Skin problems on improved diet
May 3, 2019 8:11 AM   Subscribe

I've been trying to eat more veggies, and my skin has really been suffering. More zits and aggravated rosacea, etc. I thought healthy eating was supposed to help? Nothing else in my habits has changed.

I follow the low-fodmap diet, so the types of veggies I can eat is very limited. It's mostly carrots, fresh spinach, potatoes, green beans, and a limited amount of sweet potatoes on occasion. I like to roast veggies in olive oil. I eat strawberries every day. I've slightly upped my hard cheese intake, and eat a fair amount of hummus (not generally fodmap friendly, but I tolerate it fine). I also can do wheat with no problem. My dermatologist didn't have any suggestions, but does anyone see any triggers here?

Before I was eating a lot more meat and frozen foods - frozen meat patties, corn dogs, generally bad stuff. I had recently moved and my oven broke, so I just grabbed junk from the frozen food aisle that didn't make me sick. Now I'm trying to do better, and my skin hates it, apparently.

Any hints from your experiences would help me get started on an elimination diet. Thanks!
posted by backwards compatible to Health & Fitness (20 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
My adult acne went away when I quit dairy, and I've heard many, many people report the same thing. So I'd try that first.
Some people get better skin by limiting fat, so I'd also consider the olive oil a suspect. Hummus can also be high in fat. If you try it and it doesn't help, you can always go back to eating it.
posted by FencingGal at 8:15 AM on May 3, 2019 [6 favorites]

Yup. It's the cheese that's giving you the bad stuff I think.

Personally, eating cheese is a quality-of-life thing for me. I'll take the pimples.
posted by Dressed to Kill at 8:18 AM on May 3, 2019 [6 favorites]

You moved. Did your water change? I'd suggest a change in water quality you are washing with might be the cause. You might want to change up your facial cleanser. I kept getting weird boils on my skin, turned out our old water heater wasn't heating up enough & bacteria was growing in the water turning up the water heater helped immensely.

High GI foods can also crank up the old acne. Are you eating more fruits. Ripe veggies can have a high GI too.
posted by wwax at 8:20 AM on May 3, 2019 [5 favorites]

wwax, the skin flareup happened right after my diet switched, and I've been in the new place around 10 months now. It could be partially attributable to water quality, but I'm fairly certain that it's the diet.
posted by backwards compatible at 8:23 AM on May 3, 2019

I'm on the same page as Dressed to Kill - I'd rather die than not eat cheese. I've been able to dilute the BCL (blood cheese level) by drinking copious amounts of water, however. You might want to consider upping your H2O intake.
posted by allkindsoftime at 8:28 AM on May 3, 2019 [1 favorite]

Have you been losing weight? That can mess with your hormone environment.
posted by lilies.lilies at 8:32 AM on May 3, 2019 [3 favorites]

Nightshades can aggravate rosacea (by causing inflammation). It's a long shot, but you might lay off the potatoes and see what happens?
posted by wellred at 8:34 AM on May 3, 2019 [1 favorite]

How much water are you drinking?

Is your overall diet lower carb in any significant way? I find that dries out / messes with my skin because I lose a lot of water weight.
posted by sallybrown at 8:38 AM on May 3, 2019

Do you drink coffee or eat chocolate or drink beer? A family member of mine can either drink coffee or drink beer, but can't do both or they get rosacea. My own skin gets zitty if I eat milk chocolate.

Have you tried any vegan cheeses? Apparently they are low fodmap.

I've heard really good things about this vegan cheese cookbook which is by the famous Miyoko who is the platinum standard of artisan vegan cheese products.
posted by jillithd at 8:40 AM on May 3, 2019 [1 favorite]

How long ago did you shift back to this array of vegetables? The first thing I thought of was that several of these are significant sources of vitamin A, and topical retinoids, at least, are known for making skin worse before it gets better. If you were really eating poorly before, it might be just enough of a difference to take a little while to stabilize? I'd be more likely to want to wait-and-see if you've only been doing this for a couple weeks/months.
posted by Sequence at 8:46 AM on May 3, 2019 [2 favorites]

Another possibility for food-related acne triggers:
Foods high in iodine- so, shellfish, some leafy greens (arugula and other salad mix greens are major, spinach and kale less so.) Asparagus is another big one.

Nuts: especially walnuts, almonds, pecans, cashews can trigger acne as well, like even in tiny amounts, I'm talking one or two almonds.

How bad the acne/food connection gets seems to vary based on female hormones, at least in my experience... when I was a teenager, even a little bite of any of the above gave me major acne, as I've gotten older, I can sometimes get away with a bit, if I time it right, with regard to my hormone cycle.
posted by SaharaRose at 8:50 AM on May 3, 2019

I break out when I use too much cooking oil. Switch to using cooking spray? Or use an oil spray bottle.
posted by pumpkinlatte at 9:07 AM on May 3, 2019

Thanks all. It sounds like potatoes and cheese might be the first things to try eliminating. I did lose a lot of weight when I was first starting to have these GI problems, but I've been fairly stable at a low weight for a while now. I hope that things will stabilize; there's not that much that I'm able to eat, so these skin problems have been really frustrating right as I'm starting to feel better.
posted by backwards compatible at 9:37 AM on May 3, 2019

Also a lot of people are sensitive to strawberries, and you say you are eating a LOT of them...?
They are also one of those fruits that supposedly hold onto pesticides,--not sure if you're eating organic ones but that might have something to do with it.
posted by exceptinsects at 9:46 AM on May 3, 2019

Just jumping in to ask if you've seen a dermatologist? Something similar happened to me, and I went to the dermatologist looking for a prescription. Instead, the dermatologist took a biopsy -- it turned out not to be acne at all, but a completely different skin condition that was unrelated to diet. It turned out to be a false correlation in my case.
posted by caoimhe at 9:51 AM on May 3, 2019 [3 favorites]

Too many strawberries gives me a rosacea like rash. But cutting out dairy does help with acne. (I eat it anyway tho)
posted by ananci at 11:47 AM on May 3, 2019

A LOT of people get a rash/allergic reactions to strawberries. I'd cut those out for a while and see if it helps.
posted by Countess Sandwich at 1:33 PM on May 3, 2019

1) Allergies to some veggies
2) shifts in weight can result in hormone rebalancing, and you can get break outs. Hormonal breakouts tend to be around the chin. And if it has been less than a month, if may be something that will even out as you go through more cycles

Can you switch to other low fodmap foods? I know it can be a restrictive diet, but might be useful to give yourself a break from your current regime.

Let us know how it goes!
posted by troytroy at 3:24 PM on May 3, 2019 [1 favorite]

Came here to ask if you might have a mild allergy to strawberries.
posted by Dwardles at 11:03 PM on May 3, 2019

I cut way back on carbs several months ago, increased my intake of healthy fats and veggies and .... my case of rosacea got far worse to the point of cystic acne. Oddly enough I'd followed the same diet before and it had actually improved my skin. I did notice that my skin has been super dry this winter despite running humidifiers, taking omega-3s, etc.

A few weeks ago I started a jojoba oil regimen and also had several sessions with an acupuncturist. One or both of those treatments has worked very well: no new papules and what were large cysts are now tiny, almost invisible.
posted by Sheydem-tants at 2:44 PM on May 5, 2019

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