First, a quick background.
I'm 23, white and from the UK. I've had acne since I was 16 and have been through many difficult times as a result (depression, stress, anxiety). I have tried MANY different treatments and diets; I introduced new variables systematically and have been quite scientific in my quest to eliminate the cause of my acne. I'm now at the point when my skin is at it's clearest and can genuinely say I am finally enjoying life.
I have broken down in a somewhat simplistic manner the 3 factors that I think affects my skin and what I have done to get clear.
*I recognise that all of this has already been covered on acne.org, but I still feel it may help someone somewhere...
- Drink lots of water
Ensure that you get sufficient electrolytes when exercising. Adding a pinch of salt to your water when training is one solution.
- Elimate ALL dairy
This includes milk, cheese, butter, ice cream and pretty much anything with cows milk as an ingredient (yes, including milk chocolate). Almond milk is a replacement that tastes great. Small amounts of dark chocolate is ok.
- Limit bread intake
As a sports enthusiast, I find it difficult to eat sufficient carb's and used to rely on bread. Wholemeal pasta gives me enough energy and doesn't break me out.
- Reduce sugar intake
Self explanatory. Sugary snacks results in breakouts for me.
- Shower with water at a luke-warm temperature
Very difficult to do regularly, but hot showers strip oils from skin and encourage skin to over produce oils to compensate.
- Use delicate fash washes (if at all)
Harsh face washes may seem like the best to 'clean' skin but in my opinion they can do more harm than good. I use a very light face wash and wash very gently for under 10 seconds.
- Moisturise using jojoba oil
Using a tiny amount of jojoba oil seems to 'trick' my skin into thinking it has produced sufficient oil and therefore reduces breakouts. Be careful not to use too much however.
- Stop using chemicals such as benozyl peroxide
This was a difficult decision to make as I started to breakout immediately after stopping the regimen. After a few weeks my skin seemed to balance out and my acne returned to the usual level. I could not bear the redness and dryness from regularly applying chemicals to my skin.
- Be happy
I'm not sure how to put this any other way. Mentally, the harsh affects of acne seemed to cross over into other problems of my life and I got to the point where I could not think straight. I was not sure what was causing me to be so down and why I could not find enjoyment in ANYTHING I did.
It became clear that the other problems (family suicide, career problems) were actually the main reason for my depression and that I was simply placing these feelings towards acne as I thought I was strong and VISUALLY this was the only 'problem' with me. I have learnt that the mind is extremely complex, which brings me to my next point.
- Talk to someone
See a doctor. Talk to a therapist or councillor. For me, talking to someone outside of my family in a private confidential way allowed me to really open up and start to identify why I felt so down.
- Find a passion
Running, rowing, cycling, skiing, soccer all have something in common. They release endorphins, give the mind a focus and are excellent ways to to combat stress. A bonus is that it is easy to forget about your skin whilst doing such activities.
I think that's enough for now. I'll probably edit this at a later date. In summary; eat well, simplify your skin care and be happy. Apologies if this is the same old stuff you have read a hundred times. I actually enjoyed writing this out and hope if it helps just one person it was worth it.
Cheers - Ken
Edited by Kenny R, 06 August 2012 - 06:17 PM.