(Last updated 03/21/18):
So... Let's just jump right into it, shall we?
Time to say goodbye to "Regimen's" and live life to the best of your ability!
A lot of people have sent me messages since I joined this site at the age of 22. Many of the questions were similar, so I decided to gather my top frequently asked questions (FAQ's) here based on what people have asked me numerously, and what people are probably still curious about. If you see a question you have that's not here, then please let me know via message, e-mail, or just by commenting bellow!
My previous pictures and past regimens are always publicly available, with pictures and descriptions of what I was doing at that time. Everyone is welcomed to take a look at them if they fell like, but the most updated and current information will be right here.
I would first like to give a huge thanks and shout-out to everyone for sending me links to all the information they have found in regards to acne and their life, and for posting their research and stories. I was so surprised with how much I was learning when I first came to this website! When I first joined, I joined for The Acne.org Regimen, and it worked! Sadly, its cons outweighed its benefits, and when I quit my acne unsurprisingly came back full blown. I pretty much decided that enough was enough, and wanted to get rid of it for good. My body had been screaming at me for years and I did nothing but ignore it. Therefore, my "Final Regimen" was taking care of myself from the inside out, in every simple, logical practical way.
Most people do not do this, or at least if they do then they find it very hard to maintain. This is a lifestyle change and decision, and I admit that I am an entirely different person and personality when it comes to what I do in my life and how I live. In fact, after I got rid of my acne, I was never planning to come back on here because the general attitude of people and how resisted what I said. I also lived with people who all had similar stories: ‘It’s a chronic problem’, ‘I’m too depressed’, ‘I feel sick’, ‘I’m moody and angry’, ‘It runs my family’, ‘diet does not effect my health’... etc. People simply do not want to change their their diet and lifestyle, and if they did, then they either cheated and denied it was effecting them, stopped exploring themselves and remained ignorant to other kinds of growth they could have been having, or changed their diet but became somewhat saddened about it, and never maintained it. I never heard from a lot of people again.
Look, I've been there with the ‘chronic’ and ‘incurable acne’. Ultimately, there is nothing wrong with feeling devastated for a short while, and letting it sink in that your skin may be 'different'. However, the beautifully ironic truth is that your skin is not very different, and a change to your diet is probably the best thing that could ever happen to you right now. All of this may depend on what you mean when you talk about such things, but in reality there only exists one truth.
My skin, for example, was acne prone, and my skin type is 'different', Humans are generally effected in the same way, only with a unique surplus of different kinds of symptoms and results. Not everyone will be ‘displayed’ equally, but you may be surprised at the similarities underneath the surface.
Acne was with me since I was four years old, and exploded when I was 14. I understand what it means to be sensitive, ignorant, teased, pushed around, emotionally abused, yelled at, and broken. If you want to talk to someone where acne did truly effect so many areas of their life, then you are speaking to the right person here! But you can NOT let what others do shape your attitude and cosmology into thinking that you deserve to live and eat the way others do. In what way are they actually 'living the good life?'. They're not, and I don't care if they never develop cancer or diabetes for the rest of their lives either. This is not the point. Life is not just about what you want to eat think deserve to do without consequences.
Sooooo... basically said, I have a very difficult job here, and that's trying to reach out to as many people as possible as effective as possible. Without being too condescending, too confusing, too off-putting, and relate as much as possible, I'll do my best to reach into those dark, forgotten corners of your mind and break as many fourth walls as I possibly can.
So as the saying goes, buckle up mo-fo's because I'm either about to make your day or piss you off. Either way...
How did you get rid of your acne?
-Diet (Mostly Raw Vegetables, Home Cooking, Vegetable Juicing, 99.5% Vegan).
-Exercise (1-7 times a week).
-Lifestyle (Sleep, Non-depression, Joy and Bliss).
But primarily diet.
Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Renee.
I was born and raised in the Chicago Suburbs.
I've graduated Community College.
I moved to California in 2015.
