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The face that launched a thousand acne treatments...

Hey guys! I've been working on this for a couple weeks and look forward to hearing your comments! Trust me, I want to hear any feedback you have for me, good or bad! Take care!!!

Here's where you can see pics of my (hopeful) progress: http://www.acne.org/messageboard/index.php...ry&cmd=sc&cat=6

To start, here’s a little about me…

-1996-2003 (11-18 years old) Through middle school and I high school I had normal acne, maybe a little more severe than some of my peers, but not much; just a couple gross pimples every now and then. My pediatrician gave me about two courses of antibiotics as well as prescription topical treatments, which helped improve my face a lot. I wasn’t concerned about my acne, but she offered so, okay. My mom didn’t like the idea of me being on antibiotics unless they were absolutely necessary, so I stopped.

-2003-2004 (18-19 years old) During my first semester of college, my face went crazy. Over Winter Break I got more prescriptions from my physician for antibiotics and topicals- I was desperate. I didn’t see that big of a difference and I had HORRIBLE sun sensitivity as a side effect of the antibiotics. Also that year I had a relapse in my eating disorder which had started in 1998. I think a big factor of the relapse was the shame, embarrassment, and frustration I felt about my face. People suggested that my acne might have been a product of my lack of nutrition, and that the medications I was talking might not have been as effective because of my body’s weakened state. As I got better, I was hopeful that my acne would improve.

-2004-2005 (19-20 years old) My acne was fairly under control. I was, of course, terribly insecure, but looking back my face really wasn’t that bad. I had a lot of redness from the prescription topicals I was using, but that’s about it. During the summer of 2005, though, I got so fed up with people making comments (“Oh, do you have a sunburn?� “No, you rude idiot, I don’t�) I stopped taking all of my prescriptions, except for the Benzoyl Peroxide face wash, and started looking into more natural treatments and products. Things got WAY WORSE. Now, you might say that I should’ve just gone back on the prescriptions. Well, the thing is that every prescription I would use would work well for a couple months, and then be practically ineffective. I wanted a treatment plan that would give me good results and not have me going to the dermatologist every 3 months to try something new.

-2006 (now, 20 years old) The emotional effects of acne are unbelievable. I have so much shame, guilt, embarrassment, frustration, and anger. During the day I’ll wonder in my head, “What would I give to have clear skin? Add 10 lbs to my weight? Pay 2,000 dollars? Not have gone to Argentina (I’m currently studying abroad)?� My thoughts and worries about my face are ALL-CONSUMING. It controls what I eat, how and when I sleep, takes up a significant portion of my money, makes me cry on the phone to my mom for about an hour a week (not cheap from Argentina), makes me doubt that my boyfriend really finds me attractive. Forget culture shock and language difficulties- acne is THE SINGLE HARDEST THING ABOUT BEING ABROAD, as I’m meeting new people, out of my regular routine, and don’t have my usual resources available (dermatologists, well-stocked natural food stores). I think my host family thinks I’m crazy and/or rude for the way I refuse some of their food and buy my own and sometimes avoid social situations.

SUPPLEMENTS

-Nicomide – prescribed by my dermatologist

-Órtho-Tricyclen – birth control prescribed for my acne

-Vitamin E – protect against free radicals

-Flax Seed Oil capsules – essential fatty acids, B vitamins, zinc

-Multivitamin

-Super Cleanse For Your Colon – This is the only product I’ve ever used that has alleviated my constipation without the negative side effects of discomfort, really loose stools, etc.

-Acidophilus and Bifidul chewable pills, 1 Billion microogranisms

-Pau D'Arco

TOPICAL

-Glycerine soap bar – unscented; I’ve found this to be very gentle and not over-drying

-Tea Tree Oil – I love this stuff. The smell is very strong, but I’ve seen great results in using it as an “astringent� as well as a spot treatment for pimples.

