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I've had acne since middle school, and I'm now a college sophomore. Needless to say, it's been a nuisance. I've been on Accutane twice, both times during high school; each was very helpful, but some degree of acne came back. For the last year I've had mild acne, kept that way with minocycline (which seems to be effective for me, but I'd certainly prefer not to use it in the long term due to the risk of side effects), Differin (I tried Tazorac, but it was too harsh for my skin), and various other products I've tried. (I was also on topical clindamycin for a while, which was somewhat effective but produced a lot of redness.) I've also had a few acid peels done, which seem mildly helpful for acne and good for reducing acne scars. Fortunately, money isn't much of a concern for me, so I've been seeing two dermatologists (one at home and one at college) and trying some expensive products (such as Kinerase, which is an excellent moisturizer that seems to have reduced some minor indentations I had on my face, but had no discernable impact on acne).

A month ago, I was home for winter break (which is a month long for my college), and I decided to pick up "The Acne Prescription" (the book) by Dr. Perricone. I'm highly skeptical of many aspects of him; for one thing, if his products are so miraculous, then why have no credible independent studies been done with them? And why does he go to such great lengths to criticize the mainstream dermatological community? Also, his focus is definitely on women in their 40's and beyond with both wrinkles and acne, whereas I'm a 19-year-old male. Nonetheless, I decided to try the whole package for a while, as an experiment. Thankfully, one of the sites that sells his products, Sephora.com, does free shipping and has a generous 30-day return policy, so at least I could return any products that turned out to be completely awful.

The "Prescription" has three tiers: Diet, supplements, and topicals. (The book is divided into these three parts. Naturally, Perricone's own company has a monopoly on the topicals he recommends, and also sells the supplements...) I'll describe each part below.

1) Diet: The emphasis here is on not causing rapid increases in blood sugar, through the use of a "glycemic index." (You can find this for free online; it's commonly used by diabetics, as well as dieters.) This is controversial among nutritionists; the most mainstream viewpoint is that eating lots of bread (particularly whole grain) is beneficial, but there are some credible nutritionists who do suggest avoiding bread, rice, potatos, etc., because they produce rapid spikes in blood sugar, which have been shown to have some negative effects. Perricone claims that these spikes cause acne, and also accelerate aging. Of course, no one has ever verified these theories...

The rest of his recommended diet is very solid: Lots of fruits and vegetables (but no juice or potatoes, because of their high glycemic index), fish every day if possible (and wild Alaskan salmon 3-4 times a week, if possible). Avoid beef, chicken, and sweets. Avoid foods with high saturated fat content, but don't pursue an excessively low-fat diet; skin needs fat, he claims.

I didn't find this hard to embrace, since I've been a vegetarian for the last few years. I'd decided before I picked up the book to add fish to my diet, so I started eating that more often. Also, I'd been drinking lots and lots of juice before; I cut that out, drinking more tea (esp. green tea) and water instead, and adding more whole fruits to my diet (berries especially).

2) Supplements: Perricone recommends quite a few supplements. The cost is a concern; I'd already been on a multi-vitamin, alpha lipoic acid, and omega-3/6, which are probably the three most important things he recommends (and cost ~50 cents per day), but he also recommends grape seed extract, DMAE, Coenzyme Q10, Acetyl-L-Carnitine, ascorbyl palmitate (a fat-soluble form of vitamin C), turmeric (a spice with antioxidant qualities), and a few others. Whether you buy these from www.nvperriconemd.com (as the "Skin Clear Nutritional Support System") or individually from vitamin stores, the cost is ~$2/day. Ouch.