I'm the Owner/Production Manager of a small business.
I currently study a wide variety of things on my own and with other people.
I am a Truth Seeker (No, it's not what you googled).
What are your Health Stats (After a Physical)?
Last Official Physical was from 08/06/2012:
Height: 5 ft. 5 in. (I've been that height for several years).
Weight: 114 lb. (This ranges depending on muscle).
BMI (Body Mass Index): 20 (18.5-24.9 = Normal).
Cholesterol: 169 (Less than 200 = Desirable).
HDL (Good Cholesterol): 83 (60+ is High, which is optimal and good).
Triglycerides: 42 (Less than 150 = Normal).
LDL: 78 (Less than 100 = Optimal and good).
Glucose: 83 (Average is 80-120, so this is good).
Liver and Kidney function: Normal.
I do not have anemia (blood count is normal).
I took a normal blood test and fasted for 12 hours before drawing blood. I didn't ask for anything special.
More Tests on 04/19/13:
- Had a stool test and blood test done. Required no fasting.
- RESULTS: Everything was negative for parasites in my stools, and my thyroid function is healthy and working.
More Tests on 05/08/13:
- Had a skin prick allergy test done (60 common foods/allergens).
- RESULTS: It concluded that I had no food allergies whatsoever.
How much sleep do you get
Anywhere from 5 to 9 hours a night. I know, random, but generally speaking it's about 8 hours. If it’s shorter, then I’ll try to aim for a nap later that day. I rarely sleep 5 hours. During full-time college life combined with full-time jobs... when I was getting rid of my acne... I sometimes use to sleep 4-5 hours, then nap once twice later on the same day. Currently, I wake/sleep around the same time every day.
Do you exercise?
Usually six times a week. I also do a variety of chores and other daily tasks in addition. I enjoy walks, and stretch constantly. I move around a lot doing cooking, cleaning, laundry, vacuuming, shoveling snow/raking leaves/mowing lawn, dusting, organizing, etc… I am usually constantly on my feet, but I rest frequently and whenever I feel like it.
I did not need to exercise this frequently to have clear skin. In fact, I went for several months just taking simple walks and still didn't break out.
Do you exercise vigorously?
Well... not really. I mean, I wish I could say, but what would that mean to you? Everyone has their own limit. I use to lift weights at the gym, and had more muscle mass when I was between 16 and 19, but now that I've done a lot of studying, working and small business building over the years, I will admit that I have loss some muscle mass. Not to mention I became completely vegetarian when I was 21. Sometimes I will sprint or run for 20 minutes, sweating and raising my heart rate to its max, but I currently don't attempt to body build. My past jobs have been very physical in the past, too, such as cooking, prepping, factory working, food distribution in a freezer, waitress, etc...
Acne can be a funny thing in the world of working out and with people who go to the gym a lot. When a was sweating lot and wiping my face, I was never afraid of some kind of contamination from my hands, although anything I did never made my already existing acne feel any better. But I can honestly say now that I doubt sweating in of itself, and touching your face, causes acne unless you had crazy amounts of strange bacteria all over your hands. I always advocate, acne or not, washing your hands occasionally and when necessary, and rinsing your face off with just plain water frequently if washing your face with soap more than twice a day is not an option for you. And if you find yourself splashing your face with water several times a day, which can be normal depending on your work or home environment, then just pat your face dry and keep your hair out of the way. This is all basic care no matter who you are.
Do you have stress/depression
No. In some ways I'm like a child...
… Did you ever have stress/depression?
Before? Yes. But the past is no longer important... not even so much the future. What's important is HERE and NOW.
Aaaaand that's how you accept, move on, let go and go beyond anything you want.
But for the sake of helping others with "Acne and Stress", I will let you know what DID happen to me when I had "depression". I was on a few anti-depression medications in high school for about two years, and received counseling before, neither of which did anything to help. I was teased a lot in high school by both my companions, peers and even my teachers.
