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Why don't French have much acne?

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  • Why don't French have much acne?

    Everytime I travel to Paris I notice how perfect their skin is. I know they don't use a lot of the harsh products that we use here.

    I used to have bad acne, took accutane (big mistake for my body) but it did clear up everything. I now am struggling again with some breakouts and am using glycolic pads, Obagi products and Retin-a from my dermatologist. It helps but doesnt seem to cure.

    Is it better to use natural/no products or to stick with these products from the dermatologist? Obviously diet plays a huge role but I am really good with my diet at this point so not sure why we struggle with acne here in America. Share your stories and advice

  • #2
    This reminds me of something that I've been wondering about: Would teenage Grok have had acne? I can't picture what the evolutionary advantage of it would be. Unless it was a byproduct of some other valuable process.
    Vegan from 1993 until Oct 16, 2010. "D'oh!!"


    • #3
      From what I understand, the French take very good care of their skin. Skin products, dermatologists, all that. It helps that their health system allows them dermatologist visits, and people take advantage of that. As a woman, I can tell you that we've known for years that French women have gorgeous skin, wear minimal makeup, and are generally envied worldwide :P
      F 28/5'4/100 lbs

      "I'm not a psychopath, I'm a high-functioning sociopath; do your research."


      • #4
        I don't know how old you are. As a teen, you may just have to live with it for a while.

        If you had improvement from antibiotics, it's likely a problem stemming from your gut bacteria. How's your probiotic intake?
        Depression Lies


        • #5
          Originally posted by namelesswonder View Post
          I don't know how old you are. As a teen, you may just have to live with it for a while.

          If you had improvement from antibiotics, it's likely a problem stemming from your gut bacteria. How's your probiotic intake?
          I am 26 now and take daily probiotics. I have had gut issues since accutane but when I was pretty sick, and was vegan, that was when my skin was FLAWLESS.

          French dont use a lot of scrubs and products that we use here. They use lots of creams, wash their face with only water and use alot of oils.

          I can't seem to figure out a link here but I would like to understand what works and what doesn't


          • #6
            Won't necessarily work for you but I wash my face with just water or baking soda/water, then use a toner of 1 part apple cider vinegar to 3 parts water, then use an oil blend of 1 part castor oil and 3 part sunflower oil (high quality), all natural products and I very very rarely have any breakouts.

            Hope you find something that works for you!


            • #7
              I use to suffer from acne that was very resistant to medication, both topical and internal. I was on Accutane, which was awful, and have been on all sorts of antibiotics, Retin-A topical creams, and gycolic peels.

              I don't have much acne anymore, and when I do get it, it's because of too much dairy or chocolate, and is usually a spot or two on my back. It's no big deal and not anything like it use to be.

              Here's why I improved: Apart from eating primal and removing dairy from my diet, I used only coconut oil and water to clean my face. No soap whatsoever. This made me feel uncomfortable at first, since I always thought that oil was what clogged my pores and gave me acne to begin with. After a few days, I already saw an improvement. The complete game-changer was when I added a very strong probiotic supplement (Ultimate Flora 50 billion cultures). After about a week of taking the probiotic, I had the clearest skin of my life and it continues to get better. I continue to eat probiotic foods and slowly heal my gut.

              So why is this? Gut health and skin health are linked. Gut issues can manifest themselves in the form of acne. This was true for me and my husband, who had chronic acne on the insides of his thighs.

              Now, what about the French? For one, the French eat a lot of probiotic foods, like fermented dairy, pickled veggies, fermented meats, and wine. Their diet is very high in gut-nourishing fat, as well as nutrient-rich organ meats (think pate) and bone broth (think French onion soup). Yes, they eat grains, so their diet isn't primal, but it's vastly removed from the modern diet of Americans, whose diet is deprived of bacteria and chock-full of gut-depleting processed foods.
              Visit my blog Primal Homeskillet. And eat it too.


              • #8
                Interesting information. I do eat chocolate every day, maybe its the sugar in my diet that makes me break out. I am already on a high probiotic (Klaire Labs- Therbiotic complete was recommended for me).

                Has a diet pretty high in fat caused any problems? I can't seem to find the connection except that I might be over doing it with products right now and had been eating some sheep/goat cheese (although really not a lot maybe 1 oz a few times a week).

                Dont eat wheat or any grains anymore either.


                • #9
                  acne was never really an issue for me, but my skin has gotten clearer and better since i stopped using cleanser on it. i use steam and a washcloth. coincidentally i no longer need moisturizer either.

                  i suspect it does have much to do with your gut and that may take some time to heal. in addition to the probiotics, add daily bone broth.
                  As I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away, leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture, and as I drank their cold liquid from each shell and washed it down with the crisp taste of the wine, I lost the empty feeling and began to be happy and to make plans.

