... Eliminating Sugar and High GI/GL (Glycemic Index/Glycemic Load) foods cleared the rest of my 'white heads'.
This, however, was what personally worked for me. What I have been able to learn and understand for the past two years is that each and every person is different, and everyone will need to find what works for them and them alone. No one can do it for you.
If anyone wants to see my pictures, I've left them up in my galleries for everyone to see. They are all completely PUBLIC.
Sometimes I am NOT 100 percent clear, but pretty damn close most of the time.
This is last post I will make. I may or may not come back occasionally to update some information. I'm not going to make a fancy thread or whatever because I've already spent a lot of time on this website as it is. I'm also sorry if you eventually come across any typos or broken links, however I am only too happy to leave this forum behind for a while and move onto more exciting things.
If anyone wants to put this post into a success thread then please do so and let others see this.
So, this is what you need to do if you have cystic acne (or what you should try to do to see if it works for you):
1.) Put aside some time for yourself so that you may learn about acne and what it is. The past and even the future is NOT important, what's important is what you do NOW. Not what you did last week or what you'll do in 5 minutes... it's what you'll do NOW.
2.) If it's at all possible, get a blood test done at a doctor's office. Nothing fancy, whatever you can afford, although more data is probably more beneficial. It's always best to know where your starting from and where you stand when it comes to your health, and to make sure that you are ready for a GRADUAL diet change.
3.) Consider completely getting rid of all your milk and milk-containing products for about 3 months to 1 year. This includes yogurt, butter, cheese, powdered milk, evaporated milk, etc.... or whatever. As long as it has milk it in, it probably has a large amount of NATURAL HORMONES in it. Read the labels in the box: If it has milk, skip it. If the cow was injected with growth hormones, it could be even worse than regular hormones. I wrote a 3 to 12 month time period because from what I have read online some people responded well to only a few weeks to a few months, but others were so bad that it took an entire year for their acne to settle down due to the high amount of hormones running in their system. I'm sure this may seem like a long time to go without milk, but hopefully these articles will explain in better detail why that is:
Personally, I am from the Chicago suburbs. I have friends and family of different skin colors and types, and most people I know who tend to learn more towards darker skin have responded well with their health when they get rid of their milk and milk products. I will also say this in regards to me consuming milk: I am not sure if boiling milk, melting cheese, or further processing milk-ingredients destroys the harmful hormones, but I once accidentally melted some cheese on a vegetable stir-fry I made and found out that absolutely nothing happened. Although I cannot say for sure why this is, I discovered that occasionally melting cheese to a sizzling/boiling point didn't effect my skin at all. Maybe it's acceptable for someone to have milk every now and then (once every couple of months or so), or maybe the IGF-1 Growth Hormone suspected of aggravating acne in acne prone people is killed off by heat when it is cooked, which might explain why homemade yogurt is beneficial to those with acne, not harmful. This is extremely difficult to tell unless you can somehow manage to track your skin at this time and know exactly where you are. Personally, I would recommend getting the dairy out of your system and seeing if you skin clears FIRST before assuming that you may or may not have melted/cooked milk and milk products. I am only being honest.
4.) Get rid of as much sugar from your diet as you can... white refined table sugar, cereal, breads, etc... and instead retrain your taste buds to enjoy the more natural, sweeter side of your food, especially your fruits and vegetables.
5.) Go to your local library (and/or free PDF internet database lab) and find/research charts with records for High Glycemic Index/Loads foods. Begin omitting as many blood sugar raising foods as possible without putting your overall health in a nutrient deficient state. You'll want to change your diet as calmly and safely as possible, but not to the point where you start shaking and starving yourself. Do this slowly and gradually, preferably changing only one thing per week.
Here are just a few I read that had the most impact on me (Please wait for some of the links and PDF files to load...):
http://www.cancersup...D Diet Acne.pdf
6.) Find a user on this website known as Alternativista and find her topics/posts in the diet/holistic health boards and try to read every single one of them. Start here:
7.) Drink a minimum of 1-2 bottles of water a day (does not have to be bottled).
8.) Sleep 7-8+ hours a day if possible.
