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Hello everyone,

I'm seriously at my wits end regarding my skin situation. I'll be 25 this June (okay so perhaps technically I can't call it adult acne yet...) and have had problems with acne since I was 12. I'm about to see my naturopath for a 3 month follow up in a few days and I've basically seen no progress in my skin despite high hopes and oodles of money. I still have very uneven skin tone, lots of oil production, smaller inflammatory pimples and lots of blackheads on my nose and surrounding areas as well as a fair bit of scarring.

I'm currently taking (and have been for 3 months):

Garden of Life Vit D 1x daily

Garden of Life Vit E 2 x daily

Garden of LIfe B complex 2x daily

Now Foods C complex 2x daily

Betaine HCL before Meals

Digestive Enzymes with meals

Probiotics (I started with mega dose satchels and have worked down to 10 billion 2x daily)

Nordic Naturals Omega 369 2x daily

3TBSP ground flax seeds daily

Now Borage oil 2x daily

Melatonin 3mg before bed

Green Tea extract, 4 pills daily

A 'skin tonic' my naturopath made up for me with stuff like burdock root and a bunch of detox herbs

Washing with Nubian Heritage brand black soap morning and night (the only thing that I believe has actually helped my chest breakouts) and using hemp seed oil to moisturize and a glycolic acid serum from Dr. Ron's every other night. I think the soap is giving me what I can best describe as "face dandruff" as my eyebrows, hairline and mustache/beard areas flake like crazy soon after showering despite the hemp oil so I'm looking to switch that up.

I workout 4 x a week, sleep about 9 hours and night and am currently only part time employed as a landscaper with fairly minimal stress other than the self esteem and acne related stuff.

Frustratingly enough I've never been able to pin down ANY connection between diet and acne as convinced as I was that that was the missing link. I went dairy and gluten free a year ago and which basically became pretty strict paleo. I tried reducing my carb intake severely for about 3 weeks in there too. All to no appreciable effect. About 3+ weeks ago I got fed up with my strictness and gradually reintroduced whey protein, chocolate, yogurt, bread etc. and it hasn't made anything any worse so my diet efforts haven't seemed to pay off.

I been to 2 dermatologists that basically said they couldn't think of any thing else to do for me after about 6 years on useless antibiotics, various topicals and even Accutane. Like all of us I've done all that OTC acne cream/toner and proactive knockoff stuff. I've tried numerous 'detox' forumlas and herbs, mega dosing vitamin B5, saw palmetto, getting lots of sun, oil cleansing, honey cleansing, the Acne.org regime (acne got WAY worse for those months) and even a brief spell of the 'caveman routine' which was pretty awful.

I'm really not sure where to go from here. Thankfully I don't have gnarly cystic acne or much backne like I did in my teenage days any more but I don't have to tell you how frustrating it's been to have had this condition rule my life for over 12 years. Any advice would be greatly appreciated! Thanks so much :)

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This would be a fantastic regimen if your acne were caused by some sort of digestion, malabsorption, or gut flora problem.

If your problem is actually more hormonal and not digestive, the only thing that's really helping with that is the vitamin D.

Ask your naturopath about taking a hormonal angle and you may see results. Typically this involves anti-androgen herbs (saw palmetto, stinging nettle, pumpkin seed oil) and possibly progesterone balancing herbs such as vitex agnust-castus/chasteberry or maca root. You said you tried saw palmetto, but probably not in the right dosages or for the MONTHS it takes for hormonal treatment to kick in. Just saw palmetto isn't the most effective either...best results are seen when you combine herbs and use a multi-pronged hormonal approach. I'm guessing you're male since you didn't mention birth control or spironolactone on your list.

I was on a similar regimen that did nothing for my acne, even though I supposedly have a horrible GI tract due to years and years of antibiotics. I got a little bit of progress when I cut out dairy (dairy is loaded with hormones). Betaine HCL + enzymes did help a little as well. But hormonal treatment gave me 100% clearance. However, it took me 8 months to get clear skin, and the first 4-5 months my skin did absolutely nada (which was very discouraging).

