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*Emily*

At A Loss After 24 Years... Any Suggestions?

58 posts in this topic

As the heading suggests, I am at a total loss of what to do next and would welcome any suggestions. I've read around so many pages on the web that I just feel confused as to where to go next, but I can't stand being where I am now.

I'm 37 and had acne for 24 years. I have scars all across my chin (literally not even half a cm is free from scars) and spread across my back, with a few others dotted about my face.

I made the mistake of getting mirena coil 2 years ago, as my dr assured me that the hormones wouldn't spread all through my body like the usual pill (they have prescribed various contraceptive pills for me in the past specifically for my skin, but each time it has got worse and I get blinding migraines and depression).

With mirena my skin got much worse on my face, back and chest (I had to wear scarves during the summer to try and cover up how bad my chest was), and I got prescribed BP for it. This improved it a bit - down to continuously 1 or 2 cysts on my face at any time, but in the summer my forehead started breaking out with lots of smaller ones.

I wanted a permanent solution, so got the coil removed and had a course of microdermabrasion last summer - it got worse.

Dr then prescribed 4 months of differin and tetralysal /lymecycline - my back and chest improved a little but my face was still bad, possibly a bit worse.

I've spent the last month on aknemyacin plus topical solution (tretinoin) and no difference yet.

Dr doesn't want to refer me to a dermatologist and I am reluctant to try accutane given the side effects (I have joint pains often enough as it is, and don't want them to try and put me on the pill again)

I have 5 huge painful cysts on my face at the moment, plus some smaller ones. I really don't want to even leave the house right now, but I work in a school so can't avoid it. I see people looking at the huge lumps on my face and just feel so depressed. It's also affecting my relationship as I feel so ugly..

I have cut wheat, dairy and sugar out of my diet for 2 months now and seen no difference.

I drink smoothies every day to try and increase my vitamin intake.

I switched my foundation to Clinique mineral powder as it had good reviews, but it has made no difference. My partner hates me wearing makeup and is convinced that's the problem, but that doesn't explain why I get acne on my chest, back and all through my scalp.

My skin is very greasy - within 2 hours of washing in the morning, it has come through my make-up (one child asked last year why my face was wet!)

I tried using the oil cleansing method with castor and jojoba. My facial skin didn't get worse initially, but after a few weeks I got lots of spots all under my jawline and down my neck, which still haven't gone even though I have stopped and gone back to using bland facewashes.

I feel like I have tried everything I can think of and ended up with nothing. Feeling v depressed. Does anyone have any suggestions?


Skincare routine:

am: wash with water only, BP, tiny amount of Dan's moisturiser if needed.

pm: wash with Dead Sea sulphur soap, BP

Diet: wheat, dairy, sugar free

Supplements:

Pre/probiotic, 2 fish oil caps, 2 starflower caps, zinc, multivitmin


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Have you talked to your dermatologist about Spironolactone? Some women swear by it, I'm on it right now, as a trial instead of going for a second round of accutane. It does make it worse before it gets better, and you'll probably need a higher dose ~100-200. It's worth talking to them about.


"We all deal with being unfairly judged."

Completed Accutane: 1/2009: http://www.acne.org/...the-first-time/

4 months on 40mg

2 months on 60mg

Clear until 7/2011.

Current regimen:

AM:

75mg Spironolactone

WF Double Strength Probiotics

Daily cetaphil wash

CeraVe Day cream with SPF

MAC concealer

MUFE Make-up

Afternoon/Evening (pre/post-workout0:

Cetaphil/CeraVe before and after

PM:

100mg Doxy

WF Double Strength Probiotics

Zinc Picolinate 50mg

Daily Cetaphil Wash

CeraVe lotion

Tazorac 0.1%

(Exfoliate 1-2x a week, Sulfur mask 1-2x a week)


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Thanks, that's a name I have seen mentioned a few times. I don't even have a dermatologist, every time I go to the dr they just tell me to try something else. Last time I went my dr said they are reluctant to refer to dermatologists and there is pressure on them not to. I will definitely ask her about it next time.