3) Topicals: Needless to say, the Perricone approach to topicals is very... thorough. A cleanser with DMAE (a nutrient), toner pads with alpha lipoic, salicylic, and glycolic acid, an anti-acne cream with benzoyl peroxide (as well as both DMAE and alpha lipoic acid), and a moisturizer with DMAE. (There's a separate "face finishing" moisturizer that can be added on top if your skin is particularly dry; it contains alpha lipoic acid and is non-comedogenic.) All of these are quite expensive; the cost is around $2/day total, depending on how frequently you apply them (Perricone recommends applying everything every day and every night; I apply everything during the day, and just the moisturizer during the night, to reduce both irritation and costs). To put these costs into perspective, the toner pads alone cost ~$50 cents each, and Perricone recommends applying using them "at least" twice a day (I use one per day, as they do seem to be effective.)

Also, while there are clearly a large number of topicals, they are not very irritating (my sensitive skin even handled the benzoyl peroxide cream well) or unpleasant (unlike other BP products, the benzoyl peroxide has very little odor, and none that I've noticed once it's on my skin).

So the results? Surprisingly good. After two weeks, my mild facial acne (always a few pimples) was pretty much gone. There was also a sharp decrease in shininess due to oil. Shine was actually as much of a concern for me as acne, and nothing seemed to help. (Glycolic acid cleansers and oil-absorbing pads, for example, had little effect.) That was very pleasing, and I decided to try going off minocycline. Now after two weeks of that, I still have very little acne, and my skin generally looks great. Even the acne on my chest, where I haven't been applying topicals, has improved (despite dropping minocycline), suggesting that either the dietary changes or the supplements are effective, and not just the topicals. So, while I'm still highly skeptical of Dr. Perricone, he's definitely doing something right.

I'd be curious to see if people would show any benefits just using a few of the Perricone-recommended products. Or perhaps just embracing the diet. I'll post updates here if there are any changes. Sorry for the long post!

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I tried the Perricone perscription about 8 months ago when my father purchased all of the books and tapes for me.

I am already a vegetarian (that eats fish). So my diet is essentially exactly as perricone perscribes.

I started taking alpha lipoic acid, but saw no improvements.

Are you taking all of the supplements? For some reason about 3 months ago my skin freaked out and I have tons of zits.

I am starting to think that it's a seasonal disorder for me. Typically in the winter my skin is worse, no clue why... maybe its because it's drier?

Anyhow, good luck with perricone - let me know if it works, if it does maybe I'll pick up the book again and try it .

I like the yoga section smile.gif

the recipes are a little too complex and ask for hard to find ingredients. I didnt really like that.


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It's definitely been working so far. I haven't seen such rapid improvement since Accutane... and, obviously, I'd prefer not to do a third round of that.

The dryness from winter is definitely significant. I've found that I have to use a heavier moisturizer on top of the light oil-free anti-acne moisturizer in the Perricone line (the Perricone line includes the Face Finishing Moisturizer for this purpose, which is a very good moisturizer, but costs $50/tub; I use derma e's alpha lipoic/green tea moisturizer instead, which is somewhat cheaper and also more pleasant). This is partly due to the dryness caused by the benzoyl peroxide and such, but it isn't a harsh sort of dryness; simply adding more moisturizer seems to work nicely, and I expect that will be unnecessary after the dry winter season. Eating more omega-3 fatty acids is supposedly moisturizing; I have noticed that my skin generally seems a little less dry after having some salmon or flaxseed.

I am indeed taking all of the supplements, and following the diet pretty strictly. Some nice new snacks I'm enjoying: Pure almonds and walnuts (which Perricone claims are beneficial for the skin, as well as tasty and full of protein), plain yogurt with berries and flaxseed stirred in (delicious, as long as you stir the berries in thoroughly), and lots and lots of tea (especially green).

Like I said, I was taking multi-vitamins, omega-3, and alpha lipoic acid supplements before I started experimenting with Perricone, but my skin (not just where I was applying the topicals) started improving after I made the dietary changes and started taking the supplements. If I had to guess which ones are doing the most good, I'd say DMAE (100 mg/day) and Co-enzyme Q10 (50 mg/day). And as I mentioned before, the major dietary change I made was no longer drinking fruit juice, instead drinking more water and eating more whole fruit. Also making an effort to avoid excessive quantities of bread and rice.

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