Dear friend, let me tell you a story . . . my story.
A short time ago, I felt anxious beyond anything I had ever experienced before. Why? Because I was nineteen and still struggling with an acne problem. In fact, it only appeared to be getting worse. We’re not talking about just any ol’ acne . . . no, this was severe acne. The type of cringe-worthy acne that appears on the computer screen when you type “acne” into Google Images and then thank God that it isn’t you being shown in the photos you find.
It was the acne of my nightmares that I never thought would actually happen to me. But it did! And it was one of the worst and most challenging problems that I ever had to deal with. The problem was—no acne treatment I tried ever really worked, at least not long term.
Granted, before I developed severe acne, I had dealt with mild to moderate acne breakouts since I was about sixteen. And like most people who’ve experienced acne, I spent hundreds and hundreds of dollars on all sorts of creams, lotions, and prescription medications that in the end essentially amounted to nothing more than a waste of money.
Every time I tried something new, my hopes would soar, thinking that finally this was the breakthrough product that would be the end of my troubles. The truth is, some products worked for brief periods of time, but the acne always came back. Some treatments, however, made the acne worse. I got to the point where I just couldn’t handle the disappointment anymore. Like tens of thousands of other people, I felt as though I had tried everything and was running out of options. In one continuous, unrelenting swipe, it tore at my self-esteem, self-worth, happiness, and quality of life.
Let me give you an example of what I’m referring to and see if you can relate.
Two years ago (I was eighteen), a birthday party was held for one of my friends at his folks’ beach place in St. Pete. When I got there, everyone was already down chilling on the beach, throwing the football, playing volleyball, etc. Still in my street clothes, I joined in the fun. After a while, we decided it would be fun to get into the pool, so I jumped in, clothes and all, under the excuse of “not wanting to go upstairs to change into my swimsuit.” Truthfully, that had nothing to do with it. In fact, I was too embarrassed, humiliated, and ashamed of a fresh terrible outbreak of “bacne” to take my shirt off in front of my friends. Because they all knew that I worked out and had an athletic, muscular body, they wondered, What’s the deal with Kyle?
The truth is I was more than just a little frustrated. I was exasperated! I wanted straight answers on acne, and I wasn’t getting any. Not only that, but much of the information I received proved to be untrue. For example, some of today’s dermatologists tell kids that diet and nutrition have “little or nothing to do with breakouts.” I read that time after time, from one source after another, and it’s absolutely false. The real question should be, Is nutrition the only thing or even the most important thing? And just as important, Is there anything else you need to do besides just learning to eat right? I deal with these questions and many others that are directly related in this book.
Here is a point that needs to be made as relates to nutrition. There is no doubt that superior nutrition will help accelerate healing after breakouts and will even go a long way to help prevent them from occurring in the first place. Likewise, bad nutrition can trigger outbreaks or make them much worse. Nevertheless, there are other important factors to take into consideration if you want to prevent future outbreaks and ultimately eliminate acne from your life.
As important as nutrition is, it is not the only thing. I know that from firsthand experience. In my case, I have always had the best nutrition on the planet. My dad’s company is Living Fuel, the leader in Superfood Nutrition, so for my whole life I have had the best natural nutrition one could have. Believe it or not, I’ve never had a donut or eaten at McDonald’s in my life. I don’t eat fried foods, don’t drink soda or alcohol, and sugar (only natural sugar) has been at a minimum. Plus, I grew up giving my body the nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and other macro and micronutrients it needs through Living Fuel. But I STILL HAD ACNE!
So obviously, there has to be something in addition to nutrition, but what is it?
In this book, I explore all the other possible causes so you can personally discover the main causes for your own breakouts. In my case, for instance, I discovered that I would breakout worse when I was working out really hard. This is due to spikes in testosterone and other male hormones that are activated as part of muscle metabolism. And, yes, I have heard the same from numerous athletes.
