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301825_1443948653

After 5+ years of experimentation, I can't seem to figure out what's causing my acne.

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Hello. I've frequented acne.org for 3-4 years, but I've only now decided to register and post. I felt that most of my questions/concerns were addressed in previous threads, so until now, I didn't see a need to create a new topic.

To make a long story as short as possible, I'm male, and I've dealt with acne since I was about 15. I'm now 22 (soon to be 23). At its worst, my acne has been very severe; I've awoken to several cystic lesions daily, and have been in very real physical pain as a result. At times, depending on treatment (or lack thereof), I've been as much as 95% clear. I've had as much as 2-3 months go by where I've been almost completely clear (waking to only very occasional whiteheads). Unfortunately, I'm very prone to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (despite being Caucasian with pretty fair skin). The dermatologist I've been seeing recently has seemed excellent; she's very much acknowledged the potential diet and lifestyle changes could have on my skin (instead of simply sending me out the door with a prescription). One of the only common treatments I haven't tried is Accutane.

Here is a list of things I've tried over the past few years (including typical "acne" treatments, as well as treatments aimed at addressing underlying conditions that could be causing my acne). I tried each of these for varying lengths of time, but generally speaking, I tried each for at least 1-3 months before trying to determine efficacy. Things in green worked well for me; things in red made my skin worse. Everything else had no apparent impact on my skin:

  • Abstaining from sexual activity
  • AcneFree Regimen
  • Acne.org Regimen (one of the more effective topicals I've tried; failed to address underlying conditions, very time-consuming, bleached clothes)
  • Allergy test (done in a doctor's office when I was 14 or 15; they determined that I had "no allergies" - something I'm still not sure I agree with)
  • Alpha Lipoic Acid (seemed to reduce appearance of scars significantly)
  • Apple Cider Vineger (taken orally in capsules)
  • Avoiding Fluoride (just trying this now; I haven't seen a change yet after 4-5 days of using fluoride-free dental products)
  • Benzaclin
  • Calcium (tablets)
  • Changing Pillowcase (every single night)
  • Clearetto
  • Clindamycin (in a cream with benzoyl peroxide, this was likely the most effective topical I've tried. same cons as Acne.org regimen)
  • Differin
  • Duac
  • Doryx (cleared my skin 100%; failed to address underlying conditions, not suitable for long-term use)
  • Doxycycline (same cons as Doryx)
  • Elimination Diet (started with a 3-day fast; unfortunately, I found absolutely no links between my skin and diet after 2-3 months. I paid closest attention to links involving: citrus, gluten, dairy, red meat, and poultry)
  • Epiduo
  • Epsom Salt
  • Evening Primrose Oil (capsules)
  • Fasting (as long as 3 consecutive days OR intermittent fasting [only eating within a 4-hour window daily]; I never noticed even a slight change in my skin)
  • Fermented Cod Liver Oil (capsules) (one of very few things that I'm confident caused cystic breakouts)
  • Finacea
  • Fish Oil (capsules) (not so sure about this one, but it seemed to worsen my cystic acne slightly)
  • Green Tea (capsules AND several cups daily)
  • Jojoba Oil
  • L-Carnitine
  • Magnesium (tablets)
  • Monocycline (same cons as Doryx)
  • Photodynamic Therapy [PDT] (I was 95% clear after 3 treatments; oddly enough, my acne returned just a few weeks after my 3rd appointment. I've elected to continue treatment, and I'm hoping that it will minimize my breakouts until I can figure out what's causing my acne)
  • Probiotic (soil-based)
  • Retin-A Micro (the only topical I've tried that I'm very confident encouraged scarring; this caused me to discontinue after 2-3 weeks)
  • Saw Palmetto (not entirely sure about this one either; I've only ever taken it as part of a multivitamin - never on its own)
  • Salicylic Acid
  • Taurine
  • Tazorac
  • Tea Tree Oil
  • Turmeric (taken orally in capsules)
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin B Complex
  • Vitamin B5 [Pantothenic Acid] (reduced my acne to some degree, but I still broke out, and large doses aren't suitable for long-term use)
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D3
  • Witch Hazel
  • Ziana
  • Zinc (the most effective oral supplement I've tried; doses of 30-60mg daily have absolutely reduced the severity of my breakouts)
As you can probably tell, I've tried quite a lot of different things. I've chosen to avoid "megadosing", and have done extensive research into each of these before experimenting. I'm a firm believer that acne's underlying cause(s) should be treated in order to treat acne, but I'm very frustrated that I haven't been able to isolate a variable that's causing my own breakouts.

