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Mysterious Cystic Acne Around Mouth, Jawline and Chin -- CURED

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I made an account just to post about this issue because I know there is someone out there suffering with the same issue I had and IT IS FIXABLE.

I am a 24 y/o female with dry/combination skin. My whole life, I never really had issues with breakouts, even as a teen. My only skin concern was dryness/redness. Like a normal person, I would sometimes experience breakouts (maybe one every 2 months and they were on the surface of my skin), and they would last about 2-3 days before disappearing completely. I guess I was taking my clear skin for granted because about 4 months ago that changed SEVERELY. Around December, I started getting deep, cystic acne around my mouth, on my chin and along my jawline (sometimes on my cheeks, too). It was so painful and underground that I could not even open my mouth all the way. These were the type of cysts that were so large, even makeup couldn't cover them (Let me tell you, I tried. I bought out all of Ulta trying to find something high coverage enough to cover those suckers up. It was horrible.). I had NO idea what was going on, as overall, I was pretty healthy. I ate relatively well, worked out regularly and was pretty diligent about my skincare. I was also very hygienic (i.e. never skipped washing my face, never went to bed with makeup on, etc.). I also knew it wasn't my birth control and I consulted with my doctor (I have the IUD) and she assured me that there was a 0.1% that was the cause.

So, I did what most people do when acne flares up, thinking it was an easy, temporary fix: Got more sleep, drank more water, changed my skincare routine to all natural products, tried essential oils, tried to be less stressed out (ha), cut out refined sugars and other well-known acne triggers (chocolate, dairy, etc.). NOTHING was helping. I didn't know what do to. I saw dermatologists, went to my family physician - they didn't know what was causing it either. The one helpful thing they did tell me was that since my acne was localized around my mouth, chin and jawline, that it was hormonal acne. So, after many expensive creams, doctor's appointments, and consulting with my aesthetician friends didn't produce the answers I needed, I set out to find the cause myself, and I did. SOY!

After months of searching and lots of sleepless nights, I finally figured it out. It didn't hit me until one night when I was making an sort-of overnight oats recipe (oats, almond butter, almond milk, coconut sugar and a scoop of soy protein powder). I ate the whole thing in one sitting and over the next 3 days, my acne was the worst it had ever been. I had 2-3 new cysts popping up every day. That's when it clicked. The soy. I was also eating soymilk ice cream and having a half a scoop of soy protein powder in my smoothie every day after working out. But, I was skeptical at first after making this realization. If it was soy that was making me flare up, what did that have to do with hormones? Isn't that just a food sensitivity? That wouldn't explain the location of my acne, would it? After doing tons of research, I found out that soy (if genetically modified), can boost estrogen in your body and prevent other hormones from taking effect. I'm no doctor or anything, but  that's what I took from what I read (AKA -- soy isn't always that great for you and can cause hormonal imbalances in some people). That's what was happening to me, and explained why my acne was only happening around my mouth, chin and jawline and nowhere else on my face.

I immediately threw away anything that had soy as an ingredient (even if a small percentage) and MY ACNE STOPPED COMPLETELY. I have not had a flare up since and my old acne is on its way to healing. If you have a similar story, try cutting out soy. It took me 4 months of grief and despair (I wish was I was being dramatic) before figuring out the culprit! Also, don't get discouraged if you still have a few new cysts after you stop eating soy-containing products. I had a few "new" ones but they weren't really new because they were from pores that were already blocked from the hormone imbalance. I could visibly see those ones were still blocked (my skin was raised in those areas and I could see the pore was blocked), so I knew they would take their course before I would be in the clear (no pun intended). After those, I have had no new breakouts at all.

I have a new appreciation of how much acne can effect your entire life, but don't lose hope - acne is NOT permanent and there is a fix for you. Throughout this process I kept thinking "This is just how my skin is now. It's not something that can be fixed." But that was not true. Research is the way to go. I found that the "experts" did not help me that much and my own research and healthy experimentation is what ultimately led to my "cure"! No negatives toward derms though, I know they have helped many people. That was just my personal experience.

I wanted to write this post to help even one person out there who many be experiencing the same thing. I hope my story helps! Good luck!

Edited by woodr1km
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Thank you for your post, it really means a lot when people share their experiences!
I've been wondering about the soy's effects on my acne, but I never really tracked things down. Since I heard of people mentioning it as an acne-causing ingredient I've been staying away from it. 

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UPDATE: After much research, I realized that while I do have a sensitivity to soy as far as breakouts are concerned, the main cause of my acne was my Mirena IUD after all. I cut out soy, which worked for a time, but soon thereafter, I continued getting cystic acne in the same places, even with a soy-free diet. After tearing through the web, I read up on Mirena-induced acne and it seems that is the cause. I am still debating getting it out because I love it for everything else. 

I am trying Evening Primrose Oil supplements (2 x day @ 1,000mg each) and DIM supplements (1 capsule x day) and seeing if I can get some hormonal balance from that. If not, I will have my IUD removed and go on the pill again. Wish me luck. :(
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