I am 34 and have dealt with acne for more than half my life. I have used almost every conventional medicine under the sun, including Accutane (one full course and three weeks of a second course). None of these drugs has ever dealt with the condition to my satisfaction, so I have been recently looking into a more natural/holistic solution. I have been eating paleo for the last 10 days or so, and I thought I'd try drinking a few teaspoons of apple cider vinegar with water last night. I had a significant and almost immediate breakout as a result, and I woke up with several new pustules on my chin this morning. I normally get one very small pustule every few days, and this is clearly a response to the apple cider vinegar I consumed last night. I have seen a similar reaction when drinking kombucha in the past, which I obviously don't do anymore. Finally, I think I've seen the same reaction with potent probiotic supplements in the past, but I can't say that for sure. (I do know that I stopped taking probiotic supplements because I perceived that to be the case.)
My problem is that I can't figure out what this means, or how to proceed. Here are the possibilities I've discovered in my limited research:
- a vinegar allergy. This would account for the reaction to kombucha and apple cider vinegar, but not the probiotics (but again, I'm not 100% sure that was happening).
- a sensitivity to probiotics. What does that mean? What does it indicate about my internal health, if anything?
- a leaky gut. If the probiotics/organisms are passing through my intestines into my bloodstream, that would explain the instant inflammatory response showing up on my face.
- a "die-off" reaction. Some would suggest that the apple cider vinegar is killing the bad stuff and purging toxins from my body, in this case through my skin (wonderful). Others insist that the notion of a die-off reaction is overemphasized and usually not what is happening.
I am committed to improving my health through natural means such as diet, but I want to make sure I'm heading in the right direction. I've eaten like crap most of my life, and have really only tried to change that in the last year or so. And like I said, the paleo thing is still very new, so I obviously haven't seen any benefit from that yet.
What do you guys think? How should I proceed? Many thanks in advance for any feedback/ideas.
(I am currently using differin and duac on alternating days, which has helped a bit, and a zinc supplement.)