-Mixture of ½ jojoba oil and ½ tea tree oil – This is the best moisturizer I’ve used in the past 3 years. It doesn’t make me break out like every other moisturizer ever has. I put it on right after washing while my pores are still open and it can be absorbed. During the first half of the day I can feel it on my skin, a little greasy, but it doesn’t make me break out. It’s quite invigorating mixed with the tea tree oil!

-Olive oil – This was suggested to me by GentleRain and I love it so far. It feels great on my face and I love that it’s not a harsh chemical product. My face is a lot softer and more moisturized.

-Desert Essence Blemish Touch Stick – I apply this to pimples as many times a day as I want; in between classes I go to the bathroom and dab it on. I’ve found it to be effective without drying my face out. Also, it’s easy to apply and colorless, nothing to rub in.

-Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay mask made with Apple Cider Vinegar – This product has been discussed in a couple forums here. It’s very easy, just mix it with ACV (or water, if you like), and apply it for about 15 minutes. It doesn’t irritate my skin at all or even make me very red. Feels great!

A summary of my experiences with prescriptions:

-ORAL ANTIBIOTICS: Tetracycline- I don’t remember, Doxycycline- horrible sun sensitivity, Minocycline- same effectiveness as Doxycycline with less sun sensitivity, Periostat- no noticed difference

-BIRTH CONTROL- Ortho-tricyclen Lo and Ortho-Tricyclen- no noticed difference

-VITAMINS- Nicomide- no noticed difference

-TOPICALS- Benzaclin, Differin, Clindamycin, Benzamycin, Differin, 10% Benzoyl Peroxide wash- all worked well for about 2-4 months then stopped working, Hydroxyacid topicals- no noticed difference and sun sensitivity depending on how much I applied

DIET

-Lemon water – Every day I squeeze 2-3 lemons and mix the juice with about 100 ml water and this lasts me for the day. I put it in a water bottle and sip it before and after I eat. I’ve gotten used to the taste and actually like it now! I also squeeze fresh lemon on just about anything: potatotes, salad.

-Actimel by Dannon– When I stopped taking antibiotics I started drinking 3 Actimel a day, 1 before each meal. It’s mostly for its probiotic properties, but I’m also glad to have this source of calcium since I’ve cut out other dairy products. I’m thinking about switching to just an oral probiotic, since it might be easier and more effective. The problem is I’m in Argentina and will have to order them from the States or have my parents bring down a supply when they visit.ELIMINATED 4/30/06

-Low glycemic index foods – I avoid bread, pasta, and sweets. The carbs I mostly eat are brown rice and oatmeal. I’m trying only eating 1 or 2 pieces of fruit (usually apple and pear) a day. I’m a fruit fiend and could easily eat 5-6 servings a day, but am sure wonder ifthis could promote breakouts.

-ADDED 4/30/06 - I don't eat wheat, including pasta and bread.

-ADDED 4/30/06 Vegan - I don't eat animal products Avoiding animal products – The only dairy I consume regularly are the Actimel drinks. I eat meat (usually beef or chicken) and seafood occasionally.For protein I eat lentils, garbanzos, flax seeds, walnuts, and almonds (but not peanuts).

-Green tea – I usually drink about 3 cups a day, without sugar. For about 6 years I was drinking 2-6 cups of coffee a day until I quit 6 months ago! It was HARD, but replacing my java with green tea made it easier.

-Water – I drink at least 3 liters a day.

LIFESTYLE/HABITS

-7-8 hours of sleep/night

-Exercise 3-6 times/week

-Wear hair pulled back away from my face- I always wear either a headband or bobby pins to prevent my hair from irritating my skin and possibly depositing oils on it.

-Dry face by patting, not rubbing, with a towel.

-After washing face, splash face with cold water to help close the pores.

-Deodorant, not antiperspirant, to help my body eliminate toxins through sweat.

-Avoid picking and touching my face.

8 a.m.

