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Background: Nineteen. Male. Tried many OTC topicals and a few prescriptions over the past three years. Minor improvement and major irritation from both. Cut out dairy about a month ago. Added inositol hexanicotinate, vitamin D, fish oil, and zinc the day after. Massive improvement. No spots for three consecutive days. Gradually came back, though no cysts. About a week later, ate a can of tuna. Three massive facial cysts developed over the next three days (upper cheek), much like it had been before I cut dairy out.

Began to believe that iodine was playing a part esp. in cystic acne. Recalled that I had reacted with hives to an iodine-based IV contrast. Hives were located on the upper cheek, exactly where cystic acne is persistent and worst. After the procedure, was given two Benadryl (then drove home) to relieve the symptoms. Symptoms disappeared within four hours. Noted that face (esp. in cheek area) was clearer of "normal" acne inflammation for a few days.

Continued to avoid most iodine in large quantities (dairy, fish, seafood, egg yolks) and looked into the "Zinc-less Zinc Regimen" by databased to clear the three cysts that had cropped up. Regimen seemed to make sense. Stopped taking inositol hexanicotinate, started taking a B-Complex. Continued to take vitamin D, fish oil, and zinc. Added selenium. Sat outside for the majority of three days and slept nine hours each night. Continued to avoid excess iodine. No new spots. Old spots healed incredibly fast, including the cysts.

Still uncertain about whether or not the "Zinc-less Zinc Regimen" will trump the negative effects of iodine/dairy or allow consuming more iodine than usual. Had two large slices of pizza while with friends for a weekend (getting a lot of sun and good sleep). Saw no negative effect. On 12/10/10, had half a cup of milk after avoiding sunlight for two days. Two new spots.

Topically, still using jojoba and BP at night. Does not seem effective but afraid to stop regardless. Rinsing in the morning. Rarely moisturizing.

12/12/10

Four to five active spots. All inflamed, all minor. Plenty of red marks and minor scarring. Haven't spent more than a few minutes in daylight for the last few days, not to mention it's been extremely overcast and rainy. Planning on getting a few hours of daylight in my eyes each day this week.

On a side note, had a stomachache/intestinal discomfort today, which I haven't had while following the "Zinc-less Zinc Regimen" more faithfully. Wondering if databased is right about carb malabsorption.

Will also be looking for "trump cards" to play in case I want to be able to either consume iodine or avoid daylight without the usual consequences. May try the following:

Aspirin

Benadryl

MSM

Niacin

B5

Wild Yam Extract

Saw Palmetto

Evening Primrose Oil

Turmeric

Lycopene

It's taken a lot of trial and error to figure out the little that I do know about my condition. I imagine it will take a lot more to have it beat. Hopefully some of you can help me along.

Edited by wheezle

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12/13/10

Spent an hour in the [overcast] daylight, avoided caffeine after noon, and largely avoided sugar. No new spots today. Old ones still being red and annoying. No gastrointestinal grief.

Probably going to buy something to try tomorrow. Though I doubt it will be effective, the Benadryl idea intrigues me. Probably because it's such an "easy" solution if it works. We'll see....

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12/14/10

Bought the Benadryl. Will try it at some point. Cutting out the fish oil capsules and monitoring any changes. Hoping the iodine in the fish oil was the cause of some of my more recent spots (one that keeps getting bigger and redder on the upper cheek).

Got another hour of fairly intense daylight in my eyes and avoided caffeine completely. Still looking for other supplements that may help. Also slept pretty well last night.

Lastly, cutting out BP.

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12/15/10

Sat out for an hour, but a little too late in the day. Probably didn't get much bright light. Tried the Benadryl--no dice. No "new" spots, but old ones are predictably worsening. No caffeine, hardly any sugar, minimal iodine.

And on that note, was researching iodine in food. Haven't managed to corroborate this yet, but one site claimed that the RDA for iodine is 150mcg for adults and that a teaspoon of iodized salt contains 400mcg. Also, some commercial bakeries use iodate dough conditioners. Even things like sulfured/blackstrap molasses and kidney beans may be off-limits if this iodine issue turns out to be my problem. And the killer: soy. Guess I'll be avoiding soy for a while, at least.

