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Ben Lee

What Is Helping Me....

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Hey everyone,

I just signed up for acne.org so that I can post on this forum. I was really hesitant to do so because I used my facebook account.... bleh.

But I figured this was worth it...

I'm a male.

I'm 25 years old.

Been on accutane twice - always came back.

Skin type - oily all over.

Been losing my hair shortly after developing acne (this was before accutane).

All my blood tests said I was normal (PERFECT... not low range or high range. just right), and no one gave me a legit reason as to why I was losing my hair...

I have tried the no wash method - seborrhea got way worse... Tried retin a, antibiotics, ..... EVERY PRESCRIPTION I SWEAR because I did not want to go on accutane. Even after going on accutane... I still go acne... And still had oily skin. My acne did not improve either - it was the same before and after which BLEW ME.

What has been working for me:

1) I wash my face with water twice a day. Warm, and then cold. Then I dab a little bit of olive oil on my face, and then RINSE THIS OLIVE OIL OFF IN COLD WATER. I do not leave the olive oil on because it's just too greasy. smile.png

2) I have a water filter in my house - works great.

3) I only drink from water bottles now. However, I do know that plastic can be harmful so I'm going to try to invest in a filter, and a BPA free bottle or whatever it's called.

Most important part - my diet....

1) I gave up dairy. It never really affected my acne (at least that I know of).... But both of my parents are lactose intolerant. Also, most people can not digest dairy. Hormones added or not - it's just not natural (in my opinion). Most asians can not tolerate it as well... (I'm chinese).

2) I gave up nightshades. For some weird reason... I DO NOT DO WELL with nightshade vegetables. I miss the jalapenos, tomatoes, white potatoes, peppers, paprika, cayenne pepper, bannana peppers... UGH. But they caused me some serious inflammation.

3) GLUTEN. Even though I am chinese, I live in USA. Loved italian and mexican restaurants. Also, most asian foods have gluten in them (soy sauce for example. Even though they sell gluten free soy sauce, I stay away from them all). I know there are gluten free options for a lot,.... but they are still junk. I cut everything off...

4) Don't eat junk food and I don't eat sugar things.

I also do not do soy... I mean,... I will eat it, but it's not something I intentionally add to my diet (such as soy milk, and tofu).... If it's in something, or used to make something, I don't really care.

I drink a lot of water.


No acne, no oily skin, and my hair loss stopped - it's been 7 years of dealing with this and I'm finally back to normal. smile.png

My acne was on my back, my face, my scalp, and my chest. Seborrhea is gone. Oily skin is gone. Hair growing back.

The things i do eat:

Hot cereal made of brown rice and quinoa (comes in a box... easy to make), fruits, walnuts and peanuts (i don't do well with almonds... don't know why), avocados, ......beans,.... rice (yes, I even eat white rice even though i know it's not that great for you.... it's hypo-allergenic and filling. lol plus i'm asian,... come on.... But I also do eat basmati and brown rice. oh and wild rice. I like quinoa tortillas, I eat lettuce wraps, salads with a protein like chicken, carrots.... celery.............. fish such as tilapia and swai. Salmon is okay... Steak and sweet potatoes.... Fried rice (rice + peas and carrots from frozen isle mixed with some egg), omlettes with spinach/kale and mushroom.... kale chips,... asparagus wrapped in bacon, banana pancakes (1 banana + 1 egg = banana pancake. lol add cinnamon if you want...) quinoa... sweet potatoes...celery with peanut butter... These types of things. I found most of these food ideas on PINTEREST.

I think it is important to find out what you guys personally are reacting to... For example, some people might not be able to tolerate eggs.... or peanuts (but I can). Another thing is, I don't eat tropical fruits. I don't know why,.. but it gives me PROBLEMS. Things like coconut, mango, kiwi,...papaya. I also stay away from dried fruit - too much sugar. The types of fruits I eat are things like bananas (even though it's high GI, it doesn't give me any problems), apples, BERRIES- strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries...)

