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  Disclaimer

I have successfully healed my acne with the methods I will go on to describe. I do not claim that these methods will work for anyone else, however, I feel that I owe a lot to this forum, which has not only supported me throughout some difficult times, but its posters have provided me with much of the insight and information that has lead me to healing my acne. Finally, this post is not preaching that natural methods are the only route to take; and I do not judge those who choose to continue to use topical acne medications, take antibiotics, or use Accutane.
I would also like to add that the photos I have included were taken over the course of the past 2 years and serve to document my skins healing. I have used a watermark as I have seen instances of cosmetic companies using photos such as these to falsely promote their products.


JLo.thumb.jpg.9744b9e5fda37790f3c25d3f38

 

Brief Acne History

I suffered some mild form of acne for most of my teenage years, but at the age of 22 I developed what my doctor would describe to me as moderate/severe adult acne, and I went on to make many, many mistakes in treating it. Years of exhausting trial and error has wrought havoc on my skin, broken me down emotionally, and, eventually, made me a stronger person.

No three-step solution/miracle product/pill or cream worked out for me. Here is a non-exhaustive list of things that didn’t work:

Antibiotics (doxycycline, oxytetracycline and lymecycline), benzoyl peroxide (5% and 10%), Duac, Dan's Regimen, Differin, Epiduo, Tretinoin, countless over the counter treatments and washes, apple cider vinegar, manuka honey, asprin masks, I could go on.
 

What Worked For Me

A 3 pronged treatment approach that took around 2 months to begin working, but finally cleared my skin and changed my life.

 

STEP ONE
Dietary changes

I eliminated all gluten, dairy and all refined sugars. Now this was the hardest thing for me to do, and it took me months to even consider it (I absolutely love pizza, ice cream and cereal) but it has without a doubt made the most dramatic difference in my skin and health. I am more alert, full of energy and a much happier person.
One thing I feel is important to add here, is when I started out with this diet, I was taking it incredibly seriously, but as I have started to see increasingly consistent results, I will occasionally treat myself to a nice dessert out at a restaurant, and sometimes that will result in a pimple in the coming days, but this only serves as proof that what I eat directly effects my skin.

I also supplement 2x 1000mg Omega 3 Fish Oil, 1x Vitamin D3 Tablets 25ug, 1x Zinc (Gluconate 15mg) and drink a green smoothie a few times a week, consisting  of around 70% kale/spinach/other greens and 30% fruit/veg.
 

STEP TWO

Skincare

The most successful learning experience I have undergone with my skincare was the caveman regimen. I did not wash my face for upward of 50 days, not even with water. I won’t talk too much about that in this post as I logged my whole caveman regimen here. I experienced some good success with the caveman regimen, but it’s what it taught me that was the most valuable thing; that I don’t have to wash my face religiously twice a day. The most important aspect of my current skincare regimen is the infrequency. I don’t stick to a strict washing schedule. Since the caveman regimen, I have realised that my skin is in fact very dry, so if I feel dry I will use a raw honey mask for as long as I have time (sometimes up to 8 hours) then I’ll use a very diluted apple cider vinegar toner to balance my skins Ph, and finally pat 2 drops of high linoleic oil into my skin. Then I’ll leave it alone for at least a few days and up to a week. 
 

STEP THREE
Stop Picking

Throughout my time with acne; I developed a chronic skin picking compulsion called dermatillomania. Without even noticing I would touch and pick at my skin all day, and most evenings, sometimes a few times a day, I would have a long session stood an inch away from my bathroom mirror, just scouring my pores for something to extract.

This has taken a huge amount of time and patience to overcome, and along with my diet changes, has been one of the hardest and most beneficial changes I have made. I am still working on this issue, and I do have the occasional relapse; it’s a work in progress, but as my skin continues to heal I find myself increasingly encouraged to quit the picking.

The first step I took towards letting go of my skin picking compulsion was purchasing some toys on amazon called 'Tangle Jr.' to occupy my hands. I also read the book ‘Skin Picking – The Freedom to Finally Stop’ which I highly recommend to anyone suffering with a similar compulsion.

Little Extra

I know acne is a serious and sometimes deeply depressing disease, but if you can find it in yourself to go out and laugh and run about then you absolutely should, and if you can’t, don’t beat yourself up about it. If you need to be sad then you should be sad; forgive yourself and try to give your body the care it needs.

