I'm new to this site so I've also created a forum topic with this same information as well. I'd really like to control my acne more effectively and also help someone else while doing it.
I am 26 years old and, since the age of 12, I have had acne. My acne has gone through different stages as I've gotten older... from mild to severe... back to mild... back to severe etc.
Skip down to the bottom if you'd like just the regimen and would rather not read much
What I've tried
I've been to several hoping that they could "cure" my acne. These individuals took one look at me and prescribed antibiotics. Most appointments would last 10 minutes and I'd be out with a piece of paper and some scribbled signature of hope. I would visit every six months and be put on a whole new antibiotic with the promise that my face would "cure" itself once I became an adult and that this was just a temporary solution to get me there. Not all doctors responded this way... I saw one dermatologist who created her own (expensive) topical regimen which did not work. I saw another that put me on Accutane which worked but after 6 months my sugar had reached dangerous levels and I had to be removed from the pill. I gave up on dermatologists after becoming old enough to understand that being on antibiotics for so long was not good for my body.
I tried proactive for a while and it would work for a little but then I'd have to cancel my subscription after about 8 months because it would completely stop working for me. I'd resubscribe about 3 months later and start all over. I also tried Retin A and a few other creams like it. Mostly, they just dried out my skin to the point that I couldn't open up my mouth without some peeling issue (bleeding and pain). Yes, I did cut back and used a lotion my doctor recommended but what we found was that my skin just didn't react well to this form of treatment. I also tried all the different "common" store bought acne creams, washes, scrubs etc but nothing worked in that realm.
After getting away from Accutane and antibiotics, I tried vitamins. I went through different variations of supplements. I purchased a book on acne and tried recommendations from it and from the internet. I still take Vitamin C, Garlic and Vitamin D. Why did I stop everything else that was also supposed to help? Because it wasn't helping and it was just costing me money. Trust me, I did 6 month trials of different options out there. I don't quit after two weeks of zero results. I'm a determined individual. I've also tried different birth controls but they broke out my face so much I had a woman ask me once "What happened to your face? Did you burn it?" It wasn't so much the questions but the horrified way she said it. I haven't been on birth control since.
Random & odd topical:
I tried A&D ointment, rubbing alcohol, benzoyl peroxide, lemon juice, tree tea oil, garlic, Manuka honey, aloe vera, baking soda, tooth paste, and the list goes on and on.
I've done several fasts to try to clear my body of toxins. 3 day apple detox and such like it with no positive results. I've tried going vegetarian, and vegan as well. I even tried starving myself of everything but water as a desperate option. I've tried meditation, cleaning the house like a mad woman, walking etc to ease stress. I've also tried doing nothing and hoping for the best... didn't help.
What I'm doing now and what this blog is about
I'm telling you all this because I want you to know you're not alone before I start. I want you to see what I've done and what I've been through. I've been doing this for 14 years. No, I don't like taking pictures. No, I don't like social situations. Yes, my life has been stunted by this problem. Yes, I cry about it occasionally. Yes, I wish I could just be free and "normal"... whatever that means.
Today, I eat purely Paleo and so avoid wheat and dairy. That has helped. It's not done away with it completely. Some weeks are better than others.
Right now I'm trying out the Apple Cider Vinegar Toner .
I've been taking pictures each day for the past 3 days. I'm going to upload them here and hope that this is the final option I'll need to test. I hope that this helps out others as well. Remember... all of our skin is different. We all respond differently to different treatments. I'm sure something under what I've tried above has worked for someone else. Just keep that in mind if you try this and don't see the same (good or bad) things happening... it's okay.
So currently my regimen is:
Twice a day - Morning and Night
- Tree Tea Face Wash (purchased from Amazon)
- Apple Cider Vinegar Toner (apply with cotton ball and alone to dry) - I make my own and purchased an empty bottle to store it in. I fill 1/3 of the bottle with Apple Cider Vinegar *Braggs* and the other 2/3 with distilled water. I've read people using different amounts of Apple Cider Vinegar so try what works best for you. I would start with the amount I'm currently using unless you have very sensitive skin... in that case I would test it on a small area and work from there.
- Witch Hazel (apply with cotton ball after Toner has dried)
- CeraVe Facial Moisturizing Lotion (purchased from Amazon)
Don't forget! I'm testing this and may change it up later.
The attached photos are from Day 1, 2 & 3. My skin is at its mildest level due to Paleo which I've been on for about 4 weeks.
Day 4 pictures for both morning and night have been added
This was a work day and the 3 days prior were not work days. As you (hopefully) can see from the photos, work days mess with my skin. To give you a little more detail; I'm a supervisor on a temporary assignment so some days are harder than others. Also, my temporary assignment, which I love, is about to end and I'm going back to my normal position. It has really effected my stress level.
Day 5 pictures for both morning and night have been added
Well we can definitely say that work is a negative driver. I can't wait until I'm off on Saturday. Sadly I go right back to work the next day. I was hoping the Witch Hazel would make the difference but my skin still looks irritated and new bumps keep rising to the surface. I didn't even consider today to be as stressful as normal but stressful all the same.
Day 6 pictures for both morning and night have been added
Day 7 pictures for both morning and night have been added
*long sigh* I had a work outing after my shift and... well yeah... At least I'm off tomorrow...
Day 8 pictures for both morning and night have been added
I spent my day off doing nothing and I can tell my face is already healing from yesterday. I never noticed how much work effected my skin. I knew it did (obviously) but I also figured there were other factors at play too... maybe I wasn't paleo enough, maybe I accidentally touched my face, maybe I was allergic to that fruit I ate, maybe it was the towel I used to dry my face... I always found a list of things it could be and so would just keep eliminating stuff. I've only been taking pictures for 8 days now, so I can't say that work=stress/anxiety=acne, but it's really sticking out to me more now. I read a million times that acne was stress related but I also read it was related to a bunch of other things. I obviously can't quit my job so I focused on the things I could change. I went online and checked out supplements that could help with my stress and anxiety. I found this lavender supplement from Germany called Nature's Way - Calm Aid. I ordered it from Amazon and should receive it in a few days. I know there are other ways to relieve stress but I've tried quite a few. We'll see what happens.
Day 9 pictures for both morning and night have been added
Wellp I'm going to stop posting the morning pictures. It's the night pictures that really matter. Today was actually pretty okay compared to other days. I left work early... mostly because I felt like I had to escape people. I was tired of sitting there feeling this itch that's normally followed by a pimple on my face and wondering if this person, who was currently starring at my cheek, saw something that hadn't been there 30 minutes before when I checked in the mirror. Feels a little hopeless but it's only the 9th day. I guess I'm just getting tired.
Day 10 pictures - Only after work
So I tried something new. I cut out the witch hazel in the morning (not helping) and I decided to listen to a suggestion... someone had said to apply the Apple Cider Vinegar while at work as well. Just wipe it on a couple more times (just on problem areas) and put on lotion. I did this during my breaks so about every 4 hours. I work the night shift and here's the new schedule: 11:30am - wash face with Tea Tree Face Wash + Apple Cider Vinegar Toner + Lotion - 3:45pm - Apple Cider Vinegar Toner + lotion - 8:30pm - Apple Cider Vinegar + lotion - 12:00am - wash face + Apple Cider Vinegar Toner + Witch Hazel + lotion. Seems a little much but eh, I'll try it.
Day 11 pictures - After work