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As if we didn't already have enough everyday expensives (food, clothing, car, bills, bills, bills) - acne sufferers also have another huge burden of additional expesnses. It feels very unfair because we never asked for this. It's not like going shopping and having the choice whether or not to buy the 200$ pair of shoes versus the 50$ pair. As a college graduate still searching for a job, acne has made my struggle twenty times worse than it should be. I have spent more money over the past few years fighting my acne than on anything else. I wish I could have spent the money on more important expensives (such as car bills, gas, utilities ...) but instead it all was wasted on useless products. I even wish the money could have been used to expand my bleek wardrobe - geez on anything besides these stupid products!!! I've used Pro-Active for a good amount of time, every single OTC treatment available, Ayruveda and other Holistic treatments, I even bought the electronic ZENO. This is just a small list and don't get me started on how much money I've spent on make-up so so I could look semi-decent for job interviews. I've had to move back home with my parents after college graduation because I was unable to fund a lifestyle on my own. As if having acne didn't make me depressed enough, being stuck at home depending on your parents after 4 years of autonomy and being broke definately sent me off the deep end.

So now what? Well I actually think I may have been stumbling onto things that have helped tremendously!! And the best part? It hasn't hurt my pocketbook too much (but it took a lot to get to this point).

My story:

Like many adult acne sufferers, I never broke out in high school. I also didn't hit puberty till I was nearly 16, so hormones didn't really play a role for a part of my teenage years. I grew up as a very active competitive athlete and was raised by a very health conscious vegetarian mother. Although I ate meat as a child, I never ate processed meat or any meat really high in fat - mostly lean ground beef, chicken, & pork-chops. I was never particularly attached to meat, but as an athlete it was an essential part of my diet. My mother was a very educated and informed vegetarian so all of our meals were packed full of nutrients and I never left the house without a complete breakfast (fruit/protien/fiber etc ...). My mom veered away from artifical coloring, flavors, and sweetners and rarely bought packaged food. When I entered college I entered the world of processed food and trans fats. Because I was living in the dorms my choices were very slim and being a kid I always chose to eat the junk. As an athlete training a good 20 hours + a week I would devour whole large pizzas, tripple cheeseburgers & large fries, half gallons of ice cream, and lb bags of m&m's like nothing. After a lifetime of a really healthy diet I went crazy with my new freedom to eat everything junk. Besides the toll this took on my body, it also seemed to take a toll on my complexion. I started with occasional breakouts - and by this year I had full blown acne, cysts, and scars all over my face. Eventually my body gave out and after being plagued with several injuries, my athletic career was terminated. This allowed me to finally pursue the vegetarian lifestyle I wanted. Being very environmentally, economically, & globally aware I've been making many lifestyle changes over the past two years (with changes such as being a vegetarian, not eating fastfood or shopping from companies that are perpetuating globalization etc...). I began eating organic food as frequent as possible to support the local econonomy and discourage the use of pesticides. Even with all my changes in diet - my acne still got progressively worse. It saw it's absolute worse time this past winter - and my current complexion is definately a product of the massive breakout.

So not only did acne do a number on my physical self - it also had an extreme emotional toll on my well-being. As you can imagine, being an athlete all my life (and a very succuessful one at that) and having my athletic "career" cut short by injuries was extremely hard on my self-esteem. It sent me into depression, which probably added to my acne - which further sent me into depression. By the time I graduated and moved home I was clinically depressed and hit rock bottom a few months after being home. Being a psych major I knew that nothing would change unless I could change my cognitive processes. So slowly but surely I pulled myself together and began experimenting with Yoga and other holistic treatments. I bought a ton of Ayruvedic skin products and herbs and tried several internal cleanses. I felt good about taking care of my body - but saw no relief in my acne - in fact it got worse. As I began to get happier, I also got healthier and tried to be more optimistic about my acne. Unfortunately the financial toll just kept piling up. I eventually started to work (finally) as a substitute teacher. It was humiliating to be in school with a face riddled in acne - and the students commented on it. Finally I found some things that seemed to help.

I was sick of spending money and stumbled on a site that people had blogs about home remedies that worked for them. One was washing the face with salt. I figured - hey I've got lots of salt and nothing to lose. I started washing my face with salt twice a day. Already I saw an improvement. This reminded me of any time I was on vacation at the beach. If I had any wounds they were cleaned and healed from the salt water. So i decided to cut out all other treatments and began washing my face 2-3 times a day with salt. At least once a day I will scrub fairly hard to exfolliate the top layer away. I still have minor breakouts, and tons of scars and I can still feel bumps under my skin from past breakouts - but my skin has not looked this good in a long time (and it is still far from perfect). The scars also seem to be slowly fading. I think I'm going to begin an apple cider vinegar treatment on the scars soon. Another element that has helped has been the sun. A little sun exposure has helped. On top of both of these I have been avoiding trans fats as much as physically possible (sometimes it is just physically impossible to resist) ... this has seemed to help. I also just recently started taking a Flax Seed Oil supplement (Essential Fatty Acids are definately lacking in most American diets). I eat fish (especially oily fish) and avoid almost all dairy products (they are injecting cows with so many different hormones and antibiotics these days to increase milk production and prolong lactation - so for anyone who is already hormonally imbalanced this could further exacerbate acne conditions). I do have an occasional slice of pizza and now that the weather is warm I've been having bowls of ice cream a few times a week so we'll see how this affects my skin.

The mirror is definately my worst enemy. I never had a problem with vanity growing up, but now I've definately developed an obsession with my appearance. Every morning I go straight to the mirror in hope of some miraculous change overnight. Alas, I just keep asking myself WHY ME?? ... ahhhh

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buckeye.. you are not alone.

I read your entire post and can relate to everything. I first want to ask, are you being persistant when you start a new treatment? I remember at one point when I first found this site, I would try about 20 different things on my face in one week. Wrong answer! I decided to go with Dan's Regimen after all other treatments failed. At first I started with the cleanser that Dan recommended. When I got out of the shower I noticed a faint white residue that appeared after my skin dried and my skin was still irritated.( I have extremely sensitive skin). So I thought, what is the MILDEST cleanser I could possibly find? I figured a newborn baby has got to have the most sensitive skin in existance. I went to the drug store, bought Johnson and Johnson's Baby Hair and Body wash, which I use as a shampoo as well as facial cleanser. It doesnt lather up enough to be a entire body cleanser. I also bought Johnson and Johnson's Baby Lotion, the white bottle with aloe. It contains no oil what so ever and makes my skin feel fresh and cleansed.

Try this man. Wash with the cleanser in the morning before you take a shower, rinse, reapply cleanser on your lower facial area to shave, rinse. Take a shower. Dry off and apply J & J lotion.

At night do the same, except use a fingers length of BP Gel before you apply J&J lotion.

Continue on with your healthy diet, continue using flaxseed(I use it as well), and try to drink a gallon of water everyday.

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