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Stuck.. And Needing Some Options/answers

hormonal acne moderate acne

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#1 Kelli McCorkle

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 06:42 PM

Hello everyone. smile.png Fair warning: This may be kind of a long post.

 

So I'm back on here after a little while, and my acne is back too. It has been for a few months now, but it's starting to really get to me again. I'm writing this post in the hormonal acne section because well... I really have no idea what else could be causing it. If you can think of any other possibilities, I'd love to hear them. Here's some background information on me and my acne.


I'd say it all started about a year ago, when I was fourteen. I had had mild acne before then, but a year ago it started to get worse. I thought it was just a couple stubborn breakouts. Then they kept coming one after another. My mom took me to the dermatologist, who prescribed me Minocycline (2 100mg pills per day), and also BP in the mornings and Tretinoin at night. The topical products I've been on have changed. I am currently prescribed Clindamycin Phosphate & BP Gel for the mornings and Tazorac at night, but I am still taking Minocycline. 

 

For some reason, my acne calmed down for a solid three months; I'd say from May to mid-August. It flared up again before school started, (great timing) and now it's starting to affect my confidence/self-esteem again. 

 

So since Mino is an antibiotic, I can't stay on it forever. I don't think it's helping much anymore anyway though. That leaves me quite unsure of my options. Accutane was talked about with my derm before it calmed down, but since it's back, I have no idea what to do now. 

 

I discovered spironolactone while searching for possible options. It's obviously quite a bit less risky than accutane, but results won't be really seen unless you're sure hormones are the root of your acne. 

 

So I guess I was just wondering what anyone could think of for options.. If you need to know anything else in order to make a suggestion, I'll answer smile.png Thank you so much for reading

 

Random other stuff:

*I'm currently 15 years old

*I cannot take birth control. Or at least it's not a good idea due to me having migraines with auras. My derm said taking birth control would put me at risk for blood clotting.

*I just recently started taking fish oil (Omega 3) supplements because I heard it can help with hormonal acne



#2 WishClean

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 12:03 AM

Have you been to an endocrinologist to test your hormones ?



#3 hearts

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 11:53 AM

Not to be a downer, but you are still in puberty... your hormones haven't had time to completely adjust and settle down. I would NOT recommend messing with them yet. There are many cases in which girls take birth control at a young age and mess up their hormones even more — the same can happen with other hormonal treatments. Spironolactone is a strong medication.

In my opinion, you should try more subtle changes that can help with hormones. Examples could be taking Vitamin D (there are some people who have cleared on this alone) or Zinc. The fact that you cleared in summer may be because you got more Vitamin D. Other things that could help are making sure your diet is healthy and that you control stress (light exercise and relaxation exercises may help.) 



#4 WishClean

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 11:55 AM

I agree with hearts. You say your acne calmed down during warmer months...that could be a clear sign of a vitamin D deficiency. If your acne gets better during the summer, then it could mean that you need to supplement with vitamin D or get daily sun exposure. 



#5 brenmc

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 05:30 PM

I agree with the two brilliant ladies above. If you use a hormonal treatment at a young age, your hormones may not adjust naturally in time. At least that's my theory about why, now in my late twenties, I am still suffering from hormonal acne. If I could go back in time I never would have taken birth control when I was your age.
Antibiotics lose effectiveness at varying intervals for different people. This could be why your acne is back (you've become resistant to minocyline).
I think you should try vitamin D, zinc, stay away from any mineral makeup, and use the most natural products on your skin from cleanser to makeup.
I'd also suggest keeping a journal to track how your skin reacts to various products, supplements or foods you eat.
I know how frustrating and upsetting acne can be, especially when you're in school and feel embarrassed, but getting encouragement on this forum will be (hopefully) very helpful. :)

Edited by brenmc, 06 November 2013 - 05:57 PM.


#6 Green Gables

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 08:27 PM

Read this article and take it to heart.

 

Acne: Are Milk and Sugar the causes?

 

Also Vitamin D3 is very very important to clear skin (and health). Something interesting: vitamin D3 is actually formed from sunlight in the oils on our skin before it is absorbed. This process takes approximately 48 hours. That's 2 days. So if you bathe everyday you are probably deficient in vitamin D3, even if you spend hours and hours outside. 

