I'll never forget when I was babysitting one day after college and the tiny 1-year-old pointed to a monstrosity of a zit on my chin. I tried to ignore her and distract her with a toy, but she kept pointing. The mother looked at me sympathetically and just said, "Yep, she has a boo-boo."
At that point, it had been well over 10 years since I had experienced bad breakouts. I didn't have terrible acne that covered my face, but my issue was that I always had a few enormous, Rudolf-the-red-nosed-reindeer types of pimples that were deep, painful, and red. There was never a moment when I was zit-free; when one was going away, another few were popping up.
I was so self-conscious because it continued into my 30s. I saw a dermatologist, determined to clear my skin before my wedding day in August 2008, but the harsh topical medications only made my skin red and irritated, and my skin didn't clear up at all. Into my mid to late 30s, my two pregnancies did help a little (thank you, hormones!), but after each baby was born, the acne would return. I was now 40 years old and still breaking out.
How I Cured My Acne
It wasn't until January 2017, when I gave up sugar for a month for my New Year's resolution, that I experienced soft, clear skin for the first time. I actually gave up sugar not for my skin (I didn't know it would help), but as a personal experiment to heal the belly bloat I had been experiencing for six months that my doctor couldn't figure out.
I not only felt better after the second week, feeling zero bloat and digestive issues, but the acne I've had on my chin since I was 12 years old disappeared. I kept looking in the mirror, waiting for a pimple to pop up, but my skin stayed clear for the rest of the month.
Was This Really the Answer?
After the month was up, I celebrated by splurging on homemade chocolate chip cookies. I mean, living without cake, brownies, ice cream, and chocolate for 30 days was tough. After a week of eating a little white sugar every day, my stomach waged war, and sure enough, so did my face.
I was so happy . . . and also pissed. I couldn't believe I found the one thing to heal my skin and prevent embarrassing breakouts and that it was so simple, but the cure really sucked! No sugar? No ordering dessert after dinner? No more baking? No more chocolate?!
How I Live With the Cure
Because I'm human — and my last name is Sugar — living 100 percent without treats really wasn't an option. I found ways to get my sweet fix without it affecting my face (or my stomach). I discovered how to bake with bananas and dates, making desserts that are just as sweet as using white sugar, and I can still get my chocolate fix by using cocoa powder in recipes. Ice cream is easy — I just make nice cream using frozen fruit.
Honestly, sugary treats just don't feel worth it anymore when they affect me so negatively. Even though I'm tempted when I see people enjoying cake at parties or eating pastries at coffee shops, I get over it real quick because I'm grateful that I've found the one food I can avoid that makes me look and feel healthy. That's not to say I never eat sugar ever. I do enjoy a couple bites every so often (and love every second), but I know how bad I'll feel if I eat a ton, and that prevents me from going overboard.
I wish I knew about this in junior high, because it would have saved me decades of feeling badly about my skin. If you suffer from acne and medications and other treatments haven't worked, sugar may be your issue, too. Wouldn't it be amazing if curing your acne was this simple? You'll never know unless you try. What have you got to lose?