Podcast Episode #67: The Beauty-Cast! Acne, Dark Circles, & Paleo Skincare

Anthony DiSarro Beauty & Skincare, Featured, Podcast Episodes, Skincare 14 Comments

Opening chat: Liz’s New Year’s Resolution


#1 Time to embrace a natural skin care regime? [12:20] #2 Rosacea, inside and outside approches, what's best? [21:30] #3 Dark under eye circles, anything to be done? [30:48] # 4 When all else fails, how to handle persistent acne? [38:00] # 5 Gluten in beauty products? [49:40]


Primal Life Organics skincare
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1. Time to embrace a natural skin care regime?

Stephie Says,

Firstly, absolutely love your podcasts! Thanks for sharing your knowledge and wisdom in such an informative and entertaining way.

My question is regarding acne. I didn’t have acne much growing up but for the past 4 years, it has been pretty constant in my life. Spots appear, clear up, couple of days of good skin, new spots appear…and the cycle continues. It is not debilitating, but it definitely indicates to me that something is not quite right. I have been paleo now for about 6 months. Prior to this, I was eating pretty much in line with paleo principles but was consuming a lot of dairy and not nearly enough of the good fats. When I ditched the dairy 6 months ago, my acne cleared up radically. But I also lost weight and lost my period (have always been lean so losing weight not wanted). About 3 months ago, I decided to try the autoimmune protocol and get supplement recommendations to sort of some long standing digestive distress and try and gain weight (and get my period back). Introduced supplements included biotics beta-plus (no gall bladder), biotics hydro-zyme (digestion), and biotics cytozyme-ad (suspect some adrenal issues). I also started taking apple cider vinegar before each meal to assist with digestion. Digestion improved (still have issues from time to time—fast system!) and gained lost weight, but strangely, acne came back with a vengeance. At the same time I had also introduced ghee. I removed for a week but acne persisted so I added it back in to ensure a variety of fats.

I am at a bit of a loss with what to try next. I have had my hormones checked and have low T3, estrogen and testosterone (which I am addressing with some additional supplements–see below). I wonder if the acne has something do to with hormonal changes that that occur with healthy weight gain? Perhaps it is still some lingering gut issue and inflammation and I just need to persist with gut healing protocol? Maybe it is time to embrace a natural skin care regime. Any thoughts or recommendations that you ladies may have would be most appreciated.

Strict paleo and autoimmune protocol. Variety of grass fed meats and wild fish (beef, chicken, salmon, hake, sardines, chicken livers), cooked vegetables (carrots, spaghetti & summer squash, celery), fats (coconut oil, ghee) and approx. 1/2 banana per day. Coconut flakes for treat. Bone booth. Approx. protein 25%, carbs 10%, fat 65. Calories adequate for weight gain (initially) and now weight maintenance.

Supplements: Primal probiotics, magnesium, iron. Biotics beta-plus, biotics hydro-zyme, biotics cytozyme-ad. More recently, biotics thyrostim, dhea (10mg) and cyctozyme-F (to support low T3 and estrogen levels).

Run 4x per week (40 mins) and “lift heavy” in gym 2x per week.

Sleep: Generally good. 7-8 hours per night. Often wake at 5am and am wide awake. Very tired in evening.

the second question for me would be….let’s map what has changed since this started. Stephie gives us a few ideas of what MIGHT have changed, and the overall lifestyle change, but often there’s something or another that ends up sticking out like a sore thumb when we really dig. I’d say, to start, Pull the banana and replace with a different starch. See what happens.

Finally, yes – it’s definitely time to embrace a natural skin care regimen. If you want to leave the mixology up to someone else, I can’t recommend the Primal Life Organics Banished line enough; I’ve also got an entire world of nutritional, digestive, and topical advice in the skin care guide that will be out at the beginning of January! If you want to sign up for an alert when that comes out, go to CaveGirlEats.com and sign up for email updates.

