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MTD

Battling acne for 9 years...

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Hello everyone. I’m new to forums, but have been following this one in particular for quite a few years and am just now deciding to make an account and write my own testimony. This may be a long one, so what I’ll do is provide a summary of my story, then post the entire story below for if you’d like more details.

 

SUMMARY:

I’m a male, 26 years old. I have very sensitive, pale skin. Started on topicals, they worked but then stopped working. I’ve tried oral antibiotics, as well as accutane as a last resort for cystic acne. I’ve taken 3 courses of accutane within my 9 year battle with acne, and am now breaking out again, about 1 year after my last accutane course. Though accutane worked for me each time, the acne also came back each time, which caused me to believe there is something my body is or isn’t doing that is contributing toward producing acne when I am not on accutane. The formation of acne is not normal and is always the result of something. I’ve spent countless hours researching, trying to find out why I’ve been breaking out. In attempt to change my overall health for the better, and cure my breakouts once and for all, naturally, I began changing my diet. Ironically, I didn’t start to really break out badly until I made all these healthy lifestyle choices at once. I try to consume lots of veggies, low-glycemic foods, even quit whey protein powder for pea and brown rice protein. I’ve been taking digestive enzymes before every meal and have tested for allergies. I’ve tried acupuncture, red light therapy, even BHA/AHAs. I’ve always been a weightlifter but have incorporated cardio as well. However, these breakouts have been discouraging me from going to the gym lately, because sweat —> irritation —> acne.  I’m also taking lamisil for a fungal infection in my toe. I’m sort of lost right now... all I think about is my skin.. mainly how to fix it. I mean, all I want to do is workout and eat what I want without breaking out, but I can’t. I’m allergic to vegetable oils and oats, so I’m paranoid about food causing my breakouts. I feel like a detective who can’t solve the case and ends up going crazy. Any help or advice would be appreciated. My confidence is shot. My energy levels are low because I’m spending it all trying to find the answer to this. I’d appreciate any advice.

 

I will post my current regimen as well as supplements I’ve tried below. 

 

FULL STORY:

I’m a 26 year old male. My skin started breaking out at around age 15-16, but a trip to my derm fixed it in a matter of a couple months when he prescribed benzoyl peroxide 2.5%/clindamycin 5% + adapalene .01% topicals. My stress levels were moderately low back then. The topicals continued to work magically, and by age 18 (senior year) I had truly flawless skin. I remember looking at myself in the mirror of my school’s bathroom and thinking to myself “I can’t recall the last time I had a zit... even a tiny one”.  My skin tone is pale, so any blemish is visible. Anyway, after high school my stress levels started to increase. I started breaking out again, so I asked my derm for an antibiotic (dumb, I know). I knew very little about skin heath back then... like how detrimental antibiotics could be to your gut’s microbiome. He put me on doxycyclin and my skin cleared right up, and I once again had flawless skin. During that time I started tanning regularly to fade the acne marks quicker, but I feel as if the tanning stimulated my sebaceous glands. I started to dry out, which triggered an overproduction of oil, which then brought back the acne. When the doxy stopped working I opted to try another antibiotic, so he put me on minocyclin. It did next to nothing. So in a desperate attempt to fix my skin, I took tot the internet and read about some dude who cured his acne from sitting in the sauna. Well, I tried it and ended up overdoing it in the sauna, which dried my skin out even more. Anyway, my breakout was at its peak. I had cystic acne on my cheeks and forehead. It hurt. It was demoralizing. I was at a low place in my life, but during a visit to my derm he suggested accutane. I never heard of it, so I did my research and decided to give it a try. To be honest, the side effects did not scare me because I felt like I wasn’t truly living my life, always hiding indoors, avoiding people, fixated on my acne. My daily agenda literally revolved around trying not to aggregate my face and giving it enough time to heal. Like, if I had a long night out, I’d need 3-4 days to recover from a bad breakout, until it was fine enough, in my eyes, to go out in public again.

 

I was put on 60mg per day of accutane for 5 months, and as rough as it was it completely cleared my skin. I was amazed. However, I started to slowly breakout again after about a year, and despite my best efforts to control it (diet, topicals, etc.), it only got worse... until my derm suggested another round of accutane, saying some people require a second course. The cystic acne never did return (thank God), so the accutane was good for that. The 2nd course was much easier, and it cleared me up again. But after a year my acne started coming back just like last time. It made me think that perhaps accutane wasn’t the answer... but my skin continued down a downward spiral and got bad enough that I asked for a 3rd course, thinking I would make the most of it by taking the doses with food, since accutane is a derivative of vitamin A and is more bioavailable when taken with food, fat in particular. The 3rd course cleared me up again, and I honestly thought acne was in my past... I noticed I would break out after shaving, so I used a clindamycin lotion and it fixed it for a while... but not long after it started getting worse, then the same thing started happening all over my face and was unresponsive so clind, so now here I am. Lost. Defeated. 

