Why acne isn’t normal

  • Approximately 85 percent of people between the ages of 12 and 24 experience acne.
  • Over half of all women in their 20’s experience acne, while over 40% of men in their 20’s experience it.
  • For women over 30, about 35% of them experience acne, while 20% of men reported experiencing acne in their 30’s.
  • The costs associated with the treatment of acne exceeds $3 billion.

With all of these numbers you’d think that acne was just a normal way of life.

Well there is a very important concept that you need to know, which is this…

Just because something is “common” does not mean that it is “normal.”

Acne is common, but so are these other things…

Heart disease is common.

Diabetes is common.

Cancer is common.

These diseases are common in today’s society, but they aren’t normal to humans. Acne, heart disease, cancer and diabetes all relatively new diseases that hardly existed even just a few hundred years ago. We know this because if you look at societies and cultures that eat traditional diets and live healthy lifestyles, they don’t have these diseases. If we look at evolution from a health perspective, we’d see that humanity was largely free of these “diseases of civilization” up until refined foods and other commodities became more widely available.

To illustrate this point, let’s look at a few societies before and after they were introduced to the refined sugar, refined and processed foods, genetically engineered foods, and other inventions of modern society.


Inuit Woman: Source

If you were to travel back in time to 1940 and visit the Inuit Eskimos of northern Canada, you would see plump round faces, perfect teeth, beautiful hair, and perfect skin.

If you then travelled 30 years ahead to 1970, you’d see that the people who used to have flawless skin were now covered in pimples.

This was what Dr. Schaefer discovered during his 30 year span of treating the Eskimos.

Read this excerpt from his paper “When the Eskimos come to Town”

“Another condition has become prevalent, one obvious even to the layman: acne vulgaris. The condition used to be unknown among Eskimos, but one can see it readily amongst teenagers on the streets of Inuvik, Frobisher Bay, and Cambridge Bay. It is far less prevalent in the smaller centers. Old North men, such as missionaries, traders, trappers, men of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and others who have known and watched the Eskimos closely for many years, frequently remark to their physician friends on the change in the complexions of the young people. Many Eskimos themselves blame their pimples on the pop, chocolate, and candies the youngsters consume as if addicted. One wonders what these people and the other old Northerners would think if they were to read some recent medical publications, in which dermatologists belittle or deny the role of dietary factors in the pathogenesis of acne vulgaris.”

— Otto Schaefer, M.D. in “When the Eskimo Comes to Town”



Kitavan woman: Source

According to statistic by the American Academy of Dermatology, if you were to examine 1,200 Americans aged between 12 and 24, you’d see acne on over 1000 of them.

If you were to round up 1,200 people living on the island of Kitava, you’d be hard pressed to find even one case of acne.

That might sound too ridiculous to be true, but that is exactly what Dr. Staffan Lindeberg did during his 7 week study on the island.

“Of 1200 Kitavan subjects examined (including 300 aged 15-25 years), no case of acne(grade 1 with multiple comedones or grades 2-4) was observed.”



Ache woman of Paraguay: Source


The same scientists who saw that the Kitavan islanders had no acne also discovered another group of people that had zero acne. This second group of people were the Ache hunter gatherers living in the jungles of Paraguay. In their study, they came to the observation that

“Of 115 Aché subjects examined (including 15 aged 15-25 years) over 843 days, no case of active acne (grades 1-4) was observed.”

There are more example but I think you get the point.

Just because acne is commonplace in today’s society doesn’t mean it’s normal to humans.

If we follow a diet and lifestyle that agrees with our biology, we shouldn’t have acne.


What can we learn from the inuit eskimos, the kitavan islanders and the ache hunter gatherers of Paraguay?

If we look at their diets, there’s one thing that they have in common.

It isn’t that they all follow a lot fat, high carb diet because the inuit followed a higher fat and protein diet with hardly any carbs.

It isn’t that they followed a high fat, low carb diet because the kitavans ate a higher carb diet with moderate to low fat.

The one thing that they all have in common is that their diets are free from western foods.Their intake of dairy, alcohol, coffee, cereals, sugar, salt, vegetable oils, margarine and processed foods were negligible or nonexistent.

In the US, a little above 70% of our food energy comes from sugars, grains, vegetable oils and dairy. That is almost completely opposite of what healthy cultures around the world eat.

So what can you do to immediately help your skin?

Follow a diet similar to the people who have clear skin naturally.

That means eliminate the dairy, vegetable oils, sugar, salt, alcohol, any processed foods, grains (organic sprouted gluten-free grains are an exception), and other things that healthy populations don’t eat.

It also means load up on healthy, real, whole, organic, nutritious foods like leafy greens (spinach, chard, arugula, etc), vegetables (sweet potatoes, yams, taro, etc,), fruits (berries, green apples, and fruits that won’t spike your blood sugar if you have blood sugar issues), wild fish, coconuts, sprouts, mushrooms, sprouted beans or lentils, and a few raw or sprouted nuts and seeds.

The most important thing isn’t even necessarily what you eat, but rather what you don’t eat. Stick to real, whole foods and you will be on your way to clearer skin and optimal health.

Have you switched to a whole foods diet? What benefits have you seen? Write your results in the comments. And if you want to know more about the diet and lifestyle for clearer skin, sign up to get your free Clear Skin Guide. Or learn everything you need in the book Clear Skin Nutrition.

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