Q&A #1: Exfoliation, Raw Food, and Detox

Hey there! Sonia here.

Some of our blog readers may not know this, but we have an active CSF Forum where Devin personally helps readers of our ebook with acne and their skin – and as of September 2018, it has over 1,400 topics and 11,000 posts! Since Devin puts a lot of energy into giving in-depth responses, we thought we’d share some of the juicier topics with you. So without further ado, I’m handing it over to Devin for the first question in our new Forum Q&A series!

Devin, I have talked with several people (myself included) who seem to need manual exfoliation on their faces. If I don’t exfoliate, I will get bumps in my skin regardless of how great my diet is, but if I exfoliate I’m just fine. What are your thoughts on this? I ignorantly had two courses of Accutane as a teenager, which I wish I hadn’t, but I didn’t know better then. I often wonder if that messed up my skin’s ability to naturally deal with dead skin cells.

Here’s my answer:

I used to think exfoliation was necessary as well – I had pretty dry skin, especially around my eyebrows, and really needed to exfoliate regularly if I wanted to get rid of the flakes each time. Since I’ve made some dietary changes in the past 3 months, this dry/flaky skin has totally gone away.

I’ve been experimenting with Aajonus Vonderplanitz’s Primal Diet (largely but not 100%), which involves me eating a LOT of raw animal foods, including raw eggs, raw butter, raw cream, raw milk, raw honey, raw meat (mostly grass-fed lamb), and raw bone marrow (also mostly lamb, but some grass-fed beef marrow too). Lots of seaweed as well (dulse).

This seems to have totally cured my chronic lifelong constipation, which is very shocking to me, since I’ve dealt with it since I was a kid, even through paleo and other styles of eating.

The only two diets that have ever led to me being totally constipation-free are 80/10/10 raw vegan (mostly raw fruits/veggies), and this current 50-75% Primal Diet.

Again, I’m not being 100% raw – I’m still eating my sourdough einkorn/rye bread, some beans/lentils, some other cooked foods here and there, but I will say that my body has very little desire for vegetables at the moment and I’m not forcing myself to eat them. I’m trying to heal from orthorexia and over-intellectualization of diet, so I’m attempting to get more in tune with my body’s instinctive wisdom about what foods it wants and doesn’t want, and I’m trying to really respect that, rather than override it with thoughts like “well, I gotta have vegetables daily for a balanced and mineral-dense diet, right?”

My current intuition on dry, flaky skin is that it is the result of detoxification. The skin is one of the body’s first-line dumping organs for eliminating toxins, and any excess skin growth, dandruff, flakiness, bumps, acne lesions, etc., indicates that the body is getting rid of such toxins.

Those toxins might be fluoride, other water toxins, bromide, PAHs, HCAs, aluminum, mercury, cadmium, lead, arsenic, antibiotic residues, pharmaceutical drug residues, lipid peroxides, lipofuscin, bisphenol and other plasticizers, dioxin, PCBs… the list goes on!

We manufacture and use something like 50,000+ chemicals in industry and consumer products, most of which have not been thoroughly tested for overall safety, biological accumulation, genotoxicity, teratogenicity, etc. It’s pretty astonishing.

I’ve been on a hard-line path to removing as much of this as possible from my food, water, and environment, and it’s been pretty difficult. I’m visiting a friend in Chicago at the moment (on a cross-country road trip), and I had to drive 45 minutes away to a farm just to get raw milk because it’s illegal to buy it in stores, but you can buy all the grain-fed, centrifuged, recombined, pasteurized, homogenized, antibiotic-injected, plastic-jug milk you want. Where’s the humanity in that?

When you said “I will get bumps in my skin regardless of how great my diet is,” I would perhaps offer that your diet might not be as pure as you think it is, and that this might be the reason why you’re still having acne and/or dry skin.

That’s certainly what I’ve discovered the hard way, time and time again. I think I’ve got it nailed, and then discover some new toxin source I wasn’t aware of. Argh! So frustrating! And it feels good to be figuring out more and more ways of purifying my body and lifestyle, too.

(For example, I just read an article about the Turkish mafia selling container-ship-loads of conventionally grown corn from Russia as “organic” corn in the US, and many shipments probably slipped by without being caught due to lack of per-shipment testing for pesticide residues. So even “organic” doesn’t always mean free of toxins, due to shady business practices and lack of enforcement.)

The take-away? Get to know the people who grow your food. Call your farmers, Facebook message them, visit them, meet them at the farmers’ market. Anything to start a relationship with the people who grow your food! (And grow some of your own food if you can and feel inspired to!)

Rather than buying food mostly from a grocery store (even a natural foods store), I would suggest buying as much food as possible from farms you can actually visit, or farmers you can interact with and buy from directly, like a farmer’s market, CSA, Local Food Node, etc.

For a list of local farms that offer real food, check out Eat Wild.

I would guess that as of this writing, 70-80% of my diet is sourced directly from farmers (and hopefully more soon), which is a big shift from my longtime previous habits of buying most of my food from natural foods stores.

If you’re interested in reading more along these lines, I’ve started recommending Aajonus Vonderplanitz’s book We Want To Live: The Primal Diet (2005 Edition) to friends, family and CSF readers. It is the most eye-opening health book I’ve ever read, and I’ve read a lot of health books. 🙂

———————–

Hey, it’s Sonia again. Thanks for reading! I hope you feel inspired to eat more real food, and support your local, organic farmers. (Or grow your own!) Stay tuned for the next Q&A in our CSF Forum topics series, coming out in October 2018. Sign up for our email list to make sure you don’t miss it!