9.) Do not stress about your acne... there are millions of other things you could be doing or not doing. I was able to be stress free the whole entire time I was here. I had no idea if and when my acne was going away either, so why bother worrying about it?
10.) Walk. Don't just flat out run for long periods of time trying to kill yourself and suffer with the thought of doing something so strenuous... just walk. Walk for long distances if possible, and enjoy every single step you take. Do it at least once a day if possible. Two times a day would be your best bet. This is what I do, and if I don't walk, I am already naturally moving around a lot throughout my entire day. Don't make it into something you won't like doing, and don't think about it too much... you'll just end up hurting yourself and possibly your skin even more.
You're not going to like this answer, but no matter what I tell you or how much you read, you'll never find out what works for you until you try it out. I'm not you and you're not me. Maybe a diet change will help you. Maybe it won't. You'll never know unless you try, and honestly try. Truthfully, honestly, and KNOWINGLY try. You have to WANT to try, not want to want to try. Be brave, and watch everything you say, do, think, and realize.
A diet change helped me greatly... that's all I'm really saying here.
My diet is basically fruits and vegetables, nuts/seeds, and beans/lentils. Also, despite what some say about High GI/GL foods, I still occasionally eat potatoes, rice, and very few times bread. I am not a meat eater, so Tofu comes in pretty handy. I drink mainly water and fresh, hot tea (real, loose leaf tea, not the bagged kind) almost every single day. Once every few months I'll fast for a couple of days. I take no vitamins and supplements since they make me sick. All my fruit is usually eaten raw, and the vegetables I eat are either fresh (raw) or frozen and then steamed/boiled. I avoid probably about 90 percent of most average westernized grocery stores, snacking on a cookie only here and there.
Nothing I do is scheduled or recorded... I simply live my life to the best extent I can, eat when I need to, sleep when I have to, and I always find ways to enjoy whatever I do and wherever/whenever I do it.
I've spent less money, sopped washing my face, stopped putting my hair up, stopped visiting my dermatologist, and stopped having cystic acne. I honestly cannot see what others have to lose, but I do understand that a diet and, let's face it, a lifestyle change, is not something people are often anxious to do. I didn't care for the diet I had before, so this wasn't a big change for me. Maybe you do care about your diet, in which case you may need to work on how to get off it.
If you're having difficulty wanting to change the way you eat and live, then try putting some time aside and watch a few of these videos bellow. They may help you make the diet change. (YouTube, Library, Amazon, The Pirate Bay, etc... whatever it takes for you to get them, just find them and watch them):
Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead
Forks Over Knives
The Future of Food
Hungry For Change
May I Be Frank
Simply Raw - Reversing Diabetes In 30 Days
***UPDATE*** (11/19/13): Someone had brought to my attention that a few of the movies above are flawed, not scientifically proven and/or accurate, biased, and make points that have little to no scientific studies (a.k.a. "pseudoscience": http://en.wikipedia....i/Pseudoscience). Unfortunately I may have to agree with some of their arguments as I've done a little digging myself and discovered a few empty holes in their logic. Doctors and nutritionists, aside from what they do, seem to always want to win the public opinion, and the health and wellbeing of others is all but thrown out the window. I understand that it can be tough to really know what works and what doesn't work, and that's why so many people scream "Bread is Bad!" and "Bread is Good!" to one another in all out frenzy. Luckily for you, there are ways to deal with this: Find what works for YOU and acknowledge that you are different than others; Mention again and again "This is what works for me", and never try to shove your specific diet into other people's faces; Work together, create lists of possibilities, provide good research and statistics, and be the best you can be. If you'd like to learn more about the criticism against some of these movies, then just follow the links bellow (and read the comments from other people as well):
Criticism against "Simply Raw": http://www.scienceba...raw-food-diets/
Criticism against "The Gerson Therapy": http://www.scienceba...is-beat-cancer/ , http://www.scienceba...ancer-quackery/ , http://www.skepdic.c...sontherapy.html , http://scienceblogs....t-on-celluloid/ .