2. Rosacea, inside and outside approches, what's best?

Eden says,

Hi Diane and Liz, I have a question about rosacea. I've experienced mild yet constant redness in my cheeks for as long as I can remember. I also flush extremely easily, which can be caused by anything from temperature to spicy foods to emotion or discomfort. Apparently this combination of symptoms is classified as subtype one rosacea. My skin is quite fair and sensitive but otherwise clear – I've never had issues with blemishes or acne. The only other skin ailment that I've experienced is occasional eczema, but this has been a non-issue since I stopped eating dairy.

I'm wondering if there is anything I could or should be doing to keep my skin healthy and potentially reverse any rosacea symptoms, for example following an autoimmune paleo protocol? Any insight on this would be greatly appreciated! Thank you both for all the wonderful work you do.

I'm 23, female, about 5'4″ and 130lbs, and I've been paleo for seven months now, and I'm quite strict paleo (only two “cheat meals” – even though I hate that phrase – since I started). The majority of my meals consist of eggs, ground meat (chicken, beef, camel, kangaroo, lamb) or fish (salmon, tilapia, sardines) and veggies (usually some combination of kale, broccoli, mushrooms, cauliflour, carrots, peas) with some avocado or coconut oil. I've been trying to keep my fruit intake under control (1-2 pieces/servings per day), only because I've had issues with my blood sugar in the past. I drink 2-3 cups of green tea per day, and am guilty of not quite drinking enough water (about 1 litre per day). Sleep is a priority for me, always a minimum of 7 hours, occasionally up to 9 per night. I do Crossfit style workouts 3-4 times per week and when I'm lucky, yoga once per week. I have an active job, so I get to move and walk a lot during the day. In terms of supplements, I used to take a lot of fish oil but I've been moving away from these after listening to your podcast. As I live in rainy Vancouver, I also take 5000IU of vitamin D per day.

We talked about rosacea in a previous podcast, it’s an inflammatory skin condition which can worsen over time, and its triggered by extremes: extreme stress, extreme heat or cold, any extreme you can think of including extremes of personality. Now, a good Paleo-style diet with an emphasis on nutrients – the fat-soluble vitamins we find in fermented cod liver oil, organ meats, butter oil, seafood; and the minerals we find in homemade bone broth, can be really powerful. Digestive healing is important, but I have to say – if the norm is some kind of heightened activity or stress, as in you’re constantly active and such, it may be hard to heal digestion to satisfaction because, in effect, you’ll be fighting a losing battle. So stress management and reduction is key – even if you don’t FEEL stressed as in you don’t feel dragged out or over-taxed, recognizing activity that puts a load on the body and mind, like an active job or a busy life, is pretty key. I actually haven’t seen a lot of improvement with clients using D supplements, that goes for other skin issues as well, but actual sun exposure during appropriate times of the year seems to be helpful. Topically, I think I said this in the last podcast, there’s the clo balm from green pastures I’ve seen good results with; there’s tamanu oil, there’s the calendula hydrosol from mountain rose herbs. Even using digestive teas topically, ones that contain licorice or marshmallow root can be helpful. And I’d actually look at subbing out green tea for a red rooibos tea, which is a great skin-care tea. I do think there are varied tweaks that need to be made depending on what each person is dealing with most prominently, and I do try to tackle that in the guide – which, I don’t know if I ever announced it, is called the Skintervention guide.

3. Dark under eye circles, anything to be done?

Nathan says,

I've been eating the Paleo way for around 8 months now and I generally look and feel good, however there is an issue that my lifestyle changes have not cleared up. For about 3 years now, I have had dark under eye circles that never seem to go away despite recommendations from a holistic practitioner which included various topical creams and supplements like Aller-DMG – a formulation to reduce respiratory problems and nasal congestion associated with under eye circles as well as reducing histamine levels.