Some of the teasing was from my acne, but most of it was from the fact that I wasn't very social (not because of my acne). I experienced depressed from grade school all the way through college, never really completely leaving the depression until I was around 21 years of age. Now it feels like I'm talking about someone completely different.
When I started college, my depression faded away tremendously. I started seeking out what is real, true, and the end of suffering, and today I have nowhere near the same stress that I did before.
Also, my acne got worse with age, not better. My stress faded as I got older, not worse. Therefore, stress did not effect my acne, but this does not mean that it won't effect other people's acne. They are likely effected my their metabolism reacting to their stress, which can cause a wide variety of health issues in general.
As a female, do your monthly cycles affect your acne?
I never figured this out, lol. I'm still not 100 percent certain about this, but I am going to have to say no. In regards to my cycles alone, I have normal symptoms, and always perfectly timed every 28.5 days. I will admit that I thought I noticed some of my acne linked to my periods, but it was almost next to impossible to catch since I always had acne on my face coming and going. I took daily pictures of my face for a very long time, and stored them in my computer, trying to study them and see if I could capture any kind of possible "pattern" I was missing, but this was difficult to do because:
a.) My acne was mostly cysts... they developed slowly as huge, UN-moving spots. Cystic acne remained unnoticed under my skin for several weeks, then took weeks to emerge, pop, and disappear for good... not to mention I also got them in all shapes and sizes.
b.) My period was not the cause of all my acne, if at all.
c.) There were just too many spots and factors to keep count.
Do you take Birth Control?
No. Never did.
Do you drink alcohol/do drugs?
No. Never did.
Have you done The Regimen of Acne.org?
Yes I did.
And yes it worked.
But I don't recommend it.
More information on all that here:
Did you ever take topical/oral medication for your acne?
Yes. I've tried everything and anything at all my local stores and pharmacies that said "For Acne" on them since I was 14. I have been an extremely patient acne sufferer for many years, always giving products months to work.
Anything prescribed to me was always given to me by my local dermatologists. I do not remember all the prescription names I was on, but I do know that many of the things I took and used that were given to me by my dermatologist worked...
... however, my dermatologists and medications gave me more problems than answers, such as:
- Finances: I was constantly pushed to maintain the cost of my medication, as a part time/full time worker AND part-time/full-time student. Treating my acne... not curing it, TREATING it... was anywhere from 100 to 600 dollars per month. This included all oral and topical medications. Some of them had to be done THREE times every single day.
- Health: More than 2/3 prescriptions given to me gave me side effects. I had chapped lips, nose bleeds every few months, loss of appetite, shaking, itchy feet, and ‘burning sides of torso’ (kidneys). I also had frequent and sharp headaches, but they only lasted up to 2 or 3 minutes after taking the oral medications.
- Damage: I lived with the side effects for years. My face had a thin layer of never ending shedding skin, my hair became thinner, and my acne kept developing and mutating into more cyst-like legions. I also had back, chest and stomach acne, all of which were ignored with my expensive topical face washes.
- Mentality: I was frequently called and coached by my dermatologists every month to come in because of how severe I was, and that stopping in any way would only "make the acne worse." Wow, you don't say... I wonder why and when that started to happen...
The acne.org Regimen worked for me, and Accutane worked for my brother.
Since my first job, my doctors and dermatologists had gotten quite a generous amount of my paychecks. My acne was always treated with something, so I have been paying for it as long as I can remember. However, I no longer go to my doctor or dermatologist for my acne anymore. I can not stand the risks and side effects, not to mention they will always try to put me on something insanely expensive.
I was able to get my doctors and dermatologists to admit that these medications were not long lasting, but that there IS a link to what we eat and do that obviously effects our overall health, including the state of our skin which may or may not develop acne. During my last acne visit to my doctor, he had told me that I can never get rid of my acne, that I will always have it no matter what I try to do differently. He was 100 percent wrong.
So you completely quit topical washes/medications?