See the source of my dismay for yourself.

At this rate, I'll be sleeping in a [temperate] cave and foraging for [iodine-free] nuts and berries by spring. Dirty, foul-smelling, and gaunt, but perhaps acne-free.

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12/16/10

The usual. Not quite enough daylight exposure to do the "Zinc-less Zinc Regimen" justice, but no caffeine, hardly any sugar, and minimal iodine. Not even eating fruit or anything with iodized salt. Possibly one new spot, hard to tell. Otherwise, not too shabby.

Adding two to the list of possible "trump cards:"

Chromium

Cinnamon

And I'll mention that I'm curious about ACV (taken orally), neem oil (used topically), and colostrum. May try the ACV just for jollies. Will avoid the neem oil for now as I'm still trying to leave topicals out as a factor. And colostrum just kind of seems like a bad idea.

Also considering upping the dosage of zinc from 50mg to 100mg of zinc picolinate (possibly more for a short time). Been eating cashew butter regularly, so I think that the copper in cashews should prevent serious copper deficiency from the zinc intake. Don't want to take that much zinc consistently anyway.

In retrospect, it was foolish to cut out the fish oil and BP at the same time. It will be harder to account for success/failure. Blegh, too many factors.

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12/17/10

Only a half-hour in bright daylight. Had a few grapes. No caffeine. Some beer. Old spots still surfacing. Small cyst on the cheek slowly going down. Will probably be red for three weeks. One new spot on the jawline this morning, which hasn't happened in a while.

Approaching desperation. Nothing new, really. Decided to take the extra zinc (100mg total). Want to consume every pill, lozenge, and powder in the drugstore in hopes that something will work.

Will be coloring outside the lines a bit this weekend, so it'll be interesting to see what happens. I'll take the supplements along with me, but the sleep schedule will definitely not be adhered to.

Riveting, I know. Hopefully I'll have some semblance of progress to report soon.

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12/18/10

Decent amount of sleep. Had a small amount of caffeinated coffee. No new visible spots, but small jawline cyst still there. Had supplemented extra vitamin D the night before with the extra zinc. Woke up extremely pale. Continued to supplement extra vitamin D (6000iu/day) and zinc (100mg/day).

Significant alcohol intake.

12/19/10

Not very much sleep. Not in a very "healthy" state. Had more coffee than usual. Also had two sugary beverages. Didn't eat much. Napped. Continued to take 6000iu of vitamin D as well as 100mg zinc.

New spot early in the day. Forehead, which is odd. Receded quickly. By the end of the day, probably three new spots on cheeks. Just red blotches at the moment.

Sleep schedule is going to be rather off.

Likely going to buy some pantothenic acid soon for a test-run.

Edited by wheezle

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Vitamin B5 could work. I also recommend trying an intestinal cleanse such as OXY-Powder. You're around the same age as me, you probably have an average diet. The 7 day cleanse with Oxy helped.

Saw Palmetto probably won't do much to help you. From my experiences, Zinc and B5 are the most beneficial nutrients for acne.

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Vitamin B5 could work. I also recommend trying an intestinal cleanse such as OXY-Powder. You're around the same age as me, you probably have an average diet. The 7 day cleanse with Oxy helped.

Saw Palmetto probably won't do much to help you. From my experiences, Zinc and B5 are the most beneficial nutrients for acne.

Heya, thanks for dropping a line. I agree that there is an obvious connection between instances of acne and problems with digestion, at least for many. I'll look into the OXY-Powder.

As for Saw Palmetto, I've heard precious little "good" coming from it, so it's probably not worth the money. And B5/pantothenic acid looks like the most promising thing on the horizon for me. I did already purchase some, but I won't be trying it until I'm pretty sure that upping my dosage of vitamin D and zinc didn't help enough.

12/20/10

Another late morning and late night. Had a cookie for the first time in over a month as well as sour cream. In addition, dined out. Probably will dine out every day from now until Christmas. And then for three soild weeks after that. It's like I'm asking for trouble.