Movie reviews on "Food Matters" (and other movies if you use the website and type in the titles): http://www.imdb.com/...s?ref_=tt_ov_rt
There are probably dozens more food/health documentaries out there, but I'm sure you get the point by now.
I'm not trying to shove Raw Foodsim, Veganism, Vegetarianism, Paleo Diet-ism, Cave Man-ism, or whatever kind of diet into your face. I'm just giving you the suggestion that you should definitely be finding ways in exploring all other alternatives before going to the extreme with pills, lasers, steroids, and all those other chemical goodies most of us have sought out at least one point in our lives.
I am also NOT suggesting that you NOT talk to a doctor, dermatologist, or nutritionist first before making extreme changes. Certainly get yourself checked out just to make sure nothing else is wrong. If you can't afford that, network and find some good trusting friends in a similar field who may be able to help.
I am on neither one diet or the other, nor am I choosing which side of the nutrition war I want to be on. I am simply myself... nothing more. I am as natural and organic and I can be with exceptions that I know my body can handle. I make most of my own food and found things that I liked to do (soups, stir fries, etc...). Telling you every detail of my diet would be impossible since I am natural and constantly change. I enjoy and love varieties that life has to offer.
Again, I will say that the biggest thing that helped me with my cystic acne and 99 percent of my white heads would be NO/LITTLE MILK, NO/LITTLE NO -BAD- SUGARS (Table sugar, high fructose corn syrup, etc.), and NO (OR VERY FEW) HIGH GI/GL FOODS with lots of water and vegetables and fruits (certainly more vegetables than fruit).
That is all I have to say about my acne.
Help for you to get started:
I'll provide a list of links for you to read and explore whenever you get the chance. Make sure you are getting as many vitamins, minerals, EFA's, sunlight, and exercise that your body needs to function and maintain itself. You don't have to be daily with everything, but it likely does have to be an overall lifestyle change. Becoming friends with your doctor and/or nutritionist would be a big plus and easy support, so try starting with them. I've always enjoyed properly organized and easy to print PDF pages and information, so I can print them myself and create my very own personal diet book. The specific lists/charts I will give you bellow will help you decide on choosing what foods you want to eat and/or are able to get your hands on based on the minerals/vitamins listed (you may have to do your own adding/subtracting and other calculating based on your own custom made diet):
The minerals your body needs: http://www.health-al...tion-chart.html
The vitamins your body needs: http://www.health-al...tion-chart.html
The protein your body needs (Legumes): http://www.health-al...tion-chart.html
The protein your body needs (Animals): http://www.health-al...tion-chart.html
Although this website provided the above information for free, it also has the information available in PDF Printable Formats for sale. However, with any luck you should be able to either copy and paste the information and adjust it in Microsoft Word or whatever text program you use, as well as using search engines in finding other websites with similar free nutrition information in pdf formats on the internet. I personally prefer the printable "one page information" charts because they are easy to read and understand as well as organized. This is just my personal preference though since I do a lot of reading and printing. I prefer to save paper and space on my bookshelves.
The FDA's Educational Resource Library: http://www.fda.gov/F...s/ucm239035.htm
I don't care whether or not you agree or disagree with what the FDA does... getting the RAW DATA in itself is more important than pointing fingers. If you don't agree with any of the information and/or are skeptical of who has collected it/funded it, then make your own charts or seek those with greater truth. Personally, any free resources are always a plus, and might be important for anyone to consider. With that said, this site has free "Nutrition and Labeling" information in printable PDF formats. Just click on the words for a drop down list and look for more information.
Another website with some of their own printable PDF documents and extra information: http://www.abcompany...n/nutrition.htm
To the upper left of their home page, http://www.abcompany.com/index.htm , there is a search bar. The site seems kind of unorganized, so I just typed in "nutrition" and followed whatever links looked interesting. Read and understand website's URL's to backtrack to other places that may or may not be hidden... For example, they didn't have the link on their website but it still exists. An example of a printable PDF page they have is "food combinations": http://www.abcompany...d_combining.htm .
