Before and After Pictures: http://img42.imagesh...2/2172/u4f0.jpg
Consider this my last topic. I'll answer questions here and try to help but I won't post on the rest of this forum anymore. I'll try to keep this simple. I mostly wanted to post my before & afters so someone might take naturally balancing their hormones into consideration instead of the more popular pharmaceutical alternatives.
I am not trying to convince anyone to use this regimen… just trying to inform and help others. The most important thing is to listen to your own body and find out what works for you.
Note: I am nervous about posting pictures online — sorry for the blackouts. These before pictures weren't at my worst. They were taken not long after quitting spiro. My "afters" were on PMS, coincidentally. I do have some scarring… it's been a long road.
26 years old. Had cystic acne since puberty, so bad it was hard to sit back in the desks at school. Accutane did an okay job for a few years but it kept coming back. Once I stopped hormonal birth control for good, I really started to really break out again. My worst areas were on my upper back and jawline/neck. I would get very large boils on my upper back that would turn purple.
Things That I tried but Didn't Work for Me
Antibiotics - multiple kinds, I have been on at least 5 including bactrim
Accutane - cleared me 80-90% for a couple years, but didn't last
Birth Control - I've been on tons of these, and they never cleared my skin but gave me horrible side effects. The only one that kept it mostly at bay was NuvaRing.
Spironolactone - Actually did clear my skin but made me gain weight, made my hair shed like crazy, made my skin look old, among many many other side effects
Topicals - Too many to list. None worked.
Diet - I've tried vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, low sugar, etc. None have helped or hurt my skin.
I pretty much eat whatever I want while avoiding almost all processed foods. I cook almost all of my meals. That includes a lot of dairy and all meats, vegetables, fruits, etc. I am an iced-coffee addict but I do drink a lot of green tea and other teas as well. I tend to avoid most gluten since I seem to have an allergy (gives me stomach-aches.) I also drink alcohol quite often. No changes in my diet in the past decade have had a noticable change in my skin. I believe that it's more important for me to not stress out about what I eat or drink and be happy.
What Finally Worked for Me
A combination of Natural Progesterone Cream and DIM.
Brands I take:
NPC: Natpro, Emerita Progest, and Kokoro is awesome too.The brand shouldn't matter much as long as it's completely natural and paraben free. Make sure you take at least the recommended dose in the pamphlet. Not all brands are equal strength either, so you may have to take more or less depending on the brand. I take around 40mg up to 100mg depending on stress, etc. Stress lowers progesterone. Note: Yes, men can take both supplements. Men create progesterone naturally in their bodies too.
DIM: DIM Plus by Nature's Way. Again, I don't think brand matters that much. I've heard of others clearing from other DIM brands. I take two a day.
Vitamin D, Vitamin C, Omega Fish Oil, and L-Cysteine. Sometimes Zinc.
These don't seem to affect my skin at all, but I believe they support my main regimen and overall health. Also I have read that both Vitamin D and C help support progesterone along with balancing copper levels which are linked with estrogen.
After FINALLY realizing my acne was hormonal (not because of where it was located, but at what times a month it was worst, observing my past reactions to hormones, and realizing that topicals didn't touch it at all) I began researching and reading hormonal posts on this board. In particular, this thread stuck out to me. I didn't want to take spironolactone anymore, so I weaned off slowly and began introducing a Natural Progesterone Cream daily. It cleared me a great deal, but not completely. To further balance estrogen levels, I added DIM and it did the trick. After around 3 more months, I was clear.
Other things this regimen has helped me with (yes, there's more!)
Brought back my absent period
Cured chronic constipation
Greatly helped anxiety
Increased sex drive
Cured ovarian pain
Reduced cold hands and feet
Greatly reduced bloating
A few warnings to anyone who starts this…
PLEASE REMEMBER: Hormones take time to adjust. Plan on waiting at least a few months for you to see results. Also, these treatments require you to be consistent. That means taking them EVERY day (for me), or however often it takes you to see results. ALSO: If you start to take natural progesterone, you go through what is referred to as "estrogen dominance" wake-up. This is the progesterone stimulating the estrogen receptors. You may feel sort of a super-PMS for a few weeks or more, which might include an initial breakout. It didn't for me, but I was crazy emotional and tired for two weeks. After that, it was smooth sailing and I am so glad that I was patient! It WILL subside once progesterone is more dominant.
I hope this helps someone out there. Anyway, even if you don't choose to go with this route; I do hope that you find what works for you. Everyone's different. Good luck and I wish you all clear skin and the best. (:
Edited by hearts, 06 September 2013 - 03:35 PM.