Thoughts By Natalie

Skin Sacrifices

IMG_3990My skin has been freaking out on me since the moment I got pregnant with Jack over 2 years ago. When I tell people this they often think I’m exaggerating, as my skin is the single physical feature I get complimented on regularly. But let me tell you, I’m telling the truth!

I finally got around to going to the dermatologist and in addition to prescribing me an antibiotic cream to use on my back and parts of my face, she also recommended some dietary changes: no flour, no refined sugar, no dairy. To be fair I did prompt her by asking, “What non-medicinal things can I be doing to improve my acne and eczema.” And apparently, flour, sugar and dairy are basically the enemies of good skin. Which is a bummer, because they are the tastiest part of eating.

Anyway, I’ve decided to take her advice and give it a try to see if it helps. While I love, love, love a good cheese plate and have a huge sweet tooth, I also really am not a fan of having breakouts all over my back and parts of my face, nor do I appreciate feeling itchy all the time. Hopefully I’ll discover some new recipes and favorite takeout places (I anticipate a lot more sushi in my life, haha) and I’ll keep you posted on this journey—most importantly whether it makes a difference or not!

Have you ever had to/decided to change what you eat to improve an ailment?

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  • Katie
    February 22, 2016 at 5:18 am

    I’m surprised to hear this – your skin always looks flawless! I definitely notice a correlation between indulging my sweet tooth and breakouts so I try to limit my sugar intake at least :) Looking forward to hearing more about your journey.

    • Natalie Borton
      February 23, 2016 at 1:35 pm

      Thanks Katie! It’s honestly been mostly on my back and arms, but once it started getting to my face I got really serious about figuring out how to make both the eczema acne stop spreading!! Hoping this helps :)

  • Rebecca
    February 22, 2016 at 6:18 am

    I can definitely relate! I get compliments all the time but feel like I am always fighting with my skin. I went gluten free several years ago and it definitely helped. Sugar/dairy is my next thing to go. I unfortunately love a good ice cream. But I’ve found that as long as the thing that I’m treating myself to is not something commonly in my diet and is surrounded by healthy, cleansing foods, my body seems to forget that it happened :)

    • Natalie Borton
      February 23, 2016 at 1:36 pm

      Absolutely—my hope is to cut these things out for a bit and see if my skin clears up, and then test the waters to see if I can sneak in some favorite treats every once in a while without it having a negative impact.

  • Robin
    February 22, 2016 at 6:34 am

    Dairy has had the biggest impact for me! I’m off of dairy and gluten (among other things) and have found that with myself and my clients dairy is often the biggest culprit. I hope it’s not too hard for you and that you see good results! Almost all the recipes I share are dairy and gluten free if you need inspiration. :) xoxo

    • Natalie Borton
      February 23, 2016 at 1:43 pm

      Thanks girl! Yes, I think dairy is really the worst for skin issues. Though I miss it, I think it’s the easiest of the three to give up since I was vegan for years. Definitely will be checking out your recipes again!!

  • Kara
    February 22, 2016 at 6:37 am

    Hi Natalie,

    I have always had very dry, fussy skin. Except, ironically, when I was pregnant. Which makes me think my breakouts might be hormonal. Anyway, lately I’ve switched up my skin care routine, and my skin is the clearest it has been in my life, other than during pregnancies. I’ve been using micellar water instead of a cleanser in the morning and at night along with a First Aid Beauty moisturizer(they are supposed to contain antibiotics). Not stripping my skin with a cleanser and adding the breakout fighting moisturizer has really made the difference for my skin. I hope you’ll find the right balance for your skin! Have a good day, Natalie.

    • Natalie Borton
      February 23, 2016 at 1:44 pm

      Yes, I LOVE micellar water!

  • Valerie @ The Style Files
    February 22, 2016 at 7:12 am

    I’m sure those things are big triggers, which explains why I have the same issue…but I can’t get enough of it because I am a chocoholic with a massive sweet tooth. I’ve heard that people on Whole30 (which eliminates those types of things too) see better skin- makes sense! Curious to hear what kinds of things you eat to replace those sweet cravings!

    • Natalie Borton
      February 23, 2016 at 1:45 pm

      I love chocolate too!! In all honesty, I’m giving myself a lot of grace with the sugar situation—slowly weaning myself off of my post-lunch chocolate break, haha.

  • Jennifer
    February 22, 2016 at 7:37 am

    Hi Natalie! I’ve had similar issues off an on. Sometimes my skin is good, sometimes I get REALLY really bad jawline/chin acne. About 2 years ago it got out of control and migrated to my cheekbones, forehead, I even had breakouts IN my eyebrows. I tried a whole dermatologist routine, which did not help but made my skin very itchy and sensitive. I washed my phone 5 x per day. Changed my pillow case every night. Tried all sorts of dietary elimination protocols. NOTHING. Here’s what helped: this stuff called Estroblock (it’s a DIM supplement- basically all the good stuff from cruciferous vegetables, you can get it on Amazon) I do not have any affiliation with the company that makes it other than it’s one of the few products that truly changed my life. Also oil cleansing was a huge help and lastly manuka honey for dabbing on anything “active” especially anything that I’d picked. I cannot recommend the Estroblock highly enough. My dermatologist and facial/eyebrow lady were floored at the difference in my skin. If your acne started w/pregnancy, it’s obviously hormonal, and I now believe that there’s not a ton topically that can be done for hormonal acne. I hope this helps! Acne can be so distressing!!

