A friend has been on a total vegetarian diet for 6 months. For the first time in her life she has developed acne. Is she missing important vitamins and minerals? - S. B.
Acne is a complex skin disease. But it seems that acne is partly related to digestion, although there are other factors such as stress, and environment.
It could be that her new vegetarian diet is indigestible, she's intolerant of something, or there's too much dietary change too quickly.
What is your friend eating that she wasn't eating before, that could trigger acne? I'd suggest that she eliminate certain foods one by one for a week or more to see how that affects things.
Possible culprits are soy, nuts (especially peanuts), trans fats and hydrogenated fats (as in fried food and fast food), wheat, cheese, milk, and the nightshade family - tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, peppers.
I also suggest eliminating sugar, junk food, soft drinks, fast food, packaged foods. She should greatly increase water intake, veggies, esp green leafy veggies, and try different grains like quinoa, oats, millet, buckwheat, amaranth, basmati rice, and small amounts of beans and lentils. Use cold pressed organic oils only.
She could try taking a multivitamin - Rainbow Light Vitamins makes a good food based one-a-day for women.
If things don't improve, your friend should get professional help, from someone who specializes in acne care. Here's an article from a doctor who has had acne and used diet, as well as other methods, to cure acne.
Judith Kingsbury, Savvy Vegetarian