Anyways,... hopefully this helps someone.

Thank you to all that have contributed to this forum, because it helped me realize that stupid BP or sulfur and zinc oxide and all these other topicals.... and $200 facials didn't do ANYTHING for me.


But diet did.

Oh and I would like to add...

I used to work at the vitamin shoppe, and all these other holistic places... so i was a supplement JUNKIE. nothing ever worked. tried teas, derms, ulta pricey products, accupuncture, homeopathy.... never helped me.

I don't know why avoiding gluten works for me because I have never been diagnosed with celiac disease or anything... I don't have a thyroid problem... nothing. I just can not tolerate gluten.


I also want to add...

The supplements I am currently taking are a multi-vitamin with iron, vitamin D3, and black seed oil. love black seed oil....

And.... I noticed CHANGE in about a week. But my results didn't happen til 3-4 months later. I could see change and improvements, but it didn't totally go away til a few months later. Things like gluten can stay and affect your system for a long freakin time...

Oh and I never did anything for the scars. They just went away with time. And I don't use the word "cure" because.... I can not eat whatever I want. If I slip up, my hair sheds and my acne and oily skin comes back. It's pretty sad... So ... no more sweet frog (this amazing frozen yogurt place),... and olive garden.... so sad. smile.png

But I just try to stay busy doing other things. Food is not fun for me anymore... I used to love going out to eat with the guys.. I don't use food and restaurants as a way to get together. I use food as medicine and to keep me full. =/ So in other words, I don't do cheat days. I'd rather have my hair and clear skin than to be bald and have acne and oily skin.

I was also never ate crappy food... It's just that I was eating food that are considered healthy by people, but it didn't do my body good. I never drank soda - hate it. Never ate fast food becuse my mom always cooked for me... I always went to restaurants like chipotle, subway, olive garden, noodles and company, california tortilla.... I used to eat things like "whole grain bread" or "whole wheat bread".... always gave me problems.

I think my diet or way of life is similar to the paleo diet. I however DO eat grains (rice and quinoa but nothing else), and I also do eat beans. I eat beans such as black beans...

I also happened to open up the blood type diet at the bookstore, and it was shocking to me that most of the foods I avoided ..... matched my blood type diet. Crazy right? I'm blood type A. It said I could not do fruits like coconut and stuff. it was right on the money!!! It offered me to eat ezikiel (?) bread, and stuff but I still don't do good with it. Perhaps the yeast? .... iono. And it told me which beans to eat and to avoid. It was crazy... because I can not tolerate garbanzo beans or kidney/red beans, navy beans.... which this book said would be bad for me. so I don't eat them.. but doesn't mean I avoid all beans. I do good with the beans the book says works for my blood type. It also said spinach and almonds are neutral for me. Almonds kinda break me out... I can tolerate almond milk but not straight up almonds. Spinach has a lot of histamine in it so I don't eat too much of it. I like it in my salad.... That black seed oil i mentioned earlier is GREAT for allergies and lowering histamine -which is why i got it but.... i'm sure it's great for other things too). It also said type A can do peanuts (beneficial),.. check it out


I also buy my fruits and veggies at a regular grocery store... because I'm cheap. I also still eat meat from regular grocery store. Nothing organic... I go to the organic market if I need something like organic chicken broth or..... all natural deoderant/toothpaste/shampoo........... But going to the organic store to get me some apples?... nah. I'll be okay. lol

Edited by Ben Lee
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Awesome, glad you found a cure for your acne! More proof that there is no need to resort to extreme hormonal drugs. Do you think the entire reason for your acne was diet, or did you have a hormonal imbalance too (e.g. for the hair loss)?

I was also wondering if you took any allergy tests, or if you just followed the book's recommendations for your blood type. I can't afford blood work at the moment, that's why I'm trying to figure out if the book's theory would work for me.