Please don’t hesitate to ask any questions and I will answer to the best of my ability.
Thanks,
J

Edited by JLopez

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On 1/23/2016 at 9:10 PM, Perfrb said:

How about sunscreen ?

I choose not to wear sunscreen. This may not seem ideal to people living in certain climates or who spend long hours outside. But I live in Scotland where it is largely overcast and it's winter for most of the year.
Personally sunscreen has always broken me out, and it is a fact that some sunscreens contains potentially harmful and toxic chemicals. Yes if I were to go to the beach for a day I would apply sunscreen on my body but I would protect the skin on my face with shade or by wearing a hat. 
It is a common misconception that the sun causes cancer, of course you should not let your skin become burnt, but the sun is the only natural source of vital vitamin D3 and is somewhat demonised by the beauty industry, which it is important to remember, is an industry that thrives on convincing us that we need as many products as they possibly can. 
I am in no way advocating sitting out in the sun all day with no sunscreen on and getting burnt to a crisp. I realise this is a dangerous practice, but i firmly believe that being sensible with the sun, remaining in the shade when it is at its highest, and keeping your face shaded when necessary, is perfectly safe.
Here are links to some information on sunscreen toxicity and alternative options if you would like to find out more!:

http://draxe.com/75-of-sunscreens-are-toxic-what-to-do-instead/
http://www.ewg.org/2015sunscreen/report/the-trouble-with-sunscreen-chemicals/
http://wellnessmama.com/55366/sunscreen-is-harmful/ Edited by JLopez
Correcting a typo

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This is awesome @JLopez!! I'm so glad to hear you've had success :) I have tons of questions but I'll try and keep it short.

What was the hardest part/lifestyle change for you? 
Also, would you consider experimenting to see what you can add back in or would you be too anxious in case acne decided to come back?
If you for some reason (holidays/traveling/stress/unexpected stuff) can't follow your routine, what are you okay leaving out (if anything), and what can you NOT under any circumstances go without doing?

Hope that's not too many ...Love your advice on skin picking! ...
 

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14 hours ago, Luna878 said:

This is awesome @JLopez!! I'm so glad to hear you've had success :) I have tons of questions but I'll try and keep it short.

What was the hardest part/lifestyle change for you? 
Also, would you consider experimenting to see what you can add back in or would you be too anxious in case acne decided to come back?
If you for some reason (holidays/traveling/stress/unexpected stuff) can't follow your routine, what are you okay leaving out (if anything), and what can you NOT under any circumstances go without doing?

Hope that's not too many ...Love your advice on skin picking! ...
 

Hey Luna878,

Thank you so much! I'll answer your questions as best I can.

What was the hardest part/lifestyle change for you? 
Without question the hardest thing was changing my diet. I truly believed it was impossible. I was worried about inconvenience and money, but it turns out, as I have become more experienced in catering to my new lifestyle, I have become a much better cook and I am in fact saving money. Fruit and veg from the right shop is extremely cheap! Who'd of thought? Secondly I believed without question that my cleansers, toners, benzoyl peroxide and various other acne solutions were the only thing keeping my acne at bay. Accepting that they were causing my acne and letting go of my dependancy was a long process.

Also, would you consider experimenting to see what you can add back in or would you be too anxious in case acne decided to come back?
I honestly wouldn't want to, and not just because of my acne, but because I feel so different in myself. Even early on in the diet when I still had acne, I noticed such a dramatic, positive change in my mental state and energy levels. Right now I don't feel like I'm missing out on anything. Of course I am still human, and sometimes I would love a piece of cake or a pizza! But so far I have managed to find healthy alternatives to treats that have kept me satisfied. :new_smiley_0:

If you for some reason (holidays/traveling/stress/unexpected stuff) can't follow your routine, what are you okay leaving out (if anything), and what can you NOT under any circumstances go without doing?
In terms of skincare, I can go without washing my face for up to 2 weeks and my skin doesn't suffer dramatically, except for some dryness in the colder months from lack of (very light) exfoliation from the honey wash/apple cider vinegar toner. In terms of diet, a good example would be when I went home for christmas; I indulged in the odd bit of chocolate or cheese, and I had a few minor pimples, the kind that come to a head and disappear in a day or two. But when I stayed with my boyfriend's family and ate a lot of processed, gluten-free products (bread, cakes, crackers etc.) I had the immediate reaction of a cyst on my cheek and one on my chin a few days later. It's a common mistake of a gluten-free diet to replace gluten grains with gluten-free grains, since the none-glutenous grains that make up most gluten-free products, behave in the exact same way as gluten in the body, which can be detrimental to those with an intolerance!

