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The Kitchen Sink -- Solving Acne At 34

demodex dairy clear skin diet tea tree oil duac once daily

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#1 mae

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Posted 02 October 2013 - 06:24 AM

So I'm a 34 year old woman and my skin has gone crazy again. I'm pretty desperate to find a solution and this is a journal of all the things I am doing to try to fix it. The Regimen worked for me for years. I had a massive breakout when I was 26, which is when I discovered Dan's Regimen.  It was a life saver (as was this forum).  

 

Over the years, with the Regimen, my skin was rarely flawless, but it was pretty good and largely manageable.  There was a slight hiccup a year or so ago when PanOxyl was discontinued (how could they do that to me?!) and I had to switch to Dan's BP, which never seemed to work quite as well for me.  But then about three months ago my acne went off the charts.  And the Reg isn't having any impact.  Hmph.  Cue frustration and an unhealthy obsession with my face.

 

The first thing I tried was The Clear Skin Diet.  Read the book. It all sounds eminently sensible. No dairy, lots of veg, no high-sugar carbs, lots of omega-3.  I have been drinking green tea and taking a silly number of vitamins (E, zinc, C, magnesium, selenium, B6, omega-3 supplements) and drinking Yakult (erm, not sure how this fits with the no dairy).  After a month, maybe my skin was a little better for the diet, but still pretty awful. So although I'm sticking with the diet, I realised I need to try something else. 

 

Next, I read about demodex and the link with rosacea (there's an interesting article in New Scientist).  I'm very fair skinned and my face has always been prone to flushing, so I've long thought my acne could be of the acne rosacea variety. Now I am trying tea tree oil mixed with jojoba oil to rid myself of mites (mites that I may or may not have in excess).  I reckon I'm mixing the oil up to 30% tea tree oil but I'm not being very precise, so not sure exactly how strong I'm using it.  But it feels good--tingles but doesn't sting.  And I've taken extra care to wash my eyelashes with it (seems like that's where demodex congregate) and that feels lovely afterwards.  Adding a few drops of tea tree oil to my shampoo and conditioner and also to the sulfur soap I've started using to wash my face. Then I rub in the jojoba + TTO.

 

In addition, I've temporarily stopped using eye makeup (mascara and eyeliner).  I've always been pretty slovenly and not washed off my eye makeup before going to bed, so it occurs to me that could be exacerbating any problem I might have with mites. As I imagine they can live quite happily in mascara, I won't use any for a week and when I go back to it, I'll throw out all my old stuff and start new ones.  I'm not thrilled about this because I think I look lots better with it but nevermind.

 

Also I went to my GP in desperation. Not expecting any miracles here.  She gave me a prescription for Duac Once Daily (which is BP + antibiotic) to use at night.  So I'll give that a try.  I'm putting it on after the jojoba + TTO combination.  

 

Right. Those are all the things I'm trying at the moment. It does feel like I'm throwing the kitchen sink at the problem.  But I'm hoping something will work. I'll try to update this to see if any of this stuff has any positive effect.  I've put the Regimen on ice for the moment; I'm not applying BP in the mornings but the Duac has it so I'm getting my BP fix at night.

 

 



#2 Hunniebun

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Posted 02 October 2013 - 12:58 PM

Do you notice if your breakouts are cyclical (with your monthly cycle) at all? Where do your breakout tend to be? Maybe your are entering a time in your life where your hormones are doing something funky and thus the new breakouts after years of success with the regimen? I know exactly what you mean about trying everything including the kitchen skin...because that was me the last little while. But I have since tried to simplify and am now on tetracycline, oil cleansing with jojoba oil, and differin at night, and a mostly healthy-dairy free diet. ( I followed the clear skin diet to a T for 7 weeks and had no improvement at all, so I don't think diet is a key factor for me, but it is just a healthy way to eat so I am trying to keep it up but I have the odd food with dairy it in maybe once or twice a week, like goat feta on a salad or something, but I used to have dairy 3-5 times daily! So this is a drastic reduction!)  I hope the topic antibiotic with the BP helps you out. It is very difficult to be in your 30s and still dealing with acne!



#3 mae

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Posted 08 October 2013 - 10:00 AM

Thanks for your reply Hunniebun.  My breakouts seem to be on a week cycle so independent of my monthly one.  My breakouts are exclusively on my face.  Mainly cheeks and jawline, but lately no where is safe: eyebrows, nose, chin, forehead and scalp line.

