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Hey guys,

I've been on this site for a while now and am finally deciding to share my journey in hopes of getting 100% clear.  Quick background, I'm a 24 year old female who has suffered from acne since puberty. It started as whiteheads and progressed to cystic acne as I became older. I used to have it all over my face, chest, and upper back but after getting on birth control at 17 I've had soft clear skin on my chest and back.  Currently, I have a lot of hyperpigmentation and acne on my cheeks and chin; my forehead has never really been a problem unless I eat poorly (more on that later). I'll update every wednesday with pics! 

Oily skin: I used to be an OIL SLICK.  I mean, I could wash my face with Dawn dish detergent and 10 minutes later see little oil spots flickering from my pores. If I wore makeup it would melt off after 4 hours. What cured this for me was Vitamin D3.  You have to take Vitamin D3 in order to reap the benefits as the way it is processed in your body is different than if you just took a Vitamin D supplement.  This single-handedly helped my skin so much, and I truly believe that an acne problem is a gut problem.  VItamin D does deplete your magnesium levels, so I spray magnesium oil onto my skin (arms/legs/stomach NOT face), to keep that in check.  I also am a lot less anxious now after beginning the magnesium. I believe  where acne comes from has a lot less to do with what you're putting on your face, although you can clear your face with topicals.  I've cut out dairy from my diet 90% of the time (pizza is usually that 10% exception), after reading that dairy is strongly linked to acne.  All of my opinions in these posts are evidence-based by the way.  I'm also currently going gluten free for 30 days to see how my skin reacts.  I notice that the only time my forehead breaks out is when I eat a lot of wheat, so I'm hoping that completely eliminating it from my diet will produce bigger changes.  Just because you don't have Celiac disease doesn't mean you can be intolerant to gluten or other foods.  In fact, most allergies have to do with the way we process our foods, not the actual food in its whole form.  Sorry for rambling! Moving on..

Moisturizers: WHY is it so hard to find a decent moisturizer! I've literally tried probably a hundred moisturizers; what has worked for me without adverse reactions is Pond's(but it's thick so I only use it at night), Cerave (without SPF), and Hemp Seed Oil.  Olay, Neutrogena, African black soap's moisturizer, Cetaphil (shockingly!)  Jojoba oil, Acne.Org moisturizer, Dermasil, Clinique dramatically different moisturizer, Olive oil, Bio oil, Coconut oil, garnier oil-free gel moisturizer, Aveeno clear, Clean and Clear w/ salicylic acid, Burt's Bees, and I'm sure others have all resulted in breakouts in one form or another.  I do believe a moisturizer is crucial, but finding one that works for you takes a lot of time and way too much money. 

Makeup: Tried and true makeup for me has been MakeUp Forever HD foundation (but it is SO expensive!), Revlon colorstay whipped, Maybelline FIT Me, and ironically NYC's pressed powders. (LOVE it when cheap makeup is great!) I use Revlon age defying concealer and Neutrogena healthy skin blush. I've tried so many foundations and blushes, and these are my go-tos.  

Face wash: I use Purity by Philosophy and it is truly worth the money to me.  I also make sure to take off all of my makeup with neutrogena makeup wipes and this has helped keep my skin clear immensely also. If I want a deep clean, I'll use Pond's Cold Cream cleanser like twice a month, it's just a pain because you use a wash cloth every time.  I've also tried a ton of facewashes, if I need to use one in a pinch I'll use Dove soap and it does the job without ruining my skin. 

Topicals: I've tried so many topicals.  Retin-A (peeled and didn't clear), Benzaclin (my skin became used to it but it was great), Dan's BP (good stuff), grisi sulfur soap (good stuff also for mild acne), African Black soap (ehh), salicylic acid in the wipes, toners, and gel/creams.

Oral supplements: Spiro (became hypotensive), Saw Palmetto (literally made me crazy! but I did go up a cup size haha!) milk thistle and burdock root (I saw no change in my skin after completing the whole bottle), and I'm currently on Day 5 of minocycline. I don't want to go on Accutane for the long-term risks that it poses (Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis), so for now I haven't tried that. 

Okay! I think that about covers it.  

Currently: 
AM: Cleanse with purity, apply Cerave moisturizer and later on makeup if I'm leaving the house. 50 mg of Mino twice a day.
PM: Remove makeup w/ neutrogena makeup wipes, cleanse with purity and apply pea-sized Epiduo Forte followed by Cerave moisturizer.
Supplements: 1 TSP of Carlson's Cod Liver Oil (many benfits to this just overall) + Birth control Tri-Estyrella (generic ortho tric-cylcen)

Thanks for Reading!
XO
 

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Edited by Hollymarie030
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Week 2 on mino and epiduo.

