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My holistic/unnatural route to treating my acne

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leelowe1

To anyone that's still reading (probably just me.....lol).  I'm still alive and still dealing with this beast.  I just celebrated my 35th birthday and took the time to reflect on my journey so far and man of man, what a ride.  Acne has really forced me to self examine who I am as a person and to face some hard truths about what my self worth is wrapped up in.  I'm still not where i want to be emotionally, mentally or spiritually, but i haven't given up yet.

I recently updated my signature detailing what i'm using so feel free to take a look if you have any questions about my diet, skin care or supplements.

Still on spiro at a dosage of 150 mg and still breaking out.  Some days are definitely better than others.  I am grateful to spiro for giving me breaks in between my acne but it has unfortunately not been the miracle i had been hoping for.  My naturopath wants me to stop next month and that thought scares the shit out of me.  Having to go back to the days of hating to look in the mirror and constantly crying, hating what I saw and at times, wanting to just give up is not a life i want to repeat.  I guess its akin to sticking to the evil that you know versus the one that you don't.  No one really gets it except for those going through it.  

As of today, i am beginning a breakout cycle, a week out from my period which is hella normal.  It's not a hide in the house with your face covered breakout but its a stay indoor because i don't have plans 'Thank God' breakout.  I just don't feel like dealing.  

I wonder to myself if i am going to be forty and still be dealing with this shit.  That thought depresses me.  

But all i can deal with is today.  Getting through today is my goal and if i can do that, then i know i'll be alright.

FYI - my allergies which were another battle i was dealing with are GONE.  Quercetin is a miracle worker!

leelowe1

It's been a few months since i last posted and i was hoping to have better news but alas, i'm still struggling.  My skin has been pretty shitty since the summer of 2017 and it has yet to recover.  I've had one or two really good weeks since November but mostly it's been pretty knarly.  I started seeing a naturopath in my state and i'm in the process of implementing her recommendations.  So far, blood tests reveal that i am out of range with iodine and iron and on the low end of cholesterol.  She has me taking :

cod liver oil
kelp
iron
multivitamin
magnesium powder.

I'm still on vitamin D and 150 mg of spiro daily.  

My diet has been better.  Definitely getting my veggies.  I've cut back on sugar and i'm juicing.  

My skin is not the worse it has been but it's been pretty bad compared to the summer.  

I am trying not to get sad/depressed but its hard.  Looking in the mirror and seeing this stranger looking back at you is quite disheartening.

Definitely feeling all alone in my struggle.

leelowe1

Back to the struggle

Hi everyone.  So I wanted to wait a while before positing an update to see if things would change but after dealing with this for a while, I figure now would be a good time to update,  I’m breaking out frequently.  It’s inflamed, pus filled at times and occurring mostly around my mouth and chin area.  I recently started tracking again so hopefully in a few months, I may be able to notice a pattern.    I feel utterly gutted.  I just recently turned 34 and for the first time in a long time, I have begun to take leaps of faith such as changing jobs, putting myself out there with guys and trying to be more zen.  I just hate that something as superficial as acne affects me so deeply and that there is nothing I can do to change it.  

 

leelowe1

23 months in

Hi everyone.  I know i haven't been posting updates as frequently but that is due to my keeping up with my other blog on the realself website.  I've been documenting my spiro journey there with pictures and updates every few weeks.  Since my last post, my skin has been in an in between place.  Not clear and not completely and utterly broken out.  I am getting some under the skin large bumps on my right chin and also eczema or rosacea irritation on the sides of my chin and mouth.  My inner cheeks and above my lip has also been getting this irritation.  My med usage has been the same.  My frustration comes from having these breakouts EVEN with meds and not knowing my TRIGGERS.  I've tried diet, i've tried organic stuff, i've tried herbs and lotions and potions and recommendation and frankly......i'm exhausted.  I've even tried leaving my skin alone.

Having had a taste of clear skin and then having to revert back to this is maddening.  Anyway, just wanted to keep it real and share because i know many of you are going through the same struggles.  

Here's to better days ahead.....     

leelowe1

I haven't been on for a while as i've been emersing myself in school.  I'm on my last 3 classes so i can almost see the light at the end of the tunnel.  Speaking of light.......me and my acne are in a good place.  Spiro is working really well and i can say my skin is stable.  I break out pretty normally like around my period but its minor and not as anxiety inducing as it once was.  For my chin which is a mixture of rosacea and some PD, i am using soolantra which has been pretty amazing.  I hardly break out there, even during my period.  

