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Desperate For Help

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Hi everyone!

So I've been lurking for about two years now and this is my first time posting. I'm very desperate to find a solution to my chronic moderate cystic acne issue. Sorry this is so long but I really would love some advice!

Ok so here it goes:

I'm currently almost 20 years old and throughout my teenage years I suffered from a little bit of acne that healed very quickly and it started to get better as I got older. Never ever washed my face. But silly me before college decided I wanted to have "perfect skin" so I went to a dermatologist and got some type of retinoid cream (I can't remember but I think it may have been tazorac?). Anywho, that completely destroyed my skin and left me with red marks, dry/peeling skin, red face, and worsened acne no matter how little I applied.

*Also note that I have extremely sensitive skin and have dealt with moderate allergies and digestive issues all my life. I also went through a few years of anorexia.

So of course I continued to go back trying different creams like Differin, Proactiv, etc... and yes I did use them for about 12 weeks each. And then I probably made the worst mistake of my life by going on antibiotics for several months, which did nothing if not made it worse. I also went on birth control for 3-4 months but couldn't handle the side effects. After I learned about this site, I discovered that I didn't have to destroy my face and that I could find a natural approach but man have I had a difficult time!

First, I tried doing a detox tea and man did that clear things up! I also added in a multi vitamin and I was so glad to see my face improving for the first time in months. But slowly my acne creeped back and that was when I tried more antibiotics and the birth control (yeah a step back, I know). I started having more digestive issues and went to a gastroenterologist. After many tests, we discovered that I have celiac disease. Which I'm SURE came from the antibiotics because no one in my family has it. So I thought, I'd cut out gluten and dairy (since it's bad for acne) and I'll be good as new! WRONG. The acne persisted.


I tried improving my diet but maybe I continued to eat too much meat? I don't eat any red meat. Only chicken, occassionally turkey, eggs, and fish. I've still been eating corn and gluten-free oats as far as grains. I don't eat fast food. I only drink a lot of water and some almond/coconut milk. Barely any processed food. I've also eliminated all refined sugar and haven't had a soda since 6th grade. I don't eat candy/sweets. I don't eat "bad" fats-I use only olive oil and now am using coconut oil for better health benefits. I'm a college student so I can't afford organic sad.png. I also went through a ton of supplements.

Current acne:

Only inflammed cysts that sometimes come to a head and cysts deep below the skin that aren't inflammed and remain for months....and months. I never get blackheads. Not really oily, just a teeny bit on t-zone.


Nothing really, I hate using products on my face because my skin doesn't like it. I just run my face under water every other day.

Other symptoms:

food cravings/bingings

weight gain-pear shape

weak legs/exercise intolerance


slow metabolism/bloating

spitting up phlegm everyday

depression-probably from acne

poor wound healing- hence horrible red marks :'(

heat rashes

enhanced allergic reactions recently

dry hair/hair loss

hangnails-had these all my life really

poor circulation especially in legs

occassional eczema

persistent peeling/dry lower lip only despite chapstick

BAD cellulite


poor memory

period coming more often than it used to (every 20 days or so)

Tests done:

ANA test-abnormal


colonoscopy-doc said everything looked fine

What I think it may be related to:

overactive immune system

adrenal issue maybe?

estrogen dominance

food allergies/intolerances

something else????

Right now I'm on day 4 of a 5 day water fast (No change in acne thus far) and I'm going to try going on an elimination diet to look for intolerances and try to become a mostly raw vegan because of how good it is for inflammation and healing.

So does anyone have any feedback for me? Anything would be greatly appreciated.

P.S thanks to all you guys do! You've helped me understand my body so much. It's just really confusing with all the information.

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You seem to have put your body through a lot! You mentioned you're looking into natural skincare right? Give homemade yogurt masks a try - they're inexpensive and can be altered to your preferences :> ex.adding honey/rice flour/fresh fruit etc.

