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OneProudMumma

A Desperate Plea For Help My Son Has Severe Acne

Accutane is not an option for him.. it effected his thinking & emotional state which was the biggest concern & for him to totally dismiss the one option that was showing results tells me that he was not feeling stable on it.

I am now on the side of thinking that topical's are just masking the problem… we are going to continue with them but in conjunction with a diet change.

I have learnt so much in this past week… Thank you.

He has been off milk [not all dairy though.. still eating yogurt] for the past 3 days and his skin is already showing improvement. Inflammation has subsided alot and he seems to be drying out and not as bumpy..

I am not convinced that is the result of the milk change at this "early" stage .. probably more the fact that his skin is starting to settle in to the Stieva A and antibiotic routine that he began early January.

He also has not had a protein shake this past few days but is reluctant to give that up at this point [i know, i know.. i will persist] I will speak with his strength & conditioning coach .. i think if this information was coming from him that my son would be more inclined to act on it. I will also look into other protein supplements as suggested.

I know the worst thing to do is to keep jumping from treatment to treatment so even though i am expecting delivery of the Regimen in the next few days, we [he] will continue with the diet change and the Stieva A and antibiotic while it seems to be improving & while waiting to see the Dermo in early April.

I am also about to add: omega 3, probiotic & zinc to his diet [supplements] .. any thoughts on this?? I am thinking it can't hurt!?

I am taking note of the dietary advise and recipes… i think introducing these anti inflammatory foods can only do good.

Thanks again everyone xxxxx [i am not one to normally kiss strangers but am making an exeption here!!]

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I have a sixteen year old son suffering from acne since age 12. Last year he was prescribed Fish Oil or Flax Oil for his dry eye condition. He broke out immediately from it and I then read that hormonal acne can be aggravated by these omega 3s.

When I read that you were going to purchase Omega 3 I wanted you to know to keep that in mind. I wish I had more to offer in the way of what works, but I'm still searching myself.

Edited by gingergirl22

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Eating salmon a few times a week will supply more than enough omega-3 for most people. I take a fermented cod liver oil supplement from Green Pastures that has not been heated and have had no trouble with it. Not sure if it's available internationally. If you try a supplement and it causes no trouble, then continue on with it. However, I'd recommend staying away from adding lots of new supplements just to reduce the number of variables in his diet. If he's on 5+ supplements and eating lots of different things and breaks out, it would be difficilt to pin down what caused it. I know I encountered that problem when I was in the midst of my acne crisis and taking more than 7 supplements a day (all while still guzzling milk and whey protein). I would break out and not know what could have caused it. It wasn't my supplements, but I could never be sure.

I have found that eating yogurt occasionally has not caused me any trouble if it is full-fat and not sweetened, so maybe he can have yogurt but not milk. I also occasionally eat soft cheese, but not as a main component of my diet. Overall, just plain old milk and whey protein were my worst triggers. Most other things I can still occasionally enjoy, and I do cook with butter as well.

If he still wants protein powder to help his performance in sports, you can experement with protein supplements that are dairy and soy free. I believe there is a pea protein supplement out there, but I do not have much experience in this area, and I couldn't say for sure if it could trigger more acne in him or not.

Edited by dscully

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OneProudMumma,

This topic drew my interest because I think I can give you some advice from someone around his age, and skin type. I am 18 years old and have had acne since 17 (i was a late bloomer) on strictly my cheeks. I have never broke out on my forehead, nose, or chin... is your son the same way? I describe my acne as the opposite of the "T-zone" (forehead, nose, chin). My acne was moderate, not as severe as your son's, but in the same area as his. One thing I didn't see in your list of treatments was the gel cream "Epiduo." I would highly recommend you ask your dermatologist about this cream for your son. I am currently in week 7 of my time on Epiduo, and am finally 90% clear, with marks here and there. This gel will of course make your skin dry as it works, but NOTHING like he experienced with Accutane I am sure.. The gel is used once a night before you go to bed.. Just wash your face, apply a pea sized amount, and go to sleep. You will wake up with all the oils sucked out of your skin. His skin will be dry in the morning and I would highly recommend buying Cetaphil lotion at any pharmacy or grocery store. Be patient with this product, it has been 7 weeks of strict routine and my skin is finally cleared. Yes my skin was better but now it is finally clear. I haven't experienced this feeling in years. I am obsessed with running my finger up my cheek because of how clear it feels. My heart goes out to your son, I can honestly say I know what he is going through.. When you have this kind of acne it is all you ever think about literally ALL day. I avoid going out and being social REGULARLY because of my skin. I am just now getting clear and would love to give advice through my journey, and help your son through his.