Next steps.....

Starting in September, my derm will start weening me down on my dosage.  This drug while being God sent has helped my weight to balloon (though my poor eating habits haven't helped).   I also don't like being on any medication for such a long period of time.  I shudder to think that skin will revert back to it's form but praying it won't.  I'l keep everyone posted!

leelowe1

Day # 425

I must be going for some sort of record!

425 days on spiro!

Oh what a journey.  I have made many discoveries about myself and my skin which i will discuss in another post but for now, just the facts.

Still acne prone, still breaking out but i have discovered via my derm that my chin is most likely a very stubborn case of perioral dermatitis.  Going to be trying soolantra for that so we'll see how that works.  Definitely still dealing with acne.  Not mountains of it, but definitely inflammed stuff but if you don't count the stuff on my chin/mouth, the acne is not that bad.  It's a struggle to still be going through this for the last five years straight but alas, we all have a cross to bear.  I love and value myself a lot more than I used to and i'm hopeful that God will see me through another year.


Will definitely keep you all posted and if anyone is interested in following my journey, i have a blog with pictures up at realself.com.  PM me and i'll gladly supply the link.

Stay strong everyone and happy thanksgiving

leelowe1

Day # 316

Nightmarish week that's only going down hill. Forehead is breaking out in bumps  It's been a while so it sucks.  My chin and moth are also filled in small and hard pimples plus dry/rough skin.  Spiro has quit on me (not that it was doing such a kick ass job before).

My diet is off track and i'm stressed.

I feel like i am back at square 1 to be honest.  Nothing else in the derms tool chest for me.....ahhhh.....i guess that's how it goes sometimes.  At this point my focus needs to be staying emotionally grounded.

leelowe1

Day # 293

Almost 300 days on this journey and i'm still in the same boat as i was then, albeit with a little less heinous acne.  

This medication to be fair has lessened the severity of breakouts at times but it's still as ongoing as ever and i've been having pretty consistent eczema to boot.  I gave the oolong tea ( a tea that is suposed help eczema) a try of 3 months and nada.  

As of today, I am having a breakout of swollen pimples and closed comedones that extend from my right cheek down to my right chin and  on parts of my lips.  Left side is breaking out on my chin but nowhere as bad as the right.

I saw my naturopath last week and we are going to work on getting my diet in line for HEALTH, not ACNE.   It's been pretty horrible for a few weeks now.     The things she wants me to incorporate into my diet are as follows:

green smoothies:

spinach
kale
mixed greens
flax seed
kiwi
berries
beets
carrots
apples

Fish/Meat (organic/grass fed)

chicken
bison
salmon

veggies:

stir fry
mixed greens
beans (from scratch)

Grains

quinoa
oats
brown rice

Not rocket science at all but i just have to form a habit of eating like this consistently.  Not expecting much.  I've pretty much given up on getting advice for things that will help me as the more people suggest, the more frustrated and aggravated i get.  It stresses me out.

My birthday is on Friday and i'm disappointed that i will be celebrating yet another birthday....nothing more to say on the issue.  Gonna keep putting one foot infront of the other, just like i always do. 



  

leelowe1

Day # 260

Well, here we go again.  The cycle begins again and I have had an eczema flare all over.  It's calmed down since this morning but it's still very much there.  New bumps came up (at least 12 micro ones that are red) and I have some cystic action going on on chin.  Feeling like crap BUT still hanging  around my family.  What's the point of hiding in my room all day?  I feel as if i've wasted the last 8 plus months for nothing.  Reaching out to this community for some support.  As far as pharmaceuticals are concerned, i have done it all and frankly, i am over it.  I am considering starting from scratch again with a nutritionist as my eating , while healthy, could use some work (less calories , more nutritionally dense stuff, less meat, etc).  Right now, i'm off all supplements but i am on oral meds (spiro, oracea) and elidel for eczema.  Still having a green smoothie everyday and I am so bored with drinking those things.  Varied recipes too.

I have limited money too now that i am buying a home and recently had to replace my car that was totaled in an accident.

I have tried  many of  the nutritional advice give on this bored and i'm convinced that the issue is not what is being suggested but moreso, my body.

Anyway, just wanted to share and update as I know some of you have been following my process since the very beginning.