Supplements

Nicomide

Órtho-Tricyclen

400 IU Vitamin E capsule

2000 mg Flax Seed Oil capsules

Multivitamin

1 wafer Acidophilus and Bifidus (ADDED 5/29/06)

1 g Pau D'Arco (ADDED 5/29/06)

Topical

Wash with glycerine soap

Swab with tea tree oilELMINIATED 4/30/06 I was using a LOT of tea tree oil (expensive!) and swabbing in the morning didn't make that big of a difference anyway.

Apply mixture of ½ jojoba oil, ½ tea tree oil

Diet

Juice of ¼ lemon with water (before eating)

Actimel

1 cup oatmeal with 1-2 tablespoons flax seeds, 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast, and cinnamon to taste (to cover up the icky nutritional yeast!) REVISED 4/30/06

Juice of ¼ lemon (after eating)

Green tea

12 p.m.

Diet

Juice of ¼ lemon with water (before eating)

Actimel

1 cup brown rice, ½ cup lentils or garbanzos, olive oil, raw onions, raw garlic, and cayenne pepper REVISED 4/30/06

Apple

Juice of ¼ lemon with water (after eating)

3 p.m.

Supplement

Psyllium and Bentonite Shake- 1 tablespoon psyllium husk, 1 tablespoon bentonite liquid, 8 oz of water, followed by drinking 8 oz water (ADDED 5/29/06)

5 p.m.

Supplement

1 wafer Acidophilus and Bifidus (ADDED 5/29/06)

7 p.m.

Lifestyle

Exercise (15 min. running, 15 min. weights)

8 p.m.

Topical

Wash with glycerine soap in the shower

(every otherday: Aztec Secret bentonite clay mask made with Apple Cider Vinegar) REVISED 4/30/06

Apply mixture of ½ jojoba oil, ½ tea tree oil

9 p.m.

Diet

Juice of ¼ lemon with water (before eating)

Actimel

Meat, potato/pasta, vegetables (I live with a host family in Argentina, so this is our typical dinner)REVISED 4/30/06 The only thing I eat with the family would be potatoes, soup, and salad. I add garbanzos to a salad for protein.

Juice of ¼ lemon with water (after eating)

11 p.m.

Supplements

Nicomide

2000 mg Flax Seed Oil capsules

Super Cleanse For Your Colon

1 wafer Acidophilus and Bifidus (ADDED 5/29/06)

1 g Pau D'Arco (ADDED 5/29/06)

Topical

Apply Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Wash 3 times with glycerine soap

Swab face with tea tree oil

UPDATE

5/19/06 I've been three days without a new pimple!!! And I think I only have one real active pimple. My family comes to visit tomorrow so they're bringing me adidophilus and bifidus, psyllium husk and bentonite liquid, a natural facial brush for exfoliating, and Pau D'Arco supplements. I'm really excited!!!

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Wow, well done hon - way to go on changing your lifestyle so dramatically, and sticking to it which is the hardest thing. Have you thought about trying some anti-candida treatments like oil of oregano, capryilic acid or how about Pau'darco (lapacho in Spanish) - it comes from S.America and is used widely as a cure all herb, and it is possibly one of the best anti-candida treatments - you should be able to get it pretty easily over there. Failing that you could do a salt water flush after fasting for a few days - you need oodles of self-discipline for this and the saltflush bit is fairly gross, but pretty effective in my experience.

You must be finding it pretty hard to be in a strange country feeling the way you do about your skin, but try to remember that where you are right now (i.e. way outside you comfort zone) is going to equip you for life - you'll be able to take on the world! Good luck and keep at it - natural treatments are rarely an overnight miracle, they take time and effort to undo damage from years of unnatural treatments like anti-biotics. Good for you for making the connection and doing something about it.... :D

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Hey guys... just wanted to let you know that I'm doing REALLY well on this plan and I'd love to hear your feedback! Click on the link in my signature to see pics of my progress.

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Hey Katie,

I posted a comment in your gallery, but I'll say it here too... You're doing beautifully! Congrats on sticking to it!

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