It is often thought that dairy and wheat cause the dark circles, particularly in children (called “allergy shiners”, however I have eliminated all dairy (except grass-fed butter) and grains are no longer part of my typical diet. I typically eat a Green smoothie for breakfast with a banana, spinach and raspberries. For lunch it's either bone-broth soup with pumpkin, carrot and garlic or an egg salad. Dinner is either chicken or salmon with roasted vegetables or salad. I'm now looking into FODMAPS as I'm also having some digestive issues and plan on aiding that with Aloe vera juice. I also take a soil based probiotic supplement, Vitamin D and FCLO Butter blend. (I'm pretty sure you know what that is haha!)

I get a good 8-9 hours of quality sleep, drink plenty of fluids and do light yoga-based exercise. I'm 21 years old and of a healthy weight. The only external skincare I use is a splash of water once a day. I had a food allergy test carried out by a hair sample around 1 year ago to find I was allergic to dust mite, various trees and some foods which I have now included back into my diet: Beef, Cinnamon and coconut. I also show nutrition deficiencies; Copper, vitamin C, Ellagic acid, Ligans and betaine.

4. When all else fails, how to handle persistent acne?

After going off of the Pill for multiple reasons (mainly not wanting to ingest synthetic hormones after 10+ years of doing so) my acne has worsened exponentially- it is ALL around my mouth/chin- YUCK! I've had acne probably for at least 10 years as well, and before going off the pill had switched to Yaz to alleviate acne specifically-which worked moderately well. Now, I'm in a constant battle with it. I know Liz and others recommend removing dairy and nuts from my diet- which I am currently trying (but haven't previously)- but I'm 26 and need some relief now! Is this a hormone problem or a diet problem?

I've researched Liz's website extensively and have tried the OCM, ACV, and other natural remedies. I really don't want to go back to the dermatologist to get some weird topical product.
Any additional advice?

Also what do you recommend to use as spot treatment? Anything specific to reduce redness?
THANKS !I eat mostly paleo, work out 3x week and take evening primrose oil (for acne), biotin and 2 brazil nuts daily for selenium. I take the FCLO daily as well.

5. Gluten in beauty products?

Bec says,

Hi Liz and Diane, This question is concerning body care. I was just wondering how bad gluten in body products (such as shampoos and conditioners) is? Can it be absorbed into the skin or cause an immune response somehow? Thanks!

Diane & Liz

Comments 14

  1. Thank you very much for responding to my question. I’m going to look into those options, starting with the neti pot.

    Following your discussion about Love at the beginning of the podcast, I think you would like the video in the link below: (via thelovevitamin.com)


    It’s related to the Mayan “2012 event”, which the media have turned into a feeding frenzy to create fear and to make money. The film “2012” for instance, which is completely based on false claims – the mayans never said the world is going to end, but they believe it is something of a rebirth cycle

    Liz, what you said about loving everyone you meet is absolutely what the world needs right now. It seems that society is at war with everyone and I think this is partly due to the prison like trap caused by the government and these big corporations who think they own us. I see the world quite differently to most people I know in that I don’t see it anymore as a prison where you need to work 40 hours a week for 40 years, where you hope to fins happiness at the end of the week, or beginning of retirement. I think there is much more to life than job security. (Of course health and being at one with nature is extremley important to me and probably most people who follow the Paleo lifestyle) The earth to me is a free, open eden where we can do whatever we choose. Nobody said that you have to live your life working for someone who generally does not care about you, but rather their own interests and finances, even though most people live that way.I know it is going to take a lot of effort to live an alternative lifestyle but the way things are heading, going “back” to caveman style living seems to be the future of the western world… If not for financial reasons, then at least to keep us sane and away from false simulations, again created by mass media.

    I hope you find the video uplifting and as inspiring as I did. It really has changed my perspective of how our world works. (It is quite long so if you don’t have time to watch that particular one, checkout thelovevitamin.com to see 2 shorter videos)

    Have a great day!


    1. Hey Ladies,
      I love listening to your podcast especially the beginning! It totally cracks me up and as a result people give me odd looks on the train to and from work when I’m cackling at your witty banter.