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I have had many tests done on me, and especially endocrine disorders such as thyroids, testosterone/estrogen/progesterone ratio, all kinds of crap. Everything came back normal. I always requested to see my tests, and I really was VERY normal. Also, my hair loss wasn't typical male pattern baldness. It was more like a ... diffuse loss? And I would have patches. Some doctors told me I had alopecia areata. Others told me "I don't know". It was very frustruating. My acne was on my forehead, temples, nose, cheeks, chin, jawline, neck (face), back, chest.... I thought I had some hormonal problems, because everyone kept telling me I did. Everyone's response was, "you'll grow out of it.. this is normal... your body is just out of wack...". It was not normal, I wasn't going to grow out of it,... and yes, my body was definately out of wack!!! For some reason, diet just cleared it up for me. It took me a while, because... if I just eliminate nightshades, I still have symptoms. If I just eliminate gluten, I still have symptoms. But when I eliminate both,..... everything stops.

YES, I have taken allergy tests.

However, I have never taken intolerance tests, because I didn't know if any were reliable or..... if it was even worth my time.

When I went to go get an allergy test, they did the skin prick thing. The only things they found me allergic to were grass/trees. I was like... wtf.... They gave me some antihistamine, but that didn't do a thing for me.

When I did the intolerances....I was looking at....

1) what the majority of people are sensitive to

2) what most people with skin issues were sensitive to (acne, eczema, psoriaisis)

3) what I craved the most

4) what I ate the most

5) if anything I ate was considered to be inflammatory

I eliminated dairy and gluten first, and had some improvements, but it wasn't until I eliminated nightshades where I knew I figured it out. I basically started off with veggie/fruit/ meat diet. From there, I added some of the healthy grains/carbs. Then I started adding random crap like....... eggs that I knew most people had problems with. But the thing is,.... I've never really eaten eggs, or peanut butter. So when I tried these things, I wasn't really surprised I didn't have a reaction... because most people usually don't do well with these. So I would definately look at what you usually eat. Take a step back. It might be considered healthy, but if you eat it alot, or if it's on one of the top list of allergens such as soy, corn, dairy, nuts, etc.... then I would try to eliminate it. :)

As for the blood type theory/book/diet......

I totally understand you about the blood work cash. Doctors are expensive, and time consuming. If I were you, I would pull out a birth certificate to find out your blood type, or... you can donate blood to find out your blood type,... or you can ask your parents what their blood type is, and make a guess. Both of my parents are blood type A, and I found out by donating blood. =)

And I would not buy the book, because it goes and talks about the other blood types.. And the recipes are ... .whatever. lol I would just go to the bookstore, open it up, and read it inside there, close it, and put it back on the shelf. Right some of it down.... I think some online sites have it, but the book is more accurate. :)

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Thanks for the advice. I noticed that too much sugar, gluten, and dairy causes more flare ups for me - those are the foods I crave the most, so I do my best to avoid them but my skin hasn't improved significantly. I notice that usually when I avoid specific foods, my skin improves briefly (for about 2-3 weeks or up to 2 months), then slowly deteriorates again when it adjusts to the changes. I should also mention that I have been vegetarian for 15 years, and 4 years ago I reintroduced some fish into my diet, not sure if not eating meat makes matters worse for me. I do take vegetarian multivitamins, though, although I know it's not the same....but, eating meat is not an option for me.

You said you reintroduced foods back into your diet like eggs..... How many days after reintroducing them should there be a reaction/ breakout? Because I tried eliminating then reintroducing eggs, and then got a breakout days later, but it could have been due to something else. Do you think if something is reintroduced, it triggers acne right away? I haven't noticed any foods radically affecting my acne a few hours or days after, with the exception of too much sugar and dairy (but again, only when it's too much, not minor quantities).

Edited by WishClean
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What is your typical diet like? Can you give me a list of what you usually eat for breakfast/lunch/dinner/snacks/dessert?

I saw your post about hormonal problems, and I saw your pictures.

