Now the acne had started migrating downward, showing up along my jawline and neck as well as on my face. Deep-rooted, cystic acne that never seemed to go away. I didn’t know what to do anymore.
Living With Adult Acne
I had already tried every acne product on the market. Sure, some of it worked temporarily, but it would eventually stop working and then the acne would get worse.
Some days I stayed at home because there just wasn’t enough makeup in the world to make me want to show my face in public. Some days I wanted to scream and rip my skin off because I hated so much what I saw in the mirror.
I felt ugly and gross. Other women had beautiful, glowing skin and I looked like a pizza-faced teenager. I’d heard the term “adult acne,” but I never expected to experience it myself. Especially considering the skin I had as a child.
Growing up my skin was gorgeous. It was soft, hydrated and beautiful. It was like perfect porcelain.
Then around the time I was graduating from high school, my checks started breaking out, badly. I blamed it on the cortisone shots I was getting from my doctor to manage the pain in my neck, but when it never went away, I started to suspect something else.
A Break In The Case
As I got older, the acne got worse, and other health problems showed up: heartburn, anxiety, acid reflux.
It was the week of my 26th birthday, my face was badly broken out and I was having heartburn almost every night. Then in the middle of the night, I had a panic attack.
Freaked out and looking for answers, I turned to my doctor. I wanted to get to the bottom of the problem once and for all.
After an unsuccessful attempt to get an answer from my doctor, I took matters into my own hands and enrolled in a distance-learning nutrition school. I was going to get to the bottom of these panic attacks and heartburn, and finally have an answer.
I dedicated the next year of my life to studying nutrition and learning all about food and its effects on the body. Then something amazing happened.
I was listening to a lecture on food allergies, and the doctor who was teaching the class started listing off all the symptoms that gluten and dairy allergies produce: anxiety, heartburn, GERD, acid reflux, stomach pain, ear infections, sinus infections…the list went on.
One-by-one the symptoms started resonating with me. Constant ear infections? Check. Sinus infections? Check. Reflux, stomach pain? All the time.
Maybe I had food allergies.
Eliminating Gluten and Dairy
For the next week, I removed all gluten and dairy from my diet. I knew it wouldn’t be easy, but I was committed to giving it a shot. After all, nothing else had worked.
The first few days were rough to say the least. I missed cheese. I had dreams about pizza and crispy loaves of Italian bread.
But I wasn’t having any stomach pain. I wasn’t having a single episode of heartburn. And amazingly, without even trying, my acne was clearing up. It was clearing up!
It was like a miracle happening right in front of my eyes.
When I reintroduced gluten and dairy into my diet after the elimination period was over, I immediately saw my symptoms—and acne—return. Amazed and so grateful, I cried. I finally had the cure for my acne.
A cure that no one was talking about.
Don’t eat chocolate or greasy food, sure, I’d heard those acne tips before. But removing gluten and dairy? News to me. They certainly didn’t mention that in all the magazine articles I’d read about “getting rid of acne for good.”
Now I’ve been gluten-free, dairy-free AND acne-free for almost three years, and I’ve never felt or looked better in my entire life.
If you’ve been struggling with acne for what feels like most of your life, if you’ve tried everything and nothing has worked, give an elimination diet a try to see if gluten and/or dairy could be your problem, too.
About Jennifer Blanchard