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my (tentative) cure!

Hi guys,

well I began searching for a holistic cure for my moderate/severe acne about 1 year ago. I've ended up with a hybrid of natural and conventional medicine and am pretty happy with the results so far. I want to preface this post by saying that I've only been clear for about 2 months while being totally antibiotic free. Before that, I was on antibiotics for about 3 months while trying to sort things out. So in total I've been clear for about 4 months. I think it's fairly safe to say that the antibiotics should be totally out of my system since I wasn't taking them for long, but this is more of a progress report than a success story. I won't claim success until it's been another month or two. The reason for writing this now is that I think i need to take a break from thinking about my skin so much.

Here are the basics of what has led to my success....i don't really want to argue with anyone...I'm not claiming that this will work for anyone else (but hey, it might be worth a try!)

1. Diet: The first thing I chose to eliminate was exactly the right thing: DAIRY. I think that dairy bothers me in two ways: i have a mild allergic reaction to it (it makes me very congested) and it messes with my hormones which i don't think is an allergic reaction. I've noticed a marked decrease in oil production since cutting out dairy. this suggests to me that most acne sufferers could benefit from reducing dairy intake (although maybe some people are fine with dairy in moderation).

otherwise, my diet is generally healthy. I eat lots of fruits and veggies, whole grains and lean meats. I also eat some not so healthy things simply because I enjoy them! I like tea and coffee, red wine, dark chocolate, a cookie or piece of pie from time to time (even those made with dairy, for some reason when the dairy is cooked it doesn't seem to set off my allergic reaction...it might still mess with my hormones which is why i don't have a ton of this stuff). So in other words, I do not follow a strict diet. I eat generally healthy avoid dairy as much as is reasonably possible and that's about it.

I can say for pretty much certain that cutting out dairy both decreased my oil production and got rid of most of my cystic acne. Eliminating dairy alone, however, did not get rid of all of my breakouts. It took me from moderate/severe (or some might say severe) to moderate.

At the moment I am also taking a few supplements: a b-50 complex, lysine with zinc and vit. C, and a 1000 mg flaxseed oil (I also eat some ground flax). I don't really think that these supplements make a huge difference in my skin, but they do make me feel more energetic. I want to really stress that I do not believe in taking a ton of supplements. You should really try to get your nutrients from food. Isolated vitamins/compounds are just not as good and can even be harmful. I have made a few big mistakes by trying exotic supplements that a handful of people said cured them.

For the last week or so I've been drinking lemon water (warm water with 1/4 lemon's juice and a tspn honey) when I wake up in the morning and sometimes at night. I was clear before I began doing this, but it does seem to have helped my body acne and my monthly breakout was barely of concern this month...

2. Lifestyle: I really can't say how much these factors impact my skin, but i'm sure that it's additive (eg don't sleep well one night, no big deal...consistently not getting enough sleep, going to see an effect). I exercise (mostly cardio, maybe 4 or 5 times per week) and I practice yoga 1-2 times per week. I think exercise is very important for me as a way to relieve stress.

I try to sleep well (I'm usually in bed by 11)

3. Topical routine: One of my mistakes after cutting out dairy was thinking that I didn't need topicals. topicals didn't make me clear, no Dairy + topicals made me clear so therefore no dairy made me clear and i don't need topicals....wrong! I was using BP at the beginning (and had been for about 10 years). BP worked, but it made my skin red, flaky and dry. I've since found topicals that I like much better (but may or may not be ideal for everyone...) Here is my current routine:

Morning: wash face with homemade cleanser using facial brush (eg baby hair brush)

apply azelex cream (azelaic acid, by prescription)

use bare mineral powder foundation (spf 15)

*the azelex is a great exfoliator and moisturizer. If you have really oily skin you might want to try the gel form. I like the fact that azelex has no nasty ingredients, just azelaic acid and literally I think 3 or 4 other harmless ingredients.

homemade cleanser recipe:

1/2 c. vegetable glycerin

2 tbpsns. pure castille soap

3 tbpsns. raw organic honey

mix it up, bottle it and keep it...none of these ingredient go bad (at least not for a long time)


wash face with homemade cleanser using facial brush

apply clenia emollient cream (sulfur based lotion)

*clenia is great for killing acne bacteria. It does have some ingredients I don't like (eg parabens) and i would love to find another lotion with the same active sulfur ingredients but no bad stuff...let me know if you guys have suggestions

I also use masks (these are not essential, i just enjoy them and i think they leave my skin nice and soft):

I like the honey and egg yolk mask (1 egg yolk and 2 tbspns honey). I try to do this a few times a week.

Moisturize as necessary with clinique (because it's what i've got leftover)...I rarely have to moisturize since I've been using the azelex, but now that it's winter I need to once in a while.

I think this about covers it...it's really not a tough routine, but it seems to work! It might be worthwhile to check out the holistic section of this site if you're looking for other ideas...i personally would suggest cutting out one "bad" food at a time to see if it helps or not...if it doesn't make a difference add it back it. I think that you should see a difference in a week or two after eliminating a food. It's also a good idea to keep a log to track your progress. Good luck everyone!

I've attempted to upload pictures, but it keeps failing because the "file is larger than the available space"...hmm well i guess you'll just have to take my word for it...