Skincare routine:

am: wash with water only, BP, tiny amount of Dan's moisturiser if needed.

pm: wash with Dead Sea sulphur soap, BP

Diet: wheat, dairy, sugar free

Supplements:

Pre/probiotic, 2 fish oil caps, 2 starflower caps, zinc, multivitmin


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If you tried birth control and that didnt work it is probably not hormonal. I tried sprinolactone and my acne got worse and there are some very scary side effects that come along with it. Before you put anything in your body read up on it. It sounds like you need to see a nutritionist or a holistic doctor as maybe you are allergic to something ei. dairy, gluten etc... I had cysts for years and started the candida diet and supplements in October 2011 and havent had 1 cyst etc... since november of 2011. i am just dealing with clearing up the few marks/scars left on my face. I tried many different things to clear my skin and this is the only thing that worked. Look up probiotics it is part of the candida diet and is amazing. It helps the gut which in turn helps your skin. When i first read about it i thought no way is this going to clear my skin but it actually was the only thing that CLEARED my skin. I'm not saying this will clear everyone but you have nothing to lose by trying it.

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I would agree with the above poster's suggestions and say see a naturopath or holistic doctor. From what I have read cysts are usually an allergic reaction to something - you are probably allergic to a food you are eating without knowing it. I would get allergy testing done for all delayed response food allergies as well as celliac and candida. I think because of your age and how long this has been going on it definitely has to do with your gut, digestion and your absorption of nutrients. Expect for the natruopath to put you on a crazy elimination diet and supplements, but I think it would work for you. Hearing how frustrated you are in your post I think you would have the determination to see the diet through, especially if your skin started improving with it. From what I take out of your post you have tried some antibiotics.. this can create bacterial imbalances in the digestive system and cause you to not absorb nutrients like you should and also create constant inflammation. L-Glutamine is a good supplement for repairing the gut from what I have heard.

On the other end of things, have you had a hormone test for Poly Cystic Ovary Syndrome? You might have elevated levels of androgen hormones, which could also be causing your skin to be so greasy. In this case certain birth control or Spirolactone could really benefit you. You might want to push your doctor to let you see an endocrinologist if hormone imbalance is the case.

Also, what cleanser and treatments are you using? I would keep it as natural as possible and stop using the harsh treatments from your doctor. Use a cleanser that will not strip your skin of it's moisture barrier and always use a moisturizer even if you feel your skin is greasy. The skincare products you are using might be stripping away your skins natural oils, causing to overproduce sebum and make your face appear oily so fast. I have heard zinc is a good supplement to take daily to control oil production.

Hope some of this can help, hang in there it will get better!


Love and accept yourself for exactly who you are right now.

25, female, moderate acne since age 12.

Accutane at least 6 times.
Intolerances: corn & wheat & alcohol.

100% clear, if I follow the diet.

"the absence of flaw within beauty, is itself a flaw."


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Thanks for your replies, Gia and Alexisc

I had read about candida as a cause, but tried so many supplements on and off that I lost hope. I had read that cutting out wheat, dairy and sugar worked for many people, but it hasn't done for me so far. I will look up anti candida and see what I can find. Your results sound great Gia, it must be a relief to finally find something that works for you.

Frustratingly I haven't been able to find a wholistic practitioner or naturopath close to me, but I have been told about a herbalist who gives consultations over the phone, so I might give them a ring next week.

I've been tested for PCOS and my blood results showed that my oestrogen and progesterone levels were reversed, which is an indicator of PCOS, but when I had a scan they said they couldn't see anything, so that became a dead end.

Prior to the summer I was using a liquid african black soap, then when having microdermabrasion from the SK:N clinic I used their own cleanser, switched to just water in mornings and OCM in evenings in December but stopped because my pores were getting even more blocked and new spots on my neck. Now am using what's left of my Dan's regime cleanser, just because I don't know what else to try.

I never use moisturiser because every one I have ever tried has brought me out in more spots.

I have to stick with this latest topical for 8 weeks and prove it doesn't work before I go back to my dr, but I will push for a referral. I am sure I need an endocrinologist because I have heavy painful periods, am tearful, thinning hair, extra hair on my chin, tiredness, plus my skin issues, so it looks like classic hormone problems to me, yet they only give me stuff to try and suppress the symptoms on my face, not address the cause.

I just got my latest blood test results back - glucose, auto-immune and thyroid all came back ans "normal - no action required", so no clues there.