However, today was pretty good. Old spots surfacing but not very inflamed at all. Continued the higher doses of vitamin D and zinc. No [significant] new spots. Will take pantothenic acid and possibly vitamin A at some point in the future.

So, in short, my face looks terrible. But not as inflamed as usual. Here's to hoping it holds this course.

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12/21/10

New small, inflamed spots developed throughout the day. Nothing terrible, but not very happy about it. Got a good deal of sun and only had a cup of tea's worth of caffeine. Took all the supplements as usual and avoided iodine pretty faithfully.

Going to add pantothenic acid and beta carotene. While it goes against my semi-rational method to add them both, and so soon, I am desperate to do all I can for improvement in the next few weeks. If I don't get any improvement, at least I tried all I had in my arsenal. After that period, I will go back to attempting to more accurately gauge my reaction to supplements and other treatment.

So please excuse my impatience.

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12/22/10

Best day in... weeks. Got up early, had breakfast at a greasy spoon (skipped the coffee, though), consumed buttery toast, and got a good amount of daylight in the eyes. Inflammation was at a minimum all day. This is not to say that my face was not spotted with bright red and the usual bumps, but it was a welcome relief not to have a growing spot.

The new contenders are 25,000iu of beta carotene and 3g of pantothenic acid over the course of the day. All other supplements have remained the same. My supplementation of pantothenic acid will likely vary from one day to the next, but for those viewing at home, this is the current list of supplements:

Morning:

50mg zinc picolinate

5000iu D3

25,000iu beta carotene

1g pantothenic acid

Evening:

One B-Complex

1g pantothenic acid

Before Bed:

200mg selenium

50mg zinc picolinate

1g pantothenic acid

Hope to have something to show for it.

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200mg selenium

And by that I meant 200mcg selenium. Just, uh, seeing if you're paying attention. *cough*

Anyway....

12/23/10

Overslept and didn't get enough daylight in the eyes. Supplemented as usual. Drank 24oz of soda. Definitely some new spots, but nothing too bad. One will probably take a while to disappear, but at least it's not in the cheek area. Skin is annoyingly bumpy. Wondering if pores are still being blocked but aren't becoming as inflamed. Won't complain too much if that's the case.

I guess it'd be too much to ask to look "presentable" for the holiday, but hey, things have improved in the last few months. More later.

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12/24/10

Quite a lousy day. Not surprised, though. Not too good of sleep, hardly any daylight, way too much caffeine, and a small amount of dairy (which is more than enough to cause mayhem, it seems). The result: Many, many new small, inflamed spots. No "cysts" however, which is a deviation from what I'd be seeing a few months ago.

I guess it's good that I can "predict" my reaction to a day of such debauchery (yes, there was butter in the spoonful of mashed potatoes that I had, don't judge me). It's a step in the right direction.

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12/25/10

Nothing new, just recovering from yesterday, which will take a while. Will continue the current supplement regimen, give or take some pantothenic acid.

Anyway, best wishes to all for the holidays. I'll be back with more to report in a few weeks.

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All told, the last few weeks have been pretty good. Stopped supplementing for a five-day period after the 26th of December (and got about four hours of sleep the whole time) and the results were consistent with my beliefs. It got pretty bad. Began supplementing as usual--with 5g total of pantothenic acid total--and saw very good results within two days.

So the supplements are probably doing something.

My experiences with dairy over the last few weeks have also been predictable. Within a day or less I see inflammation from a dairy "binge." What surprised me was that after a meal of sea bass, however, I saw no noticeable response. Multiple factors are at work, no doubt, but I'd expected the iodine-content to be overwhelming and the result to be undesirable. This puts the iodine theory in question. Once I gather up the courage to do so, I'll down some tuna or kelp and see if I break out. Maybe dairy's my only obvious trigger.

