We all love a good makeover story, and this may be the most dramatic we’ve seen. 23-year-old US bodybuilder Brian Turner was once covered in large, intense cysts and blackheads before he found his own cure to rid himself of acne once and for all. While he credits his three steps of giving up dairy, drinking a gallon of water daily and consuming 12 servings of vegetables a day, he recently revealed the “easy, medium and hard” steps you can take to eliminate your acne, too.
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The “easy” list begins with the simple task of changing your pillow cases. “If you have body acne, change your sheets every single night,” Turner says in the video. “Try a simple cleanser if you’re not using anything at all yet,” he advises, suggesting you swap to a one-step cleanser if you’re currently using a multiple-step cleansing system like Proactiv+. “I always love benzoyl peroxide 2.5 percent,” he says, explaining that any heavier than that will cause irritation to your skin. “Do not touch your face, ever,” Turner says in his video, explaining it goes beyond not just picking at it, but that resting your face on your hand while on the computer, for example, plays a big role in acne you might not be aware of. Next, Turner says to reduce sodium, sugars, fats, artificial sweeteners, preservatives, soy, gluten, cocoa and whey protein powders. “Every single person has a different set of things that they’re more or less allergic to that cause you inflammation in your face and cause you to break out,” he explains, adding that you should experiment with each one by eliminating or reducing your intake one at a time and seeing how your skin reacts.
Now, for the “medium” list: “Drink more water and try to reduce your intake of non-water substances,” Turner explains, saying that he tries to drink at least a gallon or 3.8 liters of water daily. Step number two, according to Turner, is to immediately shower after sweating, no matter what you’re doing (from light cardio to full-on weightlifting). “Even if you don’t sweat a ton, you get that little bit of film of sweat on your face and then you just let it dry—you’re just asking your body to clog pores,” he says, adding that if you get right into the shower after your last set or rep, that’s your best bet to keep any breakouts at bay. “Next, take some sort of probiotic; something that promotes good bacterial flora in your gut,” he explains. Whether it’s in pill form or kombucha, Turner says getting this good bacteria into your system is key to better skin all-around. “Get that 12 servings of vegetables a day,” Turner says while explaining that it’s more difficult to do, but so worth it. “This is probably one of the biggest tips. Once I started including more vegetables, I saw such an improvement with my acne.” Turner says to focus on green cruciferous vegetables (bright, leafy and crunchy), like celery, spinach, broccoli green beans, for the best results. Last on the medium list is eliminating all forms of dairy from your diet (he consumes zero percent).
The “hard” list consists of no drinking or smoking, eating more whole foods and vegetables, sleeping more and going to see your dermatologist. “When you’re drinking alcohol, you feel like your sebum glands are more active,” he says of the hard decision to stop drinking entirely. “Plus, you’re probably not making the best dietary choices when you’re drinking, either,” he says. “Eat more whole foods,” he urges next, saying that we should steer clear of pre-packaged and preservative-filled foods as much as possible. For a “hard” take on the “medium” task of consuming 12 servings of vegetables per day, Turner says to up your intake up to 16 servings daily. Next on the list is making sure you’re getting enough sleep. “Seven to eight hours is going to be the most beneficial for you,” Turner explains, saying that the less you sleep, the higher your cortisol levels (your stress hormone) will get, resulting in more breakouts, overproduction of sebum and overall worse skin.
Also, go see your dermatologist. “You have to go see if there’s anything he can offer, or anything that he can recommend you do,” Turner urges, explaining that if your acne is severe enough, the dermatologist will likely offer you antibiotics, a topical cream (Retin-A) or Accutane to eliminate your acne. “I did this,” Turner says of Accutane. “But I recommend staying away from it as long as you can and only use it as a last resort,” he says, adding that you should try everything else to elminate your acne before Accutane due to its intense side effects.
While the before-and-after pictures make the extensive list seem worthwhile, experts have some opposing opinions when it comes to this acne curing plan. “Diet and acne are really on a case by case basis,” says dermatologist Rebecca Baxt, MD. “Different things affect different people differently; it’s not a one size fits all recommendation.” But, Dr. Baxt does agree with portions of Turner’s points. “For example, I agree with the recommendation to eat vegetables, since that is healthy for the body, but I would not go so far as to say 12 servings a day will fix acne—that has not been proven,” she says. “The things he suggests are almost all good, but he also admits you need to see your dermatologist. There are a lot of medical options available to help treat acne, so if just eating/living healthy and washing your skin is not enough for you, do not lose hope. There is so much more you can do to clear the skin, including topical gels and creams, washes, antibiotic pills, injections, chemical peels, lasers, light therapy, hormonal treatments, and Accutane pills if needed.” Watch the video for yourself below.