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Member Since 15 May 2007
Offline Last Active Yesterday, 11:06 AM

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In Topic: Experiment: Whole Food, Organic, Vegan, High Carbohydrate, Low Fat Diet.

23 January 2015 - 12:52 PM

Hi Emma

Just want to allay your fears re: microdermabrasion and those horror stories --- my guess is that many of these stories are from people who had the diamond crystal spray kind of microdermabrasion done by poorly trained salon staff and/or they are confusing microdermabrasion with more invasive procedures which are also sometimes done by beauty salons.  The diamond crystal spray microdermabrasion is the old fashioned method which sprayed crystals on the skin and then sucked up the crystals and dead skin.  It was sometimes hard to gauge how intense the spray was, especially by those not properly trained, which resulted in abraded skin...hence horror stories!  Unfortunately this method is still in use by beauty salons since it is cheaper to buy and operate the equipment.

I have microdermabrasions done at my derm's office by professionally trained and certified clinicians.  The microdermabrasions are done with a diamond tip that is slowly rubbed over the skin and the dead skin is sucked up with a mild vacuum.  There is no spray or anything that can abrade the skin.  The microdermabrasion also dislodges plugged up pores and pulls out the plugs. My skin is nicely pink after a procedure and I go right to work.  My skin feels great...like it can breathe!  The first several times I got microdermabrasions while my skin was still recovering from the cysts I had a bit more redness but it was only where deeper plugs had been dislodged and it was totally tolerable...just redness that went away in a day.  The only other thing I got in the beginning were a couple of whiteheads afterwards which the clinicians said were due to very plugged up pores coming to the surface.  These were totally okay too since they were nothing like a cyst and went away in a day or two.  I have not had any cysts...not even one...since starting the microdermabrasions along with the regime below.  I feel very strongly that correctly done microdermabrasions are key to healthy skin for those of us who gets lots of cysts.  My skin looks incredible now...smooth, clear skin.  It is like my skin returned to how it was before I had acne.  I don't think meds or diet alone would do this.  It takes something like microdermabrasion to help the skin renew itself and build up collagen.  My derm says that cystic prone skin does not function correctly...it does not shed properly and is prone to forming sticky plugs so getting regular microdermabrasions helps.  

I have to admit that it took me a couple of months before I was brave eneough to do the microdermabrasions because I too had read all those horror stories!  And some of them were even current horror stories.  But after talking with my derm I learned more about the different kinds of procedures and hence the confusion...which is too bad because correctly done microdermabrasion is wonderful.  And he says it is an outright lie that microdermabrasion does not help acne...another internet myth that is often cited.  He says microdermabrasion is good for acne prone skin, especially skin that has had the ravaging effects of cysts.

Hope this helps!  

In Topic: Experiment: Whole Food, Organic, Vegan, High Carbohydrate, Low Fat Diet.

22 January 2015 - 10:46 AM

Hi Emmie

I too suffered from cystic acne but for decades.  I'll share my thoughts and experience on both meds and diet.  FYI --- I am now clear.

MEDS --- like you I was prescribed many acne meds but this went on for decades.  However it was always one or at most two at a time (i.e. an antibiotic or a topical or birth control, etc.)  My current derm of 5 years who is an expert in adult cystic acne says that only a multi-prong approach will clear up resistant adult cystic acne.  This means that being prescribed only one or two things at a time will not work and unfortunately this is what is usually done.  To get clear you must do a multi-prong approach.  You must use simultaneously something that opens pores + something that kills acne bacteria + something that removes dead skin + something that lowers androgen levels.  For most adult sufferers it is a regime you must do forever if you want to be clear.  Why?  Some people genetically have pores that don't shed properly, in addition to being very sensitive to androgens, etc which makes the perfect environment for ongoing cystic acne.  If you message me I can explain more.  So the solution is to do things that help the skin behave in a more healthy way...without doing more harm (i.e. oral antibiotics).  My regime is listed below in my signature but in summary it is using a BP cleanser, followed by a topical antibiotic.  This combo is well researched and documented as being effective.  I also take 50mg of Spironolactone which is an anti-androgen but is not a hormone itself.  It just blocks androgens.  I am actually weaning off of it as the other parts of the regime should keep my cystic acne under control.  My derm has me doing once a month microdermabrasions (diamond tip...not the crystals) and this is to open pores and remove dead skin.  It is amazing.  All scars are gone and my pores are totally clear.  This is essential to allow the BP and topical antibiotic to work well.  The pores of people with cystic acne are usually so plugged up that meds don't get in well eneough to kill the acne bacteria.  Please read the rest of my regime below in the signature area.

DIET - I have studied and tried many many anti-acne diets and have finally found one that really works.  You are definitely on the right track.  Please check out Dr McDougall's web articles on acne and diet.  He advocates avoiding all fats, especially all processed fats.  And avoiding dairy and flesh foods.  He recommends eating whole natural foods such as whole grains, tubers, vegetables, and fruits.  This is the diet of cultures that don't get acne.  It is a sustainable diet and very filling.  I love it.  I admit that I personally still eat eggs and occasionally some wild fish.  But my skin remains clear.  For me what really got me clear diet-wise was avoiding all dairy, all fats (oils, margarine, etc.), fermented foods such yogurt, alcoholic beverages (I may have a bit of rosacea which is reactive to fermented foods), yeasted foods such as bread, vinegar (may be the rosacea issue) nuts and all sugary foods.  My skin, digestion and energy levels are all much better...I feel great.  I am 5'5" and weigh 120.  I do marathons and hike all the time.  Here is what I eat typically:

Breakfast --- huge bowl of oatmeal cooked with raisons, chia seeds and topped with fresh berries, banana and soy milk. 