1/17/11

Good day overall. Eating well again and avoiding all dairy. Under the impression, now, that caffeine has no negative effects. Had more than usual today. We'll see. No "horrendous" spots. Still some inflamed, but nothing too unbearable. Plenty of redness and such, and still rather bumpy, but there's hope.

At this point, it is my impression that I have been benefiting from both zinc and pantothenic acid the most. Will probably keep the doses as they are for the time being, but currently considering boron (I keep up with databased and his "Zinc-less Zinc Regimen" thread). Will munch on raisins with the usual almonds and cashews. Perhaps that's not the best way to go about acquiring boron, and I may be doing the theory a disservice by putting stock in the method, but it's an easy solution for now.

Rather hopeful about the combination of zinc, pantothenic acid, and boron. It's nice to see noticeable results without using topicals. Will continue mixing, matching, pill-popping, and observing.

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Perhaps I need to clarify: These last few days have been my best in years. It's nothing short of incredible comparing my skin right now to what it used to be--despite the redness, bumps, and scars that are still present.

1/18/11

A few semi-active spots, nothing cystic. Stable, overall. Upped the pantothenic acid to 7.5g/day. Will continue the new dosage. Everything else is the same.

1/19/11

One new(?) inflamed spot. Still consuming raisins and pill-popping religiously. Several spots still inflamed, but nothing cystic and nothing too awful. Haven't even... looked at dairy in the last two days. Will have to keep it that way.

Hoping the positive trend continues.

Edited by wheezle

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1/20/11

Two new spots and a little more inflamed redness overall than usual. Not sure what to attribute it to. May try the "full" dose of pantothenic acid (10g/day) if I keep getting these setbacks, but will try to continue to carefully observe food intake and sleep (which have both been pretty good) as well. May try to find a reliable source of boron as well.

We'll see.

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1/21/11

&

1/22/11

Just going to lump these together. Worst stomach flu I've had in many, many years. Couldn't even keep water down, much less food or vitamins. Dehydrated, but nothing I could do about it. No sleep. Two new spots.

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1/23/11

Still sick. Swallowing vitamins. Probably not really digesting them, though. Another new spot. Old ones aren't going away. Nothing exceptional. Sick, tired, want to curl up and sleep for a year.

Not much else to say. Except that just for the record, I don't believe that "stress" has any noticeable effect on my acne. I've missed most of my classes already, I am attending a funeral tomorrow (and my professors don't want to accommodate me), I'm sick as a dog, I have no money, and there are several other personal problems I'd rather not add to the list. The combined stress hasn't seemed to cause anything out of the ordinary.

Tomorrow's another day, hm?

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Hey Man,

I've been following along with your post. I can see you really put a lot of thought/effort into this, definitely admirable that you are really giving this a go and not giving up. I'm definitely not an expert, but I think you are overthinking the acne thing. I recommend you go to www.happynutritionals.com...figure out if your acne is due to oily or dry skin (or both like mine was). Its pretty simple. I eat whatever I want, and I don't worry about things like sunlight. Good luck and message me if you have any questions.

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Hey Man,

I've been following along with your post. I can see you really put a lot of thought/effort into this, definitely admirable that you are really giving this a go and not giving up. I'm definitely not an expert, but I think you are overthinking the acne thing. I recommend you go to www.happynutritionals.com...figure out if your acne is due to oily or dry skin (or both like mine was). Its pretty simple. I eat whatever I want, and I don't worry about things like sunlight. Good luck and message me if you have any questions.

On the contrary, I think their/your business model at "happynutritionals" oversimplifies the problem quite a bit. And not in a very logical manner. Especially for the "dry skin" supplement. And vitamins C and B6 combined in pill form should be cheaper than that. But hey, it may work for some.

But I'll use that as a segway for anyone who's curious. My skin is neither dry nor oily. It's quite pleasant in that department, actually. Almost always the perfect amount of oil.

And... something that I never really planned on addressing but warrants a mention, body acne. I have had pretty bad body acne along with my facial acne for the duration of my condition, but it wasn't really my primary concern. I have noted, however, that zinc supplementation seems to have helped it a lot, and that pantothenic acid supplementation seems to have almost ended it altogether. Interesting, and worth recording (it's another clear indication that supplementation is doing something). I wish, however, that this reflected on my face as well. But on with the show....

