I struggled with moderate acne for years.
As I grew older, it seemed to be getting worse instead of better. I dropped endless amounts of cash on cleansers, serums, topical treatments and spent a significant amount of time ingesting an oral antibiotic and the birth control pill, despite harmful possible side effects. I read the Clear Skin Diet by Nicholas Perricone and half-heartedly applied some of these nutrition tips to my life. I ate more salmon and fewer bagels.
Nothing seemed to work well enough—the breakouts always came back.
I received chemical peels regularly for a year. Facials every month. I swear to you, I tried everything.
At least I thought I had.
At some point, I nailed down a correlation between alcohol and my skin. It was the worst after a night of drinking, despite my incredibly diligent cleansing rituals and drinking of copious amounts of water.
But I couldn’t pinpoint the problem exactly, and the war raged on.
I voiced my concerns to a medical doctor, who told me that I would need to continue taking the birth control pill, despite my increasingly intense desire to come off of it, or suffer the break outs. She said it was my only option. I felt my body tense up, my heat rise, and immediately scheduled an appointment with a naturopath. I knew there had to be a better way.
I ceased consumption of both the antibiotic and the pill, certain that I was covering up symptoms rather than treating a problem.
When the “I Quit Sugar” craze began, I didn’t expect to jump on board, although I will admit, something within told me that it was the source of my problems. I watched as wellness blogger after wellness blogger announced to the world that they were no longer consuming processed sugar. Was sugar the new gluten? By this point, I was already meat-free, gluten-free and largely dairy-free—could I handle one more dietary restriction?
Finally—after Mastin Kipp’s comment about how cutting refined sugar was like waking up from a coma—I knew I couldn’t avoid it any longer.
I had to wake up.
I noticed immediately that sugar hid in places I had never thought to look: jarred pasta sauce, for example. It took added awareness and I found that I needed to cook at home more, but like the other wellness bloggers, I quit sugar. It wasn’t easy: researchers have found sugar to be eight times more addictive than cocaine.
But I knew if I could handle the initial detox, I could kick the habit.
Almost instantly—and I mean, within days—my skin cleared and my body felt more energized. It was like waking up from a coma. The results and realization intensified over the following month as my body rid itself of the toxins. How had I been so blind? Had I known this years ago, I could have saved insane amounts of time and money at Sephora searching in vain for the next miracle product, in desperate hopes that it might cure my woes.
Yet, it all came down to diet, specifically to one ingredient that, as it turns out, I had blindly been consuming high amounts of.
It has now been two months since I kicked refined sugar out of my life, and although the road hasn’t been perfect, when I do trip up and a breakout occurs, I understand why. This dietary shift has included eliminating alcohol, which, though I have never been a heavy drinker, comes with its own social challenges that I am still navigating.
However, for me, the health benefits far outweigh any down sides and I am happy report that the war that raged on for years and years has come to an end. As a result, I look brighter, healthier and more vibrant than I have in years, sans make up, and my energy level is higher and more sustainable. When I do get a sugar craving, I know that my body is craving energy, and I opt for a green juice instead.
Author: Ashley Dunlop
Editor: Renée Picard
Image: rushu at Flickr
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