This archived forum used to be called 'Peatarian' (in reference to Ray Peat).

help with my girlfriend's skin

My girlfriend has very fragile skin, which she dislikes.

It's translucent so her veins are visible almost everywhere, spider veins, rosacea in her cheeks and chest, and tons of allergic reactions: sun, heat, metals, etc.


  • She's had severe panic attacks (years ago); has herpes and warts, bad digestion, often some palpitations, chronic sinusitis and she's ALWAYS HOT (ergo hates summer)
  • I've seen in one of her labs her TSH: 1.6
  • She eats everything (including lots of coke, coffee, sugar, butter, shellfish and liver -- as well as sweetener, MSG & PUFA ridden foods) but we're in the "oil change" process since i got her ghee and refined coconut oil she can cook with.
  • Smokes 10-15 Marlboro cigarettes a day, and will not smoke any other brand or rolls
  • No other meds than contraceptive pill (takes them for ages). Current one has drospirenona 3,00 mg; etinilestradiol 0,02 mg. Ray Peat has said drospirenone is the closest synthetic substance to natural progesterone

My understanding is she must have impaired energy production (hypoxia, free radicals, endotoxin, nitric oxide interfering -linked to rosacea, angiogenesis, vasodilation-)... but no idea what steps to take from here. We'd love her skin to look healthier.

Stop smoking would be step #1. Should we look for alternative contraception methods (wonder if drospirenone doing good or harm)?

If she becomes open to take supplements, what would be most effective in this case: anti-histamines, niacinamide, aspirin? Topical remedies?


asked Mar 9, 2015 by alkaloid

These symptoms may be an indication of a dangerously high estrogen to progesterone balance. Will she try natural progesterone (Progest-E or equivalent)? Peat describes natural progesterone as nature's contraceptive.

Maybe can you talk to her about this article:

Using progesterone as a contraceptive represents an untested experiment with unforeseen outcomes - pregnancy being one of them. Orally you would need absurd doses to block ovulation. Vaginally, you have no means of realling knowing if the uterus entrance is adequately blocked. Hence you need a condom anyways, which is why you might as well save the progesterone in the first place and just use a condom.

I think like visionofstrength that she has an unbalanced estrogen/prog, but I don't get it, she's taking much more progestin than estradiol. Bukowski regardless of progest-e supplementation, would you agree her symptoms are due to excessive estrogen?

If she made the effort of stop smoking and the pill, does that have a chance of being effective, at least visually?

Honestly, it would be great if she could notice improvement in her skin to become persuaded she is doing something good to her body.

I fear overwhelming her with changes that she might react aversely, and worse that she keeps listening to dermatologists that tell her and sell her BS products, which basically hide the symptoms.

Additionally I'll start introducing more gelatin and less starch.

There's an interesting discussion in particular about rosacea: talking about good results with some supplements. Also an aspirin based ointment sounds great for her cheeks.

Yes, her symptoms could be due to excessive estrogen, or other stress hormones such as high cortisol. Is she underweight? Lacking subcutaneous tissue will make veins look more prominent. Lack of calories could contribute to the problem. Smoking can degrade collagenous tissue and promote vein problems. The pill may shift her hormonal status into a more estrogen-dominant phenotype.

She eats well (no lack of calories) and she is fit (definitely not underweight).

Interesting that it's possible to be estrogen dominant while taking synthetic progesterone daily.

Her right breast is larger than the left one (about 10-15% larger I think, D bra size). Would this reveal something about her hormone imbalances?

Dont know, probably not and its just constitutional.

I would recommend to get some basic labs including tsh, prolactin and preferably serum estradiol and progesterone when off contraceptives and at the 22nd day of the cycle.

3 Answers

I used to get a really red and irritated face + acne after eating certain foods, sweating, going in the sun ...