Yes. I learned that they caused me more harm than good, but I never was brave enough to go more than three weeks without trying something. Like most people on Acne.org, I was terrified to stop. It meant acne no matter what, and looking like you didn't care about your hygiene and skin. Always starting the regimen over again when you decide to miss some time was a huge nightmare, and was a horrible way to live and feel about yourself.
Basically, stopping was not easy but I did it anyway. The only thing I use to wash myself now is simple and organic soap bars (ordered off the internet - coconut, lavender, African black, etc...) and any kind of organic shampoo/conditioner I can get my hands on. There are dozens of simple soap brands in most grocery stores now. Look for brands with no perfume and as few ingredients as possible. And when using soap bars, wash your face and wipe your skin with your finger tips really, really well to get the roughness off. People make the mistake of rinsing too quickly and not long enough... water is your best friend.
All the money I saved from quitting all my acne medications was instead used to expand my lifestyle and diet.
Do you wear make-up?
No. During a photo shoot (likely the picture above), then yes, very minimally and rarely. Make-up costs money and is a completely unnecessary investment to me. If I do put it on, I use my fingers and only use a base foundation. I use any brand that doesn't clog the pores.
What do you eat?
I enjoy eating:
-Vegetables (Cooked, Raw, Boiled, Stir fried, etc...).
-Fruit (Mostly Raw).
-Beans, Lentils, Legumes and VERY few Nuts.
I do NOT eat:
-Meat, Dairy or Eggs.
-Wheat/Bread and Gluten Products.
-Most restaurant food (I hardly eat out anyway).
-Almost anything that's not fresh, whole and what I would call real food.
Being Vegetarian was a choice, but I am pretty sure that if I was not, then good quality organic meats, fishes and eggs should not cause someone to break out. For me, eggs and fish did not cause me to break out. Unfortunately, the meat industry is notorious for abusing animals and pumping them full of hormones, medications, poor quality feeds and awful living environments. So with that said, a lot of meat can and does cause acne. It depends on the quality. Most store bought meat is probably awful for you, even if you are a meat eater.
I'll have a diet and recipe blog soon...
Do you eat organic?
I always prefer organic and extremely low processed foods if they’re available.
How much money do you spend on food?
Eating the way I am now is cheaper, with the only 'issue' being that you may have to shop every few days rather than every few weeks. Depending on the season will depend on how available the food is, and much the local produce will cost.
With that said, I spend about $50-$100 a week on groceries on average. But I also live with with other people, and we buy more to serve each other, which in the long run is also cheaper.
Fresh produce is large, bulky, takes up a lot of fridge space, and will go bad fast if not used right away, so try keeping track of your receipts and gas trips until you find what works for you. I save money and time by combining my food shopping with other errands. Most produce remains refrigerated until I use them, and I only peel/cut/wash the produce the instant I start prepping/cooking/juicing with them. I wash everything in a small bowl full of cool water and with a vegetable brush. Sometimes I use vinegar too. I started this lifestyle with a small fridge and pathetic kitchen, so anyone should be able to do this.
How is your energy level?
High. It's always been high. Eating more healthy now has not changed my energy levels.
What about fatigue?
I don't worry about fatigue, because no matter what you eat you will always be fatigued. People love to make the excuse that eating more vegetables wipes them out and that they are always cranky and can't stand the way they feel. Well guess what, they say the same thing about everything else they eat when the realize that it's probably not good for them. This is a sensitive topic to a lot of people, surprisingly.
To me, being fatigued means normal, basic living, and a combination of everything you do. It could be emotions, work, lack of sleep, and of course what you eat. It could be two of these things, or all of them at once. Anything and everything I eat always has an effect on me... I can feel my vegetable juice run through my stomach, and then my body. Most of the time it's blissful and pleasant, but other times it can make me feel incredibly sleepy. Do not concern yourself with trivial matters such as this... but please do not ignore what you may feel might be a very bad symptom of food allergies and/or another kind of underlying health issue.
How many times do you eat a day?