Skincare routine:

am: wash with water only, BP, tiny amount of Dan's moisturiser if needed.

pm: wash with Dead Sea sulphur soap, BP

Diet: wheat, dairy, sugar free

Supplements:

Pre/probiotic, 2 fish oil caps, 2 starflower caps, zinc, multivitmin


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I think because your hormone levels are imbalanced (even if it's not your androgens) that seeing the endocrinologist would be your best route. Try a good birth control and spirolactone and see if that helps you get some results. I would still do the food allergy test too, if you don't have a naturopath you could always order a test online. There was someone on the Nutrition and Holistic forum of this website that just asked what the best allergy test is.. maybe go and read that thread and take it upon yourself.

As a last resort if none of these things work, you might want to try Accutane. I know there are a lot of bad stories and it isn't something healthy to do to your body, but I can honestly say I have been on it over 5 times and still don't regret it. For me though my acne has always come back and it is because of digestion issues and or food intolerance which I have finally realized. There would be no point for me to go on it any more and further poison myself, but if acne is taking a big toll on your life you have to weigh the pro's and con's. I say exhaust all of your options, health, hormones and topicals and if everything fails then try Accutane, but that is just my opinion.

Take care!!


Love and accept yourself for exactly who you are right now.

25, female, moderate acne since age 12.

Accutane at least 6 times.
Intolerances: corn & wheat & alcohol.

100% clear, if I follow the diet.

"the absence of flaw within beauty, is itself a flaw."


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I agree with many of the above posters....there is something going on with your body either hormonally or diet/allergy related. Your skin is trying to tell you something, you just need to figure out what it is. I would definitely change physicians if he/she will not give you a referral to an endocrinologist or a derm....you need to take this to the next level. I also agree you may want to get allergy tested. For me, I figured out that gluten was the source of my acne and it has made a big difference for me and I am clear, I know giving up gluten doesn't work for everyone and it sounds like you have tried that already. I would try to stick to a whole foods (fruit vegetable) diet...little to no processed foods if you can. I have been taking supplements that have helped...bromelain (enzime in pineapple 1000 mg), zinc, A, E, D. I would check with a physician if you have health issues as supplements can interact with some meds. I have also been drinking ginger tea and green tea which are known to reduce inflammation. Best of luck...hang in there!

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Thanks Alexisc and Liz

I have just found that there is a new herbalist started up in my area, he does allergy testing too (though it is the alternative med style machine rather than blood tests), so I have an appointment with him in 2 weeks.

I think I'll hold off getting any more supplements until I have his recommendation.

I have been drinking mint tea as I heard that was supposed to help balance hormones, but maybe I'll get back onto ginger as well.

Thanks for your support.


Skincare routine:

am: wash with water only, BP, tiny amount of Dan's moisturiser if needed.

pm: wash with Dead Sea sulphur soap, BP

Diet: wheat, dairy, sugar free

Supplements:

Pre/probiotic, 2 fish oil caps, 2 starflower caps, zinc, multivitmin


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Emily:

best of luck and keep us posted. One thing I will say about gluten is that it is hidden in everything. I know you said that you did cut out wheat, but gluten is even hidden in soy sauce or non gluten containing items processed on equipment that processes wheat products. I can say, for me, I will break out if I get hidden gluten...so if you just cut back or cut down on wheat or cut out bread and pasta but still got trace amounts in things like soy sauce....you may want to try the wheat thing again and really make sure you are truly gluten free. Wheat is not a trigger for many so this really may not be your issue, but I thought I'd give you my experience, hopefully you will find it helpful.

I think the alternative medicine track is a great plan....please let us know if you find out anything useful....

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Emily this is what got me clear:

AM- 2 probiotics, vitamin C, 1 coconut oil pill, vitamin D liquid form (liquid form best for acne), vitamin E.

PM- 2 probiotics, grapefruit seed extract, oregano pill, L Glutamine, Bromelain, Vitamin A, Papaya chewable tablets.

PM before bed- 2 probiotics, garlic pill, sometimes a turmeric pill

I am also on the candida diet, google it, it will tell you all the foods to avoid and to eat. Pretty much stay away from carbs, sugar, caffeine etc...

As of now i no longer take grapefruit seed extract, oregano pill, l glutamine, bromelain, garlic pill and turmeric because i dont need it anymore. The rest i plan on taking for life especially the pro biotics because it keeps your gut in check which keeps your skin clear. The diet was hard at first but when i started seeing results it wasn't so hard anymore lol. This is the only thing that i tried and got results and i tried so many options.