Eating 1 oyster every day (More would be better in the beginning if you can afford it) and a small piece of liver 2-3 times per week (turkey liver works better than beef for me, i guess because of the lower copper content) cleared most of my skin problems.

answered Mar 11, 2015 by skally

Thanks skally. She does occasionally eat beef liver. Is lower copper content better? Then why do you have the oyster?

The oysters are for the zinc, liver for vit a.

Zinc and copper are antagonists in the body and also compete during absorption.

Eating liver high in copper while you are still deficient in zinc will often make the skin problems worse.

I don't have any personal experience with it, but a high dose of vitamin e is recommended for skin, and Dr Peat is pretty positive about vit e. Might be worth a try.

If she can tolerate it, regular cold showers may help. Maybe that's a less peatarian alternative.

On an nsfw note, some people believe semen is good for the skin...even if it's not true, it's fun. (I'm assuming you're male, I apologise for my assumptions if it is a lesbian relationship).

answered Mar 13, 2015 by PTP
I've been reading up on my Peat, much better to go directly to the source then getting info second hand from people here. Seems niacinamide is also highly regarded by the good doctor, and easily available. As you say, 10-15 marlboros a day are going to be the main problem. You can follow Peat to the letter, but you'll all still get old and die some day, it is not a complete fountain of youth.
Thanks PTP.  I happen to have niacinamide and vitamin E (and semen ;). She is already taking the latter with her tea, the E.

It will require a lot of patience but she's already sort of open to the idea of me helping her. That really is the biggest challenge: persuading her to forget about all these doctors and that she starts experimenting and listening to her body.

Getting off smoking and contraceptives will be the second biggest challenges.

Lastly, replacing her expensive french face lotions and applying healing substances instead.
You're welcome. I like how you clarified that it was the vitamin e she was taking with tea, and not an Earl Grey, sugar and sperm concoction. How much is she taking? The requirements for a therapeutic dose are very high.

I don't react well to niacinamide, so I'd be hesitant to recommend a high dose of that, but it may work. Good luck getting rid of the smoking, pill and face cream.

"Ray Peat has said drospirenone is the closest synthetic substance to natural progesterone"

In some cohort studies, drospirenone intake is associated with double as much venous thromboses than older gestagens, such as levonorgestrel. It also has an antiandrogenic effect. I wonder what peat likes about that substance..

answered Mar 10, 2015 by Bukowski
edited Mar 10, 2015 by Bukowski

Agree. I think Peat's just using it to make a point. To my knowledge, Peat has never suggested anyone should take any synthetic rather than natural progesterone.

"New anti-aldosterone drugs are available that are effective for treating hypertension and heart failure, and their similarity to progesterone is recognized.

Gynecol Endocrinol. 2005 Nov;21(5):243-7. Drospirenone in the treatment of severe premenstrual cerebral edema in a woman with antiphospholipid syndrome, lateral sinus thrombosis, situs inversus and epileptic seizures. Vujovic S, Zidverc J, Stojanovic M, Penezic Z, Ivovic M, Dukic V, Drezgic M."

There are quite a few trials made with natural progesterone in premenstrual syndrome and overall they were pretty disappointing in reducing symtoms. Synthetic estrogen/gestagen combinations on the other hand seem quite effective, especially in women which are more sensitive to the temporal change in estrogen/progesterone levels, rather than the amount itself. By blocking LH and FSH and inhibiting ovulation, synthetic contraceptives also block the maturation of the luteal body, the prime source of progesterone in the luteal phase, eventually abolishing the progesterone rise and fall in the second part of the cycle. This is also what happened in the case report cited by ray peat, after initiation of the estradiol/drospirenone progesterone levels essentially flatlined and didnt increase and decrease in the second part of the cycle anymore.

Hence, I wonder wether praise of progesterone is warranted at all. Progesterone (even the "one and only" progest-e) causes quite a number of problems in the women that take it, including an increase in premenstrual symptoms, even hot flashes. That really gives doubt whether the approach is the right one in the first place, and whether getting stability of progesterone/estradiol is what is more important than causing even more unstable levels.

