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databased

Clear after 30 years

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49, acne since a teenager, relentless, best days were when the worst sores were hidden by beard or hair, worst days made it very hard to go out in public -- you probably know the drill.

Tried all manner of things non-prescription. After long years, became convinced that the problem is likely nutritional, and beating the hell out of my skin with products was treating the wrong end of the problem. I like the total glycemic load theory, see some evidence for it in my severity (but it's soooo easy to fool yourself with any chronic symptom like this). But doggone it, I cannot give up carbs. At least not to a degree severe enough that I could string more than a couple of "good" days together.

So, I started hoping it was nutritional in some other sense. Tinkered endlessly with foods. Hey, carrots and walnuts seemed to help. Tinker more. Dang, it seems like it's the walnuts more than the carrots that helps a bit. OK, what's in walnuts? Got those PUFAs, so let's try pounding down fish oil for a while. No joy. Wild goose chase #987. Dang it, seems like walnuts help a *little*. What is every darn molecule known to be present in walnuts? Step through them one at a time. Til one day a few weeks ago...

Wow, no new sores today! Well, that happens sometimes. But next day, no new sores again. And another day, and the old ones are starting to fade. Ok, there's a new sore, but overall I'm looking at a better week than I've had in a long time. Which walnut molecule am I taking this week? Zinc. OK, let's do a serious loading dose.

60mg of zinc, three times per day. From that day on, no new sores. Not one. Never seen anything like this before. Am I doing anything else that could be suspected? Heck no. As soon as things started to get better, I let my diet go to crap. Pounding down that sugar and fat and fast food. Still no new sores. Skipped showering a couple of days. Still no new sores. Still got the same skin. Big pores, blackheads, just not acne.

OK, gotta try the obvious. Stop taking the zinc. Within 48 hours, sores start to pop up again. OK, the heck with that experiment. Back to the loading dose of 60mg, 3 times/day.

And then a day came last week that's hard to describe if you haven't suffered with this long and hard. The old sores were pretty much invisible, and I could not see or feel anywhere on my head or body any kind of acne whatsoever. I'm still grasping what it means to be able to walk out into the world, talk to somebody, and not see their eyes immediately go to the big red spots on my face. To walk around all day without having to schedule periodic bathroom checks to catch anything huge that's "popped up" during the day. It's weird to get a taste of normality.

Anyway, I pray this isn't a fluke, but I've never had anything succeed to this degree or for this length of time before, so I'm tempting the fates by posting my experience here. I'm planning to taper off the dosage to find out what the least amount of zinc is I can take and still be acne-free. (Still blows my mind to say "free" as opposed to "improved" or "half-way presentable".)

For the record, I'm taking zinc picolinate (no other form of zinc in any other pill) in gelcaps, taken with a meal (no particular stomach upset that I could detect). I eat meat. I take vitamins (though they never did a bit of good for my acne). I've tried one brand that included copper, and one that did not. Effect seemed to be equivalent. I did not use any brand that had any other active ingredient besides zinc picolinate and copper. Though I'm now tapering (if you think you need to post something about zinc and health for my info, save yer breath -- I live on pubmed.com :-), my initial dose was 2 30mg zinc picolinate pills with each meal, 3 meals per day. That's what first got me to the miracle of not a single zit of any kind anywhere on my body.

If you've suffered for years, hang in there. Keep experimenting and maybe you'll find your unique solution. I'm so happy to have found something that works for me after all these years. Please consult your doctor before doing anything wacky like taking 180mg of zinc picolinate a day just because some nutjob on a website did it :-).

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databased, I'm very glad taking zinc has helped you. I think it's amazing (and frustrating, of course) how everyone reacts so differently to various remedies.

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wow, i'm glad the zinc is working for you. i have to try it. i have had moderate success with pantothenic acid (b5) but in mega doses. i acutally have some zinc sitting on top my microwave and might start taking it 2 nite after dinner...

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:wiggle:

Wow! You sound like you've suffered so much with this horrid disease I'm so pleased for you!!

I am searching for something too that will help (aren't we all?) but so many options seem to have bad side effects, or run the risk of making things 10x worse!

Thanks so much for posting this, I think maybe I could give zinc a try. I take one low dose zinc tablet a day at the moment, but not such a high dosage.

Do you know if it's safe to take the dosage that you were on?

What was the exact dosage you used please? and how long did it take for it to help?

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I had used zinc before myself. As with so many things, the results were marginal, and when dealing with symptoms that fluctuate all over the place even when you're doing "nothing", I didn't see any results worthy of note. Almost anything I've ever tried "maybe helped a little". That's the nature of chronic diseases like this. That's why I was so blown away to see it ALL GONE, no subjective judgment involved, just cured, at least so far (I always try to be skeptical).

