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My enemy: coconut based detergents

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I think I figured out what have caused the two flare ups I had in the last two years.

My skin history:

I'm 24, female, had mild-moderate acne since I was 12. Few years ago, got a bad flare up from pro active, went to a dermy months after, got the whole antibiotic, bp + retinoid package. Got cleared in two months. month three, I ran out of insurance, so that was the end of my treatment, and I slowly got cystic acne everywhere, including my cheeks which has always been clear. Went to derm after I got insurance, got the same stuff, and then weaned off of the dermy stuff while I switched to eastern medicines (liver cleansing + herbal medication), and was doing pretty okay. whiteheads and pustules were stubborn but pretty manageable. This okay period went on for about four months.

A few months ago I started shedding more from my shampoo, so I switched to avalon organics clarifying shampoo. That was when I slowly started breaking out more, and this time it was happening on my jawline, and my neck, and I never broke out there, and some were suggesting it was the shampoo. I was in denial for a month because the stuff didn't shed me, but this totally made sense, since my chin was on my pillow alot around this period, and usually it was on the right side, which was the side that was particularly bad (6-7 cystics). Also my side hair ended around my neck below the jawline, where I was breaking out. My forehead and side of cheekbones, body were doing pretty bad as well.

SHAMPOO:

I've been laboring over what in the shampoo have caused this and couldn't figure it out.

Went to different derm, forgot to tell the derm about my suspicions, ended up getting the usual prescriptions, and started my ipledge thingy for accutane.

Today, I was looking at what shampoo to buy online and laboring over the ingredients list. Hours after comparing products, I figured it out: it was the coconut based detergents (cocoamyldipropyl betaine, cocoamide MEA/DEA, coconut acid..etc). I have searched the ingredients of the cleanser I was using at the time of my second flare up [The Body Shop tea tree oil foaming cleanser]. I've used a bottle of the tea tree oil normal cleanser from the same brand before and I liked it, so I never suspected it was the cleanser. The ingredients of the foaming cleanser is mainly cocoamyldipropyl betaine, while the regular cleanser is a combo of SLS (which isn't good but doesn't cause flare ups for me) and cocoblahblah. Also, the avalon organics shampoo's main detergent ingredients are all "coconut oil" based. Most shampoos have some of those ingredients, but they are usually less, and my skin was not as fragile in the past since I never used any BP and other harsh stuff. My skin is sensitive to coconut oil based detergents and overloading on that stuff caused the flare ups.

Well, with that figured out, it was really difficult to find a shampoo that didn't have that coconut stuff and that wouldn't shed me. I decided on jason tea tree oil satin soap since the ingredients are similar to the shampoo minus the coconut derived stuff. hopefully this will all work out, and I will be able to continue with my life. no avoiding social situations, no more having crazy people telling me to wash my face, no spending hours on this site (seriously, I think I've tried like ten different regimens from this site within the past few months - hot water dip, liver flush, AVC, SA+BP combo, B5, fish oil, maca root powder.. etc). I think it's wonderful that people are getting support and information from these forums, but I was "addicted" to this site, and it was getting in the way of my normal functioning. I wasn't doing school work (I'm a grad student, I should be more focused by now...), and I couldn't spend one productive hour on the computer without coming to this site.

I'm gonna go to my derm next month and ask her if I could get tested for dermititis. I've had flare ups on my chest and back after a series of massages around that area, and it took me months to get that cleared. I'm dreading how long it would take me to get moderately clear this time. Should I just go on accutane?

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This is good to know. Coconut oil is a hit or miss. I have a tea tree oil face wash as well with coconut oil, but it's too early to tell if it causes acne.

You would think that organic or natural products will be better for you, but it may not be the case. Maybe you can try other oral antibiotics or maybe even birth control for your acne before resorting to accutane.

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Well, I don't know if it is all coconut derived chemicals, but cocamidopropyl betaine is a big fat no-no for me. Messed up my face twice, and I blamed it on stopping oral antibiotics. I do want to try stuff with just coconut oil or saponified coconut. Those don't seem to cause dermatitis, at least from what I gathered on line.

Also found a list of stuff that can irritate skin:

http://www.redgumsoaps.com.au/Toxic-Chemicals.20.0.html

I'm sure I use a bunch of stuff with all of these in it, but I think it's important to be aware-.

Thank you for your reply. I'm on oral antibiotics, week 2 right now, and will start birth control as soon as my cycle starts. I'm not sure if birth control will help much and I'm scared to death of the horror stories of full force acne coming back after stopping. I don't think I can mentally handle another flare up.

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I'm not so sure it's Coco Betaine, most likely the culprit is Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLS), and with a combination of alcohols and/or fragrance...your skin is toast!

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I'm not so sure it's Coco Betaine, most likely the culprit is Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLS), and with a combination of alcohols and/or fragrance...your skin is toast!

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Try Dr. Bronner's Baby Mild Castile Unscented Liquid Soap, this is about as pure as it gets!!! I still don't buy the whole Coconut Oil thing, it's natural, and it's been saponified.

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Try Dr. Bronner's Baby Mild Castile Unscented Liquid Soap, this is about as pure as it gets!!! I still don't buy the whole Coconut Oil thing, it's natural, and it's been saponified.

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The idea that it could be the coconut is so interesting! I used Aubrey Organic skin care, that was touted as great for acne prone skin, but I got the worst reaction from it ever. The first ingredient is "Coconut Fatty Acid Cream Base".

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I have a problem with coconut oil being comedogenic on my skin as well. I avoid it in anything I put on my face and hair products.

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I'm kind of glad that I'm not the only one in a sense that it's nice to share stories with people who've been through the same things. finding shampoo is pretty stressful. Do any of you experience breaking out with soaps made with palm kernalate/oil as well? I bought african soap because supposedly it gets rid of acne and stopped using it because I noticed every time I use it I break out. I looked at the ingredients and it's palm kernal oil soap based. palm oil and coconut are both made from palm trees but different genera...

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