In my opinion, I do think diet affects other things such as hormonal problems (such as PCOS that you speak of). Sometimes supplements can do more harm to you also. If you purchase from GNC, I would stop. I think MOM's organic, vitamin shoppe, and country nutrition are examples of more reputable places. But remember that these places are also pushing products that are known to cause problems... Like the protein drinks with dangerously high levels of metals, and.... just because it is in a health food store does not mean it is healthy or good for you. Just because someone does not have acne, does not mean they are healthy. Some of the problems my family memebrs have - diabetes (!!!!), hypothyroid, PCOS, high cholesterol, and cancer. And they ate the same foods I ate.....

With my problems, if I eat something my body does not like, I see the reaction the next day. So.. if I eat something at dinner that my body doesn't like, I will wake up the next morning, and lose globs of hair, and see 3-4 pus filled pimples or the ones under the skin starting to form. BUT,... I have heard sometimes you won't see a reaction til a few days later (up to a week later). I have read that you should eliminate something for up to 2 weeks. I never did it that long, because i saw reactions fast. And when I knew I was on to something, changes would happen, but the full improvement wasn't there til a few months later.

Also, it is very very very very very very very VERY important that your diet is controlled. Try to eat most of the same things.... and if you are having break outs, you want to re-evaluate.

Let me ask you,... do you get new acne everyday? If not, how often do you get them?

Also, what make-up do you use on your face?

What do you use to remove it?

Do you exercise? How often?

What is your ethnicity?

Does anyone in your family have any allergies/intolerances?

What is your skin type?

How often do you change towels/pillowcases and sheets?

what are all of the supplements you take?

what toothpaste are you using? do you have any metal fillings?

Do you using isopropyl alcohol to disinfect your combs, keyboard, and phone?

Edited by Ben Lee
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I believe that too...I think the liver and bloodstream also affect hormonal balance. Whenever I go to acupuncture, they tell me that I am blood deficient and try to treat my digestive track. Not sure if it's working, they are not very experienced in dealing with PCOS and acne specifically, but it's the only place I can afford to go to at the moment. They definitely help me with stress and relaxation at least.

I never purchase from GNC...I have used solgar supplements for years and usually with success, so that's the brand I usually trust (although their capsule ingredients are worse compared to all-natural brands like Paradise, which I sometimes get too).

To answer your questions:

- Yes, I get new acne every day during the 2nd part of my cycle (ovulation until menstruation), then it starts to calm down for 2 weeks, then flares up again. Inflammed red marks are always there though....when I started being gluten free over a year ago, the red marks had temporarily subsided which made me suspect that I was intolerant to gluten. But I think if I have any food allergies, they are probably more obscure than that because I'm still gluten free and my skin is crap.

- I mostly use mineral makeup now. Lily lolo and meow cosmetics - the only suspect ingredient (they only use like 3-4 ingredients, including zinc oxide) would me mica, but I never reacted to mica before so I don't think that's to blame. I use yes to tomatoes or yes to cucumbers or korres pomegranate wipes or ponds evening soothe wipes...depending on what I have at home. Yes to tomatoes has salicylic acid, and I think that further irritates my acne so I'm gonna give it a rest. I can't leave my house without makeup on, so wearing makeup is not an option for me. Plus, I feel better when my acne is covered, and if it's making me less stressed why not.

- Exercise: 4-6 times a week. Have always been very health conscious.

- My ethnicity is Caucasian (Mediterranean).. PCOS is very common in counties of the mediterranean, and so is facial hair (actually, compared to most of my friends and sister, my facial hair is very mild). Skin type: combination (oily with dry patches), fair to pale (used to have a natural warm tone to my skin but now I just look sick but I did get tested for anemia a while ago and I don't have it). My family members don't have any known allergies.

- I change my pillowcase every 2-3 days (every time I wash my hair), sheets every week. Use hypoallergenic detergent but noticed no difference with all the brands I tried.

-toothpaste is sensodyne, without SLS but does have fluoride (have been using for years on and off). I use a SLS-free mouthwash from CVS now too to clean more thoroughly (again, has never caused problems before). I get redness whenever I use a product with SLS, so I always avoid it in cleansers, soaps, and shampoos too. I have no metal fillings, but have sensitive gums. that's why I started using the mouthwash again.