At first I thought maybe it was candida. I have a fungal infection in my toe nail, so it added up, but I’ve been on lamisil for a month and am still breaking out. I try not to pick, but sometimes it’s hard.

 

I’ve been battling acne for the better part of 9 years now. I am now an adult facing horrible acne breakouts, and I’m not sure where to turn. I’ve tried nearly every topical on the market. 

 

My current regimen:

 

AM

-Benzoyl peroxide contact therapy for 5-10min.

-Cetaphil face wash (gentle)

-Cera Ve PM facial moisturizer (unless going out, then use SPF)

 

PM

-Benzoyl peroxide contact therapy for 5-10min.

-Cetaphil face wash (gentle)

-Cera Ve PM facial moisturizer

-Adapalene 0.1% gel

-Moisturize again later in the evening, before bed.

 

I’ve taken a multitude of supplements on and off, and have invested thousands of dollars in trying to find the answer.

 

The irony : This past breakout didn’t occur until AFTER I began changing my lifestyle for the better... for example, replacing fast food with higher density foods, exercising more, drinking more water, taking supplements, sleeping more, etc. I am wondering if perhaps the supplements are taking a toll on my liver, kidneys, etc.

 

Here are SOME of the things I’ve tried and supplements I’ve used:

 

Vitamin A (evening/with meal): Extra Virgin Cod Liver Oil (Dropi Pure Icelandic Cod Liver Oil Extra Virgin).

Vitamin B1-B5 (morning/empty stomach): Nutritional Yeast (Pure Natural Non-fortified Nutritional Yeast Flakes). Don’t take too close to bed time.

Vitamin C (morning/empty stomach): 2000mg/day. Ascorbic acid. Organic Kakadu Plum Juice Blend.

Vitamin D (with meals): 4000 IU/day

Take with calcium to absorb better.

Vitamin E: Sunflower seeds and almonds.

Calcium (with meals): 1,000mg/day. Take with vitamin D to absorb better.

Potassium: 7-10 cups veggies/day.

Zinc (empty stomach): 8-11mg/day. 

Trace Minerals (with meals): Plant-based organic (Tropical Oasis - Premium Ionized Plant Based Trace Minerals Liquid).

Magnesium (bed time): 400mg/day (before bed), calms you. Take with calcium to ease muscles.

Ashwagandha: Taken in morning for energy OR before bed to relax you (300-1000mg/day).

Probiotic (with meals or before bed): 66.5B CFU/day to help heal your gut / aids in digestion.

Stinging Nettle Root (with or without food): 360mg/day. Prostate / urinary tract health.

Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV): Take before meals. Burns fat/aides in digestion and helps to absorb nutrients (acidic - Mix, do not drink straight).

Gullbladder Enzymes: Dr. Mercola Gullbladder Enzymes will help aid digestion / absorb nutrients.

Collagen powder (on empty stomach) 20-60g/day: Protein blocks for healthy joints, skin, hair, nails, stomach lining. Take with vitamin C.

-Bone Broth (alt)

Astaxanthin (with meals): 4mg/day. Antioxidant/Protects against free radicals.

Turmeric (with meals): 500-1000mg/day for anti-inflammatory effects. Black pepper boosts effects.

Liver Detox: Promotes healthy liver / aids in absorbing nutrients (Himalaya LiverCare/Liv. 52).

-Milk Thistle 150mg 2x/day

-Turmeric 1g/day

-Dandelion

Echinacea (bed time): 300mg/day.

Vitamin K: 120mcg/day.

Theanine: 200-800mg/day.

Vitamin A: 700-900mcg/day.

Oregano oil: 500mg 4x/day for acute infection to have antimicrobial effect.

 

Ultra acid: 2 pills before meals, up until warm sensation in chest, then back off 1 pill (have not tried yet... planning to)

 

Brown rice and Pea protein powder instead of whey.

 

Multi-vitamin + ACV + bone broth = Daily Sub/Replacement.

 

Fats:

-Ground flax seed

-Chia seeds

-Extra Virgin Olive oil

-Extra Virgin coconut oil

 

 

Practices:

-Lower sugar intake.

-More quality sleep.

-Lower stress levels.

-Eat more gut-friendly foods.

-More cardio.

-Low/no caffeine.

-Relaxation exercises.

-Chew food thoroughly (aides digestion / prevents leaky gut).

-Drink water (~half my body weight in ounces).