This time, I did two things differently. First, I specifically bought zinc picolinate (as opposed to the many other forms of zinc) after going to my local University and reading the medical literature on absorbability. I was influenced by a fairly old paper that showed the picolinate form superior at getting to things like hair. OK, if it goes well into surface areas, I figured that's what I wanted. The other thing I did differently this time is that I used a large dose: 180mg/day (or 60mg 3 times a day, to be more particular).

Is that safe? I'm not a doctor, this is not medical advice, please consult your own doctor. Personally, I'm not really worried about taking 180mg of the picolinate per day for the short term. Zinc helps remove copper, which would not be such a good idea if I were a young, growing lad, or pregnant, or trying to heal some major wound. I am none of those things, so I'm not so worried about dropping my copper levels modestly. Some cancer treatments try to drop copper levels rather severely (much more than you could achieve by just taking zinc), and the side-effects are far from devastating as such things go. There is also some observational (read, the weakest kind) data that suggests zinc intake is correlated with an increased risk of prostate cancer. But the data is not clear, and biomechanical understanding predicts the opposite result, so researchers are far from being uniformly convinceced one way or another. It's certainly an area I keep an eye on, but the answer is likely to be complex (e.g., zinc prevents prostate cancer under some conditions, exacerbates it under others).

In any case, if I have the luxury of creating the condition of clear skin, then it is no hassle to experiment and see how much I can reduce the dose and still tolerate the results. It's also just a Big Clue -- if zinc really can cure me indefinitely, then why is that? Am I zinc-deficient for some hidden reason? Lots of things to explore there, but it's easier to be motivated to explore them when I know I can have clear skin on demand (fingers crossed, hoping that stays true!).

How long to see results? I started realizing I was seeing no new sores in less than a week after I started taking 3*60mg zinc picolinate/day. My skin is pretty slow to heal, so it was closer to 3 weeks before I looked in the mirror and could convince myself that the average person looking at me would not guess I have highly chronic acne. I figure 180mg/day is a reasonably hefty dose (that was the point in choosing it), so if I had not seen really definite, no-doubt-about-it results within 2 weeks, I would have stopped taking it.

If you want to try the same experiment, I would find a pill in which the only active ingredient is zinc picolinate (no copper, no other stuff); that's what I started out with, and only switched to one containing copper after that bottle ran out. For an experiment, I prefer as few extraneous variables as possible. Mine just look like white powder in a gel cap. If you try it, I hope you'll post your results (good, bad, or indifferent).

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Interesting experience.

I'm not sure it's the zinc. I mean, I used to have acne on my back for a long time and that disappeared a few months ago. It doesn't matter what I eat, it's just gone.

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I'm glad it worked for you thats great.I hope its safe to take that many mg of zinc picolinate a day.im like you I have had acne since i was about 13 .I may give it a try.not really sure how you knew the zinc picolinate would work but hey im glad it did for you.Where do you buy zinc picolinate pills anyway?what type of store sells this?

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Thanks for the reply and further details.

If I went to my doc and asked, I am pretty sure they would say - "overdosing on anything is not good, it won't work and don't try it".

Which actual brand/pill did you use?

At the moment, I'm trying the pee method LOL, but always good to have a Plan B!

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Yes, zinc is a common deficiencey and many people have been helped by it. The first thing that ever helped me after years of derms and prescriptions was zinc, b-complex and C. Made my skin a lot less oily and I rarely had any inflamed acne on my face.

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Sounds awesome ! I have read in the past of the healing power if zinc, I just never thought to try it for acne. Don't know why :think: , but I will try it now. Thanks for the post !

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Could you elaborate more on the absorbability of picolinate vs gluconate, oxide, sulfate, etc?

I have taken zinc picolinate, but at doses of only 50-100mg, for periods of month or two with no notable improvement.

I have taken megadoses of the others, including gluconate, to the tune of 2-300mg daily for a few weeks with no notable improvement.

I'm wondering if megadosing on picolinate would be beneficial or not, could it be absorbed that much better than the gluconate?

Also just out of curiosity, what brand of zinc picolinate do you take?

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I'm not sure it's the zinc.

A good point that anybody who's had acne for decades should be smart enough to make. Ask me in a year how sure I am. For the moment, I've done two tests. In both tests, eliminating or decreasing the zinc picolinate too much coincided exactly with a reappearance of acne. There's also the flip side. For example, I'm right now on a full-out >=180mg/day dose. Yesterday, I had 64oz of Coke, half a large pizza, and even worse things I won't mention. For me and my skin and my personal experience, that kind of feast is pretty likely to come with a fresh crop of acne the next day. This morning, not a new thing (bump, sore, redness, nothing) anywhere that I can see. So, the opposite experiment of going off zinc picolinate only to see acne immediately reappear, is that I haven't found any "bad" thing I can do to make the acne reappear while I'm on the zinc picolinate (and I've been trying a lot of "bad" things). I guess the one "bad" thing I haven't tested yet is ice cream sandwiches, which has always been a 100% guaranteed outbreak. Not sure it's a good thing to reacquire a taste for them after training myself to give them up, but maybe I'll give it a try in the interests of science :-).