- I wash my face twice a day with spring water and a drop of cleanser.

- The supplements I am taking are listed in my signature below, and also here:

typical day diet:

- Breakfast/ Lunch:

omelet with fresh veggies (kale, spinach, broccoli, lettuce, tomatoes), garlic, and black pepper spices. Sometimes I'll have gluten free rice cereal instead.

roiboos tea with flax milk & coconut milk

millet & flax bread (gluten free)

- Dinner:

veggie burger (no bread, no soy, no tofu, just made out of veggies & sunflower oil)

Snacks (in between meals, and after dinner):

- almonds sometimes

- brown rice cakes (just plain rice) with stevia and cinnamon

- 2 ginger candies & 3 peppermint candies (low sugar)

- 1 avocado

Let me know what you think!

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1. It is good that you noticed a correlation between your PCOS and acne, because diet can definately play a role in PCOS. Is your PCOS more estrogen or more testosterone? Since you said you don't really don't have much hair,.... I'm not sure if something like spearmint tea would be good for you? I also know that sometimes with PCOS, they will put you on spiro. But this is a drug and I hate drugs. lol Another angle I know that they treat PCOS with is a drug called Met....... Metform ......Metformin? I don't remember name. But something to help with glucose/insulin/diabetes. So maybe your diet should be more low GI to help with your PCOS?

2. Your make up sounds okay. Some people can not tolerate mineral make up, no matter how natural it is. But I think it's a personal thing whether your skin does better with mineral or liquid. Have you looked into more natural make up such as 100% pure, or... EARTH'S BEAUTY mineral make up? As for the 2 products you mentioned.... yes to tomatoes and korres are both tooted as natural, but their ingredients are not so natural. And korres is more expensive. lol Have you tried washing with just water? Or maybe using skin products from MOMs/Trader Joe's/Whole Foods?...... or just washing with salt water? I do agree salicylic acid is very irritating. My acne got a bit worse with it, but then again most of the products I used with salicylic acid didn't have nice ingredients in them. I don't think your make up is much of an issue..... as long as you are properly taking it off. Have you tried using the oil cleansing method to take it off? Also try not to wear it if you are not going anywhere special.... let your skin breathe. Just remember everyone has their own problems, and most people don't care about other peoples' problems. Like... when I had acne and hair loss, I didn't pay attention to other people's problems because I was too busy worrying about my own. If you have to, try just doing your eyes and lips (mascara, eyeliner, lipstick) and skip the foundation.

3. I can't believe you actually exercise... lol

I don't exercise.... Keep exercising. smile.png

4. The fluoride in your toothpaste is kinda worrying. I hate fluoride, and think it does nothing but damage the body. When I go to the dentist, I tell them no fluoride. Try to find a toothpaste without fluoride (and other harmful ingredients), and maybe swish your mouth with some pink himalayan salt...... I use Vicco toothpaste. I have to order it on amazon though.

Your diet is..............very clean, but it is also in my opinion limited.

I don't think it is enough calories, which is alarming. Especially with PCOS, because I think this can cause your insulin to spike, right? Like if you eat spaced out too long, and keep your body not full with nutriets. Check me on that. lol

I think it's great that you add a lot of green veggies like kale and broccoli. Do you make your own bread? Even though I avoid gluten specifically, I also don't eat bread because of all the crap they put into it, and yeast bothers me too. Sounds gross... But I know you can make bread without using yeast such as this one:

I think you are very scared of eating things,... that you are avoiding a lot of things.

My advice for your diet:

1) Take a look at the blood type diet. See if you can pinpoint something.

