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borie88

My story and advice to you because of it.

I've had acne for about 9 years total. In middle and high school, and for my freshman year of college, I had only dealt with it by what I was told by my parents - go see the dermatologist. They are the experts in acne right? Surely they could clear my acne. The only problem with that is that they couldn't. Their antibiotics didn't help, their creams and washes didn't help, their poison Accutane helped for a couple months, but didn't keep it away forever and screwed up by body.

In a desperate search for answers outside of the western medicine world which was clearly not helping me out, I found this website. This was about 3 years ago, when my acne had just been starting to come back after my second course of Accutane and after I had begun to use Differin again. I have to say, finding this website has been both a blessing and a burden on my mind. The holistic and nutrition part of the boards is the one that I read more than 99% of the time that I come here. It has taught me that having acne is a signal that there is something not working correctly inside of my body, and that diet is one of the foremost causes of poor health.

You see, before I found this website, I had been eating pure junk. Mac and Cheese, pizza, spaghetti, anything full of carbs with little nutritional value was on my plate. I didn't think anything of it because I never knew that what I ate could affect my skin, at least that is what the experts told me. Not only that, I wasn't a bit overweight, so I had no reason to change what I ate. I also have a huge list of foods that I cannot eat, so with the exception of beef and vegetables (which I did not eat at that time,) I couldn't eat anything else anyways.

After my discovery of this place, my whole understanding of how my body worked and was affected by what I put in to it changed, and I was opened up to trying new things in order to make my body healthy. At first, I started to eat whole grains only and cut out any simple carbs. The concept of insulin resistance had been floating around, and I am sure that is why most people have acne. Just switching to whole grains wasn't enough: my acne was still there and it made me even more frustrated.

To go further, I decided to cut out carbs entirely. I concluded that I either had candida (which i don't believe in so much,) or still insulin caused acne, so I went on a full paleo diet. I straight up switched from my full carb and dairy laden foods diet before, to beef and vegetables only, with the occasional sweet potato. I wanted the quickest solution and I was going to attack this as hard as possible. Within a month of doing my paleo diet, my acne had cleared up pretty well. Most of my inflammation was gone, and I no longer had to use anything on my face. In fact, putting those creams on my face was causing the last remnants of inflammation that I had.

Although most of my inflamed acne was gone, the clogged pores still remained. I also didn't feel any better and energetic like I should have from my healthy ways. I was still not happy with my results as my acne was not completely gone, which was the goal, so I began to research a little more about what could be the cause. At that moment, a snag arose - my appendix ruptured and over Christmas break, I was in the hospital.

This episode led to a complete loss of all of my progress as I was put on antibiotics and started eating unhealthily again. Antibiotics make all foods taste like shit, unless they are cake and ice cream, and sugar laden foods. By the end of my Christmas break, my acne had returned with a vengeance.

I went back on the paleo diet again, and have been on that from then until now. My frustration with the results could not be greater. Most of my inflamed acne is gone. I don't need to use creams and washes. I should be healthy now. But I am not, and I still have acne.

Throughout the time I had been on the diet again, I resumed my research and fiddled with various diagnoses and solutions. I tried many different things - supplements, probiotics, etc, to no avail. I have even used my college's PubMed databases to research studies done on acne and found kefir and some interesting reads on the gut-skin-brain connection. Researching took a great deal of time and I probably should have been working on more important things, but I didn't know it wouldn't help me much.

I have finally come to the conclusion that I have a thyroid problem, or something along the lines of thyroid or adrenals. Through all of my stubbornness, I made a doctors appointment to get it checked out (which I should have done months ago.) I have most of the symptoms of hypothyroid, including acne, and even my mom has it.

I really, really, really am HOPING that I have it. I know, it's bad to hope that you have an illness, but I think this will serve as an almost end-all if I can actually be treated successfully for it. If not that, it would at least give me an answer to what is causing my acne and health problems and not make me feel like there is something that I am missing.