Despite people "debunking" some of the movies above, some of these people's websites provide their own printable PDF charts with possibly important information (hopefully not biased and supported my several references and resources). One such example is "Food Matters" and "Top 10 Food Additives To Avoid": http://www.drcraigfr...Guide-20121.jpg
*Some minerals rely on vitamins! And vice versa! Make sure your Calcium/Vitamin D ratio is accurate, and your Vitamin E is being absorbed properly!
Learn about labels and what they mean: http://nutritiondata.self.com
Here's a cool Vitamin D website: http://www.vitamindw...om/VitaminDWiki
Great popular educational website with easy to understand videos (Just a warning, this site and the doctor who runs it is practically vegan. If you're worried it's more vegan-propaganda then don't look at it… but the information on the fruits and vegetables alone are amazing): http://nutritionfacts.org/topics/milk/
Complete lists of Vegetables, Fruits, Grains, Nuts and Seeds: http://vegetablesfruitsgrains.com
Alphabetical list of Fruits and Vegetables and some extra data (PDF Format): http://www.education...tionSection.pdf
Website where Vegetarians discus updated research about vegan, paleo, raw food, fruitarian, etc… diets: http://www.beyondveg.com
And finally, I saved one of the best for last. It's the only other "acne" website that I think we all can trust since I it had pretty good data and articles to read: http://www.acneeinstein.com . There are also printable PDF formats and information to seek out, as well as their book that I bought for myself and enjoyed reading very much. It's possible to always find more information as time goes on, but learning what you can whenever you can makes the road travelled much less hectic and problem free.
SPECIAL NOTE: I have eczema as well!
That's right... Acne AND Eczema.
Two completely different skin conditions with completely different causes.
People have asked me if they are possibly related to the same "cause", and to this day I still honestly don't know. I have never met anyone else like myself, and very few people online with this double sided nightmare.
Well, after doing extra reading, I discovered that many skin issues likely stem from the gut, and that it is possible AND common for someone to have more than one kind of skin issue at a time. In fact, it's more common that inflammation is hidden under the skin and/or inside the body, not just exposed outwardly like mine was.
My last eczema's outbreak was not milk, like milk is for most of my cystic acne; it was actually tomatoes.
My eczema had been with me most of my life, and no one ever really knew the cause of it. Most of the time it was just dry and slightly red, and few times it was bright red and agitated by... whatever. My family and I just assumed that it was incurable, and I was given topical steroids to make the rash go away. Most of the time the creams worked, but sometimes they didn't. My rash mostly appears on the bend of my arms, but during my early 20's it started to spread all over my hands and fingers. As a kid it was behind the knee cap and on my feet, but those areas disappeared when I became a teenager.
Eating healthy for my acne ironically inspired me to go on what most people would call an "Elimination Diet". I joined acne.org after a year of stalking around silently, and while doing Dan's regimen began expanding my reading into other community boards as well, eventually finding my way into the diet and holistic health stuff. Surprised that acne could be "cured" by diet and lifestyle changes, I immediately started eating more vegetables and fruits, simultaneously omitting tons of other things. This is also when I started juicing vegetables after reading this: http://www.acne.org/messageboard/topic/288705-how-i-cleared-my-acne-after-26-years-try-it/ .
For some reason, no more than a month after eating more vegetables, I noticed an extremely painful change with my eczema. It literally began spreading to places it had never been before, and started to strengthen in redness, puffiness, and of course itchiness. It turned from not mild to literally hot red... If you were close enough to me you could feel my body heat in the particular effected. The insides of my arms, my hands (especially my fingers), my eye lids, temples, cheeks, neck, and even toes were starting to itch like crazy. Before I knew it, I was lit up like a Christmas tree.
After a few MORE months, I started to get extremely strange and inconsistent bouts of nausea and fatigue. I had, during that time, been hired as a cook and prep at a health food restaurant (now permanently closed), so I knew what I was eating an how fresh and clean it was. I had no clue what was happening to me on any level.
Worried about my fatigue and random vomiting, I made an appointment with my doctor to get some blood work done, as well as a average physical. Everything not only came back perfect, I was assured that I was in the best shape possible. I had terrific numbers, my alertness was fine despite my random fatigue, and my mood was pleasant despite my worry for my stomach and skin. I was overall improving on my health and well being from an already good point.
