If giving up a life of bread and pasta meant clear skin forever would you be on board? Well, if like me, cystic acne has been one of your biggest struggles for years on end you’d do anything for clear skin. And trust me- I’ve tried most of it. If it’s a diet or a cream or a prescription pill- I’ve tried it. The annoying thing with skin is that there isn’t a one size fits all, for some a cream might work and for others it’s as simple as cutting out one particular food group. For me that food group has been gluten.
Dealing with acne can be especially tricky when it comes to treatment through holistic means such as diet. It’s taken me two years of trial and error to finally figure out whats been breaking me out all this time. I have reactions to dairy, eggs, canola oil, corn, and… gluten! For a while there I was in denial about my food allergies, I’m from the Midwest, and we’re not supposed to have sensitivities to things like dairy or gluten.
To add confusion on top of that, according to the many dermatologists I saw over the years there is no connection between diet and food. This was damaging information for me as I spent years blindly eating whatever I wanted without thinking twice about how it might be affecting my health or my skin. If you’ve been told this as well, know this information is misleading and incorrect. I’ve been able to treat 90% of my cystic acne through diet alone without using prescription creams and ointments and I’m positive that with time, you can too! Anyways, let’s get to the point of this blog shall we? Let’s talk all things gluten.
what the heck is gluten?
Gluten is the name for the proteins found in wheat, rye, barley, and spelt. Wheat is the most commonly consumed gluten containing grain. Gluten acts like a glue, helping food maintain their shape and determines overall chewiness once baked. It’s important to note that not all grains contain gluten, sorghum, millet, brown rice, buckwheat, wild rice, amaranth, quinoa, corn (polenta) and teff are all gluten free.. Oats are also gluten-free, but can be contaminated during processing so it’s important to check the certified gluten free label when buying oats!
how gluten affects your body
Gluten isn’t bad for everybody! It is only bad for those who are gluten sensitive or gluten intolerant, which means your body produces an abnormal immune response for breaking down gluten during digestion. The most well known form is celiac disease, which affects 1 out of every 141 people according to the US department of health and human services. When someone with celiac disease consumes gluten, it triggers an autoimmune response that damages their intestines, preventing them from absorbing vital nutrients. Several indicators of gluten intolerance are:
Pain in the abdomen or joints
why i officially quit gluten
Really, there’s not much on the web that talks about gluten causing acne as there is about dairy or other food groups, but one theory suggests that gluten effects your hormones and that in turn these hormonal changes show up as cystic acne. Gluten is also highly inflammatory and overtime (if intolerant) can lead to the small intestine becoming damaged, and causing digestive issues. Yes, even these digestive issues can turn up in the form of cystic acne.
Again, there’s not much out there to support this claim except personal testimonies like mine & a few others online STILL, I found that cutting out gluten has definitely made a difference in my skin. Am I intolerant? Well I haven’t done a test yet but I’m going to go ahead and guess, yes considering I feel worlds better and my skin is finally behaving for the first time in years. I plan on staying away from it now, except the occasional out to eat treat (it’s all about balance).
should i cut out gluten?
Really, the only people who Gluten should effect, are those who have intolerances. So if you’re not intolerant, then it technically should not be causing a problem. If you’re curious you could always try a 30 day elimination diet by removing gluten from your diet and tracking how you feel or any changes that you notice! At the end of your trial you should be able to tell wether or not gluten is your friend or foe.
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Kali Kushner, known as the Instagram alias myfacestory, is a natural beauty advocate in the greater Cincinnati area who is passionate about using organic skincare and holistic remedies to heal acne from the inside out. Her dedication lies in her own chronic acne struggles as she continues to restore herself while helping those around her.