If you are any bit like me, or even if you are not, I URGE you to take a step back and think about what is really going on in your life. Having acne is not your fault, but you should also be informed on what the causes of it are and that you can treat it simply by being healthier. I would advise you to at least do a little research and modification of living habits, since that is what you are here for, but I would also say be cautious and do not let the research and search of a solution consume you. If it does, and if you are in the least bit like me, you will not be happy until a final answer comes, and it may never come, meaning you have wasted all that time for nothing. Now if the answer does come somewhere down the road, you can thank yourself for having found it and the time spent was worth it, but you would also regret spending SO much time finding it.

While I admit that I have learned a lot of information and how to live healthily because of this site, and for that I am so very thankful, I also have no intentions of becoming a doctor and should not have had to do so much research just to try to diagnose and solve my own problems.

Take it slow, have fun, and laugh a little. If you distract yourself and keep busy for the most part, you will not come rushing back to this place every time you break out as I once did, to do some more research on why what you are doing is not working. The stress itself could even be what is keeping your health from being better.

Those are my thoughts and I wish you all the best in overcoming what has plagued many of us for years. I will try to listen to my own advice and try to think of it less and just have fun before I have to work for the rest of my life. tongue.png

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Wow, I am so sorry that you've been struggling like this for so long. Your advice is truly amazing, though, and I hope that you can take your own advice. :)

I agree about checking for underlying health problems and trying to figure out what's going on in your life. I know that my acne began to worsen significantly around the time I was diagnosed with panic disorder. It makes sense - I was under constant, never-ending stress, often leading to insomnia, severe panic attacks at least once a day but often more than once - it's a miracle it didn't cause something more severe than skin problems, with my entire nervous system working at an alarming rate every single day. I am now seeking help for panic disorder and I am hopeful that that will help my skin as well. Thyroid and adrenal problems are very similar in their affect on our hormones and stress levels. I actually had my thyroid tested a while ago and found out that I've only just made it in to the normal range - I am very close to being hyperthyroid, which is the opposite of hypothyroid, but it could potentially explain my anxiety, which could in turn explain why my skin is freaking out.

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@ milkmilk - Paleo diet is basically just meat, fish, nuts, fruit and vegetables. Nothing processed. Most calories come from meat for most people. marksdailyapple.com is a good place to start if you are interested. This type of diet clears most people's acne if you eat mostly low carb low GI and GL.

@mm97 - hyperthyroid would definitely cause symptoms like that. The thing that sucks with yours is that it is just in the normal range, so most doctors won't do a thing. Did you get your free T4 and free T3 levels tested? If those are high, your doctor should help you. I don't know what the treatments for hyperthyroid are other than destroying your thyroid or taking part of it out (ew) plus you could also have Hashimoto's which is your body attacking your own thyroid and would make you hypothyroid down the road. I'd get that stuff checked out if your doctor didn't test T4 and T3

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In the before and after pics on that web sight, they all had nice skin to begin with..i wish i never had acne.

But that diet seems really good. I was a raw vegan but didnt eat any protein (meat) soo I would be better on this diet since I got rid of my desire to eat cheese and bread permanently. But on that diet do you cook vegetables or eat them raw?

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this is a great post, but i think a combination of your super healthy diet and a little bit of topicals would work great for your skin, since you only have clogged pores. maybe like that neutrogena pink grapefruit foaming cleanser and some good oil free moisturizer (just a suggestion) good luck :)

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@milk you can do either. I forget who said it, but someone recommended that at least 30% of your meals are raw. Eating that way helps digestion.

@lloveme - Thanks for the advice. I actually tried washing my face again for a week once and it just made me really irritated. Plus, I'm stubborn. I don't want to have a reliance on that stuff again. I used to have to spend 45 minutes in the morning and night getting my face washed and dried and putting various creams on it. I just don't have that much time to spend on it.