I don't worry about how many times I eat a day. I eat whenever I get the chance and whenever I need to do so. But if you're picky then I'd say an average of twice a day, with one snack. I can eat around 1 to 5 times a day, and sometimes I fast. I seldom I sit down an eat a supper large meal. I also rarely eat and drink at the same time. I drink water periodically throughout the day, always keeping myself hydrated. Sometimes I'll wait a few hours before eating and/or drinking, it all depends on what I'm doing.
So... What DID you use to eat?
Candy, pop, chocolate, breads and bakeries, fruits, vegetables, soups, pizza, pastas, etc…
I ate a variety of healthy things AND junk food. Whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. The majority of my diet was breads, pastas, bakeries, cereals, candies and sweets, milk, soda, and juices. I use to commonly buy overly processed sweet coffee-like drinks, pour vast amounts of syrups and dressings over my weekend morning iHop pancakes, and at rib-fests I would joyfully tare the fleshy over-sauced meat off those poor dead animal’s flesh and bones clean off.
At first none of what I listed above sounds bad for most people at all, but after reading several forums and stories on this website, as well as going to the library for years and reading one nutritional book after another, I eventually realized how terrible these things actually were. I hide nothing and admit everything. Why? because I wanted to get rid of my acne, and improve my overall quality of life.
But please keep in mind that I didn't just eat all of these things at once, nor did I eat them every week. These are things that I simply had no problem swallowing, and was completely ignorant and oblivious of their effects on the body... I am simply remembering what I use to eat. I obviously ate healthy food too. I use to have candy about once a week and soda every other day. Hell, I was eating ice cream every night whilst anonymously reading acne forums on this website before i joined! If I wanted something sweet all day and healthy the next day, then I would just eat it. This is not the case anymore (with crap food that is).
Do you still eat candy/ice cream/pudding/sugary sweets?
No. If I want dessert then I make my own. When I tried doing that in the past, I did several things wrong. I realize what I was doing was not read the labels and ingredients correctly, and I didn't replace my diet with more nutritious food at the same time. You can't just get rid of the bad stuff, you also have to eat the good stuff!
Do you drink milk/eat ANY kind of dairy product?
No. No. No.
Before I could drink up to 1 to 3 glasses of milk a day, as well as cheesing up my eggs and other foods, but I literally quit milk when I was 22 years old (when I joined this website and read about health for a few months). However, this took a while to learn, even when I was a member here because I have been fooled by some products before, such as chocolates, breads, canned foods, etc... Milk is a huge stimulant for my acne and especially my cystic acne. Being extra careful in the beginning was the only way that I could guaranteed my acne would go away. Now I'm just use to it and don't even think about it anymore.
But I can tell you that I once accidentally ate a stir-fry with melted cheese all over it... and nothing happened. Although I can not say for certain why that was, I do feel that it was because of my overall healthy diet. I got a little cocky after that and thought I could have cheese again, or at least cooked cheese, but even once a week for four weeks was enough to kick start my acne cysts all over again. So now I am aware that if anything like that happens again, the body should know what to do with it, but it’s not going to be used for something it can’t handle.
So now you don't eat/drink sugar AND dairy products?
Correct. However, there is sugar in everything we eat, including fruit. With that said I do eat one any kind of fruit I want every do often, so I guess we have to be realistic when it comes to the word "sugar".
Did you ever stop drinking milk AND eating sugar at the same time BEFORE this website?
What about Gluten?
I don't eat bread or gluten-containing products anymore.
Bread = Sugar to me, or at least most breads, so I eventually cut them out.
Before I was eating them sometimes, but when I took wheat products out of my diet, my skin went from 90 percent to 100 percent clear. I am not interested in gluten free products because they are a health scam in my eyes: just because they took out the gluten doesn't mean the product is more healthy, it means that they replaced it with ingredients that act like gluten would... only they're twice as bad for you. I eat things such as oatmeal but not often. I make my own flours in a blender if I feel like it.
