscious about them which made me stressed which undoubtably made them worse (if you’ve ever scrolled Instagram endlessly looking at flawless skin – you’re not alone.)

But it was actually only when I gave up dairy my skin cleaned up hugely within about two weeks to see noticeable difference. So whilst I gave up dairy for all the tummy troubles it caused, alongside that, I had an amazing side effect of clear skin!

Nowadays, 4 years later, I still follow a strict skincare regime, and of course get a hormonal breakout or two (definitely thought THOSE would pass by 24…) but as long as I’ve not been cross contaminated, I’m pretty good to go. Recently, I’ve had a few troubles where I’ve been contaminated (Read: poisoned) by some unknown source, so my skin’s been all over the shop and I’ve been frantically covering what I can and it reminded me of those days where it really used to upset me – however uncomfortable it makes me writing it, I thought it’s something we should talk about; and really, what’s to be embarrassed about – it’s only a few spots!

Acne is a well known side effect of milk – the first thing many dermatologists tell acne suffers to cut out of their diet. There’s a few reasons behind this, and whilst I’m not a scientist or a dermatologist, I’ve read quite a lot about it! Basically in summary, in cows milk, there’s an abundance of the IGF-1 hormone which is good for little baby cows, but since we’re humans and not really meant to be drinking another animals milk, it’s not so good for us. It’s a growth hormone, so whilst it makes those  cute baby cows grow, in humans it seems to make our acne grow (wonderful) as it causes inflammation which can lead to acne in those prone to it. Dairy also causes an insulin spike in humans which therefore causes the liver to produce more IGF-1 – leading to, you guessed it; more bloomin’ acne. It also causes us to produce excess oil which in turn clogs pores and leads to acne and a little safe haven for bacteria which feeds on the oil and causes inflammatory by-products. Joy. It also (yes there’s more) glues dead skin cells together inside the pores which means they’re too large to exit naturally which clogs the pores and leads to even more acne. I’m feeling like a mad scientist right now, but there’s so much information on this out there! It makes sense when I think about it – the gut apparently contributes to 70% of our immune system, so when it’s unhappy (understatement of the year) that I’ve fed it dairy, to cause such a reaction from my stomach, it too would surely manifest itself elsewhere too – for me that’s in the form of acne and skin rashes.

I can attribute my better skin these days to skincare and a complete ban of dairy and also gluten in my diet- which whilst it doesn’t cause my skin to flare up to the same extent, does cause me to get spots – again, with such a reaction in my stomach, it’s bound to come out somewhere! I’ll tell you more about my skincare below, but I wanted to make it clear that no skincare could have worked if I hadn’t given up dairy completely and if I get contaminated, skincare just makes the spots go away quicker – it can’t completely prevent it unfortunately!

I use Decleor products as they told me the aromatherapy oils in them make the products go down to the bottom dermis of the skin and therefore combat the root of the problems. As a little, probably TMI shut-up-Laura my spots in parts looked quite rash like, but many were those big-lumps-under-the-surface which after a while would eventually be poppable. Those were mainly the ones on my cheeks; elsewhere it was more like the standard spots you’d expect.

So my morning routine is to cleanse using the Aroma White C brightening cleansing foam which removes all my makeup, I follow this with the Aroma Cleanse. I then pat a pea size amount of the Hydra Floral White Petal skin perfecting concentrate – this step is important as it allows the other products to sink further into the skin. Next comes the energising gel for face and body; this is one that I use as it helps to heal any scars remaining from old spots or helps heal new ones quicker. In the daytime, I then use the Hydra Floral White Petal skin perfecting hydrating milky lotion. Make sure to wait at least 5 minutes until it sinks in before you put makeup on so it doesn’t slip off! On a night time I use the Hydrating Night Balm instead, which is really soothing and healing for any damage.

So there you are – the side affects of allergies that doesn’t really get spoken about! Acne shouldn’t really be a taboo or something we’re unable to talk about – the more people discuss their experiences with it the more info we have and maybe it will help us all in our endeavours for clear skin! So the next time I get a breakout where there’s spots the size of planets on my face and I’m all for expecting an alien invasion, maybe I’ll try to take my own advice and just relax – let it go Elsa.

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