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Acne
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I have been gluten free for 3 months and during the last month have had continuous break-outs on my chin and back and shoulders. They are out of control! My doctor has prescribed tetracycline and has had to double my dose to 200 mg a day. Any ideas as to what is happening to me? I hate to stay on these antibiotics!

Erika

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Wow, Erika, *I* could have written that post! I'm not totally sure what is going on, either, but my acne seems to get worse whenever I have I gluten accident.

Overall, my acne problem has actually improved significantly since I went gluten-free, so I am just observing it for trends at this time.

So far I have found that I get many little pimples on my chin and forehead when I take synthetic B vitamins. The jury is still out on natural B vitamin supplements like nutritional yeast, but they seem to be less of a problem, at least.

I have also been having severe problems with cystic pimples along my jawline, which were apparently triggered by my shampoo (Herbal Essences--I made sure to choose a formulation that was wheat-free, but cross-contamination seems to be a major problem). When I used travel-sized bottles of ThermaSilk shampoo and conditioner while I was on vacation for a week, the cysts disappeared--but after I got back home and washed my hair with Herbal Essences ONCE, I got a fresh cyst!

I also have clusters of pimples in the region between my eyes and my ears, and many of them are filled with clear fluid rather than pus. These may be related to gluten accidents (possible dermatitis herpetiformis?). Also definitely related to gluten consumption are the flaming red pimple/blisters that used to populate my chest; they now put in an appearance only when I have an "accident." I wonder if the pimples on my back are of this type as well, but I can't get a good look at them.

I also find that certain specific spots on my cheeks are "hot spots" for acne, and I often have a pimple on both sides simultaneously! I have yet to figure out what, if any, significance this has.

I believe that I am casein-sensitive as well as gluten intolerant, and I believe that casein will also trigger severe acne for me, although it has been several months since I have tested this.

I hope you find my input helpful. The only other comment I have is to point out that antibiotics are EXTREMELY hard on the digestive tract (which you probably already know). The sooner you can get off of them, the better! Good luck!

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Thanks Sarah. I think it's weird that I never had problems before, but now that I'm gluten-free I have this terrible acne. I've heard that acne on the lower half of your face is stress related so maybe it's the stress of this new diet!

I hate to think I'm casein intolerant but maybe I should go off of milk products for a while and see what happens. I don't know if I'm up to that honestly. But it has to be better than depending on these meds.

I just know that skin is related to everything else: digestive system, hormones, etc. I just want to figure it all out and be cured! I'm 36-- way too old for acne.

Have you ever tried buttermilk? I know my mom used to put that on her face when she was growing up.

Erika

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After I went gluten-free, I noticed the same thing!

I realized it happened more often when I ate soy.

After the main food intolerence (gluten) has been eliminated, then the minor food allergies can show up. For me acne is the way my body tells me to avoid soy!

Wonder what your secondary food allergies are?!

Connie

gluten-free since 1-'98

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i've been on a gluten free diet for about 3 months also..and i've also noticed that i have more acne than before..and most of it is occuring around my jaw line.

i have problems with dairy ..i never really thought it could be something other than a lactic intolerance what is the difference between lactose and casein intolerance? i've replaced all milk with soy products...

i dont understand the relationship between the shampoo you use and gluten-free? What ingredients in shampoo are possible reactants?

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I have recently found out a lot about B5 or Pantothentic Acid and its effectiveness on acne. I am taking it now and it is helping already, it has only been 4 days. The reason it helps is because it is essential to fat metabolism and your body cannot manufactor its own, it must be provided from your diet and if your not absorbing things...

There are several sites with good info on how to use it for acne and I won't recommend a brand because I haven't verified which is gluten-free for sure (although I am not bothered by the one I purchased). If you do a search under "B5 acne" you'll come up with a lot of info. You don't have to purchase one of the brands marketed tward acne sufferers, I got a major brand supplement for less than half the cost at my health food store.

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carleyq,

Many shampoos and conditioners (especially those for dry hair) contain wheat germ oil, wheat protein, and/or other wheat-derived products. There are also several other chemicals in shampoo that can cause trouble in some individuals, independent of gluten intolerance.

The medical establishment generally insists that cosmetic and hygiene products are not a problem for people with celiac disease because they are not ingested. However, there is ALWAYS a small risk of ingestion whenever you apply a product to your head or face or with your fingers.