So you changed your diet for good?
Yes. After joining this website I've seen how nutrition and diet plays a role in our acne.
How many servings/meals do you eat a day?
Like I said before, I don't actually eat "meals" but will about 1-5 times a day.
What do you drink now?
Water, hot tea, coffee and hot chocolate (homemade). I enjoy loose leaf teas the most, organic and fair trade if I can find it. I have found many kinds of loose leaf green, white, chamomile, and Darjeeling teas off the internet and at my local vitamin shops. Those are my favorite flavors. I drink as much tea as I want, whenever I feel like it.
If I drink coffee, I use non-dairy creamers except soy milk because I feel that soy products are is pretty damn bad for you, actually. I also feel that they effect people who like to work out a lot, such as myself. Go for Almond, Coconut, Hemp, Oat ad Rice Milk instead. I RARELY, RARELY, RARELY sweeten my coffee with Organic Cane Sugar, and I can not stress enough the word RARELY. I am successful with this because of my entire diet in general. If not that kind of sugar, then I actually use honey or even jams and jelly's.
Loose leaf tea lasts longer than the pouched tea because I can add as many dried up leaves as I like. A little goes a long way. I would recommend buying a huge bag for 9-20 dollars and having it last half a year to one year in your household
I have always drank hot tea though, ever since high school. Being a tea drinker alone didn't cause or cure my acne, I just happened to like it. I also sweeten my tea with honey, ut not all the time.
How much water do you drink a day?
I usually carry around a 20oz black reusable metal water container with me wherever I go, and I drink anywhere from 2-5 fillings of it a day. I usually don't eat and drink at the same time, but if I do I won't drink a lot just a little. Each day is different. If I am working out or walking then I'll drink more.
How often do you urinate/produce waste?
Well... if you must know I urinate about once every hour or so. Yes, that can be an average of about 6-12 times a day. I often stop drinking water approximately 1-2 hours before I go to sleep because I dislike waking up in the middle of the night to pee... always annoying and hurts my stomach.
Before my diet change, I produced waste only once every other day. Ever since I started drinking my homemade vegetable juice and/or eating more vegetables, I suddenly can produce waste up to three times a day. For a while that was just way too much, so I read a few books and later discovered that chewing my food much longer than I normally would actually slows down the waste production, and it did. So now it's about 1-3 times a day.
What about your scars?
Don't care. Getting rid of the acne was satisfying enough for me. I have far more important things I'd like to do in life then see how close I can get to having 'flawless skin'. My scars do not phase me in the slightest, and I wouldn't treat them even if it was for free. With as long as my acne had been around, and how severe it was, I knew since I was a teenager that my skin was going through a lot, and I would probably be scared for life.
I am of course aware of scar treatments, however, and I certainly don't condemn people at all for wanting to do them and get rid of as many of those holes on their face as possible. As you may have guessed if you read some of this article, I am a different person when it comes to what I value in life and what I find the most interesting. Humans are not meant to be packaged, contained and plastic wrapped to perfection, sitting on the shelf in mint condition, never to be used. A flawless face is not the pinnacle of life.
But if you do want to treat you scars, then prevention, prevention, prevention. And if you don't have acne anymore, then water, water, water. Stay hydrated, and look into Chemical Peels, Lemon and ACV Treatments, and surgeries. Red marks DO take a while to go away, but they do fade. Make sure you get to the heart of the bee's nest first before dealing with scars. In fact, on a good diet, everything about your skin and overall quality of life begins to improve. For me, my red marks began fading away after only a few months, and my skin tone began neutralizing and evening out again. This overall effects the quality of my scars appearance, and my attitude with them.
Sorry for all the piss and crap talk, but these are actual questions that people have been asking me during my time here.
So... there you go!
I truly hope I managed to answer your questions, or at least inspire you just a little to look at your life and reflect on, well, everything! Let me know in the comments bellow what you think or if you have any questions.
Best of luck to you all!
And I'm out.