So, I have to agree with you, I'm not sure it's the zinc, but I grow more sure every day being on a heavy dose produces zero new events, and every time going off the zinc exactly coincides with a return of acne. Having tried many things before, I wouldn't bother to post about this if these weren't qualitatively different results than I've ever gotten with anything else in 30 years.

not really sure how you knew the zinc picolinate would work

I'm never sure of anything. It was just another in a very long line of experiments. The difference was that this one worked. The paper that led me to try zinc picolinate this time (as I mentioned, I have tried other zinc compounds before) can be found by Googling for:

"Comparative absorption of zinc picolinate, zinc citrate and zinc gluconate in humans."

You'll probably have to go to a University or a really good library to get a free copy of the article, but you can read the abstract for free.

Which actual brand/pill did you use?

I'm sorry to say I don't know. Or rather, the brand is "PCC" which is a consumer co-op here in the Seattle area, but that just means they've rebranded someone else's product, and I don't know how to find out who the "real" manufacturer is. I've ordered my next crop from iHerb.com, and the brand will be "Now Foods". I'll see if that works just as well.

"Now Foods" is not my favorite maker of supplements, but a quick surf of iHerb seemed to indicate it's a little hard to find someone selling a) the picolinate form of zinc and b) no other active ingredients in the pill. That, in turn, makes me wonder if the set of acne sufferers who have tried vanilla zinc picolinate in a large dose isn't pretty small. I still doubt this is a cure for lots of other folks, but I'm always interested in seeing experiments.

Oh yeah, tried the old zinc tablets before, does NOT work

Yup, me too. As I mentioned, tried them before with no luck. Tried it in a different way this time, as I've described. Gives me a fresh respect for drug testing -- how do you know if you've just not tried the right form or dosage and missed seeing a spectacular cure?

I'm wondering if megadosing on picolinate would be beneficial or not,

could it be absorbed that much better than the gluconate?

Don't know. You can read the same paper I did and see if it influences your opinion. All I can do is report my personal experience. Of course, I think it's pretty unlikely that if this really is my "cure", that it would be a cure for everyone else in the world with acne (which I sort of view as the end symptom of multiple general physiological problems). OTOH, if this really is working spectacularly for me, then it also seems unlikely that there isn't someone else out there somewhere that this would work for -- that's my only motivation in posting.

I guess the other motivation in posting is the fact that I had tried "zinc" before with no success, so I hope this is a reminder to other experimenters of what I should have known well -- dose matters, exact chemical composition matters. As I was testing different substances in walnuts to see why they might have been giving me "maybe" mild improvement, I almost skipped testing the zinc because I felt like I had tried it before. The fact that zinc hadn't worked before helped push me into a) trying to make an educated guess about the best form of zinc to test and b) trying what ought to be a darn large dose to make sure I had gotten "enough".

I have taken zinc picolinate, but at doses of only 50-100mg,

for periods of month or two with no notable improvement.

Sounds like it just doesn't help you. OTOH, I don't yet know if I can get these results on 100mg/day as opposed to 180mg/day. My suspicion is that I'll discover that the lowest I can go and be completely clean will depend on how disciplined I'm being about diet. Right now, all I can say for sure is that it's looking like I personally need close to double what you were trying if I want 100% elimination of acne when I'm eating with no discipline at all :-).

It's also worth considering that zinc may just have a fundamentally different relationship to acne in men than in women. A healthy prostate loves zinc, a sick one often is zinc-deficient, and of course as the, ahem, "self-abuse" thread notes, men lose zinc during sex.

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Yay! Databased you're back!

But - what is the PILL you are using??

I think it's great that you are reporting what works for you - It's up to other people whether they want to try it, or not.

Oh...sorry just read your post properly re. the brand. I guess any Zinc Pincolate would do?

My diet/lifestyle has been hideous past two days...couldnt be arsed cooking last night and got a take away curry - tonight, totally pasted on drinking-home-alone vino and staggered to Asda (Walmart) to get fags (cigarettes!) and a pizza. Ah, sometimes it's just too much effort to be 'healthy'.

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I don't believe diet causes acne. I've done a few tests myself.

So keep testing this zinc and keep us posted.

