(At least for me).
About me: I'm a long time lurker here at acne.org, and even when I don't sign in under my username, I still have come here to look at how other people are treating their acne. I've had acne since I was really young (probably 12 or 13). However, it was mild-moderate. It was only within the last year or two that my face blew up in cystic acne and pustules and blackheads. Literally my whole cheeks, chin, and jawline was covered. Same with my forehead. I'm not going to go into detail about what I have tried because it is a long list and I just want to get to the point to help others.
I have come here to say I got clear from diet (ridiculous strict dieting changes) and detox stuff. But shortly after I post that I'm getting clear, BAM! Everything comes back, or especially if I stop (detoxing for example), my acne gets SOOOOOOOOOOO bad.
I finally decided to just look at what I've been lacking in, and personalize my diet based on me.
I have found that iron supplements cured my seborrheic dermatitis on my face, eyebrows, and hair which I have had for around 7 years.
I have found that magnesium cleared up my back acne. And I had very bad back acne (probably since I turned 16). Hurt so bad! Filled with puss, EVERYTHING. All over my shoulders. People stared when I went to the beach in the summer. Blood all over my shirts and crap. Magnesium for a week stopped the new ones. Still have some minor hyperpigmentation but NO new pimples. Not even a little small one. I have been on magnesium since October 2013.
Magnesium helped my face acne... but it was not until I added a calcium supplement that my face cleared up. I mean literally, it was like day and night I'm not even joking you. Of course my face still looks fucked up from the scars but WOW no new ones.
I do not have a theory why magnesium and calcium works for me... It just did.
I have a feeling most of us who have acne give up dairy (I've been off dairy for a long time + I'm asian so I don't eat a lot of dairy or cook with dairy.. plus I HATE cheese, yogurts, milk... all that stuff. disgusting. I'd rather eat rice and noodles). I feel like my experience answers these questions:
1) For those of you who give up dairy, and still have acne. Especially those who go dairy and gluten free... and very restrictive diets....
2) For those who lack calcium in your diet and still have acne
3) For those that have tried zinc and vitamin D3 and still have acne.
I think most hormonal disorders are lacking in CALCIUM. But, calcium is interesting you see... It needs a lot of cofactors to absorb it properly (vitamin D3, magnesium.....) and it needs to be taken separately from zinc and iron because it affects their absorption. I have had some success with Vitamin D3, but it all came back. Zinc never made didly squat of a difference in my acne. But my god when I added magnesium .... DAMN I felt like.. really? That was it? And then when I added calcium... lol I wanted to scream because I was so happy!!!!!!
Please make sure you check with your doc.. For instance, people who have kidney problems should stay away from calcium supplements.
I take Natural Calm magnesium + calcium and an extra calcium supplement (NOW brand calcium citrate POWDER). I drink both in the morning. I also take a magnesium supplement (I have both liquid and pill form depending on how much of a rush I'm in). But point is, make sure the magnesium and calcium are absorbable, and that you do not overdo calcium. Although I only get about 30 mg of calcium in my diet (because I'm busy and hate most calcium foods. Even oranges are high in calcium and I break out from oranges so I avoid at all costs.. even orange juice which is fortified with calcium gives me probs). So... yes... In total, I get about 500 mg of magnesium and 800 mg of calcium in supplements. I don't know how much exactly magnesium I get from foods.
As for diet and cleansing... I still eat clean, but I've always eaten clean. I mean.. green smoothies and the whole nine yards. For cleansing, I threw out all my cleansers and crap. I just wash my face in the shower with water (i don't think about it.. just do it because it feels good). After I get out the shower, I use a glycolic acid toner. At night, I do NOTHING. I don't wash my face or whatever. Nothing nothing NOTHINGGG. Again, I've been doing the diet and cleansing thing for a while so I know it is the calcium - magnesium thing.
Lastly, if you do take calcium and magnesium, I highly recommend you take zinc, and vitamin D3 just to help since D3 helps with calcium absorption, and calcium depeletes zinc which most acne sufferers here have had success with anyways...
As for other supplements, I do take a multivitamin (always have), and a B complex.
I do have pictures of my face, so if you want them, just message me.