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As the title says, I'm in dire straits thanks to nearly two decades of acne treatments. In case of TLDR, I was wondering (hoping, really) whether anyone else has been through years of harsh acne treatments and found a product, foodstuff or regimen of any sort that helped them recover fully or at least partially?

Over 18 years and a gamut of registered physicians and dermatologists, I was prescribed, and thus took a crazy amount of acne treatments. I can't remember all of them, but several were:

  • tretinoin/ Retin-A (10 years use, twice daily)
  • antibiotics (7 years use)
  • accutane (high strength; 1 cycle)
  • BP facewash (10 years use, twice daily)
  • Salicylic acid peels (5 years; weekly)
  • AHA peels (5 years; bi monthly weekly)
  • BHA peels (5 years; bi monthy)
  • Exfoliation (about 7-8 years; daily)
  • A topical roll-on solution that I forget the name of (on and off for about 10 years; stopped due to developing an allergy to it)

Never once did any of these professionals warn me or my parents of the dangers of prolonged use of any of these products (not even that I should use sunscreen with them), nor did they ever link them my systemic health problems, which began to develop in my late teens (namely: hypothyroidism; PCOS; adrenal insufficiency; poor night vision; severe IBS; sleep disruption; fibromyalgia; diffuse alopecia; prematurely greying hair).  The only 'moisturisers' I was advised to use were mineral oil, vaseline, and one that I forget the name of (basically mineral oil with other occlusive agents). As I didn't have a clue, and blindly trusted authority figures, I never questioned any of this. 

I went from having super oily, youthful, olive skin (I'm mixed ethnicity), to extremely dry, flaky, dull, rosacea-like (face only) and apparently prematurely aged skin. 

I believe my gut was absolutely wrecked by the antibiotics and Accutane, and a lot of these illnesses stemmed from that. The topical products I believe compounded the situation by destroying my lipid barrier, acid mantle, then over exerting my hexamer (?) limit (amount of times skin cells can turn over) and exacerbating my photo-sensitivity and the damage thereof.

Over the last decade I've spent a small fortune on dietary supplements (all the major ones recommended for skin and gut health), most of which never had any lasting effect. I've very recently cut them down to the essentials that I don't manage to get in my daily diet (zinc picolinate with ascorbic acid; magnesium bisgylcinate; individual b vits; algae oil; vitamin d spray; vitamin k complex). For the last five years I've tried to eat as healthy a diet as possible, getting my RDA of as many of the vits and mins as possible. I drink 3 liters of water daily. Since last year  been getting my caffeine from 2 cups of matcha green tea, and only drink on weekends (about 4 units once a week). I'd love to exercise, but extreme pain and frequent fatigue due to fibromylagia have made this currently impossible. For the last few months I've been using a mixture of aloe vera gel (fresh from the plant) and argan oil after cleansing with raw honey (once daily), and apply home-made sunscreen whenever I know I'll be in the sun for any extended period of time, although all of this appears to be merely stopping things from getting worse, as opposed to actually repairing any damage. 

I'm wondering if anyone else has been through similar treatments and managed to repair the damage to their skin, gut, or both?  Can the lipid barrier repair itself, or at least be repaired? What about the acid mantle? Can micro-tears be repaired? Can sebum glands be restored? Once collagen (and elastin; although that one may be beyond the scope of this discussion) are gone, are they gone irreversibly? 

Looking forward to your input! 

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i have no evidence but i strongly believe all the topical creams and washes i've used over 17 years, (some issued by doctors) have caused long term skin sensitivity and have contributed to my long term blotchy, bad skin.

the only thing which seems to work for me is to barely wash my face and when i do so, only use water. - i cant use soaps or any creams unless i want a bright red face.

 i keep reading about vitamin c serum being some sort of healing cream but im not sure.


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