After declining topical medicine and steroids/pills for my skin, they suggested that my stomach issues and energy was probably from food contamination/poisoning and/or other types of poor cleanliness. I was obviously consuming something bad. They told me that I probably wasn't washing my vegetables properly enough. I bought a vegetable brush and went home, embarrassed for my ignorance of just giving most things an average rinse but happy that I had likely learned something important.
However, my stomach still would not settle completely, and I started becoming more agitated with it. I decided that the new diet change had to at least have SOMETHING to do with whatever was happening to me, and started writing down everything I ate. I got rid of the things that I knew were hard for me to digest, such as leafy greens and other salads. When that didn't work, I began getting rid of my vitamins. Surprisingly, getting rid of the vitamins helped a little, but my stomach still cringed shortly after I ate. Whatever was happening, the most discomfort and pain started in my gut area.
After a few more weeks, I sat still for a while observing myself and what else I could possibly be doing. I was exhausted. My thoughts were loud with all the reading I was doing, my positivity was dimming, and no one else had any clue how to REALLY help me. I didn't want to go back on the crap diet I had before... how could that be normal? I had already been through so much. I KNEW I was onto something, and it was up to me to discover what it could possibly be.
I finally realized that perhaps I was allergic to some kind of common food, and never actually knew it until now. As embarrassing as it is for me to admit, I never really ate a lot of fresh vegetables and fruits growing up, and neither had the majority of my family and friends. Nothing I was eating was too alien or uncommon, for I had grown up with all these fruits and vegetable before.
I started getting rid of one fruit and vegetable at a time... apples, oranges, peppers, nuts, potatoes, etc... anything I could. Each thing was gotten rid of for up to a week or so, trying to see if I could catch the severity of the rash when it started to flair up. I discovered that no fruit was bothering me, but wraps and sandwiches were. The more apparent it became that a certain food I was eating WAS causing the pain, the more excited and determined I became to discover it.
FINALLY, I found the culprit.
Dipping raw tomato chunks into a homemade vinaigrette dressing to test the taste, I felt and realized that my stomach pain was almost instantaneous. Later that day I bit into a raw tomato, and only minutes later felt the same, familiar sharp pain in my stomach. To make absolutely certain, the next day I ate 1 raw tomato in the morning and evening, and threw them up each time.
I never really ate tomatoes alone before, and had always added them by default with numerous other ingredients to whatever food I was eating. They were in so many things I ate, if not hidden as some kind of flavoring. I also never ate them everyday, which explains the inconsistency of my symptoms. I also never added a ton of them to my meals, but also always included them as often as I could simply for the taste and the color.
Without hesitation, I got rid of tomatoes... and all my stomach problems went away. After a few months of wrapping and moisturizing my rashes, they too began to heal... and I mean heal! My skin literally began changing... Fresh, new skin began to show where the eczema had overtaken.
To this day, I am still in shock with what I had recently discovered. Tomatoes are not just some kind of rare garnish, they're in almost everything I was eating... pizza, ketchup, salads, sandwiches, wraps, soups, etc... My whole life had always consisted of them. No one I knew would have ever guessed something like this, and no one else still has any clue as to how it may have happened. Unless someone had randomly told me to go on some kind of elimination diet, I would have never learned about it. If I wasn't eating more fresh tomatoes and not just more processed tomatoes, the reaction wouldn't have been as strong. If I wasn't trying to eat healthy to get rid of my acne, I would have never discovered this.
With all this said, is this even eczema at all? Some people have told me that my rash is actually a reaction to having food allergies and not just itchy skin: http://www.dryskinsr...food-allergies/ and http://www.fda.gov/F...ens/default.htm
Well, if that's the case, then why did my food allergy tests all come back negative? Why is my blood work fine and healthy when food allergies often cause abnormal blood count and weight gain in the majority of others? Why is the tomato in it's raw and pure form more hazardous to me than its processed form (which is probably why it was so hard for me to see anything growing up)? Are there other people being misdiagnosed with eczema if all they have is a food allergy/sensitivity? Isn't the allergy suppose to kill me and not give me a rash? Why does it get worse with age? Why do I have it if no one else in my family does? And why are there so many questions??? I have no idea...