 

Now that it's winter, I take 15,000 IU of Vitamin D3 every day WITH my fish oil capsule. When you take vitamin D3 in a capsule, it will not be absorbed unless it is combined with omega 3s. I don't always have omega 3s in the food I eat, so I just take the D3 with my fish oil and I'm good.

 

So in short:

 

- Cut out dairy (I know this sounds drastic, but please read the article to see why, it is backed up by science)

- Cut out sugar

- Cut out caffeine

- Add 5,000 - 15,000 IU of vitamin D3 daily with your fish oil

 

That is what I recommend to a 15 year old. Once you hit 17/18, if your acne is still unmanageable, then I would seriously consider spironolactone. (It is pretty hard to get spironolactone prescribed even as an adult, I doubt you will find a doctor that will prescribe it to a minor.)

 

I use this brand of vitamin D3.


Edited by Green Gables, 06 November 2013 - 08:30 PM.


#7 Kelli McCorkle

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 08:59 PM

Thank you all so much for your suggestions/thoughts. I hadn't even thought of the possibility I could be deficient in Vitamin D, so this is really helpful to me! Also, I had heard that dairy/sugar could cause acne as well but never really knew it was confirmed. 

 

I'll be looking to get some Vitamin D supplements hopefully sometime this week and will be working on cutting more dairy/sugar out of my diet and see how it affects my acne. I much prefer this approach over taking spiro or accutane. One question I had.. How long until I could potentially see some improvement from taking Vitamin D and monitoring my diet? 

 

Hopefully trying this helps :) Thank you again, it's very much appreciated! 



#8 Green Gables

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 09:16 PM

Thank you all so much for your suggestions/thoughts. I hadn't even thought of the possibility I could be deficient in Vitamin D, so this is really helpful to me! Also, I had heard that dairy/sugar could cause acne as well but never really knew it was confirmed. 

 

I'll be looking to get some Vitamin D supplements hopefully sometime this week and will be working on cutting more dairy/sugar out of my diet and see how it affects my acne. I much prefer this approach over taking spiro or accutane. One question I had.. How long until I could potentially see some improvement from taking Vitamin D and monitoring my diet? 

 

Hopefully trying this helps smile.png Thank you again, it's very much appreciated! 

 

 

Acne is a chain of events, that goes something like this

 

Hormones -> sebum production + sebum viscosity changes -> too much sebum and/or thicker sebum gets trapped in follicles -> trapped sebum feeds natural skin bacteria -> bacteria has extra food it shouldn't have -> skin irritation -> pimples

 

This is a very long cycle. Sometimes a pimple you see on your face now started as a tiny clogged pore deep within your skin a whole month earlier.

 

Your typical creams (ProActive etc.) may give you more rapid improvement because they are attacking the END of the chain. They are attacking bacteria for pimples that are already there. Generally it's not that you have too much bacteria in the first place...everybody has good bacteria on your skin and that's healthy...but your hormones are producing little plugs of sebum. Those plugs of sebum are like chocolate cake for bacteria, and they go nuts.

 

Well, the quick fix is to get rid of the bacteria with an antibiotic and then use salicylic acid to try and disintegrate the sebum plug. But it's only a short-term fix. You can't ever hope to really clear on something like ProActive, because it won't stop your hormones from creating those plugs in the first place. 

 

Hormones are at the beginning of the chain, and that's what the diet changes + vitamin D3 will help. However that means you are PREVENTING new stuff from happening. And even if you have a perfect diet and vitamin D3 starting today, you could still have a few months worth of acne waiting for you, in the deeper layers of your skin. 

 

So yeah. It will take a few months to really see changes. That's discouraging. But any doctor will tell you at least 6 months of waiting on birth control or Accutane too. 

 

So start the diet + D3 + fish oil and be patient.

 

If you really want something that helps the mess you've got NOW, while you're waiting for the hormonal stuff to kick in, you can add in some creams with the following ingredients;

 

- salicylic acid

- glycolic acid

- natural antibiotic oils, such as eucalytpus oil

 

I don't recommend benzoyl peroxide (ProActive and various other products) for various reasons, but I could write an essay on why, which I won't go into here.


Edited by Green Gables, 06 November 2013 - 09:22 PM.





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