      Anyway moving on to the point of my post, Liz you talked a bit about your resolution for the year and asked if there is a word in another language that might explain the kind of love you’re referring too and I think Agape (pronounced uh-gah-pei) love is the kind you’re referring to. You can look up more info about it online, but the basics are that it’s a Greek word that breaks down to the love God has for humans, the love humans have for God (if they believe in God), and the love we have for our fellow humans. It’s not romantic, and it doesn’t have to be religious (that’s just where you commonly find people using the word). In the human-human context it’s just the love you have for your fellow human beings because you get it. We’re all here experiencing the world in different ways good, bad, and ugly at times and it’s the love you have for the people who are in it with you whether they’re aware of it or not. You don’t have to kiss every new person you meet or even truly like every person you meet, but you “Agape” love them because you respect the fact that they’re human and so are you and you treat them the way you’d like to be treated. Sorry if I butchered the true meaning, but that’s what it means to me.

      And now that I’ve gone all new age-y and hippy on ya’ll I need a shower because I feel dirty

      1. And it cut out the end of my post so tack this on after the word dirty and it’ll be complete:

        ;). Again thanks for the awesome podcast and for all that you do, have a wonderful day and keep up the fantastic work!


    2. Hey Nathan, any chance you are getting exposed to molds that would coincide with the onset of the circles? I’d scout around your living quarters, and even your car to see if you have a moisture issue anywhere.

      Hope you find relief!

  2. Re: question #4 and acne: If you read Stefani Ruper’s book on PCOS you may stumble upon this suggestion, but I wanted to throw it out there, too – try drinking mint tea. If you poke around on acne.org, you will see a number of positive comments about it reducing hormonal acne.

    There are definite pros and cons to consumption – here’s a good review: http://www.healthyfellow.com/290/mint-tea-warning/ – but it may help you explore your hormone issues a bit.

  3. I’m sorry but you are a 21 year responding about dark circles under your eyes. No. You don’t know about under eye circles. Sure, when I was 21 I could easily combat eye circles with diet and a splash of water. I’m a 42 year old working mother of 2, who cooks 95% of her family’s food (GMO free, organic, sugar free, mostly paleo) who works out and drinks lots of water. What advice do you have for me?

      1. I’m assuming myself (I asked the podcast question), but that makes no sense since I’m not giving the advice! I haven’t managed to make any difference to them, but the neti pot really helps clear my nose!

        1. Have you tried eliminating eggs for a while? I think mine looked a bit better when I was eating egg-free for two weeks.

          1. I don’t consume eggs at all anymore. In fact, I’m barley “Paleo” anymore. I have symptoms of hypothyroidism (blood tests may show this) and low testosterone. My diet is mostly fruit, raw goat milk, lamb, oysters and gelatin. I’ve given up on directly trying to improve dark circles and think that my issues are much deeper than I had first thought 🙁

          2. They usually are 🙁 I hope you’re working with a practitioner on this, it can be a lot to work through alone. Hope you’re feeling better on the Ray Peat approach (which is what it sounds like you’ve found).

          3. I visited my GP (NHS) yesterday and he said “there’s nothing I can do and I doubt the bloods will come back negative”… I’ve read that thyroid medication isn’t always effective and if prescribed, it could be a life-long prescription. I think Ray was on meds when he first started, but I’m going to wait for the tests to come back. Obviously I’d rather not be on meds but I’ll just have to wait and see. (also Chris Kresser has a lot of good info regarding this)

  4. Hi,
    I like how detailed and straightforward your pieces of advice are. I have a very mild case of acne, but I have dark circles under my eyes since forever. I don’t like wearing makeup but if I have to go somewhere (I work home based, so I don’t usually go out), it takes too much time covering my dark circles, and it ends up looking cakey. I haven’t considered seeking professional advice because I’ve always thought that this is normal, my sleep is no more than 6 hours daily, I am always working in front of a computer, and my three toddlers usually keep me up at night. But because of this post, makes me think I should try and have myself checked for any underlying factor causing my occasional zits and eye bags. Thanks for sharing this, very helpful!

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