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artichokeheart

Going Natural

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Recent History

January 1, 2009 – I decide to discontinue my birth control pill (Microgestin Fe) after four years of use as a contraceptive, not as an acne deterrent.

March 15, 2009 – I begin to break out as I have never broken out before. The size, number, and location of pimples are not familiar although I have had mild acne for ten years (since age 14).

Early April 2009 – I become determined to not resume birth control although I suspect doing so would take my acne back down from moderate to mild. I can’t stay on birth control my entire life! Also, I have discovered that picking at my face has been making my acne worse for as long as I’ve had acne and especially now that I have lot more acne than before. Can I stop picking at myself right now, when my face seems the least attractive and, frankly, pop-able?

Late April 2009 – My acne continues to look horrendous. Why am I putting so many chemicals into and onto my body if they don’t clear my skin? For years now, I’ve been using Benzoyl Peroxide, Clindamycin, Differin, and Doxycycline. And I still look like shit. What the point? I might as well stop my acne-battling routine altogether. I began using a regular routine when I was 17 or so and I stumbled upon this website. I followed Dan’s routine and found that it wasn’t enough to clear my face so I started adding product after product to my routine. Obviously, this hasn’t served me well…

May 14, 2009 – I have abstained from BP, Clindamycin, Differin, and Doxycycline for one week now. My face doesn’t look any worse and it doesn’t look any better. I want to establish a simpler, more natural, and more animal-friendly routine to use while I wait for my hormones to, hopefully, return to the way they were before I started using birth control pills. I want my mild acne back! My log begins here.

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I'm feeling especially angry about the effects of going off birth control today. I've just done some internet based research on the relationship between acne and birth control discontinuation... It seems that severely breaking out about three months after discontinuation is fairly common. Why am I only hearing about this problem now that I have it? Most of the complaints about the resulting acne end with, "So I decided to go back on birth control and now my skin is back to normal." My vanity and impatience are pushing me to start taking the pill again, but I know I don't really want to. Also, I would feel so uncomfortable knowing that as soon as I chose to discontinue again - and that would have to happen eventually - that I would break out like I am now. I wish I could talk to something who decided to wait the problem out. How long will I have to wait?

I've been experimenting with all sorts of natural acne remedies recently, but I have yet to find a routine that I really like. At least I'm happier knowing that everything I'm using now is not tested on animals. Small consolation prize...

I have found a moisturizer that I love, though: Alba Hawaiian Green Oil Free Moisturizer. My face has been looking better since I've been using it - not because it's cleared up any acne, but because it's gotten rid of all the flaking I caused by giving my acne ridden face a hard time.

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I feel close to deciding upon a routine that I'd like to test out for an extended period of time. Once I decide upon a routine, I really need to stop picking at and scrubbing my face. I don't like being afraid of being seen without make-up because I've severely punished my face for having acne...

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So this is my routine... It's in no way simple - I'll even be using an eye dropper! Look at how many products I've incorporated. I'm such a good little consumer. At least I'll be using too many natural products instead of too many chemicals...

I'll let you know how things go. Advice is welcome, but let me try this routine out for at least a couple of weeks before you urge me to revise it, okay?

Daily Supplements

NOW Green Tea Extract (1 Vcap)

Schiff Vegetarian Multiple with Beta Carotene - Contains No Iodine (1 caplet)

DEVA Vegan Flaxseed Oil (2 Vcaps)

NOW Indole-3-Carbinol (1 Vcap)

VegLife Vegan Cal-Mag-Zinc (2 Vcaps)

Skin Care Products

NutriBiotic Non-Soap Cleanser for Sensitive Skin

Alba Botanica Hawaiian Aloe & Green Tea Oil-Free Moisturizer

Dessert Essence Tea Tree Oil

Dessert Essence Jojoba Oil

Dan's AHA+ Moisturizer

Dickinson's Witch Hazel

Alba Botanica Facial Sunscreen SPF 20

Afterglow Cosmetics Mineral Make-Up

Tools

Q-Tips

Cotton Cosmetic Rounds

Eye Dropper

Morning Routine

  • Quickly and gently cleanse face while in shower. Do not expose face to very hot water. Do not let water run over face for an extended period of time. Do not scrub face. Blot face dry after shower.
  • Wipe witch hazel all over face using cosmetic round.
  • Use q-tip to apply tea tree oil to individual pimples.
  • Wait ten minutes.
  • Put four drops of tea tree oil and four drops of jojoba oil into the palm of one hand. Mix with a dollop of moisturizer using a finger. Gently and evenly apply to face and neck.
  • Wait ten minutes.
  • Apply sunscreen (optional).
  • Wait ten minutes.
  • Apply make-up (optional).