Please respond with any thoughts and ask any questions.. I'm just an 18 year old guy fighting the same fight as your son. I look forward to hearing back from you.

-Alex

Edited by AMARSHGV

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As other's have mentioned the only thing that will work 100% for this is Accutane.

Other options to consider that haven't been mentioned are Narrowband UVB (which could be used for a few months and would likely work very well) and blue light photodynamic therapy (405 - 420nm).

I would be cautious about using too much BP on this as it may cause a lot of hyperpigmention, though would probably work quite well.

Also note the sideburns are free of acne so I would recommend not shaving the beard area and letting the hair grow out.

:)

Edited by 13yearsofAcne

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Thanks guys,

Amarshgv, he has used epiduo throughout his time and it does sound like the same type of acne [opposite the Tzone].. great to hear your now almost clear!

13yearsofacne, I was thinking those types of therapy would be an option once the acne dries up and it is just the scarring and redness that we need to work on.. is that right?

He would LOVE the beard idea but unfortunately for him he goes to a very strick school were you must have short hair and be clean shaven!

Thanks again guys. He has woken this morning with no new pimples visible and he looks like it is drying up nicely.. very red though

will try to get a photo of the progress tomorrow morning.

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You can try taking away cetain foods to see what seems to irritate his skin but it doesn't necessarily mean it's the milk products. It can be gluten it can be anything.

I've heard great success stories from people who went to see a naturopath.

They do blood work to figure out what isn't working in your body and then give you something to balance it out!

I'm really hoping he gets better. I was in his shoes and I know how it feels to be a teenager and wake up in the morning to go to school with all that acne. People treat you badly and it's far from being funny.

I hope he keeps his head up high, because acne doesn't change that he is a beautiful person !

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Ladypink, you made me smile I have just returned from a school/community presentation where he was elected sports captain & even though this morning he was having doubts that he could do it, he was feeling very self conscious having to be on stage in front of hundreds of people.. he did, he held his head high and smiled & when he smiles ..he lights up the room!

I think he will be a good role model for the younger boys at school to show that you can still succeed & be confident no matter what life is throwing at you. So proud!

Also I am speaking with a Naturopath next week… so many paths that can be taken, I suppose it is just trial & error to see what one works for him.

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Yeah dude his face looks super dry, he needs to moisturizer, Acne and bacteria thrive on dry skin, it might seem counter productive but it's not, get some cetaphil , make him wash his face with it and moisturize with it, And only wash your face once a day , once a day ! ..............and try some good vitamins that help fight infections and is good for the skin to help on the inside, and screw the dermatologist , they will take your money , there's enlighten people here that know from first hand experience , wish I would've read on here before I went to a dermatologist , they made it worse

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Talk to the school director and see if they can make an exception for the shaving rule while your son is healing. Shaving can make acne in boys so much worse. He can resume shaving when his skin is not so inflamed. Any person with an ounce of sense could see that shaving would irritate his condition further. They would be almost cruel to refuse such a request. It does no harm to ask, anyway... Also, if his skin is still pretty red, nobody will notice 2-3 day stubble. And he can skip shaving on the weekends, at least.

Get him some 100% organic grapeseed or jojoba oil and have him use that as a moisturizer. A few drops twice a day should suffice. Try and get him a shaving cream that has no fragrance and is for those with sensitive skin if he must shave. Fragrances can be a killer.

Edited by dscully

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It really saddens me to hear people introduce food issues, especially so vehemently. Giving people false dietary requirements can be psychologically damaging and there is no scientific evidence for a link between diet and acne. I don't want to have an argument about it on here (again) but please seriously consider letting your son eat and drink what he wants! Especially if he is prone to psychological problems.

I tried everything for acne before roaccutane and I really believe it is the only cure for acne like your son's. I understand your concerns but I wonder if it is time to think a bit laterally. You say your son is depressed now and felt unstable on roaccutane. Might it be worth getting your son some psychiatric input? I myself have bipolar disorder so my dermatologist was concerned about putting me on roaccutane but as my condition is well controlled on medication even I had no trouble at all on roaccutane. Maybe if your son were treated for depression, or whatever the roaccutane unmasked he might be able to tolerate the roaccutane? It might sound a bit extreme but worth seriously considering I think, and it may be that he would benefit from treatment for depression regardless of whether or not he goes on to try roaccutane?

