Unless you have seen/will see me in person anytime soon, a part of you will think this post is a bit exaggerated. And right about now, I wish I had taken a few pictures of my face before going (almost) dairy-free. But because I didn’t, please do me a favor. Believe me when I say my acne was bad and painful. And also when I say nothing has ever worked for more than a couple of weeks, I mean nothing…not antibiotics, not Proactiv…nothing.
Before I delve into how my skin is doing, here’s a timeline of how my (almost) dairy-free diet has evolved.
November 6 – I made the decision to experiment with an almost dairy-free diet. At the time, this meant I would drastically cut down on how much dairy I ate. The almost part of the equation was about allowing myself some room to eat dairy if there was nothing else to eat, I really wanted to try the food, etc.
My skin was obviously not doing so great during this time (hence the experiment!). Lots of little bumps all over my face.
Thanksgiving weekend – During our friend Kartik’s wedding weekend, I ate more dairy than I had since the start of my experiment. At one of the pre-wedding events, there was nothing to eat but pizza…so I ate it. And because the actual wedding food was delicious, I couldn’t say no a few items filled with paneer. Even though my face paid the price, I don’t regret my decision. That was some of the best Indian wedding food I’ve ever had!
I remember going to Houston with a fairly clearish face and leaving with acne on my cheeks and chin.
December 2-4 – After the wedding, I buckled down for a bit only to fall back off the wagon during the training I attended in Atlanta. There wasn’t much vegetarian food to begin with, and the majority of the things I could eat were filled with dairy. This trip made me realize I have to change my approach when travelling. Ultimately, this means I’ll have to plan and research ahead of time and bring a few things from home if necessary.
My skin hated me at this point in time. I had a few big pimples, a few that were small and super red, etc.
December 12-13 – I did ok food wise during this trip. My only slip-up was ordering risotto for lunch, only to realize after it was brought out that parmesan cheese was a main ingredient. Other than that, I think stayed away from dairy products.
My skin was still very angry with me. The skin around my chin was inflamed and bumpy.
Post December 13 – The last few weeks have been much easier, and that’s probably because I haven’t had to travel at all. Even when eating out, I’ve been able to stay away from dairy for the most part. I did allow myself a few bites of mac n’ cheese, a sprinkle of goat/feta cheese on salads, etc. AND (this is the biggie) I ate Andiamo’s pizza last week. This was a very conscious decision because the pizza is freaking delicious, and I wanted it.
And now? My skin is 98% clear. Yes, you read that right. I’m not on any prescription medications, and I’m not using any over-the-counter acne solutions. All I’m doing is staying away from diary as much as possible and using jojoba oil and tea tree oil to moisturize and “treat” my skin.
And while there may be (and probably are) other key factors involved – weather, the fact that no acne equals no touching, no dairy equals less sugar, etc. – I’m left to believe I’m one of those (poor!) people whose skin just doesn’t agree with regular dairy consumption.
My plan going forward is to continue with an almost dairy-free diet, allowing myself certain “splurge” foods every now and then –> Andiamo’s pizza for example! Also, knowing my own skin and it’s history, this change definitely needs to be monitored over the long haul. As convinced as I am that my acne is linked to the amount of dairy I eat, a part of me is just waiting for major flare ups to start again. I really hope this isn’t the case, but only time will tell. I also want to figure out which dairy products are the major culprits. For example, the pizza I ate last week hasn’t affected my skin yet (no new pimples). Does that mean pizza in moderation is ok? Not sure. Again, only time will tell.
BIG TAKEAWAY –> An almost dairy-free diet (along with using jojoba oil and tea tree oil) has contributed to an almost acne free face. But only time will tell if this is a permanent solution.
Not exactly the 100% clear cut answer I was looking for, but I will take 98% acne free any day!
Have you seen a connection between your diet and the condition of your skin?