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Thanks Liz - I didn't go for the total cut out of gluten, I just tried wheat initially. Have to say after seeing no change and getting fed up of being limited, today when I was at work and the chocolate cake and tea with milk came out at break time I thought, what the hell, I'm fed up of being restricted for no apparent gain, so I did give in. I am usually quite strict on it though. I'll keep the gluten issue in mind but I'm going to wait until my appointment next weekend to see what food intolerances show up on the test, it would be nice if gluten isn't an issue since it is hidden in so many foods, as you say. it will be interesting to see what comes up! I'll get back on here and post the findings in case they help anyone else.

Thanks Gia - that's an interesting regime! I only heard the coconut oil method last week and was wondering whether it would be worth a go. I try and eat one fresh papaya a week, maybe I should try and eat them more often. I had heard they were good for regulating hormones. The therapist I am seeing does Chinese, Ayurvedic and traditional Western herbalism, plus homoepathy, so it will be interesting to see what he prescribes.

Am feeling more hopeful this week now I have an appointment and I think the maca and St John's wort are helping that side of things!


Skincare routine:

am: wash with water only, BP, tiny amount of Dan's moisturiser if needed.

pm: wash with Dead Sea sulphur soap, BP

Diet: wheat, dairy, sugar free

Supplements:

Pre/probiotic, 2 fish oil caps, 2 starflower caps, zinc, multivitmin


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Hi Emily

Can you see a dermatologist? I agree with above on diet...but sometimes diet isn't eneough...or it just takes a very long time for the change in diet to make a difference (years?). I used to think I knew what the best acne treatments were...and I have studied alot on the subject (research background)...but as my condition continues to flare-up I begin to feel I really don't know very much at all (sigh). Or at the very least that it takes for some of us tremendous commitment, patience, and perseverance to find a regime that actually works longer than a few months and is safe to do longterm. In your situation I would strongly urge you to see a dermatologist. Is there any reason why you can't just go directly to one? It sounds like you have really sensitive skin and a resistant case and that your body is very sensitive to hormones. When I take Spironolactone (...which my new derm has put me back on now after my old derm unwisely took me off - big flare-up...) my skin is less oily and I have much less frequent flare-ups (3-4x/yr at most). Plus they are much milder...maybe one pustule or small cyst. Spiro works with the body by blocking androgen receptors in the skin, thereby not allowing the hormone (androgen-testosterone) to start the acne process. It is pretty cool and very safe at the doses used for longterm acne treatment. My new derm also put me on Oracea which is now being used for resistant adult acne because it can be used longterm without upsetting intestinal flora. He has me on tretinoin cream for overall skin health and he agrees with anti-acne diet. As you can see this is a rather complicated approach. But this can be what adult acne requires...and why seeing a dermatologist is important. Regular doctors really don't have the training for this.


Diagnosis - Cystic acne and papulopustular rosacea
Status - 98% clear

Morning - Panoxyl 10% Cleanser (BP), Cleocin-T, DML Lotion, Physician's Formula SPF 30 Mineral Pressed Powder, Spiro 50 mg (weaning off)

Night - Panoxyl 4% Cleanser, DML Lotion

Monthly - Professional microdermabrasion

Diet - Whole high nutrient unprocessed foods. Avoid oils, dairy, sugars, bread, nuts, alcohol, caffeine, spicy and fermented foods.

Supplements - Opti l-zinc, Citrical + D3, selenium, D

Daily - Walk, breath deeply, meditate and do yoga daily, wear hats for sun protection


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Emily:

The one thing I will caution you on regarding gluten...many people test negative for a gluten allergy yet are sensitive to gluten. I would not trust the test in this regard. The only way to know is to cut gluten out entirely and see what happens. I noticed a difference right away...I would give it 3 weeks to be sure. If gluten is your issue I promise you will stick to it.....my skin has NEVER looked like this. As I said, if gluten is your trigger and you are still ingesting it in any way (a beer here and there, a cheat here and there) you won't be clear and you will break out. The pain of avoiding gluten for me is way less than the stress I felt about my acne so it's a no brainer for me. I agree with CVD, I also would see a derm, but I promise they won't mention diet. I still use Retin A, but again I am over 40 lol!

Hope this helps. No doctor will tell you this, that's why I am on here...how frustrating! Good luck!