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okay, accutane is not 100% guaranteed, it's not, and he's struggling with psychological side effects, so please everyone, enough with that already- no accutane for him, he won't take it, so let's move along PLEASE

it didn't work for me either, horrible side effects, initial breakout that lasted 7 months and my derms (yes derms because I was such an unusual case) told me to stop

what works when accutane is NOT AN OPTION...for me diet, no dairy and no gluten, there are plenty of good options for him if he wants a protein shake, there is hemp protein, pea protein, egg white protein...stay away from soy and whey protein...I like coconut/almond milk, blue diamond makes a blend that is great, and you can make ice cream, etc...

minimize sugar and eliminate process foods...clean pillow cases every other night and switch to a free detergent no dyes no chemicals

I'm not a BP fan, I prefer salicylic acid, but the BP products here on acne.org work for many, so try that...or stick with your topicals which seem to be working now

patience and love, he is very lucky to have you in his corner!

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Sorry Flaxen, but the link between diet and acne has come under more scrutiny recently and some correlations have been identified, specifically between acne and high GI foods. The research is in its infancy, but I have no doubt that more correlations will be uncovered. Suggesting accutane before dietary changes is almost offensive, given the individual in question's past experiences with this particular chemotherapy. The list of side effects is extensive, and some of them are permanent and severe. On top of that, it doesn't work in a good deal of people, and in many for whom it does work, the acne returns. There is a time and place for accutane, but it's really only after all other options are exhausted - especially dietary changes, which should be thoroughly investigated before even considering accutane.

Eating a healthy diet - and by healthy I mean a pseudo-paleo diet - is something that has worked for a lot of people. And really, we should all be doing it anyway.

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I totally agree with you Quetzlcoatl. Accutane didn't work for me in the long run, but making changes in my diet has.

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The link between diet and acne is questionable at best. For me, changing my diet led to ridiculous frustration ("why isn't this working?"). Accutane has a relapse rate of ~33% and the vast majority of the time the acne comes back much milder - and much easier to treat topically. For me, taking accutane meant I could live a normal life finally - no more sleeping on a towel every night, freaking out over touching my face accidentally, oily skin, PAINFUL cysts, worrying about an unproven link between my skin and what I ate, or if I accidentally skipped a step in my regimen one time. My only regret was wasting time trying questionable methods while accumulating scars and red marks that will take a long time to heal. Dry lips for 5 months is nothing compared to acne.

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There are theories how acne is related to diet, but no one has conclusively proven what foods cause it or which diets are best. There have yet to be published high-quality controlled trials.

A few options:

-Low(er) dose Accutane to minimize side effects and work his way up

-Lasers and light treatments

-Steroids and steroid injections (injections for nodules and cysts only, if he happens to get any)

He can still use topicals but also apply a heavy-duty moisturizer with petrolatum + glycerin like Aquaphor, and wear SPF 30+ sunscreen. SPF 30+ is imperative in taking antibiotics and anything else that can make skin sensitive to the sun.

Please talk to the derm! She may switch him to milder topicals like sulfur combos or dapsone if he can't tolerate the standard therapy well.

Edited by Michelle Reece

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Hi guys, I had acne like your son from 14 up until I was 20 then I found roactutaine. It cleared my face within three months. I know you said your son didnt cope to well,but from my experience that was the only thing that ever worked. I never kept to three capsules a day so I never felt the full side effects. I would take 2 a day three times a week morning and afternoon, then the next week 1 a day monday to friday, never on the weekend and drank only water for 12 months whilst on the medication. That was now 10 yrs ago and I still get pimples now, but not like I did before taking roactutaine, it changed my skin for the better. Another thing that worked for me was not to wash my skin at all, just using water or salty water, it helped by taking the redness away .

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I was sure that i respond here yesterday but now i can't see it!.. maybe i didn't actually hit "post"

Anyway, thanks for all your input.

As i mentioned earlier Accutane isn't an option for him right now [his decision] but I do see why you would be suggesting it.. results!

What we have done in the past week since starting this topic: [His face has calmed a bit this week.. not as angry looking but still quiet red]

Continued his Akarim antibiotic

Started taking probiotic [i purchased fish oil and zinc but have decided not to start everything at once]

Removed Milk & cut back on protien powder

Started using the Regimen routine but with his Stieva A cream replacing the BP [i am going to start a topic in the regimen forum on this] we are worried that if he now stops the stieva A and replaces with BP that he may start all over again with a massive flare up?

