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I made a promise to myself, that when I first starting taking prescription medicine for my acne that if and when my skin got clear, I would post my success story. When I first started developing acne I was 20, that time in your life when you're supposed to grow out of that pimply stage and look like an adult. It was terrible, embarassing, mortifying, and mentally and physically painful. After I started seeing a dermatologist, I scoured the internet looking for people taking similar medications as me, and read countless forums about how there was no cure for acne and only temporary solutions. The forums were so disappointing and disconcerting. All you want, when you're going through this terrible period in your life, is a success story, a glimmer of hope. But I realized I was searching the wrong forums for that. Acne.org and other websites dedicated to acne are full of people who are still struggling with this problem, while the success-stories no longer care and are free to carry-on their lives devoid of this issues. So that's why I am writing... to hopefully remind people suffering from acne that you can live a life without antibiotics, and that success is possible.

My story, sorry for the lack of brevity:

I never suffered from acne until I was 20, and had a seemingly bad reaction to birth control. My cheeks would break out with huge, painful cystic acne, that no make-up could ever cover up. I stayed home from classes and would make up excuses not to see my friends and boyfriend cause I was so embarassed of my breakouts. The first regime I was put on by the dermatologist was Clenia Creame in the morning, Differin at Night, and Doxycycline twice daily. It didn't work. 6 months past and my skin was as terrible as ever. Then came the regime of Clenia, Retin-a, and Minocycline once a day. This regime helped, and after a year my skin was definitely clearly, yet not perfect. By the second year on these medicines, I was clear and stable, and only broke out occassionally during my period. My skin was still not pristine, nor do I ever think it will be. Topicals and antibiotics can only go so far against those little, pesky bumps. But, I was happy with my skin, and with the minocycline I thought that I could lead a happy, acne-free life. Problem is, antibiotics are no good for you. After two years on Minocycline the risk of developing internal and dermal problems (pigmentation issues) greatly increases. Plus antibiotics eat away and can seriously damage your stomach, and ability to combat infection if taken too long. And I am now 22, I no longer want to be on antibiotics that interact and reduce efficacy of my birth control, I just don't want to be on them. So at my last dermatology appointment in July, my dermatologist told me to stop taking my antibiotics. I knew it was coming, and I was prepared for it. I was afraid of how bad my skin would get, because I knew if I missed even one morning of Mino, my skin would start to break out. So here's what I did:

1. I readied my mindset that I may break out again, but after nearly 3 years of antibiotics I needed to give my body a break.

2. I weaned off my Mino. I was already only taking once a day, so for about a week I took the medicine every other day. The medicine is extended release for a day, so you're body should by all accounts already go into withdrawal after a missed dosed, but weaning helped me ease my mind.

3. I tried a dietary change that I really didn't want to do - I cut out dairy. I read countless articles about how dairy products are correlated with increased adult acne, and how it could be a miracle cure for some people's acne. I figured it was worth a try. But the thing was, I LOVE DAIRY. I consumed probably a milk gallon a week, cheese every meal, butter in all my cooking, ice cream regularly for dessert.... But, if it comes down to acne-free vs. dairy, acne-free wins. I bought all alternative replacements to my dairy free items, and made lists of restaurant items I could safely eat, and I gave dairy-free a shot. It wasn't easy, and it still isn't, but after a month and a half, I have only had one small pimple, and have taken zero oral antibiotics. This dietary change has worked better than any antibiotic ever prescribed to me... ever. I still have the small bumps I had on antibiotics, but they are nothing I care about, and nothing that requires make-up to cover. I am so hopeful that dairy-free will keep me acne-free for the months and years to come, and I can't believe that this acne solution was so simple and natural. Even if you think that something this small could not simply be causing your acne, just try a week or two without dairy. Take Mino until all dairy is out of your system, and then try weeks dairy-free and antibiotic-free, and see if you notice a difference. I hope you do, and I hope you can write a success story like mine. =]

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