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Thanks cvd and Liz

I would really like to see a dermatologist but my dr keeps putting me off. I have to go another month on the topical erythromycin/tretinoin before she will see me again. The dermatologist at my local Sk:n clinic is the same person who does the hospital appointments, but to see him privately... I can't remember whether it was £100 or £140 per appointment that they quoted me, but way more than I can afford. I already blew my savings of £350 on their microdermabrasion treatment as they told me that would help (it didn't).

I am quite interested in spiro from what I've read on here, but my dr told me that the only thing a dermatologist would give me is accutane. Frustrating that they keep telling me to try "just one more" treatment and not actually referring me to someone who may be able to help.

Although I've been fairly good with my diet, I did have that lapse last thursday when I had cake and tea with milk with my colleagues at break time. On saturday morning I had about 5 new big breakouts that are still huge and hurting today. Hard to know if it was what I ate or not, as in the past I have had a day when my skin seems to be healing up and no new painful lumps building up under the surface, but then the next day a load more are on the way, and I have been very strict with my diet so I don't know what's triggered it. I am always caffeine and alcohol free, and though I only decided to be wheat free I have had very little gluten, as my substitutes are usually maize/rice based.

You are so right, I have had more info from this thread than 24 years of dr appointments.

Counting down the days til my naturopath appointment!


Skincare routine:

am: wash with water only, BP, tiny amount of Dan's moisturiser if needed.

pm: wash with Dead Sea sulphur soap, BP

Diet: wheat, dairy, sugar free

Supplements:

Pre/probiotic, 2 fish oil caps, 2 starflower caps, zinc, multivitmin


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Hey Emily,

you sound like you are in the UK like me smile.png

I started getting acne when I was 9 and still getting it now at 30. It's really difficult to get a GP to make a referral on to a specialist because they are always thinking of money with the NHS. I have spent most of my life going back to my GP asking for anything new/answers but was always given topicals. When I was 16 I went on Dianette and this helped considerably with both oiliness and acne. I have also taken Yasmin and this had the same effect.

It is only now that I have been trying for a baby with my partner for some time and not successful that they have agreed to investigate further. Had I thought it through more when I was younger I would have pushed them towards this sooner. Maybe this is a tactic you could think about using. They won't take acne and excess hair seriously but they did take not being able to conceive seriously. I am waiting for blood tests re pcos. Also, in everything I have read it says that you can have pcos without having the cysts.

I registered with a new practice and my new GP told me that the presence of cysts on ovaries isn't necessarily pcos. You need the problems with your hormones - that's why they have sent me for blood tests but no ultrasound.

Keep badgering your GP - I think in the UK we can sometimes be bad at doing this because we think of it as being 'free' but it isn't free you will have paid your contributions!

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I agree --- keep on calling and pestering to see a dermatologist. Adult acne at our age really needs an expert. For me any amount of sugar will cause a flare-up. I must be ultra-sensitive! Following an absolutely no sugar, dairy, gluten diet is hard but worth it to me. I see it as an opportunity to eat differently and more healthy. A challenge!


Diagnosis - Cystic acne and papulopustular rosacea
Status - 98% clear

Morning - Panoxyl 10% Cleanser (BP), Cleocin-T, DML Lotion, Physician's Formula SPF 30 Mineral Pressed Powder, Spiro 50 mg (weaning off)

Night - Panoxyl 4% Cleanser, DML Lotion

Monthly - Professional microdermabrasion

Diet - Whole high nutrient unprocessed foods. Avoid oils, dairy, sugars, bread, nuts, alcohol, caffeine, spicy and fermented foods.

Supplements - Opti l-zinc, Citrical + D3, selenium, D

Daily - Walk, breath deeply, meditate and do yoga daily, wear hats for sun protection


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Have you tried anything natural?

When you think about it for YEARS humans were cleaning there face with natural products. When did it become the norm to put chemicals on your body?

Too help me I cleanse my face with this dead sea mud soap called Kelp Help from Nakedbodyandbath.com It's cool because it doesn't dry your skin out, and its a simple safer way to clean you face from dirt embedded in your pores and makeup as well. I use it morning and night for about 3 months now and i have clear skin! That store also has other stuff too that i'm sure you can look at too! The soap was only $8.95 too!! Good luck!