I've skipped the epiduo twice due to peeling, but have had no other adverse effects.  My skin feels smoother overall although I am still having a few breakouts. No problems with the mino.  Also, gluten free isn't as big of a challenge as I thought!

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Finding the right moisturizer is really a pain. I agree. :D I don't even want to count the total amount of money I've spent just for this. Not to mention the patch test...it's just so time, money, and energy consuming.

A question: do you find Revlon Colorstay hard to remove? I'm on accutane and I use Revlon Colorstay, but I can't use makeup remover or wipes since they sting (sensitive skin while on accutane...).

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It is definitely harder to remove, the consistency is like a thick mousse. Have you ever tried Ponds cold cream cleanser? I imagine that would be really soothing for your skin! You just take a generous amt, smooth it all over your skin and then steam a washcloth and gently wipe away! It works great for me if I run out of makeup remover wipes :) how far along are you on tane?

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Week 3:
 I was definitely over-moisturizing especially on my cheeks. No significant improvement but my skin is smoother.  I had some really hard sebum above my lip that never really did much and that has finally started coming out.

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Your skin is looking good!!! :)

I have a question about Vit D3 and the oily skin....I recently got my levels checked and I'm pretty deficient (I'm at 21!! D:). I also started supplementing and noticed a decrease in the oiliness of my skin (which was surprising as my skin is crazy oily, like how yours used to be...).

I was wondering how many IU of D3 you take in a day and how long it took for you to start seeing a decrease in your oiliness? And how oily your skin is now? So many questions haha but thanks for answering!!

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Hey Swedishfishy! I take 5,000 IU right now because it's winter.  In the summer, I'll definitely lower my dosage so that I'm not over-doing it! But I probably noticed a difference in just 2 weeks, and then in a month I was amazed that my makeup was no longer sliding off of my face haha.  My skin right now isn't oily at all!!  What you see in the pictures is how it is mid-day at like 3pm with light moisturizing. I get oily if I'm eating poorly or screw up my moisturizer.  If I skip it completely my skin will over-compensate or if I use too much I'll obviously be a little shiny. 

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Week 4:

Feeling pretty discouraged, I would've hoped for more improvement by the 4th week of taking 100mg of mino and epiduo, so 3 days ago I added on some supplements that I had read about that other girls were successful with.  I'm now taking Vit D3, B Complex, Dessicated Liver, and Zinc + CLO + magnesium oil spray.  WHEW that's a lot just for clear skin, but honestly worth it everything works out.  I have been going strong with gluten free! Haven't cheated, and I really do feel a lot better.  I used to feel like I had a mental fog a lot, like I couldn't really concentrate on what I was doing.  I don't notice that anymore at all.  I'm leaning toward making GF a permanent lifestyle change.  

I know antibiotics are usually a temporary fix, but my thought process is that the antibiotics will kill off the bad bacteria in my gut while I allow it to heal by keeping gluten and sugar out of my diet.   My B complex supplement also contains probiotics and I take a probiotic probably 3x/week.  If anyone has gone through a similar regimen with success please share! Will update again next week.  

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Well I've decided to stop taking the minocycline.  I think if an antibiotic was going to be a great cure, I would've had more success after a month of being on 100mg.  Instead, I'm going to try and do this the natural way.  I will say, I've been eating a ton of cheese because I'm staying with family and feel it's insulting to not eat what they cook, so I'm sure that will end up playing a role in my skin -__-.  Otherwise, I've started drinking more green tea, and have been keeping up with my supplements daily aside from the dessicated liver.  It's so hard to get down even 1 of them and a serving size is 3!

I'm also looking into getting a juicer, I've read about a lot of success when people incorporate green juices into their diets.  I think I need to be more mindful of eliminating AND supplementing foods.  Just because I'm not eating gluten doesn't mean my body is getting what it needs... The journey continues...  For some reason I am unable to upload my pictures! 

Edited by Hollymarie030
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PROGRESSSS!!

SO happy to see some clearing after all of this BS.  I haven't been on mino or epiduo, and am doing things naturally aside from Dan's BP.  Current regimen for the past week:
Drink 1 glass of green juice every morning
Eat breakfast, take B complex, Vit D, Zinc
NO gluten, minimal dairy, and take Cod Liver Oil with dinner.  Probiotics sparingly as well.

Even though it's still spotty, my skin is looking much better than it has on any of the prescription meds!! FINALLY feeling hopeful! I am also thinking of adding Apple Cider Vinegar to the mix as I've heard great things about it.

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