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I've had the same experience with zinc. I'm 34 and have had hormonal acne since my twenties. I started taking Zicam this winter to fight colds, and noticed my skin totally cleared up each time I used it. So I did some web research on zinc and started taking 100mg of chelated Zinc/day. My skin is peaches and cream. I've tapered down to 50mg/day when I'm not menstrual or ovulating. And, yes, like you I've experimented with eating crap food and sleeping with my makeup on. Still no spots. I also had a 3-week long period after I'd been taking zinc for a month, so I think it is also flushing out that area as well. I read that it's supposed to help regulate your hormones. I'm about to stop using Dan's BP to see how that goes. Wish I would have found out about this 10 years ago, dammit!

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Fadonna....

What kind of zinc did you say you take ? Chelated? What exactly is that ?

Thanks !

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I've had the same experience with zinc. I'm 34 and have had hormonal acne since my twenties. I started taking Zicam this winter to fight colds, and noticed my skin totally cleared up each time I used it. So I did some web research on zinc and started taking 100mg of chelated Zinc/day. My skin is peaches and cream. I've tapered down to 50mg/day when I'm not menstrual or ovulating. And, yes, like you I've experimented with eating crap food and sleeping with my makeup on. Still no spots. I also had a 3-week long period after I'd been taking zinc for a month, so I think it is also flushing out that area as well. I read that it's supposed to help regulate your hormones. I'm about to stop using Dan's BP to see how that goes. Wish I would have found out about this 10 years ago, dammit!

I've taken 50mg of optizinc daily. It didn't do much if anything.

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where do you buy zinc picolinate????I cant seem to find it anyplace..

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I woould try health food store for it like gnc etc but i found this a little interesting..................

Antibiotics

Zinc may decrease the absorption of oral quinolones, a class of antibiotics that includes ciprofloxacin, norfloxacin, ofloxacin, and levofloxacin, as well as tetracycline antibiotics (including tetracycline, doxycycline, and minocycline).

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where do you buy zinc picolinate

Right now, I'm using a bottle from PCC, a Seattle-area cooperative. That means it's rebranded, and I don't know the real manufacturer.

I have now ordered a bottle from iHerb.com (no affiliation, just a satisfied past customer). If you go there and enter "zinc picolinate" into the little search box at the top of the home page, it will give you some selections. I chose the first one, "Now Foods zinc picolinate 50mg 120 capsules", since as far as I can tell that contains only zinc picolinate, no copper or other active ingredients.

It's a pretty simple chemical, so I'm hoping that most any manufacturer will work. When I switch to the Now Foods brand, I will definitely speak up if I find out it can't produce the same results for me.

Zinc may decrease the absorption of...

Also worth pointing out that, though zinc compounds are probably pretty safe if you're just conducting a short-term experiment, anybody taking any prescription medicine should look real hard to see if there's any possible negative interactions with zinc.

I've taken 50mg of optizinc daily. It didn't do much if anything.

I can't say I've proved it yet, but I strongly suspect that 50mg of zinc picolinate/day does not do it for me, whereas 3-4 times that appears to be a miracle cure. Maybe being 6'1", 190 pounds requires more zinc, or may be for some reason I am just more zinc-deficient than the average person. Or maybe I just have boatload of acne that needs curing :-). YMMV, for sure.

Fadonna: I've had the same experience with zinc.

That's interesting that you suspected zinc via a cold remedy, whereas I was led down this path by walnuts. Can you remember which ZiCam product you used? I'm assuming it was one of the ones you ingest, not the shove-up-your-nose kind(?). In any case, it's good to hear somebody out there had a similar experience. I'm really having trouble believing this myself, after all the failed experiments over the years. I'm going to give up on the make-it-reappear-by-stopping-zinc experiments for a while and just slam down the zinc every day for a month and see if I can forget what it was like to have acne :-). I sure pray this doesn't stop working for me.

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Chelated minerals are bound to a compound and depending on what that compound is may be not absorbed well. Zinc Picolinate is a compound. Zinc citrate, zinc acetate, or zinc picolinate may be the best absorbed, although zinc sulfate is less expensive. But Chelated zinc is easiest on the stomach, so that's why I take it.

The Zicam I was using was the spray in your mouth kind.

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That's nice that you found something that worked. But too much zinc is bad for you. From what I've read 50 mg/day is the max you should ever take. I'm not trying to rain on the parade... I'm just speaking as someone who has experienced negative side effects from zinc pills...you guys should be careful

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why what does to much zinc do?sure data is taking alot of zinc but it cleared up his skin I feel for the guy I have had acne almost as long as him.data I gotta ask did you ever see a dermatologist for you're acne problem at all?ever take meds from a derm at all?..i guess if you did they didnt work.ill have to look up how many mg a day is safe for zinc.but im still happy for you data that you found something that works for you and you did it yourself thats great.

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