“For the first time in 15 years I’m free of acne”


Laura had been suffering from acne problems for over 15 years, and had treatments full of side effects with medications which only gave temporary alleviation. Finally she started searching on her own for the reason her body reacted this way.

She found low carb and this is what happened:

The email

Hello Diet Doctor!

I’ve never been overweight, instead it was my skin problems that got me looking for alternatives to the countless ineffective pieces of advice I’ve received from physicians over the years. I’m now 28 years old but until recently have never had a completely acne-free face. Really, not even one day free from acne for 15 years. I’ve tried everything from Tetralysal, doxycycline, cortisone, prescription creams, expensive facial treatments and creams, to excluding dairy products and having osteopath treatment. Everything except for Accutane which, according to me, causes side effects that are too difficult. I could probably have gone on a trip around the world with all the money I’ve spent on fixing my skin. Imagine if I had met a doctor who focused on what causes acne instead of trying to remove the symptoms!

About four years ago I had just given up on my acne, accepted that it doesn’t “go away when you grow up” like the dermatologists had said. On top of everything I got a strange redness with little pus-filled pimples around my eyes, nose and mouth – I had developed perioral dermatitis. Everyone who’s got acne, perioral dermatitis or rosacea knows how incredibly much it affects ones quality of life. I was desperate and turned once again to the health care. The doctor at the care center prescribed tetralysal for 8 weeks as well as cortisone cream for my face. The antibiotics and the cortisone not only wiped out my entire immune system and ruined my sensitive skin but the dermatitis came back after a few months. I decided to never again eat antibiotics or use strong medications. I decided to find the reason for my problems and I felt more and more convinced that my skin problems were a sign that something wasn’t right with my body.

I quickly found low-carb, low carb high fat, and gobbled down enormous amounts of information and changed my diet straight away. My skin got better, not entirely good, but better. Being a severe sugar addict I felt content with this and ate liberal LCHF and fell off the wagon and ate sugar every once in a while. I felt good, but I now realize that the insulin resistance caused an inflammation which never got to heal properly and therefore prevented my skin from being quite free from problems. I was inspired by Ann Fernholm’s book about the hormone IGF-1 and immediately realized the connection. And after having read Dr. Fung’s blog I started with intermittent fasting in order to raise the insulin sensitivity and lower the inflammation: 16:8 plus one 24 hour fast every week.

I’m not kidding, after FOUR days my skin was free of problems. For the first time in 15 years I’m free of acne and for the first time in four years my perioral dermatitis is gone. In order to rule out other underlying factors that could possibly explain this change, I stopped after a month and ate “regular” food without fasting – the problem returned! So I’ve really found my lifestyle, thank you for an awesome blog!



A big congratulations to you, Laura! To be rid of something that’s been troubling you for so long must be a relief.

There are scientific reasons for why LCHF and intermittent fasting can help with acne problems. These kinds of problems seem to have strong connections to elevated hormone levels of insulin and IGF in the blood. These send growth signals to sebaceous glands in the skin which grow together and block the pores.

LCHF and intermittent fasting lowers and normalizes insulin and IGF numbers, which may normalize the sebaceous glands as well, so that they no longer are a hotbed for acne.

This isn’t the first success story on this theme:

Acne (and IBS) Vanished with a Diet Change

Do you have experience with acne and diet changes? Let us know in the comments.

Share your story

Do you have a success story you want to share? Send your information, plus before and after photos, to success@dietdoctor.com. It would also be greatly appreciated if you shared what you eat in a typical day, whether you fast etc. More information:

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  1. Pierre
    Laura is simply gluten sensitive .
    Here are some health conditions caused by grains.


    Replies: #2, #5
  2. Bob Niland
    Actually, Pierre, we don't know from the testimonial above that Laura has eliminated gluten-bearing grains from her diet. Just being LCHF, of course, would imply that grain intake is pretty low.

    But your point is still valid, as wheat consumption alone may be an acne provoker. It's appetite-provoking, often addictive, and with the risks of celiac and NCGS unknown in this case, setting the wheat dial to zero, and nailing it there, is a sensible precautionary measure. And sure, barley and rye too.