 

Natural antibiotics:

-Oregano oil

-Honey

-Garlic

-Tea tree oil

-Elderberry

 

Detox drink (drink before meal, 3x per day):

-Cinnamon (best antioxidant, fat soluble)

-Lemon juice

-ACV

-Stevia

-Honey (no honey while fasting)

 

Detoxifying fruits and veggies:

-Watermelon (fluid exchange/cells)

-Cucumber (fluid exchange/cells)

-Lemon (liver)

-Lime (liver)

-Grapefruit (liver)

-Berries (kidneys/adrenal glands)

 

Detoxifying herbs:

-Mint

-Ginger (gut)

-Rosemary

-Dandelion (liver)

-Cinnamon

-Cayenne pepper (blood)

 

Detoxifying oils:

-Orange: Liver/lymphatic system. 1-2 drops internally.

-Rosemary: Adrenals/kidneys. 1-2 drops on your abdomen.

-Turmeric: Liver/kidneys. Topically or internally.

-Vetiver: Brain. Diffuse or topically.

-Black pepper oil: Cardiovascular system. 2-3 drops on soles of feet.

 

Other ways to detox:

-Intermittent fasting: 18 hours fast, 6 hours eat.

-Get sun.

-Walk barefoot.

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Hi @MTD, I also have recently (the last few months especially) been focusing on healthy lifestyle choices such as eating less processed foods, adding supplements I may be lacking, researching and using a few essential oils, drinking more water, and trying to limit unwanted chemicals in things around me (in cleaning products, soaps, face wash, foods). Weirdly enough, my skin issues (cystic acne and lasting redness) have acted as if they are unrelated. I do all the usual things to prevent acne: washing my face regularly, changing pillowcase often, not touching my skin with dirty hands, and I even tried cutting dairy out of my diet. I might have seen a slight improvement when I stopped consuming any dairy, but I'm also on a low-dose antibiotic prescribed by my dermatologist which might have been the reason for my skin being slightly better. 

I'm beginning to wonder if maybe just the diet/lifestyle change itself is just something my body needs to get used to, and things just take time. I don't know, but I just feel that it shouldn't take months to see a difference. I've heard though, with Accutane, it can take months, so maybe it does with other things as well. 

Obviously my story is a bit different from yours in that I am a female with known hormone issues. Just thought it was interesting that I also experienced a breakout even while eating the healthiest I ever have. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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2 minutes ago, LavenderHummingbird said:

Hi @MTD, I also have recently (the last few months especially) been focusing on healthy lifestyle choices such as eating less processed foods, adding supplements I may be lacking, researching and using a few essential oils, drinking more water, and trying to limit unwanted chemicals in things around me (in cleaning products, soaps, face wash, foods). Weirdly enough, my skin issues (cystic acne and lasting redness) have acted as if they are unrelated. I do all the usual things to prevent acne: washing my face regularly, changing pillowcase often, not touching my skin with dirty hands, and I even tried cutting dairy out of my diet. I might have seen a slight improvement when I stopped consuming any dairy, but I'm also on a low-dose antibiotic prescribed by my dermatologist which might have been the reason for my skin being slightly better. 

I'm beginning to wonder if maybe just the diet/lifestyle change itself is just something my body needs to get used to, and things just take time. I don't know, but I just feel that it shouldn't take months to see a difference. I've heard though, with Accutane, it can take months, so maybe it does with other things as well. 

Obviously my story is a bit different from yours in that I am a female with known hormone issues. Just thought it was interesting that I also experienced a breakout even while eating the healthiest I ever have. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Hi, Lavender. It sounds like we are experiencing a very similar thing. I, too, experience redness, which eventually fades. My skin is just super sensitive overall. I also have redness on my eyesocket/eyelid, which is new. I wonder if our current breakout could be a purge due to eating healthy? I wish I had a definite answer. Whatever the reason is, I obviously haven't thought of it in 9 years of looking. Anyway, good luck to you. Hopefully we both can find some sort of relief soon.

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On 2/16/2019 at 11:38 PM, jPablo said:

Did Accutane not decrease the amount of acne that returned each time?

