I want to share with you the lifestyle I've adapted to becoming a clear, happy human being. I now look back and see those 9 odd years of severe (and often very severe) acne with a radically contary perspective from how I once felt.
Remember at all times that this is my personal experience of clearing. It's very difficult to narrow down what exactly caused my acne. It seemed like a bit of everything throughout the 9 years. Please read on to the very end, as the level of progress increases steadily throughout.
My first step was a drastic change to my diet/eating habits/whatever you want to call it. I took things slowly at first, cutting out the majority of processed foods, like biscuits, ready made meals, generic supermarket brands crammed with ingredients that I was totally oblivious to. However, I didn't cut out processed foods completely, and for a while I would continue to eat a few pancakes a day, accompanied with milk and cereal. My acne did improve, but not as much as I'd desired.
The next step came when I cut out pancakes, but not cereal. I opted for a granola mix, you know, honey-baked oats with raisins, almonds, sunflower seeds etc. It had nothing artificial in it, and I didn't need milk with it because it had such a delicious taste. A couple of weeks void of artifical ingredients and I had improved again, getting only a couple of spots here and there. But it was not as much as I'd desired.
So, I increased the intensity and duration of my exercise, thinking this would be beneficial to my acne. You know the kind of exercise you do when all you can think about is crossing the finish line? That's what I was doing, having no fun in the process bar the sense of accomplishment when I reached my goal. Alas, this achievement did not outweigh the fact that my acne/hyperpigmentation was being hindered, and at some points becoming worse.
Now that you've heard the general gist of things, I want you to hear the methods I used to make some real, truly noticable improvement. Again, keep reading, because it just gets better and better:
Remember, what you don't eat plays just as big a part as what you do eat. I'll provide links at the end with lots of foods you should be eating.
L-Optizinc (which I'll cover down the line)
1 Sweet Potato, fried and seasoned with cinnamon, ginger and coconut. I'm not sure what impact frying has on the nutrient value of a sweet potato, but it's an amazing food, so you might want to look into that.
(Eventually I did cut oats out after more research, and I knew that ultimately it wouldn't hurt to erase them, even if my body found them tolerable)
A few garlic cloves
A few tomatoes
Herbs, spices, seasoning such as basil, thyme, oregano, organic sea salt (incredible for taste), black pepper. I throw in some dried chillies for digestion purposes.
A spoonful of apple cider vinegar beforehand also to aid digestion.
This results in quite a large meal, and you should be weary of the glycemic load of your meals. I'll point you to info on this in a while. This is why I eat my lunch in two halves throughout the afternoon, giving it time to digest properly.
This varies often. Sometimes I'd take what's left of my lunch, add some mushrooms, peppers and things. I might also cook more meat at dinner time, such as beef or liver (though it's a tremendous food, be sparse with it. Check Mark's Daily Apple for more on liver)
Again, I'd take a spoonful of ACV before dinner.
1 green smoothie a day, truly magnificent and definitely played a role in clearing my skin. There's a huge thread dedicated to recipes. Get your leafy greens, they are important.
Organic Peppermint tea: again, great stuff for hormonal acne I guess. They say it's an "androgen blocker. I'm confident it helped me, but don't drink it too warm!
Apple Cider Vinegar
And L-OptiZinc, which contributed to my clearing a LOT. I'm taking 90mg a day at present, but I'm in the process of cutting it to 30mg.
Almond pancakes - a mixture of ground almonds, eggs, cinnamon, honey and coconut. They taste incredible.
Sweet potatoes, fried like I mentioned earlier.
Bananas, apples and various other fruits. Blueberries are superb.
Take into account the glycemic load of your portions. I've heard conflicting sides, but judging by personal experience and great success stories I believe it's wise to keep your meals low to moderate GL. Never binge.
I would eat fish, but I believe they caused me some trouble, particularly salmon, even if it wasn't the farmed stuff. I'm going to introduce it back in and see what happens.
I fall asleep anytime between 10.30-11.30 and wake up between 7.00-8.30. Early to sleep, early to rise, providing as much natural light as possible during the day and keeping things dim towards the end of the night. I sleep in pitch black, trying not to let any light protrude. Keep phones and electronics off if possible so to avoid disturbance of the seratonin to melatonin conversion.
I mentioned earlier that the high intensity training was doing no good for me, and was in fact counterproductive to my aims. I now opt for a fun, less intense approach. Basically, I like to do more moving with far less intensity, combined with short bursts of high intensity intervals, like sprinting. I got all of this from Mark's Daily Apple. Check it out, seriously.
Topicals (ONLY for my red marks):
Aubrey Organic's Aloe Vera - entirely organic.
Honey, cinnamon and lemon mask. Leave on for 10-15 minutes.
Emotions and wellbeing:
I guess this is the final stage. I hadn't been very happy over the years I had acne, particularly the past 2. It's not easy explaining this, as the individual knows what makes them happy and what provides relief. Whatever method you need to take, take it. For me, it was all about aspirations, it was about the thought of having clear skin. In order to be able to hope, I had to have factors around me giving the ability to do so. This involved exercise (with a friend because it's more fun and you can talk), avoiding situations I'd known to cause stress, listening and playing music with positive vibes and, most importantly, avoid being preoccupied with the thought of skin: avoid mirrors, or if you must look, look at a distance. Don't be critical, just hold your horses, relax, and know that things can only get better. Fussing is counterproductive, and will lead you nowhere.
I guess that's all I have to say. I'd like to give a massive thanks to alternativista and chunkylard for all the information they've supplied on this forum. I highly appreciate their efforts, among others who post here regularly. I plan to keep doing my research and continue posting.
Here are the vital links I promised:
Alternativista's "Good things for acne" thread
Absolutely abundant in incredible information and links to further studies and research. Read this, it will work.
Mark's Daily Apple
This is my go-to place for exercise tips. Recipe ideas are plentiful here. Before I began eating healthily I'd never imagined it to be so fun and tasty. I have a better time eating now than when I was eating junk. It's also an amazing place in general, with tonnes of fantastic information for a healthy living. Mark writes new articles constantly!
The Love Vitamin
This website is amazing. It give me that much needed push into my life of emotional wellbeing. Check it out for some happiness techniques and the mechanics behind it all.
I hope you all become clear sooner rather than later. It's an amazing feeling that slipped out of my life over the past 9 years. As far as I'm concerned, natural methods are the way forward. I'd been through antibiotics, countless topicals, none of which did me a shred of good. It's all uphill from here out.
Edited by neverforget, 30 May 2011 - 09:39 AM.