This brings up an important point. Due to my dad’s influence (he is 6'4" and 220 pounds of muscle), I have worked out all my life, but when I was sixteen, I got really serious and stepped it up. I started lifting heavy and running sprints. I played football and basketball, so I trained hard. It became obvious that the harder I worked out and the more I pushed myself, the more I broke out, especially on my back and shoulders. I made that connection, but like thousands of others I didn’t know what to do, so I dealt with it as so many others do and bounced from one acne product to another acne product. None of them worked for me, and my problem worsened. In fact, my back was as badly broken out as I’ve seen on anyone, and my facial breakouts would come and go every so often. It was frustrating socially and a huge embarrassment!
No one wants to be seen with “flawed” skin. And even though a lot of my teammates and friends had acne as well, I doubt that anyone sees other people’s acne as bad as their own, so I struggled with every breakout, felt alone, and couldn’t stand to be seen without a shirt on even though I was in good shape. It got so bad that whenever I was in the locker room with my teammates, instead of changing at my locker like everyone else, I would go to the bathroom and change in one of the stalls.
The point of sharing all this is that having acne affects what we do, and it affects our self-image and self-confidence. For me it was a constant reminder to keep a shirt on and have my hair in my face to cover my acne-ridden forehead. Perhaps we shouldn’t care that much, but we do, and despite parents and dermatologists telling us not to pop the pimples because it will make it worse, we do because there is no way we are going out in public with a bunch of pimples on our face or back. It’s the weirdest feeling, but when you see or feel you have a pimple, your body wants to pop it so badly that it is impossible not to. For some reason we see our own pimples bigger and brighter than they really are. Even though others might not even notice a lone pimple on our chin, we feel like it is a bright flashing neon sign attracting attention. So I did what everyone else does—pop them, which spreads the bacteria, makes the breakout worse, and bruises and scars the heck out of my skin. The cycle kept repeating, causing an out-of-control situation, and since none of the major products were working for me and just drying my skin out, there was little hope for me other than waiting it out.
When I became eighteen years old, the acne was still bad and growing worse for all the extra testosterone going through my body as a result of growth spurts and working out harder. I graduated from high school and the problem remained as bad as ever. I felt as though I had tried every remedy, and everything out there had the same concept! DRY OUT THE OILS! Bouncing from one product to the next, each product made my skin drier and yet the pimples did not go away. After doing this method for close to two and a half years, my face and back were so dry that it looked unhealthy. I had had enough.
Meanwhile, I had always been afraid of using oils on my skin for fear of breaking out worse. But one night as I was getting ready for bed, I decided to try a shea butter lotion/cream (a complex fat extracted from the nut of the African shea tree) that was in my bathroom drawer. I was hesitant at first, because it went against everything I had been taught about treating acne, but I ended up applying it, and the next morning my skin looked healthier than it had in a long time. Not only that, but there was a reduction in the swelling of the zits. I knew right then that the conventional methods I had tried had flaws and much of the philosophies about what caused acne and what helped it simply weren’t true. They were actually myths.
So I kept lathering the cream on my back and face each morning and evening, and after several days I started to have some minor breakouts. I found I was using too much of it and putting it on too thick to where my skin was constantly greasy and not able to absorb it all, so it just sat there on my skin clogging pores. I realized that there is a limit and too much of a good thing is a bad thing. I reduced the amount I applied and had some dramatic results in the overall healthiness of my skin and also had a slight reduction in acne.
That was really the turning point for me in researching acne treatment in unconventional ways. I discovered that the application of moisture and oils to the skin is not harmful, but they are helpful to keeping your skin looking moist and plump.
That began my search for what oils are the best. And I told my dad I wanted to come up with something to fix my acne, so he gave me stacks and stacks of research books and articles that he had accumulated during his years as a health and nutrition researcher. I devoured them and found many others, making notes of my own and going through the different information. Through trial and error, mixing different natural ingredients together, I tried the things that seemed compelling, slowly finding what worked and what didn’t work for me. I would try anything I found research on (except the drugs, because all the studies showed dangerous consequences) to get rid of this age-old problem. I researched the history of acne, what acne actually really is, the causes of acne, methods to treat it, drugs versus natural methods, acne myths—anything I could find.
That is what birthed this book. I compiled the research and cut out anything that didn’t work to discover the system that healed my back and face and made my skin beautiful again.