My sense is (forgive me for repeating myself) that neither anecdotal reports nor trials are reliable, given the infinite range of metabolic conditions.

For me, it's just simply a matter of experimenting for oneself, while wholly ignoring the mainstream and medical brainwashing, especially any self-proclaimed or credentialed experts.

That may be true from a personal point of view for people that have the cognition, knowledge, time and resources to do that (such as you for example). But out there are hundreds of thousands of women that lack some or even all of those resources. For me, it is unethical to expose such large amount of people to untested treatments outside of clinical trials.

No matter how nice and plausible the theory sounds, my own experience taught me that things can always turn out totally the opposite when tested correctly in trials. I do think that good trials and studies are the only way to go to advance true knowledge.

Fair points. Ethics aside, here in the U.S., clinical trials are not required for nutritional, cosmetic and many other kinds of open source molecules over which the government has no jurisdiction.

And I am grateful for that, because otherwise, it would be an unthinkable nightmare to live here. And gold old Charles Bukowski would be turning over in his grave. :)

I think usefulness of a substance is not dependent on whether it is patented or sold by pharmaceutical industry or not. A substance is useful based on whether the science and evidence behind it is solid. Aspirin, ACE-inhibitors, spironolactone and other substances were all patented substances and millions have been made sellling them.

The american supplement industry also makes millions selling vitamin pills and other supplements, for most of whom either no studies exist or studies indicate that they are ineffective. More than that, the american supplement industry is notoriously known to fraud customers by putting different substances or sugar powder in their pills, making them true placebos. This could be solved by tighter regulation, as seen with the pharmaceutical industry, which nowadays provides reliable quality in their products.

By open source, I mean that it has no manufacturing patent and can in principle be made and sold by me or you without threat of infringement.

Yes, as far as I can tell, large business is owned by essentially the same parent conglomerates, whether food, drug or supplement. They are all, sadly, frauds immune from prosecution by their captured regulatory agencies and pandering politicians.

So-called pharmaceutical companies (no offense intended, if you work for one or desire to) are the most evil perpetrators of mass murder ever known, with the possible exception of the nuclear industry, whose extinction of mankind has not yet come to pass.

The ever-increasing rate of average life expectancy over the last decades strongly argues against any "mass murder" of people by pharmaceuticals. Life expectancy is high in countries with a well developed health system and a high penetrance for pharmaceuticals (north america, europe, australia, japan), while it is much lower in countries where pharmaceuticals are less prescribed or accessible to people.

It is true that people die from side effects of drugs, but those people have to be weighed in with the people that survived due to having taken drugs. The epidemiology strongly argues against your assumptions.

I understand that the counter argument is that improvements in hygiene and nutrition have always accounted for increased life expectancy, and still do, and vaccines and medicines are not the cause. Peat had an interview about this here:

In any event, the value of human life is not quantifiable in numbers saved as compared to numbers killed. The ethical rule has long been, first do no harm.

I call it murder because I believe an investigation would show that the executives of these pharma companies knew or should have known at the time of the many frauds that have since been admitted.

So vaccines are mass murder too and diet saved us?

In regard to your claim diet is responsible: It is worthwhile mentioning that one of the most profound changes in the US diet in the last 40 years was the almost exponential increase in total PUFA consumption (+250% in oil consumption 1909-1999, almost most of which mediated by an increase in soy oil consumption).

So you suggest we live longer because we eat more PUFAs? Oh no, it cant be, because its Peats prime villain for everything. Then it must be something else outweighing any benefit of PUFAs.. Maybe the 149% and 426% increase in nut and poultry consumption, respectively? Oh no, it cant be because that is not peat approved either. The 9%, 10% or 12% decrease in beef, eggs and dairy respectively? No cant be either, because those are peat approved.. Ah wait, it is mediated by the 33% and 59% increase in fruit and sugar consumption. That must be it, outweighing all the other insults from drugs, estrogens, vaccines, PUFAs etc. that are constantly thrown at us!

