I recently got an email from a reader who told me that she had been concentrating on doing the paleo diet for a while now, and it didn’t seem to be working the way she hoped.

She seemed anxious, so I told her to give it some more time and try not to get too worked up during the process, as it will only hinder improvement.

She later emailed me and said that she had been away for the past weekend with friends, and sent all dietary caution to the wind. She ate deep fried food, sugar, refined grains – you know, all the real bad stuff. It sounded as if she had been breaking out every day prior to this… and lo and behold… no breakouts at all while she was away. Imagine that.

This phenomenon is something I experience frequently, and I’ve heard this same story from others many times. You look forward to your big weekend out, but you fear that a weekend away from your usual skin care routine, alongside some serious dietary misnomers are surely going to result in horrid breakouts.

Funny thing, it never seems to really happen that way. I find that I rarely, if ever, break out during a weekend away, even if I’m committing health crimes galore.

In fact, the same thing happened to me this weekend. I have been breaking out a little bit lately, but I spent my last weekend of summer camping at an outdoor party on Cortes Island. I can’t say it was the healthiest weekend, food or otherwise, but the trick is that I didn’t think about my skin, I didn’t look in a mirror once, and I didn’t wash my face. I even came home with my face absolutely covered in dirt because of how dusty it was there. No breakouts!

Okay, so I actually did get one spot, but whatever. With the amount of fear we tend conjure up about it, you’d think it would be a lot more, right?

So How Is This Possible?

It seems pretty obvious to me that the attention we give our acne is heavily contributing to the problem.

When we are home by ourselves, we have endless time to sit and think about our skin, worry over it, and stare at it in the mirror. Our brains are on acne alert at all times. Since we all hate acne and it makes us feel sad, our brains are constantly sending out electrical signals that trigger negative chemical reactions in our bodies and skin. This leads to more acne!

But when you are out with your friends, not worrying about it, having fun, and connecting with those around you in a meaningful way… well, your brain is sending out AWESOME signals which trigger positive chemical reactions that lead to LESS acne.

I’m sure this effect is more pronounced in some people than others, and for my reader who sent me these emails, it became obvious for her that emotional health was a big factor for her acne. She decided to eat well, but not worry about following a specific diet down to a T, and also spend less time thinking about and researching acne. Instead, she wanted to spend more time with her friends and doing things that make her happy.

To be honest, I never heard the follow up, but I hope that her skin is doing well, and most importantly, that she is less anxious about it.

Three things you can do to break the endless acne attention cycle:

  1. Cut down or completely eliminate the amount of time you spend staring at your acne in the mirror. You cannot forget your acne when it’s glaring back at you 24/7
  2. Cut down on the amount of time you spend researching acne related things on the internet and do something else instead. Has acne become a hobby for you?
  3. Don’t hide away because of acne. The more quality time you spend with others, the less time you will think about your skin. You will also realize that no one gives a care or notices if you have acne or not and they all love you anyway.

Good luck my lovelies. Now go have fun with your friends!!