                  Ernest Hemingway


                  • #10
                    Chocolate is a major acne trigger food for me and also gives me constipation if I eat it more than one day in a row. I want to deny that this happens, because I love chocolate. Because of this, chocolate now has this elevated status that it never had before; which is that is very special treat because I can't eat it that often.

                    I've experimented with fat intake, and my acne has never gotten worse with increased fat. Fat is very nourishing for the lining of the GI tract, and should improve skin health if anything. Try backing off the topicals a little at a time and add a little bit of coconut oil to moisturize your skin. I can say from experience that topicals never helped me in the long run. At first they would work, giving me a little bit of hope, then my acne would disagree with it and get worse.

                    You're on a good probiotic, so you're already on the right track! Avoid sugar as much as possible. Sugar will feed the bad candida yeasts that are in your system and irritate your gut. Right now, you want to crowd out the bad bacteria with the good.

                    Definitely try adding bone broth if you can. It's so good for so many things.
                    Visit my blog Primal Homeskillet. And eat it too.


                    • #11
                      Thanks Katiethepiano for the advice. Maybe it is the chocolate for me, i will have to experiment with that. I find that topicals work too but also irritate and don't actually CURE the ROOT of the problem.

                      I tried doing the bone marrow broth a few times but just couldnt get really into it. I will have to try doing it again though because I have heard nothing but great things on this site.

                      Glad to know fats arent an issue, if anything I do better on a higher fat diet for constipation and I guess it shouldn't aggravate any acne


                      • #12
                        Hey VeggieLover!

                        I've never had horrible acne - just horribly sensitive skin. Perhaps some of it is useful to you, so here is what I have learned: almost all those "products" out there... are mostly junk. I'm just wondering if you have truly read the full ingredients list from everything you do put on your skin. When you start doing this and religiously research each and every single ingredient listed, you will be shocked at what is going on your skin. So many ingredients are first-class skin irritants, and stuff that is supposed to moisturize actually does the opposite. The rest are preservatives, and if they can kill bacteria in the bottle, why is it that nobody considers that those same preservatives will still kill bacteria when applied to the skin (as in, kill the good protective bacteria), for example?

                        Also, if it is going on your skin, it is going into your body... and how much of that stuff do we really want to "ingest" via our skin?

                        Otherwise, two of the biggest offenders in my body are chemical additives to food (preservatives, artificial colors, artificial flavors, fungicides...). And seed oils. Seriously. That has been the biggest, most awesome surprise of my life... that seed oils inflame my skin. Once I got them out of my diet, I could walk and play outside in our Ohio sunshine and not fry to a crisp! (I am famous for not wanting to go outside and play because it would feel like my skin was on fire, which is really sad because I have four kids who want their mama to play with them, you know.)

                        Americans in general also wash just too damn much (with too much/many soap and detergents). I have German family in spades over in the Vaterland, and have been to Paris myself, and there is this cultural divide between US visitors who seem to be astounded at the "lax" hygiene of Europeans and the Europeans who think Americans are OCD with the showering. I have learned (from a French friend and a German natural skin care book series) that it doesn't take a Super-Bacteria-Killer-Artificially-Perfumed-Highly-Foaming-Detergent-Bar to get skin clean. The next time you are in Paris, try asking those women what they do to wash up, and see if they will answer you. I had a horrible time in Paris and think Parisians all are huge snots, but perhaps they will take a liking to you and give you useful information - you might even see a trend or two and be able to translate that to your routine over here.

                        My French friend swears by softening her water, even if she has to add a little baking soda to a clean sink full to get it. Now I have well water (we moved to the country) softened by a house water softener, and we really don't like "city water" much anymore.

                        But, yeah, definitely get the gut in order. Be sure to add fermented FOODS to your diet as much as you are humanly able, and not just probiotic capsules. There are a lot of helpful, nourishing compounds in true foods that aren't in those supplement bottles.
                        I have a mantra that I have spouted for years... "If I eat right, I feel right. If I feel right, I exercise right. If I exercise right, I think right. If I think right, I eat right..." Phil-SC


                        • #13
                          I never had acne when I was young. But I fell for the commercials so I bought some products to clean my skin and put on afterward. I broke out! I knew right then it was all a scam. Anyway, I think you've gotten some good advice.
                          Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.


                          • #14
                            The French have one of the lowest intakes of fructose and one of the highest intakes of saturated fat in the developed world.

                            Fructose being highly inflammatory and bad for the skin.

                            The French also generally eat a lot of seafood and vegetables which both promote healthy, clear skin.

                            Vanity may also be relevant.
                            Last edited by paleo-bunny; 10-19-2012, 01:34 PM.
                            F 5 ft 3. HW: 196 lbs. Primal SW (May 2011): 182 lbs (42% BF)... W June '12: 160 lbs (29% BF) (UK size 12, US size 8). GW: ~24% BF - have ditched the scales til I fit into a pair of UK size 10 bootcut jeans. Currently aligning towards 'The Perfect Health Diet' having swapped some fat for potatoes.