My hair and skin are rebelling - say it ain't soy!
First, a disclaimer: I've never really had any major problems with acne. Oh, sure, as a teen (and still as an adult) I would get the occasional zit or three...but in general, I've prided myself on my healthy, clear skin.
So it's because of that very fact that I am at a bit of a loss. Over the past week and half or so, my skin has been the worst it has ever been in my life. Granted, my "worst" isn't nearly as bad as it could be, as I'll be the first to admit. But as someone for whom breakouts have been the exception rather than the rule, I've found it rather disconcerting to wake up in the morning and find out that my skin has been invaded by the dreaded acne monster.
Also during this time, my hair has suddenly stopped responding to my conditioner. My hair tends to be on the dry side, so I was so happy to have found a nice conditioner that made my hair feel soft and healthy. I was willing to shell out a few extra dollars for that. But as my skin has gotten worse, my hair has become even drier than normal and much more prone to frizz. And with this August humidity...well, let's not even go there.
With both my hair and skin suddenly staging an unpleasant revolution at the same time, I suspect that the cause of this is something in my diet. But here's the kicker: I've been eating healthier than ever before. I've been snacking on healthy foods like fruit and nuts (okay, I could be doing a little better in the veggie department) and I've been eating almost no dairy (just one Greek yogurt 4-5 times per week).
So what gives?
Well, there's one change in my diet I didn't mention. And I really, really hope it's not the cause - though it doesn't look good.
If you've read my other blog entries, you probably know that I eat a mostly vegetarian diet (no red meat or poultry, milk occasionally, seafood only rarely) - so, like many vegetarians, I often eat a lot of soy products. But I typically don't eat as much soy as other vegetarians perhaps do. My preferred substitute for cow's milk is almond milk, and to be honest, I really don't eat tofu very often. So my soy intake is usually fairly moderate.
Except for the past week and a half.
We ran out of almond milk last week, and there was a sale on soy milk, so we got a 3-pack. Then we bought three huge packages of TVP (Textured Vegetable Protein - a delicious and versatile meat substitute made from soy), so that's been sneaking into my diet.
I never would have considered soy as the culprit behind my angry skin...except for the fact that my boyfriend has a slight soy allergy that manifests itself through - you guessed it - breakouts.
As a semi-vegetarian, a soy allergy - however slight - would be devastating to me. So far, I haven't looked up the facts on how soy affects skin and hair health; I want to see for myself. So starting today, I'm going to go back to my regular soy intake: no soy milk and no TVP. I have to say, I have mixed feelings about what I want the results of this little experiment to be...
Have any of you out there ever experienced something similar? Was it soy, or something else? Weigh in, and help me with my soy woes!