About Devin Mooers

Devin MooersHey! Over the past 10 years, I've developed a powerful system for clearing acne with a little-known diet- and lifestyle-based method, and I want to spread the love. That's why I started Clear Skin Forever back in 2011. I studied engineering and product design at Stanford University, and graduated in the top 5% of my class, but afterward, I decided to focus on writing about health, since I found it so fulfilling to help people clear their acne for good. Thanks for reading, and sign up for email updates to stay in the loop with clear skin tips! Also, be sure to check out our book if you haven't yet, all about how to fix acne permanently with diet and lifestyle changes. We've helped thousands of people get clear skin this way!

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{ 51 Comments }

  1. kaleigh phillips says

    Starting to use the “teccino” chicory root based coffee replacer and let go of the coffee drinking. What are your thoughts on this ? Different sources I found state it as good for the gut because the chichory fiber is a prebiotic. Any thoughts?

    • Devin Mooers says

      Hey Kaleigh! Prebiotic fiber can provide great food for beneficial gut bacteria for sure. It’s essentially a root brew decoction, which have been used medicinally for ages. I’ve started making herbal tea in the mornings from bulk herbs (goldenrod, calendula, chamomile, pine needles, fir tips, etc.), many of which we’ve collected ourselves (but many of which we get from the co-op). I definitely feel way better when I wake up, and am not so stressed out later, since dropping coffee!

  2. Sam says

    Hi Devin,

    How low PUFA diets do you recommend? Do you think you can get all the PUFAs you need from eating beans, whole grains and whole milk? I have always felt terrible every time I have eaten seeds, fish oil and other EFA supplements.

    • Devin Mooers says

      Hey Sam! Yeah, definitely. Very low PUFA is good. It’s all about quality and freshness with PUFA – most fish oils, seeds, supplements, etc. are totally rancid by the time you ingest them. Yes, the Inuit traditionally eat tons of seal blubber (high in PUFA), but it’s extremely fresh and non-oxidized when ingested, and they also eat thyroid glands of seals, which provides loads of iodine and thyroid hormone to block lipid peroxidation of that PUFA.

      How do you feel with raw oysters, have you tried that? They’re a prime acne-busting food, with lots of zinc and also super-fresh DHA.

  3. Brooke Turley says

    Ok, you’re officially talking crappy science, in light of this article about marigolds and chickens. Apparently it very much does indeed improve eggs to have marigolds in the chickens’ diets.

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/scialert.net/fulltext/amp.php%3fdoi=ijps.2017.11.15

    I certainly hope that no one has gone and altered either their own diet or that of their poultry, just because of your half-baked scare tactics. Good grief. “ Fake orange” in nature, indeed.

    • Devin Mooers says

      Hey Brooke! Wow, color me (majorly) wrong. Thanks for pointing this out! That was really sloppy – I don’t know what I thought that marigold color would not be related to an antioxidant carotene. Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy. I’m sorry about this carelessness – I have removed this from the post after following up on the articles you linked! I will try to be more careful next time.

  4. Brooke Turley says

    Hi, I hate to burst your anti-marigold bubble, but the thing is, marigolds are orange themselves due to caratenoids! They’re full of nutrients, actually, and there’s no such thing as “fake orange” in nature.

    (Unless I count the time that my dad consumed massive quantities of beta-carotene in his heroic search for a natural “fake tan”. That time, “fake orange” definitely fit the bill.)

    Here’s an article that details the nutritional profile of marigolds:

    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1756464612000734

    • Devin Mooers says

      Hey Brooke! (Just duplicating the response here to your other comment) Wow, color me (majorly) wrong. Thanks for pointing this out! That was really sloppy – I don’t know what I thought that marigold color would not be related to an antioxidant carotene. Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy. I’m sorry about this carelessness – I have removed this from the post after following up on the articles you linked! I will try to be more careful next time.

  5. tom hennessy says

    Researchers in a recent study took 60 women with hyperandrogenemia which has cystic acne as a major symptom, and reduced the iron in 30 by phlebotomy, and gave the ‘standard of care’ to the other 30, found, phlebotomy to reduce iron levels was as effective as the drugs used in the ‘standard of care’.

    Effect of phlebotomy versus oral contraceptives containing cyproterone acetate on the clinical and biochemical parameters in women with polycystic ovary syndrome: a randomized controlled trial. J Ovarian Res 12, 78 (2019).

    https://doi.org/10.1186/s13048-019-0554-9

    There seems to be more to the iron than we fully realize ..

    • Devin Mooers says

      Hey Tom – whoa, that’s fascinating! Great find! Amazing that phlebotomy brought on normal menstruation in 44% of subjects – I bet if they also added 3,000 IU of retinol, it would have improved results even more (vit. A boosts ceruloplasmin production to bind excess free iron).

    • Sean says

      Hey Rey, do you consume Magnesium through supplements or are you making an effort to eat Magnesium rich foods?

      (just curious)

  6. Luo says

    Stress can induce a series of negative effects on the human body. Many people are easily depressed under pressure, which has a bad influence on the treatment of acne.
    Some people overeating under pressure, too much sugar can easily induce acne.
    And stress can make people unable to sleep, and lack of sleep has too much effect on the skin.

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Master your acne in 4 weeks or less
  • Fix the root causes of your acne: fluoride, diet, sleep, stress & more
  • Exclusive forum access with 4,000+ members
  • Food Explorer App with skin safety ratings of 450+ foods
  • 96% of customers satisfied