Yes, the industrial degradation of the food supply is also criminal, but that is a separate point.

The greatest improvements in life expectancy from reduction in disease consistently precedes the introduction of vaccines, and therefore are likely attributed to better hygiene and reduced starvation, or the body's own immune responses.

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Reduction in death rates

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Those a imagines are not from a scientific study but from an anti-vaccine book from an author with no medical or scientific training who generally opposes vaccines. All three of those vaccine are highly effective and helped tremendously in reducing the incidence and sequelae of those disease.

The precise problem of displaying the data in this way has been dealt with here:

That author agrees that the the greatest reduction in death rate is prior to the introduction of the vaccine, saying"It’s not surprising that death rates were declining before introduction of the vaccines." The author then postulates other purported causes of the reduction such as an iron lung, while agreeing that "No doubt improved nutrition also played a role as well." However, he fails to mention the contribution of hygiene or the body's own natural immune response.

This is hardly intellectual honesty, and smacks of manipulation of his readers under the guise of his authority as an MD.

Note: he also does not address the graphs above, which are from Miller NZ. Vaccines - Are They Really Safe and Effective? Santa Fe, NM, New Atlantean Press, 1992, pp.17-35. (900 notes and references)

I've no particular opinions about the effectiveness of modern vaccines but
for many reasons, particularly the rather selective historical account of past polio treatments which in reality had some very mixed outcomes, I'd say that the link you provided is one of the most intellectually dishonest things I've ever read. Most of it seems to be rather personal attacks on other authors and not a dispassionate review of the evidence. Really I'm surprised at you Buk.

Moving on. It says vaccines reduced the incidence of measles, which may or may not be true, the data can only demonstrate association. But the real story is death from illness that was already falling dramatically before the introduction of certain vaccines.

When comparing disease incidence and death, I'm inclined to believe premature death is the more significant problem.

The website tries to dismiss this by saying something rather stupid about it, namely that medical care was improving and this accounts for the reduction. But this not pertinent to the effectiveness of vaccines. What's more these improvements included better sanitation and better nutritional treatment of patients.

To say that sanitation and nutrition are not relevant to the death rate but improvements in medical care were is effectively an oxymoron.

You cant refute the helpfulness of vaccines by limiting yourself to mortality outcomes. You also have to look at morbidity and all the factors that come with it (reduced quality of life, work leave, increased health costs etc.). Measles encephalitis will often result in permanent brain damage. Polio results in permanent paralysis. Those complications are often survived nowadays with the help of modern medicine, but people have to live with the consequences all their life. Such things are not displayed in pure mortality statistics.

I didn't refute the helpfulness of vaccine.

I refuted the ridiculous statements made in that article, which is not the same as making a statement about vaccines.

I cited the article to illustrate the problem of displaying the statistics in such a way, which is very popular in anti-vaccine circles. Its unfortunate that the article didnt remain a neutral tone, but I think that author is basically frustrated that people make widespread anti-vaccine campaigns based on poor science. This results in reduced vaccination rates that cause a reoccurrence of the diseases that vaccines aimed at eliminating completely (i.e. recent outbreaks at the west coast).

So he thought to address poor selective science with poor selective science. I don't see how that solves anything.
There have been many instances where vaccination programs have made things much worse. Until the pro vaccine lobby acknowledges these problems I don't see how they're any better than the anti vaccine lobby. Selective is as selective does.

Lets for one second imagine there would be no measles vaccine in the world (or any other of the highly effective vaccines).

In 2015, we would still have several hundred-thousand cases of measles cases, as the viruses we are speaking about is highly adapted to the current living status of humans (living in densely populated areas, public transport, schools, lots of close contact with other beings in close time) and is thereby not expected to just disappear by itself.