Problem is though that we are almost out of Stieva A.. do you think we should replace it or start BP.. any thoughts??

I will take an updated photo over the next few days and post

Also, school has said they will bend the rules for him at this time regarding shaving.. so thats a good thing.

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Gosh, so much Accutane pushing in here...

Leave a thread long enough and the religious accutane believers start witnessing for the 'One True Solution'.

They just don't want to believe that they could have solved their acne in a less extreme way. Everyone wants to have done the right thing for themselves.

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Hi! You are doing a great job by reaching out for advise. I just joined acne.org to help others because I too went through severe cystic acne. I am now 20, and for the past 5 years I struggled to find a way to balance out my skin and acne. I spent thousands of dollars on dermatologic creams and cleansers as well as doxycycline and minocycline which only irritated my skin even more to the point of discomfort and inflammation. After research and so much money being spent I turned to store bought products, and that has been my savior!!!!

I currently use a cetaphil cleanser, it is the top dermatologist recommended face wash because there are no harsh chemicals or scents. I also purchased a 10% benzyl peroxide acne gel from cvs, here's the link to what it looks like http://www.cvs.com/shop/product-detail/CVS-Acne-Treatment-Gel?skuId=428504 . If you don't want this brand I believe clean and clear carries one as well. Ask for a product with 10% benzyl peroxide. My last step is a moisturizer, I apply an aveeno oil free face wash, one with SPF is great too especially if your son is active outdoors. These products used once in the morning and at night have done wonders for me. If you would like to see my before and afters feel free to let me know and I would be more than happy to email you!

Being that I went though a rough emotional stage I was desperate for a cure. I have now changed my diet as well, I recommend adding grapefruit to his diet. Lots of great skincare benefits.

Tell your son to try and stay positive, keep comforting him! I know he will overcome it! :)

-Marlene

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I would keep taking the antibiotic but not start fish oil or zinc yet. Introducing too many variables will be tough because you won't know what's working and what's not. I truly believe less is more, don't overload on products! I would also suggest starting to alternate the Stieva with the BP, that way you're not quitting cold turkey. Use the Stieva, then use BP, and so on until you've made a gradual adjustment to the BP. See how that goes for awhile and then possibly add the zinc. My sons started taking a zinc supplement a week or so ago and it seems to be working. But I would hold off on the fish oil, reviews seem to be mixed on that, with people reporting worse breakouts. Zinc seems to be a better bet.

And why, oh why, do so many people keep pushing Accutane when the OP has said all along that it is not an option for her son ?!?!

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osh, so much Accutane pushing in here...

Leave a thread long enough and the religious accutane believers start witnessing for the 'One True Solution'.

They just don't want to believe that they could have solved their acne in a less extreme way. Everyone wants to have done the right thing for themselves

@dscully - Seriously?! What makes you think we haven't tried it all before? I did. And yes I'm talking about food too. I systematically excluded everything until I was eating nothing and ended up in an eating disorder clinic with anorexia nervosa. I'm by no means saying that that would happen to any more than the vast minority but many people are harmed in a less extreme way by "innocent" dieting.

As for "pushing" it as the "one true solution" I/we are only echoing exactly what my dermatologist said and what is believed by the informed medical community. She said it was the only way to get rid of my acne and I'm so glad I followed her advice because it was so worth it.

nd why, oh why, do so many people keep pushing Accutane when the OP has said all along that it is not an option for her son ?!?!

@KAmanda - presumably because the people suggesting it think it is worth a re-think. I had failed to treat my acne for 10 years before trying roaccutane. Think how much less scarred my face would be now if I had just taken the plunge sooner. If you have severe acne and are serious about getting rid of it then it is the only way and you have to surmount the obstacles.

Edited by Flaxen

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I'm 100% with Flaxen (but I can't use the quote button for some reason?). One thing I want to point out is that the link between Accutane and depression/mood changes is rather questionable - in many cases, the depression can simply be attributed to having severe acne. A few studies have even shown that Accutane lowers depression/anxiety rates. Ultimately, no one can tell someone what to do with their health, but I do strongly suggest Accutane for anyone with severe acne that isn't responding to anything else. 95% clearance rate by the end of Accutane vs. diet changes that aren't even proven - to me, it's a no brainer. I absolutely wish I had started earlier as indented scarring can be (or at least feel) pretty disfiguring...and it's expensive and time consuming to treat with huge improvements being rare. I'm lucky mine isn't too bad. :\

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