Night

  • Quickly and gently cleanse face over sink. Do not expose face to very hot water. Do not let water run over face for an extended period of time. Do not scrub face. Blot face dry.
  • Wipe witch hazel all over face using cosmetic round.
  • Use q-tip to apply tea tree oil to individual pimples.
  • Wait ten minutes.
  • EVERY OTHER NIGHT: Put four drops of tea tree oil and four drops of jojoba oil into the palm of one hand. Mix with a dollop of moisturizer using a finger. Gently and evenly apply to face and neck.
  • ON ALL OTHER NIGHTS: Use AHA+ moisturizer (without tea tree and jojoba oil) instead.

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I think my forehead is starting to look a little better. This has nothing to do with the regimen that I've just begun to try out, I'm sure. I'm mentioning this because I've never had much acne on my forehead before and there's been tons of acne there post-birth control. I will let you know if my forehead situation continues to improve or if this is just a lark.

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My acne looks the same - including the acne on my forehead. I'm going to start diluting the tea tree oil to cut down on irritation. The skin around my acne looks great, though. Much younger and softer than when I was using Doxycycline/Clindamycin/Differin/BP...

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I hope you keep your log up to date. It should be interesting to see how you do off of prescription medications. I tried to go off prescription medications a few times but at the first signs of new pimples I would go right back to them. Good luck.

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I hope you keep your log up to date. It should be interesting to see how you do off of prescription medications. I tried to go off prescription medications a few times but at the first signs of new pimples I would go right back to them. Good luck.

Your encouragement is very much appreciated. I am definitely done with oral contraceptives so don't fear that I'll run back to them. I'm pretty sure that I'm done with Doxycycline, Clindamycin, and Differin, too. I may try BP again if this "natural" regimen proves disasterous. Speaking of my hippie-dippie routine, I've decided to alter it a bit as my acne looks irritated. You'll notice that I've diluted my tea tree oil, lessened the frequency of my AHA+ moisturizer use, and I've cut the witch hazel altogether. The witch hazel didn't seem to do anything that my cleanser and the tea tree oil weren't already doing, plus it smelled terrible.

Daily Supplements

NOW Green Tea Extract (1 Vcap)

Schiff Vegetarian Multiple with Beta Carotene - Contains No Iodine (1 caplet)

DEVA Vegan Flaxseed Oil (2 Vcaps)

NOW Indole-3-Carbinol (1 Vcap)

VegLife Vegan Cal-Mag-Zinc (2 Vcaps)

Skin Care Products

NutriBiotic Non-Soap Cleanser for Sensitive Skin

Alba Botanica Hawaiian Aloe & Green Tea Oil-Free Moisturizer

Dessert Essence Tea Tree Oil (100%, diluted to 50%)

Dessert Essence Jojoba Oil

Dan's AHA+ Moisturizer

Alba Botanica Facial Sunscreen SPF 20

Afterglow Cosmetics Mineral Make-Up

Tools

Q-Tips

Eye Dropper

Morning Routine

* Quickly and gently cleanse face while in shower. Do not expose

face to very hot water. Do not let water run over face for an extended

period of time. Do not scrub face. Blot face dry after shower.

* Use q-tip to apply diluted tea tree oil to any pimple that has

recently opened.

* Wait ten minutes.

* Put three drops of diluted tea tree oil and four drops of jojoba

oil into the palm of one hand. Mix with a dollop of moisturizer using

a finger. Gently and evenly apply to face and neck.

* Wait ten minutes.

* Apply sunscreen (optional).

* Wait ten minutes.

* Apply make-up (optional).

Night

* Quickly and gently cleanse face over sink. Do not expose face to

very hot water. Do not let water run over face for an extended period

of time. Do not scrub face. Blot face dry.

* Use q-tip to apply diluted tea tree oil to any pimple that has

recently opened.

* Wait ten minutes.

* MOST NIGHTS: Put three drops of diluted tea tree oil and

four drops of jojoba oil into the palm of one hand. Mix with a dollop

of moisturizer using a finger. Gently and evenly apply to face and

neck.

* EVERY THIRD NIGHT: Use AHA+ moisturizer (without tea tree and

jojoba oil drops) instead.

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I wasn't hopefully hallucinating; the acne on my forehead is going away. It certainly isn't gone, but it's going away. My body is getting used to going without birth control, I guess, and my hormones are returning to normal. I'm so happy. I will let you know when it's all gone and if it stays gone.

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My forehead is almost clear now, which is great, but I'm dissatisfied with the overall state of my acne. Tea tree oil and AHA+ lotion don't seem to be enough for my acne - my normal, not related to birth control acne. I'm going to try BP again. Stay tuned.

Oh, and I seem to have developed folliculitis on my chest and back. I've never had a problem with it before so I worry that it's been caused by my two years of doxycycline use. Damnit.

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My forehead is completely clear this week, which means that my facial acne has pretty much returned to its pre-birth control intensity and areas. So my birth control story has come to an end. Three months after giving the pill up, I began to break out intensely and four months after that it was all over. Kind of. My skin is blotchy, but it's healing.

And so now I'm lamenting over the rash of itchy spots that have cropped up all over my chest and back. Folliculitis, I think. Does anybody know how I should go about treating it? I have an appointment with a dermatologist, but it's weeks away...

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