If I were to eat tomatoes now, it would take 30 mins to an hour or so to develop the eczema. If I suddenly eat tomatoes again before my gut has a chance to push them out, THAT'S when my stomach act up and tries to get rid of them for me. This time frame MIGHT suggest that my gut/bowels are what is rejecting the foods, not my stomach. Interestingly enough, the gut may POSSIBLY hold the main cause for many other people's acne (according to these websites):
GUT Eczema(or Psoriasis):
If this IS the case, then I haven't found any evidence of a gut problem, because all of my blood/stool tests I have taken have all come back negative and healthy. I even had an endoscopy done to see what was causing the extremely hot and burning feeling in my lower torso (when I was eating the tomatoes), but no ulcers or anything else were found in my stomach, just very faint inflammation near the start of the small intestines. My doctor didn't find the inflammation to be an issue for me, and tried to convince me that the incredibly hot and burning sensation I was feeling was not from food but from irritable bowels. Well, despite all suspicions, I miraculously and quite unintentionally managed to figure out what all my health issues were by carefully watching what I ate and how my body and skin felt afterwards.
Eczema was with me longer than acne, so it was a blessing to finally be rid of it. Considering all the tomato products I have eaten over the years at random times, it was no wonder why I assumed I couldn't get rid of it... what a crazy mystery it was for me. And what a shame that tomatoes are so common! Maybe that's why this happened to me... the world overproduced and consumed so many tomatoes that something started to happen to me when I was young... I ate many tomato products, but it wasn't till I was 4 or 5 that my skin started developing eczema. Maybe what I ate as a child was too much for my body to handle, and decided to reject the food once and for all.
Is avoidance a cure? No, but it's certainly a welcoming "solution" while I keep an open mind and eye out for anything that may help me further down.
No matter what happens, we must accept what we are given if we are to ever put the past behind us a move on with the natural changes of the universe. This may not be what everyone likes to hear, but it's one of the closest things to truth that can be understood at this point in our lives.
If you want to see pictures of my eczema/psoriasis they're right here:
(Please note that my acne AND rash was going away at the same time, so I did not catch the rash at it's full strength... it is already healing at this point. After these pictures, everything was gone in about 2 months).
To conclude, here's a funny story for you. After I found out that tomatoes were the causes of my eczema/food-allergy rash, I wanted to see if I could "out eat" the allergy and become "normal" like everyone else. Stupid I know, but I was willing to try anything at this point because when you think about it, avoiding tomatoes was going to be a life long change for me. Sadly, the preferred result never happened. Only three days was the longest I could go before my rash turned so hot and bright red that my body could no longer withstand it. I couldn't bend my arms, couldn't ignore the heat, and had incredible amounts of fatigue. My hands, face, neck, and arms were so puffed up that I scared every single person I came into contact with. The rash was spreading to places it had never spread before, and areas which rarely saw daylight. I was later working in retail at the time, and customers kept asking me if I had burned myself in a fire. No amount of makeup would have ever been enough to cover up all the bright, fire truck redness on my face and fingers, let alone the puffiness that made it stick out. No one wanted to touch me, and everyone watched and laughed as I tried to grab a cup of water and lift it up with my incredibly large and inflamed fingers. My skin turned so thick, red and rock hard that I had little to no feeling in them whatsoever, and felt like my bones would eventually stiffen up on me. My stomach and gut would burn with pain (which always made me wonder why my stomach would allow the food in the first place if it knew what the gut would do). The final symptoms I had were dizziness, feverish-like sensations, the finally throwing up the culprit. Afterwards, I would feel normal, but had to wait 2-3 months for the rash to go away WITH the help of lots of lotion and Band-aids. What did I learn? Never again.
Seriously, thank you all for your support, love, and kindness. I could have never made it this far and this fast without all of you amazing people.
Whatever you decide to do, be smart, be safe, and be open to ALL possibilities!
May you all find what works for you. Have a long and good life!