Not to give you an eating disorder, but most meat is laced with antibiotics unless you buy the real expensive organic raw stuff you practically have to sign a waiver to buy. I haven't done enough research to determine if these antibiotics survive the cooking process, but something to think about...the paleo diet and probiotics won't help you much if you're just ingesting antibiotics constantly in your meat.

Edited by Green Gables

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The thing that really stood out in your post is your mention of "face dandruff."

My boyfriend had what he called "beard dandruff" and a flaky nose and hairline for a long time along with persistent acne. He thought it was dry skin, and one day out of desperation put some jock itch cream on the dandruff-y parts of his face (lol). It actually cleared it up surprisingly fast. Jock itch cream is an antifungal...so my boyfriend figured out that his problem was a fungus on his face rather than bacteria. Pyrithione zinc and selenium sulfide both combat fungus, so he got some dandruff shampoo with selenium sulfide and pyrithione zinc and has been washing his face and hair with it. He also got some stuff at the convenience store called "Dermarest" which has zinc and salicylic acid in it and that's really been helping him, as well. He's been acne and "face dandruff" free now for a couple months. It's pretty impressive as he's been dealing with this for a while. He's 24, by the way.

Anyway, I know that you said that it's your soap that's causing your dry face, but I think it's worth a shot just to grab some of that shampoo with those ingredients (it's super cheap at Walmart or Walgreens or a similar place), just to try it out.

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I have a couple of ideas for you. First off I think the post about trying a dandruff shampoo is worth trying. My 35 yr old son had acne and dandruff and uses an organic dandruff shampoo with tea tree oil (he said it doesn't matter what brand) to wash his hair and face. It cleared everything up. He might get a small thing or two from time to time but is basically clear. If he stops he breaks out again.

I tried using it but it didn't work for me because my acne is both hormonal and rosacea. Rosacea is something for you to consider since small pimples on the nose and cheeks with a general ruddy appearance are signs of this disorder. If that's the case it would explain why certain usual acne meds are too irritating for your skin. I can use a BP cleanser but not the topical...breaks me out.

I too have tried and tried to do an all natural treatment regime for acne but it has never really worked...and I have tried believe me. I finally gave up and went mainstream but it has taken almost 10 years to get a derm who would take the time to customize something that actually works. A cornerstone of my treatment is getting monthly microdermabrasions. I had clogged pores that would not clear up no matter what I did...and of course that led to acne. Microdermabrasions have been amazing for me...my pores are clear now --- just wish I had done that years ago. It is worth the money!

Another thing I have discovered after oodles of research is what works and doesn't work as far as diet. We are all different but certain changes will definately make a difference with inflammation...and this will help to clear things up. So I would recommend eating what people in cultures who don't get acne eat. They are NOT paleo diets by any means. They eat whole starches (rice, grains, tubers), vegetables and fruits with tiny amounts of wild protein (fish, small mammals, or insects). They do NOT eat any dairy or oils at all --- period. This was the biggest change for me...not eating oils. I do fudge a bit with a tiny amount of extra-virgin organic olive oil for cooking. FYI --- olive oil is still made the old-fashioned way which is pressing the olives. I'm pretty sure that all other oils are now made by using solvents and other industrial methods to make the oils non-toxic (canola --- goggle how it is made) and/or to get the most out of the seed or fruit. It doesn't matter if the oil is transfat-free...it has still be highly processed and therefore is a foreign thing for our body causing inflammation...and then acne if you're prone to that. So this means eating no junk foods, fried foods, margarines - even organic (that was my big mistake), etc. I can't emphasize the oil thing eneough. Avoiding oil has made a dramatic change in my skin. I was almost clear with the regime below but now I have day after day of clear skin. Also adding oils to the diet makes the body produce more sebum...which adds to blackheads, etc.

I hope this helps.

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