Who would be hurt by that? Probably not the oversaturated higher-mid class san francisco suburban mom that writes her anti-vaccine blog during the day. She will have the resources to feed her child a proper diet, keep it stress free and resilient to live through the infection without a lot of problems. It will be the poor people, stressed people, people with several low-paid jobs, that dont have the money and time for a proper diet, lower class people, people in developing countries. THEY will suffer the complications and long-term damage when their children are infected on their way to school, home work etc.

"Lets for one second imagine there would be no measles vaccine in the world (or any other of the highly effective vaccines)."

It's not at all clear that the measles vaccine is highly effective. But this is beside the point

If a vaccine is good, then eliding vaccine history to serve a public agenda can only backfire. People can read and do research, better be up front and present actual evidence and not medical rhetoric.

You can't use vaccines as a justification for not addressing malnutrition and sanitation or poverty. Vaccine effectiveness is vulnerable to these factors too.

Yes... We can't use vaccines as a justification for not addressing malnutrition and sanitation and poverty, low class people, or people that don't have time for a proper diet. Let's address these more important problems and instead of worrying about mass vaccination and we would have healthier and happier stress free people.

Strawman argument, as vaccinations are not used to not address nutrition, sanitation or poverty. Its just that the latter problems are influenced by so many intercurrent factors, capitalism, advertisment, development of states etc., that it is much harder to modify those. Making sure that everybody is vaccinated is fairly easy to do in comparison, as long as you have some kind of medical GP system that can provide this (which exists in most states nowadays). Its clear that the problem should be tackled from all fronts but it should also be clear that vaccination are an essential part of the whole program.

From since you posted that article which tries to credit wholly the reduction of infection disease to vaccination, the conversation has featured the relative usefulness of sanitation, nutrition and generally a better standard of living over vaccines and in the context of vaccines.

It's possible money spent on vaccines may have led to better outcomes spent on something else. In no way is that a straw man.

CB, do you know what a strawman argument is? It's not a strawman argument when you are the one who argued:

"You cant refute the helpfulness of vaccines by limiting yourself to mortality outcomes. You also have to look at morbidity and all the factors that come with it (reduced quality of life, work leave, increased health costs etc.). "

That is the exact point that's being criticized. If 10 billion dollars were spent on sanitation and nutrition, it would be vastly more effective at improving quality of life, work productivity and health care costs than it has been when spent on vaccines, nearly all of which goes to enrich the handful of oligarchs who own the vaccine companies.

Can you understand how transparently circular your arguments are? And how you slavishly repeat obviously circular arguments, without every stopping to think about the venal self-interests that underlie those arguments?

Agree with VoS wholeheartedly

I guess we're talking about whether rich kids who eat well and have good access to professional care in the event of a serious infection should have the same vaccination schedule as poor kids.

Should we have a separate vaccination schedule for the prole babies? A different one for the upper middle class, and one for the alphas and betas and gammas and deltas and so forth?

I'm being a bit tongue in cheek but I fear the question makes a lot of practical sense, to Bukowski's point. The $USD 180,000 income households in Marin County, California may actually be making rational decisions to forgo certain vaccinations. Whereas if those choices spread to poorer communities it becomes an irrational decision.

Doubt it. The assumption that vaccinating a population confers better outcomes is questionable, certainly for the wealthy, but also for the poor. Especially since malnutrition attenuates vaccine effectiveness.

At the cost of supplying a vitamin A supplement you'd probably improve the lives of many poor people far over what could be achieved with an expensive vaccine as this is a common deficiency in developing parts of the world and has a huge impact on the survivability of given diseases (like measles).

Mass deployment of vaccines to build 'herd immunity' on a house of cards clearly doesn't work and is itself irrational. Casing point, Indian children getting something like thirty vaccinations by the age of five and being twice as likely to die prematurely as their unvaccinated counterparts.

I do believe there are rational uses of vaccines, it's just not the standard "vaccinate everyone and win." Which looks good on paper but in reality has been a very mixed bag.