At 32 years old, I've now suffered with moderate acne for around 15 years. I've gone through every treatment except accutane, but wanted to give myself just one last attempt to heal it naturally.
Please post here IF:
- You cured or almost completely cured your acne using non-prescription methods
- Had at least moderate cystic acne to start (I don't care if you cured a few tiny pimples that came every 3 months)
- Cured your acne after you were through puberty and into adulthood (I want to eliminate standard acne from puberty based on the insulin levels as a variable).
- You have never been on accutane. It bothers me to see people on the regimen/etc that claim it cured their acne, but then also mention they were on accutane in the past
- Are preferably not on other medication that might help acne (birth control, for example)
What I've attempted:
From doctors: every antibiotic under the sun, benzoyl peroxide (with Clindamycin), sulfur washes, differin, retin-a
Here are my natural attempts. Could you please help with my questions?
Possible culprit #1: Nutrition
- ran a food allergen panel with my doctor. Results:
High reaction: wheat
Medium reaction: dairy, egg whites
Low reaction: peanuts, soy, egg yolks
- I eliminated wheat, dairy, and egg whites from my diet as best I could based on this. Some restaurant prepped food probably still included some, but it would be minimal
- went on a largely paleo diet about 80% of the time - grass fed beef when available.
- added for micronutrients: sockeye salmon (to increase omega3's), vitamin D, and lots of green veggies (spinach, kale, etc)
Question: Would trace amounts of these allergens cause breakouts? That is, are they kind of all-or-nothing, or would reducing exposure by 90% show a noticable difference? Any other food allergies that I should look out for?
Could I be missing some critical nutritional element/vitamin/etc? Something like magnesium? Are there affordable tests to identify nutrients that I might be low in?
Possible culprit #2: Insulin
I've read that the acne curve almost correlates perfectly with the elevated insulin curve in puberty. I personally have higher blood glucose than normal and some insulin sensitivity issues, so I suspected this could be a possibliity.
A1C: 5.5 , Fasting: 103, Post-prandial numbers average between 110 and 145 depending on how high carb of a meal I eat.
Question: Have any studies shown correlation between insulin sensitivity in adults and acne? Has anyone reduced their acne by improving insulin response (lower carb meals and more exercise?)
Possible culprit #3: Hormonal issues
I had a testosterone test run, but my numbers were within the normal range. Maybe only slightly low. However, I did not have an estrogen panel or T3/T4 tests run. Should I bother?
Possible culprit #4: Periodontal disease
There are lots of papers linking periodontal disease to system wide inflammation. Acne bacteria has even shown up in cultures of gum tissue. I have some receding gum issues (started at age 28), and currently have pocket depths of 3-4mm. Could these possibly be linked?
Possible culprit #5: Grooming
I wash my face 2x a day with Cerave and follow it up with moisturizer. I also change my pillow cases every night. Finally, when I shave, I always clean my razor with 90% rubbing alcohol.
Possible culprit #6: "Leaky Gut"/IBS
From other series on the web, it seems gut permeability me be correlated with acne. I've had IBS issues in the past, but since adding in weight lifting and going lower carb/cutting out wheat, my IBS is nearly gone. However, my face does not seem to have improved.
At this point, I feel like I've run out of possible ways to tackle this problem. What next steps would you take?
If you've cured yourself naturally, post-puberty, what steps did you take?
At this point, it seems that no holistic changes for me have made any significant difference. Benzoyl peroxide, sadly, is still the most effective for me.