Found out that my TSH is 3.18 which is considered normal by many doctors. What they don't know is that the ranges were advised to be changed in 2003 to 2.5. The only doctor I know of in this area that knows this is the one that doesn't take insurance of course! Hopefully, I won't have to pay over $100 for an appt and can talk really quick since she charges by minute.

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Found out that my TSH is 3.18 which is considered normal by many doctors. What they don't know is that the ranges were advised to be changed in 2003 to 2.5. The only doctor I know of in this area that knows this is the one that doesn't take insurance of course! Hopefully, I won't have to pay over $100 for an appt and can talk really quick since she charges by minute.

Ah. Do you know what's considered normal for the lower end? I've heard that it's 0.5. My TSH is 0.58 and my doctor says she's not worried about it. But the 2003 recommendation wanted to change the lower limit to 0.3, so maybe mine isn't a problem. I just wonder because I literally have all of the symptoms. But the symptoms are almost the same for anxiety/panic disorder, so maybe it's just my brain and not my thyroid haha...

Edited by mm97

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I don't know what the lower end is. If you have all of the symptoms, the TSH test alone is deff not enough. I'd get the Free T4 and Free T3. If you have too much of that, you have hyperthyroid. You could also have a cortisol problem... Like too much or too little.

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OK. 2 things :

1. Diet has absolutely nothing to do with acne at all.

2. I tried eating and drinking "healthy" and cut out "junk food" for ONE whole month. How did it turn out? Well, um, I still got the same ol crap (PIMPLES) I regularly would get when I was eating what I reguarly would eat. It has nothing to do with it. Eat what you want because it has no affect on acne.

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Go look into all of the success stories in the nutrition part of the forum before you make such a generalized statement.What exactly was your "healthy" diet? Just because some people claim a diet is healthy doesn't mean it is. Is wheat bread healthy? No, but doctors all over claim it is. I'd be glad to help you start a real healthy diet. Sure, not everyone's acne is caused by diet, but most people's is, and there's a lot of evidence to back it up. I just wish more people knew.

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yeah... i have had periods in my life where I cut out dairy and gluten, and had really clear skin. I also had an eating disorder.....so time to eat everything again. Recently, though, I have cut out dairy, mostly from bad stomache aches (acidy, painful things that would last half the day). My body feels much better now. My skin? still a mess. but getting better. I am putting hope in wearing no makeup (make skin feel gross anyways), in using oatmeal, lemon, sugar scrub masks, and ZZ cream. The natural route is helping balance sebum production in my skin (it feels so soft and clean) and the cream is killing demodex. I definitely, truly believe that demodex mites are a cause of acne, and western medicine needs to pay attention to this. They can cause mange in dogs, which looks oddly similar to bad acne in humans. Plus, when I use the cream, I get a pimple (from the mites dying), it comes to a head by the second day and is usually dried up by the third. Or recently, I had a painful, below the skin type guy that shrank in redness and pain by about fifty percent. This is my process right now, I really like it, and I hope it works.

But yeah I just wanted to mention the demodex mite angle, borie88, so that you can keep tabs on yet another theory/treatment for acne.

cheers!

~kat

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Good point kat, I've actually read a lot of mixed reviews on the ZZ cream, so its good to hear about it from someone that is using it. I really think demodex can be a cause of acne. Actually, the overpopulation of demodex mites, more specifically, has been theorized to cause acne. I wonder what causes an overpopulation of them? I could think that maybe too much carbs in the diet could cause it because in some people that have insulin resistance, it has been shown(lost the link) that people's facial skin will actually start to have increased levels of carbohydrates. I don't know if that is true, but if it is, and sugar molecules are on your skin, then I think that that is what could cause them to grow to abnormal levels. Also, I have read that hypothyroid causes sugar molecules to end up in the face and that the condition limits oxygen and detoxification of the skin!

Just raising some curiosity. I know ZZ is expensive, so maybe that is something to think about if you have to keep using it to keep out the acne!

Good luck !

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