Posted 19 February 2014 - 10:04 PM
I am new to this forum and I am so happy to have discovered this outlet. Thank you in advance to anyone that takes the time to read this and/or to respond. I'm at an all time low right now .
My name is Sarah and I am 24. I have combination skin and I am Korean. I have had severe acne since I was 13. I started using Proactiv when I was 14. A few weeks ago, I made the decision to go all natural. Proactiv was not working the same for me anymore -- it was drying out my face and making it red, it was just too harsh.
I decided to try the oil cleansing method. It made my face look fabulous the first week after trying it as well as being off of Proactiv completely. However, the second week, I broke out on my chin and my jawline like crazy. I read that OCM was probably not the best for people with severe acne so I stopped. For the past two weeks I have been using African Black Soap , thayers witch hazel toner, and an oil free moisturizer with a couple drops of hemp seed oil mixed in. I am going to change my moisturizer to alba botanica oil free green tea as soon as I can get a hold of it, it seems to be sold out everywhere.
Anyway, my face is breaking out like crazy.. Now not only on my chin/jaw but as well as my forehead. I have some cystic acne on my chin which I have never had before. I just don't know what's going on .. If it's my face withdrawing from proactiv or I'm allergic to something or what :/
The past couple days I have really increased my water and fruit/veggie intake. I have eliminated milk and coffee and replaced it with tea.
Any advice? Tips? Help?
Posted 19 February 2014 - 11:45 PM
What oil were you using and what were the ingredients in the African Black soap? Does it have shea? Shea can be very clogging.
Edited by paigems, 19 February 2014 - 11:45 PM.
Posted 20 February 2014 - 07:57 AM
The african black soap I am currently using does have Shea! Wow I was completely unaware that it can clog pores
I really appreciate your insight. Any other advice would be so so great. Thank you so much.
I have attached a couple pictures. The first one (a practically clear face) was taken one week after not using proactiv (February 3). The second one is my current condition. I literally snapped this photo just now. :/
Edited by soychoi, 20 February 2014 - 08:06 AM.
Posted 21 February 2014 - 11:03 PM
I tried to cut down on my Proactiv use last year because I wanted to try a different topical (Ziana - a tretinoin based thing), and I thought it would be too harsh to use them together.
My face went nuts. It seemed that the new topical made it worse, but I think that cutting out most of the BP was a major factor too. BP goes a long way to reduce infection and inflammation, and it seems like long term use of it creates a bit of 'dependence' on the part of one's skin. I would think that after a while of not using it, your skin would 'adjust' slightly, and amp up its own defenses, but it's hard to say how long that would take, or if you would see a significant reduction in acne.
Personally, I went back to Accutane to clear up the mess I made, so I will never know if it would have cleared up on its own in time. I was concerned a lot about scarring, so that was the choice I made.
I have decided now to put BP back into my regime, because it is one thing that really seems to help me. However, I am 35 now, and I need to be gentler on my skin. Using the whole Proactiv system was just too harsh. So, I basically ditched the toner, as glycolic acid has never seemed to do much for me anyway, and I started using the face wash just as an occasional exfoliant instead of as my regular wash. I use it in the shower once or twice a week and I tolerate that much better. I have never found a scrub I like better, it just doesn't make a good twice a day wash.
I still use the repairing lotion, as this is the BP, and the part of it that works for me. I only use it at night, and I mix it with an equal amount of moisturizer before applying. So far, my revised version has been working well for me.
However, I see you want to try a natural route. I love the hemp oil! I use that to take off my makeup some times and it is super awesome for that. I have a read quite a few studies that compare BP to tea tree oil. Have you tried that? It is shown to have a similar efficacy (works well) to BP in fighting off the inflammatory response. However, apparently it takes longer to start working - results you would see in two weeks with BP might take 4 with tea tree, but if you are committed to the natural products, and they work the same in the end, it might be worth trying it. I think it needs to be diluted a bit, but I also think you can mix it in with your hemp oil. BP and tea tree oil are both anti-microbial, so it is probably the most similar-to-Proactiv product that is all natural.
I also find shea to be clogging. Too bad because it is so soft and nice! I have never tried African black soap, but I have always been intrigued by it.
And I have the Thayer's toner! It is really nice, and I use it now and then, but not much lately. I have been really trying to simplify since my whole ordeal, as I am prone to want to add products to my regime, which always makes things worse. Right now I just wash with spectrojel and apply moisturel (moisturizer). At night I put some Proactiv lotion in my moisturizer and that's it. Occasional scrub in the shower.