A few interesting things that might be worth mentioning:
  • Most of my breakouts have been around my chin. Once every few months, my acne seems to migrate north (affecting my nose, inner cheeks, brow, and forehead) - I cannot figure out why for the life of me.
  • I'm around 25% Native American. Oddly enough, a friend of mine is also about 25% Native American, and we're from the same tribe (with no recent common ancestor). We have very similar skin overall; he suffered from cystic acne for years, but his has finally cleared up without treatment or any significant diet/lifestyle change (as of 2-3 years ago).
  • On a few occasions, feeling very frustrated and helpless, I've ignored everything that I've learned about the association between diet and acne, and I've eaten like a pig. Instead of breaking out (as I'd expected to), I sometimes cleared up significantly. I've realized that Domino's pizza (specifically with spinach and pepperoni) seems to clear my skin to some degree. As crazy as this sounds, it happens virtually every single time. I've tried eating a diet rich in spinach, but it didn't have the same effect.
  • During the summer of 2014, I fell into a fairly severe depression (due to circumstances unrelated to my skin). I stopped taking care of myself in several ways: I was only eating about a meal a day (sometimes less), I was eating McDonald's 3+ times a week, I wasn't washing my face, I wasn't taking my usual supplements (including a multivitamin, zinc, and vitamin D), my sleep schedule was extremely inconsistent, my oral hygiene became very poor, and my stress levels were through the roof. During this period (lasting 2-3 months), my skin was 95%-100% clear.
  • I work a graveyard shift currently, but I had acne long before I began this job. I didn't notice any significant change in my skin when my sleep schedule changed.
If you're knowledgeable about ANYTHING regarding or beyond what I've mentioned here, your response would be extremely appreciated. If you have any questions regarding my experimentation with any lifestyle/supplement changes, please feel free to ask.

Thanks a ton. Edited by 301825_1443948653

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I am in a similar situation as you. Right now u am doing the acne.org regimen, taking clearetto which is a vitamin for acne that has zinc and such, I drink lots of water, I excercise daily, and I have a healthy diet with no dairy. I don't know what to do next. My forehead was clear for the longest time while I had terrible acne on my cheeks. Now my cheeks are clear but my chin and forehead erupt every day.

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@490954_1443953548 - It definitely does sound like our circumstances are similar. I, too, drink plenty of water, exercise regularly, and eat cleanly. My chin acne, in particular, looks very similar to yours. I've read that chin acne is often associated with hormonal imbalances, but Saw Palmetto (found in Clearetto) didn't seem to make a difference for me, unfortunately. I may consider seeing an endocrinologist in order to have my hormone levels checked.

 


@Dtwon - It sure feels that way sometimes, huh? As frustrating as this has been for me, I'm very much looking forward to the day that clear skin is more reliably obtainable by all acne sufferers.

All of the research that I've done indicates that acne is typically linked to an underlying condition. Most topicals (as well as antibiotics and Accutane) will clear acne to varying degrees, but they will not address the underlying cause of the acne. I've been determined for years to isolate whatever variable in my diet/lifestyle is causing my acne, but unfortunately, I'm beginning to run out of ideas. Very few things have seemed to make a significant difference for me. I may request a course of Accutane from my dermatologist if I'm unable to clear my skin sometime in the near future. Edited by 301825_1443948653

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I've been on 2 courses of accuratane, low dose for around 6-7 months. Cleared me but then when I stopped, it came back! 

Now i will Have to go back on a third final course next year, if it doesn't work...I dont know what to do, lifelong problem I guess.

I have severe back and chest acne too

So can't take off shirt and i dont know if girls are comfortable with a guy with body acne to have sex with...sucks 
Edited by BlazeRC

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Hello. I've frequented acne.org for 3-4 years, but I've only now decided to register and post. I felt that most of my questions/concerns were addressed in previous threads, so until now, I didn't see a need to create a new topic.
If you're knowledgeable about ANYTHING regarding or beyond what I've mentioned here, your response would be extremely appreciated. If you have any questions regarding my experimentation with any lifestyle/supplement changes, please feel free to ask.

...............

Are you me? You literally described my last 8 years.  Except for the antibiotics and accutane.
Was too scared to try antibiotics since they tend help for a while but after you're finished taking them acne comes back and worse.
The accutane was good for 1.5 years. Then it came back + removed skin's ability to heal. So except the acne I also now have scars.

But I'd still say go for the accutane. If your body can't give you clear hint what's wrong, it's fault of your body. 'Take a revenge.'