Lactose is milk sugar, while casein is a milk protein (that looks an awful lot like gluten, structurally speaking).

I hope this answers your questions! Take care!

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So..... does anyone have any miracle cures for this acne problem?

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Sarah,

Your description of the locations of your acne was exactly like where mine is located. And I have noticed that it has gotten much worse since I went gluten-free. Especially when I have a gluten accident. I'm having far too many of those right now, since I am the only gluten-free person in a house with 3 kids! There are gluten crumbs everywhere!

I would also like to know if anyone has any miracle cures for this! I noticed that I have had top throw out most of the toiletries in my bathroom, and I am about to replace all of my make up. Until I can afford it though, I only use it once a week (for church on Sundays) and I don't wear it during the week. I spend a few days recovering from the breakout from the one day, but I can't stand the acne when I'm dressed up for church and I want to look better...

And in between the acne spots are very dry patches on my cheeks, but any type of moisturizer just makes the acne worse. Any suggestions??

Connie,

That's interesting that you mentioned the soy allergy. I wonder if that is also making my acne worse. Since my reaction to soy is just itchiness, sometimes I go ahead and have something with soy in it and just take benadryl if it starts to bother me. But I wonder if it may be making my acne worse, as well.

Too many things to think about. Sometimes my head hurts too bad thinking about it all.

LisaB,

B-5 (Pantothenic Acid), it isn't yeast derived is it? I'm avoiding yeast right now, but will try almost anything to get rid of this acne. It hasn't been this bad since I was a teenager! Five years ago I used to get comments about my clear skin. How smooth and beautiful it was. Now, I'm not vain, and I don't need to get compliments to feel good about myself, but I would like to look in the mirror and see someone who looks allright looking back at me! Right now I'm pale white, with heavy bags under my eyes and acne breakouts scattered around... not too nice looking.

Any help would be appreciated.

God bless,

Mariann

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Mariann,

I know what you mean about the dry skin between the acne! I have flaking skin in a vertical stripe from the "third eye" area down to my chin. I seem to remember reading or hearing (but I totally forget where) that this is related to a B vitamin deficiency, or at least that large doses of B vitamins tend to help it.

Of course, I can't take synthetic vitamins because they make my acne a lot worse, and I am also avoiding yeast for a couple of weeks (at least) to see if I am sensitive to it, so I did a bit of research and discovered that rice bran is quite a nutrient-dense food: lots of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. I plan to buy a box today and toast it with a bit of ghee (which I haven't noticed myself reacting to--yet, at least) and a drizzle of maple syrup, then eat about 1/3 of a cup per day for a while and see what happens.

When I go out in social situations, I just use concealer to cover up each pimple individually and smooth out the color variation on my cheeks. This works adequately for me, although I am sure my standards are lower than most people's since I long ago gave up any hope of actually looking pretty! I have such dry eyes that I can't wear foundation or eye shadow (or contact lenses!) anyway.

I haven't had clear skin since I reached adolescence, so my self-image is improving quite a bit as my acne slowly fades away. (Though of course, I would love it if it would hurry faster!) Sometimes I think my face has gone numb because it doesn't HURT anymore when I touch it! Interestingly, I just had an acne outbreak on my shoulders and back WITHOUT having one on my face, and I did eat tofu for dinner shortly before this occurred. Blast it, I LIKE tofu! I don't want to have to give it up! Maybe it's just a temporary intolerance? Sigh....

I hope this helps a bit, and take care!

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Mariann,

NOW brand Pantothenic Acid states on the bottle: Contains no yeast, wheat, corn, gluten, soy, milk, sugar, salt or preservatives.

And by way of a progress report, I have been on it now for 8 days at high doses (3 doses of 5 capsules that are 500mg a day, which is on the about what is recommended for acne) and my face is already much better, my pores are smaller and tight, current acne is clearing, white heads are almost gone. I have had a couple of more pop up but they are not cysts like I usually get, just very small pimples. My hair is better, my skin is not dry any more and my hormones feel soooooo much better, that is another thing about B5, it is essential for hormone production. This is a great research study about it:

http://www.b5clearskin.com/vitacures/studshowb5wo.html

And on another site was this info:

Pantothenic Acid Uses & Scientific Evidence For

Pantothenic Acid increases stamina and can prevent certain forms of anemia. It keeps the gastrointestinal tract functioning properly. This vitamin supplement also has been used to treat depression and anxiety.