I might check back sporadically, but part of the point of this post is so that i can stop thinking so much about my skin. So, if i don't answer questions very quickly, then i apologize in advance. I wish you all good luck, and i will try to come back in another month or so to update on my progress.

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well it's been another month and everything is still going well! I tried a couple of new products from Juice beauty, including a peel and I did get 2 pimples that were not tiny, but not cystic. Since I've quit using juice I haven't gotten any new breakouts. Even though i like to try new things, I know that I have to be pretty careful about which products I use.

I have been toying with my topical routine. why? well, even though i seem to have gotten rid of my inflamed acne (with the exception of a monthly pimple or two), i still have small clogged pores, lots of them (eg tiny tiny skin colored bumps that don't really go away or become pimples. you can't feel them if you run your finger over my skin or see them unless you look really up close), red marks (lots :(), enlarged pores, and uneven skin tone. So, even though I'm very happy and my skin now looks pretty darn good when my makeup is done well, i'm not completely satisfied. SOOOOO after some research, I decided that my skin could benefit from a daily low level AHA product + a weekly at home gentle peel. My first try: Juice beauty antioxidant serum and green apple peel. I'm not sure which product broke me out, and maybe a breakout should be considered normal but it makes me nervous and i'm not willing to put up with it if i don't have to ;-)

Now: I discovered that i still have proactiv cleanser and toner left and the toner has 5% glycolic acid in it. This is a free try and I know that proactiv products don't make me break out since I used to use them. Here's my current topical routine and so far so good:

morning: proactiv cleanser (no baby brush since the cleanser has small exfoliating beads)

proactiv toner (5% glycolic acid)


proactive moisturizer, spf 15 followed by bare minerals makeup with spf 15

night: proactiv cleanser

proactiv toner

clenia sulfur cream

honey mask when i feel like it (and at this point i'm just putting dark amber honey straight on my face).

i've only added in the proactiv products a couple of days ago. so far so good, but i can't really comment yet.

Additionally, i've began taking vitamin a&d again (it's 10,000 iu vit. a 400 iu vit. d). It's not really for skin, it's a long story, if you're interested read my log. Anyway, i imagine it might help my small skin issues, we'll see. at some point i might try 5000 iu vit a. 10,000 might be a bit high, esp. if i ever want to have kids (no time soon, i'm just thinking about sustainability)

i've also ordered the 40% lactic acid peel from puredeming. i plan to do the peel once per week and see how that goes. lactic acid is supposed to be very good for hyperpigmentation and it's supposed to be no downtime, no noticeable peeling. anyway, that's the state of things at the moment. I went to see my dermatologist a week or so ago and told her i went off of my antibiotics about 10 weeks before (11 weeks now). She said my skin looks great and she approves of my decision to go off of the doxy. She also said that all of the doxy should have left my system weeks ago. i still want to see how things go in the next couple of months, but i feel pretty optimistic :)

apparently my plan to stay off this site is not working...i'm still working on that, but i am around if you guys have questions. good luck to everyone!

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well, it's been almost 4 months since I went off antibiotics now and I'm still doing great! I think I can officially claim success now :) I'm not claiming that my skin is perfect, but it's close enough...But full disclosure:

I rarely have an inflamed breakout, maybe 1 or 2 small pimples per month, if that (usually in the 2 or 3 days before my period). I have some blackheads on my nose, sometimes it's just one or two, sometimes it's many, sometimes i squeeze them...i don't consider this a big deal. I also have tiny tiny flesh colored bumps on my chin and chest...they aren't acne, you can't feel them if you run your hand over them...and you can't see them unless you look very close up and in good lighting. Also, not much of a concern for me...i am curious to figure out what causes them, i suspect it might be fungal but I'm not sure.

I have red marks, they are improving noticeably over time. I have enlarged pores and some scars that have also been improving.

That's about it! I haven't changed my diet or supplements since my last post (still no dairy!!). Here is my current topical routine:

morning: wash face with homemade cleanser (honey, glycerin and castille soap)

tone with proactiv toner (contains glycolic acid)

treat with azelex cream

moisturize with proactiv oil free moisturizer with a few drops of oil mixture (castor + jojoba) (use bare escentuals bare mineral makeup)

night: oil cleansing method (40:60 castor oil: jojoba oil)

tone with proactiv toner

treat with clenia emollient cream (now using the generic, topisulf)

1x per week, use puredeming's 40% lactic acid peel for hyperpigmentation

if i ever feel like it: honey or honey and egg yolk mask

good luck everyone!

edit: I have switched back to proactiv cleanser, the rest of my topical routine is the same as listed. I don't think that the oil cleansing was really helping my blackheads or flesh colored bumps, and those are the things that i'm looking for help on at this point since my inflamed acne is pretty much gone. I think that the topical regimen with proactiv cleanser is so far the best i've found. i'm still open to experimentation but i'm pretty happy with this regimen. the proactiv cleanser is a little harsh and won't work for everyone. If you have sensitive skin, or are still breaking out badly, I might suggest trying out my topical regimen as is except with a gentle cleanser in place of the proactiv (I happen to like cetaphil but others seem to like purpose)...I might wash with cetaphil once perday and proativ once per day if my skin gets too dry. I think that as long as i'm diligent about moisturizing every day this regimen will work well, esp. when it's less cold and dry outside!

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