--Nadia


I prefer natural products and home remedies:

Daily Routine:

1.Exfoliate with uncoated aspirin and honey

2.Cleanse with Kelp Help bar soap (nakedbodyandbath.com)

Pat face dry

3.Apply A Tone So Cool Toner w/ acne blend (nakedbodyandbath.com)

Allow to air dry

4.Apply small amount of Tea Time moisturizer w/ acne blend (nakedbodyandbath.com)

Problem areas:

Apply Tea Tree Oil

Biweekly:

Dead Sea Mud mask w/ acne blend (nakedbodyandbath.com)

Diet:

Pescatarian 8+ years

Tea advocate

Junk food junkie unfortunately

AND I have clear skin.

I've never felt so confident about my skin.


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Hi Peony

Yes I am in the UK. Interesting point you make about the pcos and cysts, I hadn't realised you could have one without the other! My blood tests showed my oestrogen and progesterone were reversed but because the scan showed nothing it was just kind of dropped!

You are right, I hate going to the dr, I feel like I'm being a nuisance if I don't have something potentially life threatening! Good luck with the conception issues, it sounds like they are taking you seriously now so hopefully you'll see some results soon.

Hi cvd

I am going to check the appointments today, and see what the wait is like! (often 2 weeks)

Hi Nadia

Yes, I used to work in a health food shop and tried the natural green gloop herbal cleanser about 10 years ago. I found Lush's fresh farmacy bar worked better.

2 years ago I tried Alva Rhassoul Mineral cleansing cream. Didn't make it better, didn't make it worse.

Last year I used african black soap, which is cocoa ash based and "soap" free, which again didn't make my skin worse, but didn't make it better either, also have an abandoned Living Nature manuka honey wash still left in the bathroom.

Most recently, November to December, I tried using plain water in the mornings and OCM using castor and jojoba oils in the evenings, but this made my skin worse on my jawline and neck (where I've rarely had problems before) and it's only just starting to clear up.

I agree, natural is better in principle. I only swtiched to non-natural when I went to the Sk:n clinic and was persuaded to buy the products to go with their treatments. Now just using up the last of Dan's cleanser while I try and figure out what to try next. At the moment it's a toss-up between Cetaphil or back to Lush again (though their Herbalism, specifically made for blemish prone skin brought me out in loads of small spots and Dark Angels left tiny bits of charcoal in my pores!)

Will look up the link you suggested but not sure if I can get it over here.

-------------------

Ok, this is how my appointment went.....

It took 90 minutes, lots of questions, and then I was tested for weaknesses. It's one of those where you hold 2 metal probes, then somehow the electric current tests and highlights areas of weakness. Areas that showed up most out of balance were thyroid, adrenals, B12 and iron. Apparently my female hormones weren't flagged up as a problem.

The therapist didn't want to do an allergy/intolerance test, he said he wanted to use herbs first.

We talked about diet and he said to keep up with the wheat/dairy/sugar free regime and the only other thing he said was to eat more leafy greens, and a higher proportion of veg to carbs/protein.

So that's it for now. I will get a herbal mix sent in the post and have homoepathic drops to take, so will give it a go and see what happens.


Skincare routine:

am: wash with water only, BP, tiny amount of Dan's moisturiser if needed.

pm: wash with Dead Sea sulphur soap, BP

Diet: wheat, dairy, sugar free

Supplements:

Pre/probiotic, 2 fish oil caps, 2 starflower caps, zinc, multivitmin


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I hope this works for you! Did you go to a homeopathic doctor? I've also tried the all natural route but sadly it just didn't work. The homeopathic doctors tried but their treatments didn't begin to take care of the problem. Sorry...

What seems to work better for me is a middle of the road approach. My doctor is a regular MD with a holistic outlook (functional medicine). He has a dietitian on staff and believes in suppliments. He doesn't believe that much in homeopathic remedies...but they have placebo effect. My new dermatologist also tends to be more middle of the road. He has got me on a regime that emphasizes least impact on the body...i.e. Oracea (it doesn't affect bacteria, just inflammation), spironolactone (very mild diuretic that blocks androgen receptors in the skin), and tretinoin cream (topical vitamin A). This regime has got me back to almost clear skin. As I speak I have only one small papule on my chin but it isn't that inflamed.

Sounds difficult to get in to see a regular dermatologist in the UK. Although a wait time of 2 weeks is nothing compared to waiting 3 months or more here in the USA. The only reason I got in sooner this last time was because there was a cancelation and I had to be willing to come in at 7:30 am. This was great as far as I was concerned!!! And as it turned out I got to see the head derm who I think may be so much better at figuring out a good regime for me. He has me going in for monthly microdermabrasions starting in Feb.