  3. Lika

    What do you think about this? just wondering

    Reply: #4
  4. Pierre

    LCHF diet must bother the anointed that are selling junk and pills.

    Reply: #6
  5. Justin
    Science should never be about definitives when dealing with the human body. Additionally, I've dealt with the same issues for my entire life so far, and I can tell you that eliminating gluten from my diet for years didn't seem to make it go away. I'm very interested to try the same approach as Laura here, because having this issue as an adult is a real bummer.
    Reply: #7
  6. chris c
    Yes it smacks of desperation.
  7. chris c
    I'd suggest you and Laura get hold of a glucometer and test your blood glucose around an hour after eating - you may be surprised.

    Not acne but I suffered from countless minor and chronic skin, eye, gum, sinus and fungal infections, and outbreaks of thrush for most of my life, along with other things that are "common in diabetics" like dyslipidemia and early onset high BP.

    After FIFTY years a doctor finally gave me a Glucose Tolerance Test, which I only just "passed". Using the meter I was expressly told not to use I discovered my postprandial BG was routinely going up to 8 - 10, which I have since been told is "perfectly normal". No, it may have become "common" but is NOT "normal". Many diabetics I know have tested friends and family and found, like Dr Richard Bernstein, that genuinely normal people have VERY tightly controlled BG in the region of 4.5 - 5.5 whatever they eat or do.

    Nailing my BG by low carbing made all the other problems reduce or go away completely. Though I don't appear to be gluten intolerant as such, wheat causes much worse glucose spikes than almost any other carb source - I blame Wheat Germ Agglutinin.

    Added benefits - my teeth no longer need fillings and hardly even need polishing. Too late for the two that fell out as my gums rotted though.

  8. Jules
    Hi Lika,

    Read the health.com article you asked about. Excuse my crudity, but what an unmitigated load of BS - No reflection on you, you are just posting the article for comment from others!

    I love the line "Only 78% managed to stay on a low-carb diet whilst 90% managed to stay on a high carb diet" - therefore a high carb diet is more sustainable!!!

    Yes, because the high carbers are hooked and addicted on the damaging sugars in refined carbs.

    I think a 78% success rate for LCHF, maintaining the diet over 2 years, is pretty awesome really, considering that it involves people giving up sugar, which is more addictive than crack cocaine according to Robert Lustig!!!

    On a personal note, ALL my ailments (joint pain, constant headaches, overweight, post-nasal-sinus drip, chronic inflammation, eczema, anxiety and depression etc.) literally DISSAPEARED after a couple of months on LCHF.

    I have been sugar "clean" and LCHF for 2.5 years now and have never felt better!

  9. George
    Great - so instead of just cuttung wheat & sugar for her skin, she's now given herself unnecessary restrictions & adopted a highly orthorexic lifestyle for no good reason. Not everyone needs to fast all the time. Her letter makes her sound manic. I wonder iif we should be worried about her right now.
    Replies: #10, #21
  10. murray
    I applaud Laura's "highly orthorexic lifestyle." After 15 years of significant negative impact on her life and psychic wellbeing, she has found that eliminating wheat and sugar improved but did not resolve her condition, which required the addition of intermittent fasting. How is that pathological? "Orthorexy" is a term anti-LCHF wags love to toss about, but sanity is a question of proportionality. Following the toxic orthodoxic advice again and again without success is, as Einstein might say, the very definition of insanity. Taking more rigorous measures to address a more obstinate resistance is proportionality that is the paradigm of sane intelligence.

    Well done, Laura.

    Reply: #11
  11. Pierre

    "Orthorexy" is a term anti-LCHF wags love to toss about, but sanity is a question of proportionality.

    Oh yes, you are so right.

    As soon as you say dont eat grains, they say you follow an orthorexic lifestyle or you are simply crazy.

    I think the main reason for this, is that they are unable to give up grains and sugar.

  12. Mike S.
    My general thought on the Health.com "article" (I have a hard time calling slideshows with short quips "articles") is that it is high on conjecture and hypothesis, but seriously low on facts. Very few facts and figures, and none of those provided addressed the relative effectiveness of Low Carb versus High Carb. The closest was the adherence rates, but it doesn't do any good for 90% of participants to be able to stick with a diet if most aren't actually improving on it, and the article says nothing about whether they were or weren't.