Lunch --- huge salad with fresh vegetables, potato or yam or leftover rice, any leftovers from dinner, etc.  Or I make a vegie burrito with avocado and beans.

Dinner --- huge salad, lots of steamed vegies, rice or potato or yam

Treats --- my special homemade non-fat, non-sweetened banana apple bread

Condiments --- I like brewers yeast (it's not really a yeast but actually is a dried mushroom), garlic, cumin, lots of herbs, and herbed salt.

I am never hungry, eat tons of food and maintain a good weight.  Love this diet.  After about a month on this diet my usually oily skin was normal and my skin looked glowing.

I hope this helps you.  I will follow your thread to see how you're doing.  FYI -- diet alone may not get rid of really bad cystic acne.  You may need to do a regime like I'm doing along with diet.  And then after getting clear for a couple of years wean off any oral meds.  With really resistant cystic acne you may have to continue with topical meds to stay clear.

In Topic: Stubborn Cyst - Please Help!

19 January 2015 - 01:29 PM

I'm so sorry you're having such a bad flare-up.  I know how it feels...been there many times myself.  I have some ideas that will help.  This is what got me clear after having extremely resistant and chronic cystic acne and using every product under the sun.  This will help your current inflamed cyst go down and will help prevent new ones.

Stop eating processed oils of any kind.  This will help lower inflammation and oiliness on the skin (and blocked pores!).  This means avoiding salad dressings, cooking with oil (olive oil too), mayo, fried foods, etc.  If you think this is radical go to Dr McDougal's articles on causes of adult acne.  His work is based on studies and research of cultures that don't get acne.   www.drmcdougall.com/health/education/health-science/common-health-problems/acne  You will notice an improvement in your skin within 10 days.

Stop eating sugary foods.  This also helps to lower inflammation.

Stop eating dairy foods, including cheese.  This helps lower the hormones that cause acne.

Use some form of BP daily.  I personally like using a BP cleanser because it doesn't bleach my clothing.  And it works if you use one with a patent to clear acne such as Panoxyl 10% which is sold over the counter.

Use some form of topical antibiotic.  You may or may not need this.  I do because my cystic acne was so bad.  I like Cleocin-T.  The mistake many derms make is to prescribe the topical alone...when research shows it works best with a BP cleanser.

Get monthly microdermabrasions.  This helps open pores and keep them open.  Plus it takes away scarring.  I love it.  My skin now looks like it did before I got acne...amazing!  My derm recommends the diamond tip kind because it is better for the skin.  It is well worth the money if you suffer from cystic acne.

Use a moisturizer developed for acne prone skin.  My derm swears by DML lotion.  I never used lotion because before doing this regime my skin was so oily but my derm insisted because DML helps heal the skin.  It is used following cosmetic surgery.  It can be bought over the counter.  I love it...it is light and dries well.

If you do the above you will get clear...and quickly.  I suffered for such a long time but when I went to my new derm and he got me on this regime I was clear within the month and have never gotten a cyst again...and it's been years now.  I have to keep doing the treatment to stay clear but it works so I'm happy.  You will note below in my signature that I am still on some Spiro but I was taking that before I went to this derm and he is weaning me off of it.

I hope this helps you!  P.S. the diet part is really important...don't skip that part.



In Topic: Accutane Being Demonized By Derms?

05 January 2015 - 10:49 AM

Everyone is afraid of lawsuits so derms are going for "safer" treatments as their front line.  Back in the old days (1980's) when I was prescribed accutane it was the new drug and was the first thing used on cystic acne.  I did two rounds of it and it really helped to lower the incidence and severity of my cystic acne.  But it did not cure my acne by any means.  I still had cystic acne...just less and milder.  This allowed me to use topicals and oral antibiotics with greater success.  And then in the last couple of years I've been seeing a specialist in adult acne who got me on a treatment regime that wiped out my acne --- I am now clear and have been for a couple of years!  If your derm won't give you accutane I recommend this treatment regime because it will kill the acne bacteria and make it so your skin is smooth again.  Awesome! 

Here is the treatment regime:

Morning: Wash with therapeutic BP cleanser (Panoxyl 10%), apply topical antibiotic (Cleocin-T), moisturize with DML lotion (developed for acne prone skin --- very light and dries quickly --- healing), use only light powder for cover (I like Physician's Formula because it was developed for acne prone skin and has zinc SPF)

Night: Wash with Cetaphil bar (or similar cleanser), apply DML lotion

Monthly: Microdermabrasion with diamond tip (do not do one with loose crystals - too irritating)

Diet: Avoid dairy, sugars, caffeine, all processed oils and foods made from them (chips, fried foods, fast food) 

I am totally clear now after suffering with cystic acne forever and trying everything else.  Hope this helps!

In Topic: Need Help .....acne Or Die Of Hunger ?

29 December 2014 - 06:45 PM

Will there be a microwave where you are staying?  A fridge?  If so, then pack your own food.  Bring oatmeal or rice (precooked) and some fruit.  If you can bring a cooler then also bring some non-dairy milk.  Lots of people pack their own food these days!

If you won't have access to a microwave or fridge then just try to eat as wholesome and plain as you can.  Eat a couple of bananas, some eggs, rice, etc.  You can bring your own bananas and rice cakes.  You could even bring some hard boiled eggs...they can last a couple of days unrefrigerated.

If eating out then order as plain as possible...don't worry if it has a bit of oil.  Just avoid fried foods.  Even fast food places have salads with grilled chicken breast, etc.  Get rice and steamed vegetables.  Or noodles without sauce and steamed vegetables.  

Key is to eat plain foods as wholesome as possible...and then don't worry about it.

Good luck with exams!