Diagnosis - Cystic acne and papulopustular rosacea
Status - 98% clear

Morning - Panoxyl 10% Cleanser (BP), Cleocin-T, DML Lotion, Physician's Formula SPF 30 Mineral Pressed Powder, Spiro 50 mg (weaning off)

Night - Panoxyl 4% Cleanser, DML Lotion

Monthly - Professional microdermabrasion

Diet - Whole high nutrient unprocessed foods. Avoid oils, dairy, sugars, bread, nuts, alcohol, caffeine, spicy and fermented foods.

Supplements - Opti l-zinc, Citrical + D3, selenium, D

Daily - Walk, breath deeply, meditate and do yoga daily, wear hats for sun protection


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He describes his field as "natural, herbal and asyra bioenergetic medicine". It seems to be a kind of digital homoepathy, so whereas tradtional homoeopathy uses substances diluted at levels so low there isn't a molecule left, just the "vibrational energy", so the asyra machine aims to imprint the same vibration energetically. That's what I understand anyway, I could be wrong though!

Placebo effect or spiritual healing is fine by me, if it works I don't mind how!

Sounds like your dr and dermatologist are good and have an open balanced approach.

2 weeks is the wait to see my dr. If and when she refers me it will be a wait of months to actually see the dermatologist, probably similar to yours.

I found the microdermabrasion improved some areas of my skin, it looked healthier in general, but it did nothing for the actual outbreaks themselves. Your skin seems to be at a good stage now so hopefully it will work well for you. Good luck.


Skincare routine:

am: wash with water only, BP, tiny amount of Dan's moisturiser if needed.

pm: wash with Dead Sea sulphur soap, BP

Diet: wheat, dairy, sugar free

Supplements:

Pre/probiotic, 2 fish oil caps, 2 starflower caps, zinc, multivitmin


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Oh my..u guys are talking about my life for the past number of years. Now I have been gf for about 8 years but still have dairy. i also have the mirena iud which has been know to cause cysts in some people. That being said, whenever I get lazy with the gf way of eating (i dont purposely go out and eat it, i just dont seem to check at restaurants, etc), i definitely have cysts erupt. Also, when I have too many dairy type protein drinks...whooo ..my skin goes nuts. Raw carrots help me soooo much. I really need to get back to eating them everyday! Anyway, it definitely seems that there is more going on b/c it is on your chest and back too. A big thing for me was our water...yes...our water!

Our water softener had been broken for some time and my hair was breaking off and looking lank and then my face was in this constant state of eruption. of course, I just kept trying to do more with my face which made it worse. Anyway, looking up the whole hard water mineral deposit thing and i found that the minerals can build up on your skin and that regular soap does not get them off (kind of like having to use a chelating shampoo to get minerals out of hair). I began rinsing my face with distilled water and using apple cider vinegar (braggs brand, but any all natural one with the mother stuff on bottom will do) to tone. I diluted the acv so it would not be too harsh on my skin- maybe 50/50 with distilled water. I figured that if vinegar helps with hard water stains maybe this could help with minerals on my skin? Anyway, yes, it did help. Call it placebo or not, this is the first time in 3 years that I dont have a cyst on my face..true. My face responds better to all of the other treatment stuff too. It just feels different and like it is supposed to.

Hard to know whether or not i was going in that direction anyway, but i do not have any active cysts on my face right now and our water softener is fixed. It did not go away overnight, but it really did help it clear up. it just seemed less angry and swollen after a day or so. But do not get too carried away with the acv b/c it can dry out your skin. ACV also does also help with restoring the ph level to your skin after all of the harsh cleansers and stuff that we use. Worth a try. Again..please keep your regimen simple right now. It will be hard to know what is causing this if you keep jumping around from product to product (like I always do!). The probiotics are so helpful too!!

Good luck to you and keep us posted!

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Hi Emily, interesting I should see your post as I have had systic acne for 20 years, until recently that is. If you want my opinion the only way to cure severe acne ( I have tried just about everything) is to reduce your calorie intake to the bare minimum. It works. If your body does not have excess calories it is unable to produce oily skin, it simply does not have the calories to do it. Fast for a day then check the oilyness of your skin, it wont be. Looking forward to hearing your results.

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Thanks, Simi and Jason.

