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Hey all,

It's been a little awhile since I've posted here, but I thought I'd come back to report on how well my skin is looking with the natural supplements I've been taking. I'm not any expert, but grasping a pretty simple concept about skin really turned the light bulb on for me. I hope some of this info helps others to find a routine that works better for them. It's nothing really new, but I haven't seen too much on Boswellia around here, especially recently. I also feel that the combination of topical products + supplements I am using is what is giving me such good results.

A brief history of my struggle with acne:

- I have had acne for 13 years now. When not under control, I have moderate inflammatory acne with the occasional cyst, minor comedal acne (black heads + cottage cheese texture on chin), and very oily skin.

- A few years ago, I found the org, and I did DKR (aka Acne.org regimen), which was great, & my skin improved a lot, but not 100% (still had 2-5 inflamed zits at a time, comedal acne, major red marks).

- A year later, I went on retin-a & clindamycin, but still used BP in the morning. My skin improved more (far less red marks, 0-3 inflamed pimples max, improved comedal acne) but was way too dry.

- Not quite another year later, I ditched BP altogether, and went on tetracycline and kept using retin-a. I also used clindamycin to spot treat. It worked okay as long as I remembered to take the pills, but found it a pain (couldn't take with dairy, gave me stomach aches, caused yeast infections), and still got a few inflamed pimples here & there.

- A year after that, I added in Dan's AHA lotion, and finally saw real improvement in my comedal acne.

Then, a few months ago, I lost my job, lost my health insurance, ran out of tetracycline, broke out with large & painful pimples, and panicked.

I came across an article on inflammation and skin in Elle Magazine that was very informative in a laymen's terms sort of way. In the article I read, doctors used inflammation and anti-inflammation to improve skin. It discussed how anti-aging laser resurfacing uses inflammation to wound the skin to prompt "worker cells" to repair it. Then, to decrease the negative effects of inflammation, the doctor follows it with anti-inflammatory calming techniques like LED yellow lights. Retin-a basically uses inflammation to cause small damages to the skin so the skin repairs itself also. It's like it is keeping these little janitors on call to keep your pores clean all the time :D, preventing them from clogging so bacteria can feed and then lead to an inflamed pimple. So strangely enough, inflammation prevents inflammation. In joint use with an anti-inflammatory to prevent your skin from freaking out, you have a pretty decent acne fighting system, which is why my derm claims his tetracycline + retin-a combo has a huge success rate with his patients.

I remembered my derm telling me that he prescribed tetracycline mainly for the anti-inflammatory benefits, not so much as an anti-biotic. He also told me it is sometimes prescribed to arthritis sufferers for that reason.

So then it dawned on me to seek out some natural anti-inflammatories as an alternative to tetracycline. I did some brief online "research" into natural anti-inflammatories and decided on Boswellia, Omega 3, and Niancinamide (Vitamin B-3). I especially noted that Boswellia is a popular anti-inflammatory for arthritis.

So I am now taking:

Nature's Way Boswellia Standardized Extract Tablets

Coromega Omega 3 Squeeze packets

Niancinamide Solary Dietary Supplement, 500 mg tablets

I take them as directed, which means 3 boswellia tablets a day (spread throughout the day), 1 omega packet, and 1 niacinamide tablet.

I haven't gotten a new pimple on my face in weeks! I also am not getting stray body zits like I used to. Plus, my skin is not as oily. I also experience less shaving irritation in my hair follicles. When I first starting taking it, I had 3 huge, throbbing pimples, and the next day the inflammation had reduced dramatically on them. If I sound like an infomercial, it's because I pleasantly shocked at how well this stuff is working. :dance:

It actually seems to be a much BETTER alternative to tetracycline for me. I found that tetracycline is not a popular treatment here, so that's another reason I'd thought I'd stop by and mention my current "alternative".

Please note, that I have tried Omega 3 fish oil in the past alone with no results, and I have tried B vitamins, with no results. I tried them because of reviews on this board, and while I believe that they are beneficial for overall health, they just weren't doing anything for my skin. I was also taking more than directed, as people had suggested needing a certain amount of mg to see results. I personally do not like to take any pills against the directions, so I'd never recommend that now.

Also, while BP and other products I used in the past did have some anti-inflammatory benefits, they seemed to be more about killing bacteria. I used to think this was an important component (and always kept my clindamycin on hand because of it), but now I think anti-inflammation + clear pores is key in preventing acne for me, as opposed to just "managing it". Inflammation seems to be a big factor with the acne I get. If my pores are clear, then bacteria has little to feed on, and if any sneaks in, then I have to prevent my skin from "over-reacting" to it and causing inflammation. Before, it seemed that if the retin-a /BP/AHAs failed to keep my pores clear & kill bacteria, then I had to suffer with an inflamed pimple that took it's sweet time to heal.

I don't know if it's the Boswellia, or the combination of three, but this method is working pretty well so far. Also note, that I am still using them in conjunction with my topical skin routine. However, my topical skin routine was not cutting it alone, because when I ran out of tetracycline, my skin started to break out, particularly with large, deep, inflamed, painful pimples. I definitely need an anti-inflammatory to successfully control my acne.

Here is my current topical regimen:

Morning:

Cetaphil normal to oily skin or Acne.org facewash

Acne.org AHA lotion

Acne.org moisturizer

Night:

Cetaphil normal to oily skin or Acne.org facewash

.1% Tretinoin cream (retin-a)

Acne.org moisturizer (if skin is dry)

I hope this info helps some of you, and if anyone wants to take a stab at explaining the inflammation + anti-inflammation concept better, then go for it. ;)

I will stop by soon again to update my skin, on the off-chance it's all in my head :P.

Edited by Siouxsie

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Update, if anyone is interested....

The natural stuff was working, but not 100%. The results were similar to tretinoin actually, but without the side effects (ie. upset tummy and yeast infection issues). If I missed even one day of taking either, I'd break out. I'd get much fewer inflamed pimples, but the ones I got were big ones - often cysts. So I'd have a mostly clear face with like 1-2 large pimples and 1 big evil cyst.

I went to the derm and got tazorac to replace my retin-a, and will also be taking bactrim. I'm not going to stop my natural supplements, because they DID help and are a great tretinoin alternative IMO, it's just not enough for my skin. I'd really, really recommend them for milder, inflamed acne though, or in addition to a current routine :)

Edited by Siouxsie

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I didn't get them online, but they should be relatively easy to find anywhere that sells vitamins and natural supplements. I just picked them up at my local healthfood store. I've seen all of them at GNC and the Vitamin Shoppe also. Try googling them.

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