Best of luck. My skin is doing much better now, but it definitely took me for a crazy ride in the last year. I hope you find what works for you soon!
Posted 22 February 2014 - 06:59 PM
Is your acne usually concentrated around the lower part of your face (chin and jawline)? That is typically an indicator of hormonal acne. I have hormonal acne (high testosterone), and what worked great for me was changing my diet. I don't eat sugar, dairy, wheat, or eggs. I also try to make all my meals low glycemic load. Doing that got rid of all my inflammatory acne, and then I was left with the non-inflamed stuff to deal with. My diet is a little extreme, so maybe you could try cutting out dairy for a few weeks just to see if it helps? My non-inflamed acne has been clearing up since switching to oil cleansing. I use meadowfoam oil mixed with cromollient (an emulsifier). The cromollient helps the oil to rinse of cleanly. From what I have read, finding an oil that works for you can take a lot of trial and error. Castor and jojoba can be cloggy, so that might have been your problem. Some oils that may work for acne prone skin include hemp, safflower, grapeseed, and meadowfoam. I'm still experimenting with oils, but I am mostly clear now. I'm just trying to get rid of the last little bit of clogs around my nose and chin.
Posted 22 February 2014 - 10:55 PM
Posted 22 February 2014 - 11:08 PM
I have cut out most dairy products and have been trying to drink more water and tea. It seems to be helping in the slightest, but everything counts!
I'm really nervous about going back to OCM maybe one day....
I have not tried tea tree oil yet but I think I will in the near future! I am hoping my face will adjust to the changes soon most of the bumps are starting to shrink and the cystic acne is slowly but surely getting smaller as well!
I wanted to stop using Proactiv because I am choosing to go the all natural route. The harsh chemicals in Proactiv bleached my towels and made my neck and face different colors from one another
Posted 08 March 2014 - 08:42 PM
If you use tea tree oil, make sure you dilute it with another oil or with water before applying to your skin. You could accidentally give yourself a chemical burn if you put it on your skin undiluted.
Posted 09 March 2014 - 03:26 AM
i have tried to use natural products (in other areas of my life i try to stay organic), but i've never had any luck. for whatever that is worth. best of luck.
Posted 09 March 2014 - 01:39 PM
Synthetic chemicals aren't necessarily any more harsh than natural ones. You just need to find well formulated gentle products that avoid fragrance oils and drying alcohols and harsh detergents. A lot of natural DIY skincare for acne in particular advocates using very harsh products like lemon juice and the usage of essential oils neat on the face. One thing that IS good for the skin and is natural is raw honey, it is anti-bacterial and a humectant so it will make your skin feel moisturised. I use honey sometimes and it feels nice, but it doesn't clear my spots and I don't expect it to. Natural skincare produces little results for most people with severe acne.
Posted 22 March 2014 - 02:59 PM
Hi! I just wanted you to know that because you posted pictures up it made me REALLY want to reply and help you out-I never sign up for forums. I had cystic acne just like you for about 10 years and it SUCKS and really lowers yourself esteem. What annoyed me most was I tried EVERYTHING from over the counter products, diets (I wasn't as strict), gels, chemical peels/laser treatments and antibiotics. Cystic acne is hormonal so you have to obvioulsy work from the inside out. Just like many people said watch your diet and go with oils and natural products that work for your skin.
But honeslty, what helped me was Accutane. And I think you should talk to your dermatologist about it. I know alot of people freak out and don't recommend it becuase it is harsh on your body and liver but being under the care of a proper doctor you should be fine. They don't mess around with Accutane-you get your blood tested, have to go in every month, be on birth control to avoid pregnancy..etc. I highly recommend it because its the "last restort" type deal and I did it when I was in your shoes-when nothing seemed to work.
After my 6 month period with it, I'm off of it and use Retinol every other night or so to help restore the indentions on my skin. I now wash my face and chest with Raw African Black Soap then moistuirize afterwards. I'm now also taking vitamins and "repairing" my body with a herbalist and getting everything proper--all while being acne free for almost year! I got soooooo many compliments on my skin and I've never felt so good. I understand you want to try natural and what not, but being so severe and hormonal fix it with Accutane first and then go natural. Atleast this is my suggestion and its worked for me. I wish you the best friend!
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