I know what I mentioned isn't an instant cure but supplements like that in your skincare routine can push you in the right direction. Hang in there and good luck!

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Water fast will weaken your immune system. You need extra vitamins and minerals to fight acne. If you want to fast eat some vegetables and fruits.

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The multivitamin I took only seemed to make me have whiteheads and oily skin. I'll start fasting on veggies and fruits. I really don't think the yogurt masks will really help but I can give it a try...

I'm really looking for what could be the cause more than anything.

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Hi there! I'm sorry you're having so many issues. I've fought with cystic acne on and off for most of my life (I'm 37). After trying absolutely everything (and I do mean everything), I have discovered that my acne is most definitely estrogen dominance. I had nearly all of the symptoms you're citing, so I'm thinking that this may be your issue, as well.

Keep in mind that many women today in America are estrogen dominant, simply because there are so many xenoestrogens in our personal care products, makeup, lotions, soaps, and perfumes. Marijuana and some foods also have xenoestrogens in them, in very high amounts.

My suggestion to you is to see a naturopath and get saliva tests on certain days of the month to establish your hormone levels. Then, you and your provider can effectively treat your hormone issues with things like progesterone cream (which cleared my skin up IMMEDIATELY), and DIM supplements.

Since you were on antibiotics, I would definitely recommend taking acidophilus, or some other form of pro-biotic (NOT Activa...that stuff is packed full of sugar and is a joke). Also, if I were you I would do a Google search for lists of things that have xenoestrogens in them, and avoid them like the plague. We can't possibly take all of them out of our lives, but minimizing exposure is crucial.

BTW, I use Emerita Progesterone cream. I absolutely love it. I felt better right away after taking it, and sleep like a baby. But again, you should really have your hormone levels tested by a good naturopath or chiropractor before delving in to using the cream, especially at your young age.

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Thank you so much, Pheisty! I guess I'll try to get my hormones tested then. And I've taken probiotics consistently for a long time, never helped my acne at all but I try to take them when I can now just because they are good for you.

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Thank you so much, Pheisty! I guess I'll try to get my hormones tested then. And I've taken probiotics consistently for a long time, never helped my acne at all but I try to take them when I can now just because they are good for you.

Yes! Probiotics are very good for you, and are a part of the overall puzzle. But yes, I would definitely get your hormones tested. After two days on the progesterone cream, my face was noticibly less congested (especially around my chin, hairline, jawline, and scalp...which is where I break out, mainly). Today, I have little to no zits...just a few lingerers here and there (after 10 days on the cream). I hate to say that this is my cure, because it's so early, but I'm feeling better, even.

Anyway, I wish you the best!

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Thank you for starting this topic. I am right there with you! My cystic acne that couldn't be cured even with the dreaded Accutane (tried it twice) is definitely hormonal. I know for sure b/c my skin is perfect when either 1) on birth control 2) pregnant 3) breastfeeding. I've had two babies and been on/off the pill several times and it's a reoccurring phenomenon. I want to see a naturopath and get my hormones tested (b/c gambling with natural treatments like progesterone cream can be dangerous if you don't know your hormone status), but I am in no financial shape to dish out the dough for that. Pheisty, I wanted to ask you in reference to your previous post about progesterone cream. I heard if you start using it without cutting out the xenoestrogens in your environment that your symptoms can actually get worse. Have you heard anything about this? Do you use all-natural products and if so, where do you find them? (I can't walk out the door without atleast concealer on...loaded with parabens!) I'm tempted to try the progesterone cream but since I haven't had my hormones tested yet, I'm nervous that might be a bad idea to mess with them. So for now I am trying vitex (herbal supplement) and spearmint tea - both natural antiandrogens. I'm trying to patiently hang in there but it could take a couple months to know if it's working. I love that the progesterone cream seems to clear some women's hormonal acne in a matter of I dare try it?...Anyone else have any luck with vitex/chasteberry? How long did it take to work?

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