If you’ve spent any amount of time researching possible solutions to get rid of your acne, you’ve probably come across at least one person who recommends going vegan to cure acne. But can going vegan actually improve your skin? Or is it just one more in a long list of “natural” acne treatments that don’t work?
After following a vegan diet for about three months, I have some thoughts. Keep reading to learn what they are.
Will a Vegan Diet Cure Your Acne? The Claims
People are drawn to vegan diets for many reasons: food sustainability, better nutrition, weight loss and, among those reasons, less acne and clearer skin.
Some people even claim that they’ve been able to completely cure their acne thanks to a vegan diet. With such promising messages from people who have also suffered with acne, in some cases for many years, many of us who struggle with acne start thinking about whether or not we should give veganism a try.
The skin benefits of a vegan diet are often said to be:
- glowing skin
- a decrease in acne
- a healthier looking complexion
- younger looking skin
- fewer wrinkles
- smoother skin
I don’t think there’s any reason not to give a vegan diet a try. Though you do have to be careful about making sure you get enough of the vitamins your body needs, it’s a pretty safe diet to be on, especially if you don’t have any nut or soy allergies.
But does going vegan really mean you’ll have smoother, glowing, acne-free skin?
How Going Vegan Changed My Skin
At the time I started my vegan diet (the beginning of September 2018), I had decided to follow a raw vegan diet, which means not eating anything cooked, pasteurized, etc. You can basically only eat raw, whole foods and nuts. No pasta, no processed foods and, of course, no meat, dairy or eggs.
Overall, the diet wasn’t that hard to stick too, and I didn’t find the meal prep to be particularly difficult. (Cleaning up after my meals, however, was another story.)
At the time, I would say that I’d already cleared up my acne for the most part. I’d been on several medications my dermatologist recommended, and those had really worked for me. I was still getting a pimple or two here and there, but that was completely fine as far as I was concerned.
After a week or two of eating vegan, though, my skin cleared up even more and I noticed that I was going a week at a time without getting a new pimple.
Towards the end of the third week, however, my skin started to look noticeably dull and I was craving chicken, BAD.
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I took both of these signals as signs of some kind of nutrient deficiency, and decided to put a pause on being vegan for the weekend. I ate meats and cheeses and sweet, sweet cooked meals, and really didn’t notice much of a change in my skin.
After that weekend, I went back to being vegan, but decided that there was no good reason for me to stay raw vegan. (There’s actually zero research to support the benefits of eating raw plant-based foods instead of cooked plant-based foods. Basically, eating plants is good for you and it really doesn’t matter if you cook them or not.)
I’ve followed a regular vegan diet for the past two months since that time, and I’d say the skin benefits have been about the same. Most weeks I don’t get any new breakouts, which has been amazing for me. I do take cheat weekends now and then, because why not? (I am only human after all.) But other than that I stick to eating vegan, and usually whole vegan foods, throughout each week.
Did Going Vegan Cure My Acne?
No. But it did help it, in addition to being on medication for my acne.
If I had just gone vegan without being on medication for my acne, I don’t think it would have done much to help my skin. My acne is stubborn and aggressive, and seems to mostly be caused by a hormone imbalance.
I don’t believe there’s any way that going vegan would have cured my skin, had I not also been on birth control and prescription medication.
If you’re able to cure your acne just using a vegan diet, that’s awesome.
However, for most people, I wouldn’t get your hopes too high up about clearing your skin on just a vegan diet. Instead, I’d recommend talking to your dermatologist first about creating a long-term treatment plan for your skin.
Then, after you see some results from your dermatologist-recommended treatment plan, going vegan might help you clear up those last few pimples.
Veganism and Acne
Going vegan is a relatively safe and easy way to try to treat your acne. It makes sense why so many people turn to it as a possible acne treatment, especially when they can’t afford prescription medication or a dermatology visit at the time.
However, if going vegan doesn’t completely cure your acne, or even seem to help much at all, don’t get discouraged. Chances are, you just need a stronger approach to treating your acne first. Then, if you still want to go vegan, you’ll likely be able to see some skin benefits from it when you acne has subsided a little.
What are your experiences with dietary changes and acne? Have you tried going vegan and seen any results? Share your thoughts with the community in the comments section below.