 

It's now been one week since I started using Duac and tea tree oil.  My skin got worse by days 4 and 5, but started getting better day 6 and 7.  And then I thought it was getting worse again today.  I'm not too worried about it getting worse; according to the mite theory, acne is caused by bacteria on decaying dead mites, so when the tea tree oil causes them to die en masse, the symptoms get worse before getting better.  I'm hoping to see an improvement in week 2.

 

Also I went to a Chinese Medicine practitioner this morning who prescribed a herbal drink to detox my gut.  He suspects the problem is a combination of damp (fungus and yeast) and heat (the flushing and inflamation), so that's the direction he's trying. Like I said, I'm keen to try anything that might work at this stage, so I'll give the herbs a try.  He also seconded the no dairy as he said dairy exacerbates damp.

 

So one week down.  Marginal progress. 



#4 mae

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Posted 10 October 2013 - 05:44 AM

Just an update to note that my skin is pretty bad.  Lots of bumps just under the surface.  Feels like an alligator skin when I run my finger over my face. Even the scabs that are healing are looking angry and red.  Also noticing lots of blackheads and broken blood vessels.  Ho hum.  Back to 2.5% BP to calm things down. And patience.  



#5 mae

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 10:02 AM

Ok. The latest. I went to a dermatologist in London. The doctor was lovely. She genuinely listened to my history. And carefully examined my skin.  She concluded I have both rosacea and acne.  She discussed two primary options that could help with both: oral antibiotics or roaccutane.  I opted for the antibiotics because I fear all the accutane side effects.  She said we can definitely improve the condition of your skin.  She was so encouraging.  Well worth the money.

She also said I need to use a sunscreen (I don't because I always fear more stuff on my skin will make me break out and also I always found that SPF moisturizers interacted weirdly with BP). She recommended Sunsense Daily or Physical Protectant by Jan Marini.

However, I haven't filled the prescription for 3-months worth of lymecycline because the night before my appointment, I read the Mind Body Prescription by John Sarno.  My sister gave it to me years ago after she cured her persistent back/hip pain after reading it.  And I sort of ignored it because BP had just solved my problems and I didn't see how it applied to me.  But Sarno reckons that a lot of skin conditions including acne are equivalent to back pain. The physical manifestation of repressed rage--you'd have to read the book for this to make sense. Well worth a try. I do fit the personality types he talks about--try hard to be good, nice, non-confrontational. And it worked like a miracle for my sister's back. So over the last three days I've tried to identify the things I am angry about--from childhood up to today.

And right now my skin is good.  Just a few scabs healing. All the bumps under the skin are gone.  

In the meantime, I stopped with Duac and BP.  I'm still using a little tea tree oil.  And I'm still having the Chinese Medicine tea twice a day.  There's no way to tell what is working. And it's too soon to say if my skin is actually on the mend or just going through a temporary good patch. More later.



#6 mae

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 08:09 AM

Ok. The latest.  I searched for "copper IUD acne" and found lots of descriptions of symptoms like mine that occurred after women got a copper coil for birth control.  I had one inserted seven months ago, and I'd say my skin has been getting progressively worse for about five months. So maybe there is a connection.  

 

I've booked an appointment to have the coil removed.  Fingers crossed that makes a difference.  I have to wait a couple days til my appointment but honestly after reading the accounts of so many women with similar cystic acne on jawline and cheeks and a face covered with small clogged pores and whiteheads just like mine, I want this sucker out right now! 

 

In the meantime, I decided to start the antibiotics, but the doc says they could take three months to work.  Tick tock.

 

Also, I'm pretty much all out of issues that I could be repressing anger about! Not that I'm discounting the link between repressed emotion and acne, but it's not resolving my acne yet.

 

So I've tried:

The Clear Skin Diet

Chinese Medicine

Duac (prescribed by my GP)

Tea Tree Oil (for the demodex mites theory)

dealing with repressed anger (as per The Mind-Body Prescription by John Sarno)

Lymecycline (prescribed by a private dermatologist)

 

And so far none of this has worked.  And each time I'm pretty convinced that I have found the solution... Sigh.



#7 mae

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 06:20 AM

I had the IUD removed today.  Let's see if that makes a difference.  I've started a gallery called Copper IUD to document any changes over the coming weeks.  Fingers crossed for improvement, as it's at an all time low today!



#8 mae

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 04:48 AM

So here is an update.  It's been seven months since my skin really went crazy.  And four months since I got the IUD removed.  My face is finally pretty much back to normal and I have my life back. I wish I had figured out the copper IUD/acne connection sooner.  I was really miserable.  And I wasted a ton of time and money trying to find a cure.  I am back to using the regimen. 

 

I think any doctor should ask women if they have changed their birth control recently when they develop adult acne.






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