For me no, it came back even worse (though I know it is very uncommon)

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I'm sorry but healthy eating and detoxing won't solve your problem, it can actually create problems like stomach issues. Natural supplements and herbs are not regulated and can be actually contaminated with other plants that are poisonous or toxic. I would give azelaic acid a try if you have rosacea (redness, pimples...). To destroy acne you have to unclog your pores and keep them unclogged and kill the bacteria. I would suggest starting a prescription retinoid like Tazorac, I think it's the best retinoid for acne, and it's used not to treat acne, but to prevent it. Also, "gentle" DIY chemical peels with salicylic acid and mandelic acid are very effective for treating and preventing acne, even cystic acne. Mandelic acid has antibacterial properties so it will kill bacteria and it also regulates sebum production so it's really good for cystic acne. I had some really stubborn acne on my chin and they got rid of them. The key is to be persistent and do them 2-3 times a week for 6 weeks and take a break for 2 weeks for the skin cells to turn over and then repeat this cycle if necessary. Let me know if you need any tips because I'm happy to help. I know how extremely frustrating it is to have acne and scarring and how that destroys your self-esteem, but know that it's possible to get it under control. 

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MTD (and others)

You very likely have fungal acne caused by malasezzia , but more likely caused by candida (because lamisil is not treating the problem for MTSD, at least - see below). Fungal acne (ie, outbreaks of candida and/or malasezzia) is CAUSED by taking (and applying) antibiotics, and possibly by taking accutane(?). Fungal acne CAUSES CYSTIC ACNE, just as MTD describes. Fungal acne commonly occurs AFTER people have taken antibiotics prescribed for what started out as ordinary acne and then it turns into fungal acne. People keep being prescribed antibiotics and the problem gets WORSE AND WORSE.

Lamisil controls malasezzia BUT LAMISIL (TERBENAFINE) WILL NOT CONTROL CANDIDA. that is why you are not getting any benefit from taking oral lamisil. You have candida, NOT malasezzia. Different antifungals control diferent types of fungus, and they will not control other types of fungus.

Do you have a white tongue ? If so (and from your other symptoms and your descriptions) your "acne" is caused by candida.

Buy some NYSTATIN cream, if you can get it without a prescription. It should clear your "acne". If you cannot get nystatin cream, buy some clotrimazole cream and try using that. Apply the nystatin or clotrimazole cream 3-4 tims a day to your skin. Your "acne" should stat clearing in a week or two.

Keep your skin very dry. Do not apply moisturiser. You can dust your skin with corn (maize) flour at night if you wish.

I would stop taking lamisil as oral terbenafine is quite dangerous. Topical terbenafine is not dangerous. Applying tea tree oil and/or soaking your toes in 3% peroxide should get rid of the toenail fungus (it will take a while).

Are you taking antibiotics ? If so, I strongly suggest that you STOP taking antibiotics, if you are only taking them for the acne.

Use strict hygiene protocols to avoid getting a secondary staph infection on top of the fungal acne. Wash you skin no more than twice a day in chlorhexadine (hibiclens) to ensure that you do not get a secondary staph infection. Wash you hands twice before touching the affected areas of your skin. Use a clean towel (or disposable paper towels) to dry your skin. NEVER touch your nose and then touch the affected areas of your skin. Wash your hands or use hand sanitiser after blowing your nose.

You can stop using benzoyl peroxide - it will not help acne caused by candida very much and it irritates skin. Benzoyl peroxide will help control bacteria, if you get a secondary bacterial infection (staph) indicated by hot skin, exudate and pain. You should not get a secondary staph infection if you use strict hygiene protocols - see above.

I am happy to hear back from you.

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Hello

I almost started to cry reading your story, it is so similar to mine (and I really felt like I was reading about my experience when I read about all the supplements you have tried). I feel so hopeless about my skin that I'm really going crazy. I always thought that I was the only one who has tried so many different things but still struggling with severe acne. I feel like we would have so much to talk about and relate to. 

Thank you so so much for sharing your story.

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Kadi

You probably have fungal acne. I am not sure whether your post was directed at me or not.

Fungal acne is caused by taking antibiotics and some other meds. Fungal acne can also be caused by hormonal issues just as ordinary acne can be.

Doctors know nothing about fungal skin conditions.

You can control the "acne" by doing the following -

1. Buy clotrimazole topical antifungal cream and apply it to the areas with "acne" 2-3 times a day. Topical antifungal creams are TOTALLY safe and some/most (depending on country) are available without a prescription.

2. Wash your hair in an antidandruff shampoo.

3. Do NOT apply any moisturisers or organic oils to the areas with acne unless your skin becomes verydry. Moisturisers and organic oils feed one type of fungal acne and all fungus loves moisture.

If you get back to me with answers to the questions below, I can provide targeted information to control your "acne".

Have you taken antibiotics or other meds.

Do you have one or more of the following (as well as the acne) - white coating on your tongue, dandruff, flaking skin, toenail fungus, itchy and/or painful skin, red rash/es, unexplained tiredness, headaches, "brain fog", stomach or gut problems, sinus problems.

You may need a more targeted antifungal cream to control the "acne". I can provide information about this after I hear back from you.

I look forward to hearing back from you.

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