2) You might have problems with spinach (histamine), tomatoes (nightshade. A LOT OF PEOPLE HAVE PROBLEMS WITH TOMATOES AND TOMATO PRODUCTS. I would elminate this one first), and I know you want your candy... lol But candy is no good. Sometimes they put other unattractive things like corn syrup and colorings. Try to not eat it til everything is under control. Another culprit could be the eggs if you eat it often... you could just be intolerant to them, or..... maybe you need to purchase organic free range no hormones fed healthy diet type eggs.... It IS something a lot of people have problems with, and one of the major allergens. If you eliminate eggs, you still have to get protein somehow... I would not eliminate all these things at once, but it's just to give you an idea of some of the things people can have problems with.... when they are considered perfectly healthy.

So.. I think your breakfast is okay, but try to not add tomatoes. Also maybe try a fruit/green smoothie sometimes.

For your dinner, what type of veggies are you eating? Again, I never suspected red/green peppers to give me problems but they did... so sad.

But yes... your diet is very restricted, and when your diet is very restricted, this can also cause problems. I also noticed you are not eating meat. This can be good for some people. I'm not sure if this is good for you - that is something you will have to find out. According to blood type diet for example, type A should be mostly vegetarian because of low stomach acid, but type O needs meat to feel good and be healthy. Even though I'm type A, I eat the neutral meats (for blood type A) like chicken and turkey. But I still eat beef,... and ham. Not really artificial meat like hot dogs... I do like spam though. smile.png

So since your diet is very restricted, you need to add more. When you give up major things like gluten and dairy, your body needs MORE. Example.... 1 bowl of cereal is not equal to 1 bowl of fruit. It does not work this way. And try to incorporate some fruits. Do low GI fruits first such as apples, and berries. Carrots and celery are usually safe. I would stay away from bananas for a while just in case....

I felt weak for about 3 weeks. I didn't exercise, my legs were weak, I was hungry ALL THE TIME, my head had hurt... when I switched to my new diet. THIS IS NORMAL. But make sure you are eating enough.

It's also scaring me that you are exercising as much as you are, but not eating enough. Don't be afraid to add some healthy carbs such as sweet potatoes, and quinoa. But if you do decide to go the low GI route... sweet potatoes might be out.

This is just my view. I am not a doctor, but I did try to criticize parts of your lifestyle to maybe give you a different perspective... So I think the foods you are eating are healthy, but you need more food. more variety, and the tomatoes (and its nightshade family) can be causing your problems... And maybe read up on diabetes and diet or things to help with insulin to perhaps help you with your PCOS symptoms.

Edited by Ben Lee
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The hairloss is something I've suffered from too and I know for a FACT it was from Accutane. Has to do with the sebaceous glands being so dried up during the course to the point where it affects the follicles of your hair on your head and possibly on other places of the body as well. It has diffused my hair a bit and I notice the difference like crazy but others around me who see me all the time don't seem to think it's that extreme. My money is that your hair did it's little hairloss jamboree because of the Accutane courses. Things should only get better with time for your hair, but if that doesn't really work, try using a thickening shampoo. I use one when I feel like my hair is looking on the thinner side and it works wonders! :)

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Hey Remy,

I lost my hair BEFORE accutane.

I'm sorry accutane made you lose your hair. I have read about these experiences from others. Accutane didn't leave me with any side effects that I know of. It just didn't help me.

lol What kind of shampoo do you use? My hair has grown back. I wanted to try mane and tail (???) shampoo? But I don't know. I heard it stinks.

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Thanks for the feedback. Sometimes I'm scared to reincorporate certain foods back into my diet ... but I do love food! I suffered from eating disorders for many years, and now that I'm fine my acne makes me scared of eating a diverse range of foods. The "candy" I eat every day is from an organic food store, and has very low sugar, so I guess it could be worse. If I don't have something sweet every day, I feel dizzy and cranky.

I read about tomatoes increasing histamines....but I like them a lot, not sure if I should completely avoid them. I have had some histamine reactions, maybe from drinking cider a while ago, not sure what it was but I was prescribed anti-histamine pills (which of course gave me other side effects like dizziness and blurred vision so I stopped taking them).

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Congratulations. If you have an issue with almonds, you might also need to be careful about stone fruit which are from the same genus prunus- plums, cherries, peaches, etc.

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