Thanks for all the support.  It helps to know that this awesome website is a judgement free zone.

Peace and Love
Sasch   

leelowe1

Hello my people!  Hope everyone is doing well.  My apologies for not updating on here.  I made the choice to have my spiro blog elsewhere because as much as i love the majority of positive people here, the few that take pride in trolling make the whole experience a sour one for me.  If you're interested in my regular updates, just PM and I will send the link.  

I am almost at the eighth month mark which makes the one year mark oh so close.  I started out with so much hope and expectations for this medication.  This truly was my last resort and frankly, when the the time comes to call it quits, there is nothing new on the market to try.  With that said, i have hit another dead end.........again.  Eight months is plenty and while i see improvement that cycles from decent to bad, there is no consistency whatsoever.  I honestly feel disappointed.  Disappointed in myself for caring so much and placing my hope in something that in essence means very little.  I'm disappointed that i let such a small thing bother me so much and most of all, I am disappointed that at almost 33, i am still emotionally in turmoil as if i were 16 again.

But like what big girls do, i brush myself off, pull on my big girl panties and prepare to move forward.  If anything, this whole experience (all 16 years and counting) will make me resiliant so at least there is that.

On a non related acne note, I am in the process of looking for my first home!  Very exciting time indeed.  I put in for an offer which seems like the sellers want to wring every penny out of me, put no house is worth me being poor so if they're not wanting to be reasonable, they can keep it.

Anyway....thanks for listening
Chow!  

leelowe1

Day # 214

Period is coming in a day or so acne has ramped up.  Lots of small red bumps and a few large papules.  Eczema itch is becoming unbearable, even with cream.  I see my derm in a month or so and I have decided to start back up with my naturopath.  If anything, i need help getting back into my healthier lifestyle as i've given up and not really watching what i eat as closely as i was before.  I've hit a dead end but surprisingly, i'm not angry or anxious, just disappointed.  I am seeing more and more adults with acne and it is making me feel less like a freak.  In a way, i'm embracing it and forcing myself to just get up and go, be me, be proud and be happy.

Sprio has not given me any issues to date and until i find a replacement, i will continue it at least till the one year mark.  I will not be upping the dosage.  I am slowly reducing my dosage of the oracea as i don't think it helps and i truly do not want to be on any antibiotic.  I am down to 1 every other day and will continue for a month or so before taking it every 2 days.

What's next for me?  I may want to try accutane at a low dose but other than that, there are no pharmaceutical options that are viable to me at this time.    

To those of you just starting out, my best advice is to take it slow, and don't be so hard on yourself.

leelowe1

Day # 189

I'm 6+ months in and a few weeks into my dosage of 150 mg.  I don't feel any difference or see any in my skin button I've decided for now to just let it ride.  I've begun the process of weening off oracea as its doing nothing for me  so as of right now, I'm taking it every other day.  My face is breaking out in large and small pustules in the usual areas and i'm letting it ride.  The days during my period and after are like clockwork time to see more inflammation, more whiteheads and generally more crappy skin.  I find that if I train myself to expect this, I won't be as anxious when it happens.

Ive found that over the years, I have allowed acne to take over my life.  I neglect the inner and outer parts of me because I think that since I have acne and I perceive it to be ugly, my whole body should be ugly.   I then eat crap  and don't  exercise with the attitude of 'why bother', I don't take pride in other aspects of my appearance and I generally hide out.  Trying to change that attitude one step at a time.  I'm going to do my hair and then take the time to blow it out and flat iron it just because......  I'm also going to drag my lazy behind out to the store and buy some groceries to make some healthy food and green smoothies.  

My acne  may never cease to be but I don't have to allow it to be all there is to me.

 

leelowe1

Acne has won

After coming home to find 5 more inflamed papules on top of the dozen or so that have come about in a few days.  I give up.   I want to say to hell with it.  I have done EVERYTHING the doctors, holistic practicioners, blogs and books have told me to do.  I have been diligent.  I have been faithful and all I have to show for it is a face that I wish wasn't mine.  I work hard, I love hard, I live the life that is honorable and still I struggle.  My self esteem is shot and I feel like a troll that doesn't have the luxury of hiding under a bridge.....sigh.   Feeling like a lost lamb- where do I go from here?

