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I decided it's time to start a blog so that I can keep better track of my progress. My background: I'm a 31 year old woman who has had cystic acne to varying degrees since I was a teenager. My skin is worse around my period. I used Proactive for years, until I realized that it was causing premature wrinkles and permanent skin damage. Proactive never provided full relief anyway, but it did prevent the worst of my breakouts. I have also been on antibiotics for periods of time which caused yeast infections and other problems. I have no faith in doctors, and have not seen a dermatologist since I was in high school. To make a long story short, my experience has been that doctors are focused on medicating rather than determining the cause of the problem and that most doctors are not familiar with the latest research available. There may be some good docs out there, but I am convinced that the majority of them are tools of the pharmaceutical industry, or just plain uncaring and/or incompetent. I will never take accutane or Spiro because it is my personal belief that these can be harmful medications. There is no reason that I should have painful cysts on my face, and it is clear to me that something in my diet or environment is causing them. Anyway, after stopping Proactive my skin was terrible for a few months, which is when I discovered Emerita Natural Progesterone Cream. I used the Emerita as directed (14 days on/14 off) and it made my skin beautiful. I used the cream for about 5 months, during which time I didn't even have to wash my face, and I never had a pimple. HOWEVER, I found that the cream messed up my menstrual cycle and caused weight gain. Ultimately, I decided that it wasn't a healthy long term solution. Since going off the Emerita about 6 months ago, my skin has been a disaster, but it does finally seem to be clearing again. I have experimented with various things, and have found that almost all OTC products irritate and worsen my skin. Diet changes have made a huge difference, and the addition of zinc has been helpful as well, as it seems to improve my hormonal health. I will probably continue to tweak my current regimen, especially since I have yet to find any cleanser I am happy with. My current regimen: DIET Vegetarian and Soy Free, with very limited dairy. Diet does include: organic eggs and beans, all fruits and veggies, rice, pasta, and whole wheat bread. NO NUTS OF ANY KIND. I have recently discovered that peanuts and cashews trigger large cysts on my hairline, cheeks, and brow area. I make an effort to get at least 50 mg of protein daily. Supplements Morning: 1/2 pill Nature Made Multi Vitamin w/ Iron and Calcium Algal DHA Omega 3 23mg zinc Lozenge Lunch: Calcium/Magnesium 1000 IU Vitamin D Dinner: 1/2 pill Nature Made Multi Vitamin w/ Iron and Calcium Algal DHA Omega 3 23mg zinc Lozenge Topical Burt's Bees Cleanser 2x daily Jojoba oil to moisturize What has NOT Worked Gluten Free - no effect after 1 month BP cleansers, spot treatments - fail, and double fail for causing chemical burns Oil cleansing with Jojoba or Coconut oil - caused breakouts B stress complex - caused breakouts Proactive - undesirable side effects Emerita Progesterone Cream - undesirable side effects Tea tree oil - no noticeable effect and hate the smell ACV toner - caused irritation I am still searching for a natural product to gently exfoliate with that DOES NOT CONTAIN NUTS OR NUT SHELL POWDER, which I appear to be allergic to. I also refuse to use anything with sulfates or BP. Currently, my skin seems to be clearing. My cysts have almost dried completely up and I do not appear to be developing any new ones. I have dark red marks in several areas, but they appear to be slowly healing. I am mid-cycle, so we will see what happens over the next few weeks.