The body produces coenzyme A from three different components: adenosine triphosphate, cysteine, and vitamin B5. Adenosine triphosplate and cysteine are naturally produced within the body through various glands. They are always plentiful so long as the body's not terribly malnourished. Vitamin B5 is the only one that must be supplied from outside the body through one's diet. When there is enough B5 available in the diet, the deficiency in coenzyme A is eliminated. As a result, a person's fatty acids get broken down helping to reduce the release of oil in the skin. Without the over releasing of oil, acne is reduced. If fats that should have been broken down are not, they are re-circulated into the bloodstream and become deposited in the sebaceous glands (sweat glands) and secreted as oil. Oil is fat only in liquid form. Because teenagers have the highest hormone production rate, they are also the group with the highest amounts of acne.

Also:

Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid): Symptoms of deficiency are fatigue, chronic stress, and depression. Vitamin B5 is needed for hormone formation and the uptake of amino acids and the brain chemical acetylcholine, which combine to prevent certain types of depression.

Which would explain in my mind why acne is so related to hormones and depression...I know it is helping mine, I take all the Bs and I think they are all important and B5 shouldn't be taken with out a good multi B, but B5 is always low in these and because of our malabsorbtion issues we just aren't getting it in our diet as a healthy person would and our skin, hair, hormones, mental function (and I suspect weight gain due to lack of fat metabolism) show this.

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Hi,

I'm new to this board, and surely no expert, but some of the rashes, pimples, etc. that are being discussed here remind me of reactions that can happen when the body is cleansing itself of toxins. The skin is a cleansing organ, and sometimes the toxins are eliminated through the skin as well as the more normal routes, ie, the digestive tract, kidney, liver process, etc.

I've seen this happen more than once, sometimes to a strong degree, when a person who had been on a "junky American" diet, started taking even a natural multiple food/vitamin supplement. You could wonder if the first thing the body does when it's given a chance to improve itself is clean house and get rid of the toxins that are hanging around.

Folks with digestive issues often have bodies that have not been able to cleanse normally or properly due to digestive imbalances/possibly constipation issues/etc. for a long time before going gluten-free. Once they remove the gluten and give their bodies a chance to heal and return to normal function, "carrying out the trash" through any available exit including the skin may be a predictable reaction. Over time, sometimes a weeks or months, this reaction may taper off.

Alternative health enthusiasts are very familiar with this dynamic and have lots of concoctions to help aid of speed this process. It's wise to take it slowly or get a reliable alternative practicioner to recommend/supervise a detox program so you don't overdo it and put too much stress on yourself. I make that recommendation after an unusually severe reaction my husband suffered 10 years ago. (BTW, my husband, who got a positive blood test for celiac disease just weeks ago.) He has spent the last 35 years chronically constipated, and consequently very toxic. He drank a mug of herbal cleansing tea that did not bother other "normal" family members. He broke out with a rash and ended up with large weeping sores on his arms and lower legs. This was accompanied by fever, and general malaise. After missing too much work trying to let it run it's course, (you how men hate to see drs) he dragged himself in, and the puzzled dr stated that he had an "urecognizable systemic infection", and prescribed antibiotics.

We are so relieved to find the underlying reason for the problems my husband and some of our kids experience. We are currently in the testing process.

Olive

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One last comment, my husband, whom I mentioned in the last post, had breakouts

on his back and shoulders also.

Olive

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Thank you friends. I had no idea this would start such a great conversation. You have all given me a lot to think about!

Erika

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Well I thought I would file a progress report. My skin is now clear and I now have so much color in my skin I can't believe it! I have also always been ash white and looked like death (not even warmed over) and now I look better and better everyday and almost tan by my standards (I am strawberry blond but tan so the only time I looked alive at all was when I was tan). This is fantastic! I also take Electolyte Stamina formula daily by Trace Minerals and that has a high amount of the other Bs and minerals so I think that helps my color too.

Also another good thing to look into is Virgin Coconut Oil, there is a lot of info on why this could be good for lipid metabolism (and other problems associated with Candida and acne which many of us have problems with) on the thread "Gallbladder Flush" or something to that effect.

Here is to the hope that we all have beautiful, clear skin in the future!

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    • Squirmingitch, I forgot to mention best of luck to you during the storm! I hope you are safe and that your home isn't impacted too badly! I'm on the coast in SC so we will see some storms from it but nothing near as bad as what you will have. Take care and good luck.
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