leelowe1

Day # 167

My skin has gotten soooooo bad.  Acne on my forehead is insane (6 inflamed suckers and smaller comedones).  breakouts on chin, sides of mouth , cheeks, you name an area, i probably have acne there.  This is the worst i think i've seen my forehead in a while too.  I am so tired of all of this.  As i approach the 6 month mark, I find myself just wanting to give up.  I love my life, i really do and acne is the only frustration i have with it.  I'm not sure why God has given me this burden but I know there's a purpose.....i just wish i knew what it was 

I've given up on finding an acne solution as to me, it doesn't exist.  If i can at least get reprieve here and there , i'll be grateful.  

leelowe1

I have been on this drug for five months and man of man, what a five months it has been.  I have been taking pictures from the very beginning and as depressing as that has been, it has been great for me keeping perspective.  The acne hasn't stopped at all BUT it has not gotten to the level it was before treatment.  I even have some good days here and there.  I notice that since on spiro, i get more cysts which are terrifying to say the least.  At least with the level of acne i have now, i can leave the house which was a big issue before (i was so embarrassed). As of today, i am having a whitehead breakout on my chin 3-5 but it is smaller whiteheads that should dissipate in a few days.  I have some smaller red pimples on my cheek and corners of my mouth which is not unusual.  My forehead is in a clearing phase.  

Im hoping that at the end of month six, the move to 150 mg will jump start more clearance and consistency.

leelowe1

Day # 141 (100 mg)

My acne has spread so quickly and once again, it is evolving.  I currently have three cystic bumps that are hard as marbles and red.  Add to that a dozen inflamed zits and you have one unhappy chick.  The cystic acne is not new to me but the sheer number and placement is.  I just can't figure out whats happening with my face......i just can't.  It's like i can't win.  In nine days i will officially be in my fifth month.....

leelowe1

I'm holding on to hope by a very thin thread.  It's four month on this drug and my skin has been horrendous for the last 9 days and getting worse.  I'm even breaking out on my forehead which is a rarity .  I am getting so many inflamed, super red bumps that take forever to surface ( I have 3-4 at the moment) as well as little clogs that turn around and multiply before developing whiteheads.  My skin is oily and flaky in places, to boot.  The lip bump that went away came back and is getting multiple heads that keep on going and coming and going so I think it is definitely an infection of some sort though I'm not sure what is causing it.  

My my eating is back on track and I am juicing and my period is over so again I say WTH.  I saw my derm this past Wednesday when the breakout was just starting and she agreed that there was improvement but alas, a few days later and the downward cycle is in full effect.  I don't see her till May which will put me at the eighth month mark .  I also spoke to her about weening off this damn antibiotic as clearly it's not helping a lick.  For any Spiro users past or present, any insight?  I know some people say 6 months to a year is a more feasable timeline but am I wasting my time hoping for something that won't happen.

what are the possible next steps if this fails me as I have done literally everything including accutane and several naturopathic options?

leelowe1

Happy New Year!  We survived 2015 so may 2016 be a year of growth and prosperity.  My skin was pretty decent for NYE but not as good today but with all the crap that I ingested the weeks leading up to it, not surprised.  Well New Year so time to get back on track.  My left side mouth and chin broke out a lot over the last week and now that that is healing, the clogs that started to come out on my right side have sprouted whiteheads.  They are really tiny but my complexion makes the irritation stand out like a sore bloody thumb!  It's about 6 of them starting from my nose and curving around the right side of my mouth and chin.   I also have 2 inflamed pimples that may or not grow.

 

I am starting the new year right so back to how I normally eat with more veggies and fruits and less to no processed food.  There has been improvement on Spiro albeit inconsistent but I'm hoping now that im almost at 4 months, I will see more consistent and dramatic clearing.

leelowe1

Day # 105 Spiro @ 100 mg

Almost to the four month mark and things are meh.  I'm in Florida for the Christmas break and my skin has been up and down, down, down.  I am so blotchy in areas where I have clogged pores or smaller pimples and my skin is dry though not as dry as it was back in NY.  It seems that being out in this humidity is making it very temperamental.  The bigger pimples on my lip are going away ever so slowly but I have broken out all over my chin and sides of my mouth.  It honestly sucks but I'm dealing.  

 

I need some some consistency in my life.  To be fair, my diet has been crap with the holidays and all so I'm hoping that after the new year I can get things back on track and gauge how diet affects me ( I know for a fact that it does not clear my skin up or prevent pimples but not being on point may be making my skin worse.  