    One specific thought was regarding the constipation figures. I had that same issue when I first started LCHF, and I eventually eliminated it by cutting out mozzarella cheese sticks (the only cheese I ate with any regularity). Lots of anecdotal evidence linking dairy consumption with constipation in some individuals, so I figured it was worth a try - and it was.

    I had to Google "orthorexy", never heard the term before. I could say some things about that, but murray (comment #10) already hit the nail on the head.

  13. robert
    Extraordinary problems requite extraordinary measures.

    If the dietary approach works, the problem goes away and the "extraordinary" measures become the new normal. What outsiders may think and say is irrelevant, let they waffle.

    Replacing wheat with LCHF foods won't somehow conjure up a nutrient deficient diet or even malnutrition, so no problem there.

    AND she's clearly not an NZO mouse, so eating this way is beneficial - as shown above.

  14. James
    Ironically enough I never suffered from acne at any stage in my life, however I am a long time sufferer of psoriasis {since my early twenty’s}. Just as with acne I have seen literally hundreds of different claims for x food or x product cleared my skin. While most are simply promoting some product that they have a financial interest in there are plenty genuine cases of people who have experienced benefits by following whatever lifestyle or diet change they are promoting. Unfortunately as with Psoriasis, even more so in fact as more people suffer from acne. There are literally tens/hundreds of millions of sufferers worldwide a “N of 1” trial tells us absolutely nothing. I have seen claims made everyone from vegans to paleo and all points in-between swearing that it cured their psoriasis.

    I am very pleased for Laura that she has found something that helps her , but it says nothing about LCHF

  15. Warren
    My cystic acne got worse with LCHF until I realized that coconut oil/milk and ghee/butter do not agree with me. Now it is better.
  16. wendy
    My psoriasis has always cleared when I cut down on sugar and carbs. Since being LCHF and in ketosis, no new patches and small ones i had cleared up. I don't have a severe case though, thankfully.
  17. Kimberly
    Is Ann Fernholm’s book available in English? It doesn’t show up on amazon.com (US.) I’d like more information on the connection between adult acne and IGF-1.
  18. Harmony Suitts
    I was searching for an acne product that would help eliminate my acne, so I decided to give Dermalmd a go. Since using dermalmd acne serum, there has been a drastic reduction in my facial acne. I would recommend acne serum of dermalmd to anyone looking for a solution to their acne.
  19. Siddharth Kale
    I had the same problem as Laura's.. In fact, even worse - I had cystic acne.. I have photos to prove it..No amount of "medicines" would cure the cause.. So I cut out all the refined carbs, milk, went on LCHF +IF.. my problem is gone...Indeed, diet is the best medicine
  20. Stella
    I have a similar experience. I've had for about 20 years. Over the years I have tried everything! From proactive, to retin A, Accutane to antibiotics...everything. Nothing was a permanent solution not even the very serious medication. I tried intermittent fasting to kick start a diet and noticed really quickly that my skin improved. Went back to eating regular over the holidays and it came back. Im now fasting again and my face is the clearest it has been in years! I haven't eliminated any food groups from my diet btw, just a 16:8 fast. I eat 1 main meal a day and a few snacks. The improvement simply cannot be denied
  21. michael
    you sir apparently dont understand what it is to go hardcore. it will change your life. don't be a pu@#y
  22. 2 comments removed
  23. Andre
    I have the same experience. My dentist did intermittent fasting and 3 day fast for autofagy every 3rd month. I needed to shed 8 kg.

    It put me in a path where I found Dr Jasin Fung on YouTube. I did some longer fasts of 3-5 days, and to my surprise I not only lost weight and my acne cleared up. I am 47 year old male and I have had acne for 35 years. Now I do IF daily and one long fast per month (3-5 days) in my fitness training recovery week.

    Only downside to fasting I found is that since I am much more alert, the quality of my sleep is not the same during a long fast. Other than that, I have no issues. I even find my job to be easier since my thoughts are much clearer during a fast.

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