1/24/11

Meh. Cyst on cheek not going away any time soon. A few smaller spots. Ate butter, on top of it all. Every single dish at the restaurant was doused in butter. Even the soup. Already a very red jawline spot by the end of the day. All supplementation as usual.

1/25/11

Cyst on cheek has not changed. It's in for the long haul. Bad new inflammation on temple and a couple new spots on cheeks. Some small inflammation on forehead, which was doing fairly well. I look... "bad" again. I thank yesterday's buttery meal.

Beginning to wonder about all sorts of other foods that could be causing trouble. Wheat, fructose, gluten, soy, water, etc. I didn't want to become one of those picky eater types, but if I don't try, I'll probably never know. I'm already seen as a bit of a freak for avoiding dairy. Why not go the whole nine yards? We'll see.

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That would be "their" not "my" business model. I've been a contributor on this site before and a longtime sufferer. I am a real estate agent by trade, not a vitamin seller. I too used to keep a log similar to this. I even kept notes on how much saliva I was producing, trying to find some missing link! So I understand the struggle. I would wash my face all the time, apply all of these lotions, not eat chocolate (my favorite!), pizza (second favorite), pasta (third favorite), and so on and so on. And yet I still had what my dermatologist classified as cystic acne. I had great success with b5 megadosing, but I was really afraid of what that was doing to my body. I read about NAC and B5, and decided to give it a try. Thats how I stumbled across that website, since that is the only company I could find that combines both of those ingredients in one pill. It worked very well, completely cleared my forehead acne and most the acne on my cheeks. The only thing left was on my chin and upper lip. I would get big red ones that would never go away, and they would leave red spots for literally months. So I tried the vitamin C/B6 combo that they sell because it claims it gets rid of the big red one painful ones. It worked. It costs 20 something dollars for a 2 month supply, it gets delivered to my house, and i would happily pay more than that for clear skin. Today I ate chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast with tons of syrup, pizza for lunch, and a bacon cheeseburger for dinner. Not exactly a model of health, and my belly may suffer, but not my skin. I do not wish to brag, since I have struggled with horrible skin for well over 10 years (and I'm only 24). I have no idea if the product i suggested or something similar would work for you, but it worked for me. Like I said in my first post I admire your dedication, and I swear I was just trying to help. It could just be a very minor problem inside of you that is causing a major problem for you on the outside. That is at least what it was for me! I truly wish you the best of luck and if I can help in any way at all I'm happy to.

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1/26/10

Ate a lot of bread. Refined flours galore. Had beer, too. No dairy, though. Perhaps I can gauge if wheat/gluten may be a problem by tomorrow. Perhaps not. Either way, I may have botched the experiment by taking 3mg boron midday with my usual midday supplementation.

Ideally, however, the boron will show some promise and I'll have a new contender for supplements. And I won't even have to think about cutting more things out of my diet. Right. Likely.

But anyway, everything else was as usual. Got good sleep, very little sun, and supplemented as always. And I still look like a mess. Blotchy, inflamed, bumpy. Bad.

Hoping the boron mixes things up a bit.

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1/27/11

No negative effect from yesterday's bread/beer binge. Happy about that. Haven't touched dairy. Will keep it that way as long as it is possible. All current spots are healing, though not as fast as I'd like. Not a single new inflamed spot, just surfacing stuff. It seems one little bit of dairy will result in over a week of purging from the initial inflammation.

However... my theory (as I have mentioned once before) may have to change regarding the evils of dairy as a subset of iodine. I had salmon two days ago and saw no negative effect. This on top of my earlier benign run-in with bass makes me curious. I will, eventually, gobble a few cans of tuna to test it out. Yeah, I know, I said that before. I'm just scared. It'd be nice to get such a lean, accessible meat back in my diet, though.

Still testing the boron (3mg). Taking it right before dinner. Continuing all other supplementation as usual. Hoping to hold this course.

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