  • Heather Luna
    February 22, 2016 at 7:40 am

    I dropped gluten a couple of months ago because much of my body went crazy after having my second baby. My symptoms were in line with hypothyroidism and while I haven’t been tested for it, I decided to start eliminating gluten to see if the symptoms decreased. I was amazed at how quickly I saw a difference. My Roscea which was abnormally out of control cleared up immediately, I regained energy that was severely depleated, heart palipations stopped, and the list goes on. If I cheat and have a bite of somethinf with gluten I experience mini setbacks. It has taken some time adjusting but thanks to so many Paleo based recipes it hasn’t been that hard to find substitutes for my favorite foods. And feeling better is worth every sacrifice.

    To the commenter who mentioned chocolate – there are lots of good chocolate options out there. Health food stores are a great place to start discovering new brands you like. Thrive Market online is also fantastic. Once you find a few you like you might like it better.

  • Nicole @ Simply Nicole
    February 22, 2016 at 8:21 am

    I started seeing an integrative health doctor last spring to help with my digestive and skin issues. Although she’s not a dermatologist, she did recommend that I go gluten and dairy-free for 5-6 months to see if I noticed any changed. Unfortunately for me, I didn’t see much results, and I followed the diet strictly. {I even went to Atlanta last summer and couldn’t eat BBQ because of the gluten in the sauce… it sucked}.

    I hope you find a solution!

    • AshleyL
      February 22, 2016 at 12:22 pm

      I went gluten free for a year and didn’t notice a difference either. Lame.

  • Victoria B
    February 22, 2016 at 8:31 am

    I have not had to do this, but I know when I am eating clean, whole foods and drinking lots of water, my skin looks and feels better. I have terribly sensitive skin and should probably try an elimination diet, but it is difficult for me to completely cut off dairy as I love cheese. It is my favorite food and nothing can cheer up my day more than a cheese and cracker plate.
    I don’t know if this is what you were planning, but I would definitely recommend taking each thing out separately first. It might help you find out what your trigger is to help with the amount of stuff you are eliminating.

  • Kari
    February 22, 2016 at 9:57 am

    I can totally relate! Have you read Skin Cleanse? I found it really helpful in helping me pinpoint what was causing issues with my skin. Everyone’s skin responds to foods/cosmetics/environments differently, so taking a look at all those factors and keeping a food journal might help!

    • Natalie Borton
      February 23, 2016 at 1:46 pm

      I read it a while ago but probably should go back and take a look again!

  • Jennifer
    February 22, 2016 at 11:47 am

    I have found that eating much less dairy has helped with my skin as well. I also did a 3-day juice cleanse (we did the Suja Juice one) and my skin was AMAZING for weeks after!

  • AshleyL
    February 22, 2016 at 12:21 pm

    I can’t believe this either because in pictures your skin looks flawless. I went sugar free a few years ago and noticed a huge change in my skin and digestive system. I eat sprouted breads and tortillas now too (no flour) but I do eat small amounts of cheese. Postpartum my skin is always insane the breakouts along make me crazy! I feel like a teenager again.

    • Natalie Borton
      February 23, 2016 at 1:47 pm

      Yes, these postpartum hormones are no joke!! My skin (mostly my back) has been pretty bad since pregnancy but really is firing up again (and spreading to my face) now that I’m done nursing Jack.

  • christy b
    February 22, 2016 at 12:23 pm

    Same thing…have had eczema and breakouts since having my first kid (have 3 now!). Last year I had a blood drawn allergy test w/ a holistic doctor. Allergic to dairy, eggs, almonds. It was nice to know for sure what to avoid and not just guess all the time. Also, I started on a good Pro-biotic and lots of Evening Primrose Oil (3000 mg/day). My skin is SO much better and eczema gone!! I can still “cheat” on foods once in a while and my skin is ok. Good luck!

  • LesLeigh J.
    February 22, 2016 at 3:41 pm

    I am currently pregnant, and although my skin hasn’t changed drastically, I have noticed small breakouts happening more frequently. My diet is already health conscious due to the pregnancy, so I’m not ready to get food radical quite yet, but I have been looking into a better skincare routine. You could also try using essential oils to help. Frankincense and Purification, by Young Living, have helped me in the past.

  • Catherine Short
    February 23, 2016 at 9:25 am

    I went dairy and gluten-free for almost two years to help with breakouts. Now, I think it helped a lot on my t-zone/forehead but I never could regulate the hormonal breakouts until I recently got pregnant. My skin hasn’t looked better in years. I struggled with infertility for almost three years so I think that correlated with the crazy hormone changes. I’m not sure if I’ll have to switch up my eating habits again once I deliver or if my hormones will change enough that I won’t need to.

    Good luck!

    • Natalie Borton
      April 11, 2016 at 7:47 am

      That’s so great that your skin got better during pregnancy! I definitely had the opposite experience—I’m happy for you!

  • Samantha
    February 23, 2016 at 9:58 am

    Interesting! I’m in the process of trying to stay as close to dairy free as possible (cheese is the culprit at my house)

  • Carissa
    April 10, 2016 at 6:36 pm

    Those food groups tend to be more inflammatory, so the premise behind eliminating them is to reduce inflammation in the body and shift the gut bacteria toward a healthier balance, both of which heavily influence eczema and acne. This is also why many people see skin improvements when they invest in a high-quality probiotic (ironically, the opposite of the ANTIbiotics many doctors end up prescribing you.) My strongest piece of advice would be to get on a good probiotic.