Thanks so much for your questions, and I'm so pleased you liked my advice on skin picking.

Good luck and I hope that was helpful in some way!
J

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@JLopez Thank you for taking the time to answer! I'm fascinated by what works for different people. It sounds like you and I are pretty similar, in what has worked vs. hasn't worked. I agree the holidays can be ROUGH. It's hard not to indulge around family, especially when grandma is shoving sweets at you like mine, lol... 

Yes btw, your answer is super helpful :)

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On 1/19/2017 at 1:57 PM, beautyskincoach said:

I totally agree same worked for meB|

Awesome! I'm so glad you found something that worked for you!
On 1/23/2017 at 0:13 AM, holdingontohope said:
Did the supplements help a lot? Or was quitting the dairy, gluten etc enough? 
Hey @holdingontohope. For me personally, found taking the supplements was good for my mentality while I was on this journey, whether they actually helped or not I don't know.  I slowly tapered off taking the vitamins about 8 months ago and found that my skin did not react or break out. Nowadays I prefer to aim to get my vitamins and minerals from the food I eat.

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Could you give a bit more detail on what you did eat?

I've been gluten/dairy/sugar free for just over 2 weeks now and am having quite a break out at the minute. I realise it's early days but It's a little disheartening. Trying to get enough food to be full, but worried about what I can eat. Did you find Quinoa was something you could eat?

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On 2/19/2017 at 2:10 PM, Mr. Brownstone said:

Could you give a bit more detail on what you did eat?

I've been gluten/dairy/sugar free for just over 2 weeks now and am having quite a break out at the minute. I realise it's early days but It's a little disheartening. Trying to get enough food to be full, but worried about what I can eat. Did you find Quinoa was something you could eat?


Hi there,

Sure I can try! I struggled a lot in the beginning to be honest. I lost quite a lot of weight because I didn't know what to eat or how to cook the food I am eating now. One recipe website I found particularly helpful recently was Madeline Shaw's which you can find here: http://madeleineshaw.com/recipes/

She cooks with meat and dairy too but you can refine your search to be free from gluten/dairy/etc. She uses a lot of simple, nutritious ingredients like chickpeas, lentils, quinoa, tons of veggies and I have found that the ingredients are quite easy to switch out for something else if there's something you don't like. 

A typical day for me in my diet now might look something like this (I am by no means saying this is the only way to do it or that this diet will work for everyone. Every body is completely different, but it is working for me.)

For breakfast I'll usually have rice cakes with either some avocado and tomatoes as a topping or some nut butter with bananas and flaxseeds. I try to stick to Meridian natural almond butter but it's quite expensive so I'll use Meridian peanut butter too.

Around 11 if I'm hungry I'll have a smoothie which I make with 50% kale/spinach, some frozen berries, soaked chia seeds and half a banana. Sometimes I'll use some cacao powder if I have any in the house.

Lunch varies quite a lot. I will usually cook a big batch of soup or stew at the start of the week to keep me going. One of my favourites is a vegan leek and potato soup which you can find here: https://avirtualvegan.com/creamy-leek-potato-soup/ There's also plenty of easy dishes on Madeline Shaw's site (not wanting to sound like I'm endorsed here haha but I like the recipes.) I'll also have a handfull of nuts to keep up my calories.

Dinner is usually based around lentils. This isn't intentional but I have found them to be a great meat substitute in things like bolognese and chillies. I eat brown rice pasta if I'm feeling like some carbs, and a lot of brown rice. I also use rice noodles in asian dishes and stir fries. More recently I've been experimenting with tofu which I seem to tolerate quite well. Here's a really yummy way to use tofu with a peanut teryaki sauce and brown rice: http://www.ilovevegan.com/teriyaki-peanut-tofu-with-stir-fried-veggies-brown-rice/

Snack wise I'm an avocado addict, sometimes I'll indulge in some 80%+ dark chocolate, I enjoy pears and mangos but I try not to consume too much fruit. Home-made hummus is super easy and cheap and delicious to dip carrot and cucumber sticks in.

I hope this is of some help! Let me know if you have any questions. Again - I know this isn't the right diet for everyone, and I'm still working things out, but so-far-so-good! Edited by JLopez

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