 

Will update ate in a few weeks, hopefully with some better news.

leelowe1

Day # 84 100 mg Spiro

Just wanted to send a quick update to anyone still interested in my journey I've been on spiro almost 3 months and oracea (low dose doxy) for almost 2 months:

 

1st month @ 50 mg per day

2nd and 3rd month @ 100 mg (50 mg twice per day)

 

I dare say I am seeing some improvement.  I am still breaking out, sometimes in deep acne but it seems less pronounced and seems to resolve a bit quicker.  I am hoping that in a few more months I will start to have clearer days.

 

One issue i am having is the dryness - Oh Lord!  It makes my skin look red and parched.  My eczema is also flaring.  It's getting colder here in NY too.  I ordered an Avene heavy duty moisturizer so i may mix that in with my regular moisturizer to help the dry spots.

 

Hoping things continue to improve. 

leelowe1

You know when you can feel the big one coming.  Well, i know that i know that i know that i know that I am about to break out all kinds of ways.  My face is itching like crazy, my eczema is acting up pretty bad and i am getting a lot of closed comodones all of a sudden (like an allergic reaction).  I think my trip to Florida, the temperature changes, humidity, planes and such has set things in motion.  So sick of this....seriously.......

leelowe1

Where have I been?

Hey all!  It's been soon long so i thought i would stop by in case someone was still interested.  I'm still searching for my acne relief plan.  It's been a bumpy road both literally and figuratively.  Still breaking out, still getting some nasty hyper pigmentation marks which don't heal as i keep breaking out in the same darn areas.   Face is dry and itchy so all in all things are going great.....Not!

I am on day #47 of spiro @ 100 mg and almost two weeks into oracle (low dose doxy).  I don't expect to see any improvement for several months but i can say that my acne has gotten worse.

I'm trying to stay positive though.  Hopefully in a few weeks i'll have some better news.

leelowe1

Keeping On Keeping On

Hi everyone. It's been a while since I posted as I've been trying to take a step back and reevaluate my situation. I'm working more on the emotional side of having acne and of course not treating my acne. I've been dealing with it better but my acne is not improving and I'm in fact experiencing a flare right in time for my vacation to Europe. It's a bit embarrassing since I have five inflamed bumps on my lip line and a few pustules on both sides of my mouth/cheek. Eek! Not attractive at all but what do you do. I was prescribed antibiotics but I'm not going to take them. I have also decided to not take spiro as I am uncomfortable with doing anything hormonal. Right now I am battling a pretty crappy cold and my period is coming up so this could be causing the current flare. I have a derm appt the first week of September and I'm thinking about trying the low dose thing again as my face is way too sensitive for topicals. I definitely don't think it's the answer though...........

leelowe1

Just Posted Pics

I posted pics in My Gallery in case anyone was interested. The quality isn't the best. Basically my acne has taken on a rashy feel. I think the dry skin exasperates this. I look awful with these pimples and dry skin. The redness on my cheeks is my dermatitis flaring in addition to pimples. My skin looks even worse than it did last summer and I don't know what to do.

Been feeling depressed.

leelowe1

I Just Can't ....

I can't remember the last time my skin was this bad. Over 15 inflamed pimples and it's spreading to my cheeks and forehead! And the acne that has been there for a week is not healing at all. I really want to cry....hard. My skin has been through the ringer in the last few weeks and damn it shows. I am so upset. I have my facial on Tuesday so we'll see what happens. After that, I'm not going to do it anymore. I see the derm on the 4th so hopefully she can prescribe something that can help with the inflammation.

Please pray for me

Update: I think I have just over manipulated my skin these last few weeks and it's getting me back good. Acne everywhere! I'm pretty embarrassed at this point and quite broken out. I ended up canceling my facial because more manipulation is definitely not what my skin needs. So until I see the derm, I will wash, moisturize and use aczone (despite it not doing much.). I regret getting my facial as it made everything that much worse.....boo hoo. I'm not even going to continue using the sunscreen they gave me as it may be causing me breakouts on my cheeks. I'm seriously considering Spiro or accutane in addition to a topical (not in combination with accutane of course). Maybe more so spiro as I've done accutane and I'm still stuck on this roller coaster. My skin is truly God awful and I see several new inflamed acne coming up daily. I can't believe this is happening to me again.

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