Interesting observations re water, Simi. I live in a hard water area, and have permanent mineral deposits building up all round my taps, so that could be a factor. I have heard of acv helping some people, but wavered on whether to try it or not. I use raw acv in my chickens' drinking water, so maybe I will borrow some of theirs!

I have just run out of Dan's cleanser and bought Lush Fresh Farmacy to use in the mornings and their Coalface to use evenings when I have makeup that needs removing too. FF helped my skin a bit years ago, and was certainly better than the harsh "anti-blemish" branded cleansers I had been getting from the chemist.

Jason, I weigh about 7 and a half stone / 45 kilos so I don't have many spare calories, if anything I need to keep an eye on keeping my weight up, but maybe the way you cut your calories is key ie less fat/sugar/carbs, which would mean a healthier diet overall?

Ok, here is my latest update... it has been an interesting few weeks:

6 weeks of topical antibiotic did nothing except make my skin flaky and red (as well as lumpy and scabby -great!), I am still using it though, as I have to show I have given it a good try if I want my dr to refer me.

I've been on my herbal formula and sticking to my (well about 95%) no wheat/dairy/sugar diet for 3 and a half weeks now. Last week some significant things happened. My skin slowly started to heal but I wasn't quite sure if it was lasting or just part of my cycle.

Then in the middle of last week I had a horrible court case, which meant loads of stress, my routine and diet all over the place, which meant I didn't remember to take my herbs every day, and I was away from home, and thought, "what the hell, I haven't noticed my diet make much of a difference so far" so because of my situation I had a couple of hot chocolates (with cream), macaroni cheese, cake etc, as I wasn't functioning well mentally at all.

On Friday morning I woke up and my skin was clear - it hasn't been totally clear for years. All I had were a couple of dry areas from the tretinoin and red marks from old breakouts. I couldn't believe it, and got my bf to take a photo to prove it (even though I am camera phobic and not photogenic at all). However....by that same evening I had 3 huge painful cysts and lots of smaller spots too. So extreme happiness in the morning turned to misery by evening!

I had my appointment booked to go back to the dr on the Friday morning as the topical hadn't been working, but I cancelled it, as going in with clear skin, she wouldn't believe me or refer me. Ironic, since by the end of that day it was awful again.

What I think happened was that my skin was starting to improve due to the combination of herbs and diet, so when I started eating badly on the Tuesday my skin was still healing, but by the Friday evening the rubbish I had eaten started to take effect. Eating the wheat again also had a bad effect on my digestion and energy levels.

So, now the stress is over, I am going back to being strict again and will have to give it some more time to find out if my skin heals again. On Friday morning I really felt I had the answer, it's just a shame I messed up and put myself back to square one again.

The herbal mix I am taking contains:

White Peony

Rehmannia

Licorice

Motherwort

Rhodiola

Yellow Dock

and I have a follow up appointment with the herbalist this weekend, so we'll see how that goes and I'll report back!

He has asked me to eat oat bran, which I know goes against some people's discovery that gluten is a problem for them, but I'll give it a try and see what happens. I know wheat has an effect on me, so I will keep avoiding that.

I've cut back on my tea with oatmilk and, at his suggestion, have started having lemon juice with hot water in the morning. I do put honey with it though. I'm trying to stick to fruit and herbal teas the rest of the time, and eating more kale/spring greens.

I'd like to try some raw food recipes, but feeling cold in the winter I've gone right off all the salads I was eating in summer, so I need to make some adjustments to my meals.


Skincare routine:

am: wash with water only, BP, tiny amount of Dan's moisturiser if needed.

pm: wash with Dead Sea sulphur soap, BP

Diet: wheat, dairy, sugar free

Supplements:

Pre/probiotic, 2 fish oil caps, 2 starflower caps, zinc, multivitmin


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Hi emily, good to see you have the self awareness to see the links between your diet and acne. For me that was the begining of a very long but rewarding road. You mention your wieght and I am thin naturally as well. There is nothing wrong with that. Providing you eat enough calories to function you will remain healthy. You will know when you have not eaten enough calories ( lack of energy, fatigue etc ). If you are concerned about becoming to thin just do a bit of exercise ( I go to the gym) that will ensure youll have a bit of muscle mass and remain healthy. The important thing is to only consume just enough calories to get through the day. It is extreme but so is cystic acne, and it works. By the way food and stress can be a cycle, one causes the other and visa versa. Self awareness can be used to break that cycle. Sorry if this sounds like a lecture, lots of luck and hope things work out for you.

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