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I suggested this to someone on here already today, but I'm just excited because it's giving me hope.
I read about some reddit skin group where a bunch of ppl swear by cerave face wash and stridex in the red box, and cerave moisturizer.
If you read the Amazon reviews on Stridex in the red box you'll see it works for a lot of ppl who have tried everything. 
I'm about a week into this regiment and after a few days of purging, it's definitely showing promise! Pores are smaller and skin is overall calmer and less red.
Good luck to all of you.

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I have had the same problem as you! Currently trying the elimination diet, after reading skin cleanse by Adina greigore I'm determined to try it again, it's convinced me that hormone imbalances are triggered by everything you intake - after all, internal inflammation is caused by certain foods for different people, which affects organs - including the skin. For instance, citrus, eggs, blueberries, sugar in general, milk and other specific foods have caused problems for many. 

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its on our veins, its like the color of ur eyes, u cant change it, hard to hear but true.
its already on our dna, no matter what u do if ur genetic says that u are going to breakout at 14 and clear up at 25 u can do nothing.
thats why some people can put melting shit on their face, eat fast food, drink coke everyday, etc and they're not going to break out, because they dont have the gene, and we can do the opposite but with no results, simply as that.
acne is a genetic disease (yall already know that dont u) so man just live it, eat whatever u want, go party, smoke weed, just give time to ur face it will clear up i promise ;D

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Have you tried azelaic acid? I'm getting amazing results and it's not like Retin-A, which make your acne worse sometimes. Azelaic acid has antibiotic properties and it has been keeping my face clear for about 3 months now -- no cysts and whiteheads.

Also, how is your Vitamin D levels? There're some link between low Vit D and acne.

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its on our veins, its like the color of ur eyes, u cant change it, hard to hear but true.
its already on our dna, no matter what u do if ur genetic says that u are going to breakout at 14 and clear up at 25 u can do nothing.
thats why some people can put melting shit on their face, eat fast food, drink coke everyday, etc and they're not going to break out, because they dont have the gene, and we can do the opposite but with no results, simply as that.
acne is a genetic disease (yall already know that dont u) so man just live it, eat whatever u want, go party, smoke weed, just give time to ur face it will clear up i promise ;D

As much as anyone would like to deny that on this forum, with each passing day and year, I think this is so true. There is simply no other explanation why acne has a mind of its own.

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On 10/18/2015 at 7:45 AM, 301825_1443948653 said:

Hello. I've frequented acne.org for 3-4 years, but I've only now decided to register and post. I felt that most of my questions/concerns were addressed in previous threads, so until now, I didn't see a need to create a new topic.

To make a long story as short as possible, I'm male, and I've dealt with acne since I was about 15. I'm now 22 (soon to be 23). At its worst, my acne has been very severe; I've awoken to several cystic lesions daily, and have been in very real physical pain as a result. At times, depending on treatment (or lack thereof), I've been as much as 95% clear. I've had as much as 2-3 months go by where I've been almost completely clear (waking to only very occasional whiteheads). Unfortunately, I'm very prone to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (despite being Caucasian with pretty fair skin). The dermatologist I've been seeing recently has seemed excellent; she's very much acknowledged the potential diet and lifestyle changes could have on my skin (instead of simply sending me out the door with a prescription). One of the only common treatments I haven't tried is Accutane.

Here is a list of things I've tried over the past few years (including typical "acne" treatments, as well as treatments aimed at addressing underlying conditions that could be causing my acne). I tried each of these for varying lengths of time, but generally speaking, I tried each for at least 1-3 months before trying to determine efficacy. Things in green worked well for me; things in red made my skin worse. Everything else had no apparent impact on my skin:

  • Abstaining from sexual activity
  • AcneFree Regimen
  • Acne.org Regimen (one of the more effective topicals I've tried; failed to address underlying conditions, very time-consuming, bleached clothes)
  • Allergy test (done in a doctor's office when I was 14 or 15; they determined that I had "no allergies" - something I'm still not sure I agree with)
  • Alpha Lipoic Acid (seemed to reduce appearance of scars significantly)
  • Apple Cider Vineger (taken orally in capsules)
  • Avoiding Fluoride (just trying this now; I haven't seen a change yet after 4-5 days of using fluoride-free dental products)
  • Benzaclin
  • Calcium (tablets)
  • Changing Pillowcase (every single night)
  • Clearetto
  • Clindamycin (in a cream with benzoyl peroxide, this was likely the most effective topical I've tried. same cons as Acne.org regimen)
  • Differin
  • Duac
  • Doryx (cleared my skin 100%; failed to address underlying conditions, not suitable for long-term use)
  • Doxycycline (same cons as Doryx)
  • Elimination Diet (started with a 3-day fast; unfortunately, I found absolutely no links between my skin and diet after 2-3 months. I paid closest attention to links involving: citrus, gluten, dairy, red meat, and poultry)
  • Epiduo
  • Epsom Salt
  • Evening Primrose Oil (capsules)
  • Fasting (as long as 3 consecutive days OR intermittent fasting [only eating within a 4-hour window daily]; I never noticed even a slight change in my skin)
  • Fermented Cod Liver Oil (capsules) (one of very few things that I'm confident caused cystic breakouts)
  • Finacea
  • Fish Oil (capsules) (not so sure about this one, but it seemed to worsen my cystic acne slightly)
  • Green Tea (capsules AND several cups daily)
  • Jojoba Oil
  • L-Carnitine
  • Magnesium (tablets)
  • Monocycline (same cons as Doryx)
  • Photodynamic Therapy [PDT] (I was 95% clear after 3 treatments; oddly enough, my acne returned just a few weeks after my 3rd appointment. I've elected to continue treatment, and I'm hoping that it will minimize my breakouts until I can figure out what's causing my acne)
  • Probiotic (soil-based)
  • Retin-A Micro (the only topical I've tried that I'm very confident encouraged scarring; this caused me to discontinue after 2-3 weeks)
  • Saw Palmetto (not entirely sure about this one either; I've only ever taken it as part of a multivitamin - never on its own)
  • Salicylic Acid
  • Taurine
  • Tazorac
  • Tea Tree Oil
  • Turmeric (taken orally in capsules)
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin B Complex
  • Vitamin B5 [Pantothenic Acid] (reduced my acne to some degree, but I still broke out, and large doses aren't suitable for long-term use)
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D3
  • Witch Hazel
  • Ziana
  • Zinc (the most effective oral supplement I've tried; doses of 30-60mg daily have absolutely reduced the severity of my breakouts)
As you can probably tell, I've tried quite a lot of different things. I've chosen to avoid "megadosing", and have done extensive research into each of these before experimenting. I'm a firm believer that acne's underlying cause(s) should be treated in order to treat acne, but I'm very frustrated that I haven't been able to isolate a variable that's causing my own breakouts.

A few interesting things that might be worth mentioning:
  • Most of my breakouts have been around my chin. Once every few months, my acne seems to migrate north (affecting my nose, inner cheeks, brow, and forehead) - I cannot figure out why for the life of me.
  • I'm around 25% Native American. Oddly enough, a friend of mine is also about 25% Native American, and we're from the same tribe (with no recent common ancestor). We have very similar skin overall; he suffered from cystic acne for years, but his has finally cleared up without treatment or any significant diet/lifestyle change (as of 2-3 years ago).
  • On a few occasions, feeling very frustrated and helpless, I've ignored everything that I've learned about the association between diet and acne, and I've eaten like a pig. Instead of breaking out (as I'd expected to), I sometimes cleared up significantly. I've realized that Domino's pizza (specifically with spinach and pepperoni) seems to clear my skin to some degree. As crazy as this sounds, it happens virtually every single time. I've tried eating a diet rich in spinach, but it didn't have the same effect.
  • During the summer of 2014, I fell into a fairly severe depression (due to circumstances unrelated to my skin). I stopped taking care of myself in several ways: I was only eating about a meal a day (sometimes less), I was eating McDonald's 3+ times a week, I wasn't washing my face, I wasn't taking my usual supplements (including a multivitamin, zinc, and vitamin D), my sleep schedule was extremely inconsistent, my oral hygiene became very poor, and my stress levels were through the roof. During this period (lasting 2-3 months), my skin was 95%-100% clear.
  • I work a graveyard shift currently, but I had acne long before I began this job. I didn't notice any significant change in my skin when my sleep schedule changed.
If you're knowledgeable about ANYTHING regarding or beyond what I've mentioned here, your response would be extremely appreciated. If you have any questions regarding my experimentation with any lifestyle/supplement changes, please feel free to ask.

Thanks a ton.
did you try an enzyme supplement like assertive wellness with the vitamins. Might help out. If you try a different enzyme supplement make sure it has good ratings.
 

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Look into accutane. If anything else it will reduce the severity of your acne. Colostrum, pumpkin seed oil(zinc) and vegetable juice works for me but everything else is like a band aid except accutane. 

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