Ok so first let me say that I never write reviews but I had to for this. This will be kinda lengthy as I want to be as thorough as possible. For the past 2 years, I have been suffering from hormonal, cystic acne. I am nearly 27 years old and I have NEVER even had a pimple before this started. Normally, I had dry skin but it was great because I never had a pimple so I didn't care. My former dermatologist would joke that I just liked her because I had no need for her care. My pores were TINY so nothing got in them. I had no skin care regime or anything. Ohhhh the glory days. Anyway, I started a new job around the time that the acne started and it was very stressful so I thought maybe that was the culprit. WRONG! I left the job within two months and still the acne persisted. It actually got a lot worse. I spent over $3,000 on chemical peels and products to no avail. My doctor recommended that I go on birth control but I was reluctant because I am considering having a child soon so I declined. I continued on with my topical remedies, and chemical peels with no resolve. That is all until one day my esthetician told me that she was going to try something different on me than my usual (salicylic/glycolic acid peel). That something different was a vitamin A infusion peel (retinol) that I left on from 3:00 pm to 5:30 am. After sleeping in it and waking up eager to wash my face (with Cetaphil) and look for any signs of the acne calming, I was AMAZED. My skin looked flawless. The ugly dark spots that where all over my jawline and cheeks were faded drastically OVERNIGHT. I was right in the midst of a hormonal sh*tstorm so my cheeks were INFLAMED with acne the day before. This peel calmed it so much and gave me a glow that looked amazing. Back to my regular, no acne amazing. My esthetician warned me that I would not "peel" for a few days but when I did it would be DEEP, peeling off maybe 5 layers of skin. I mean under the dermis DEEP. By the third day, I was like a lizard. Shed for about a week and afterwards could see that my dark spots weren't gone but they were REALLY faded. Not a pimple in sight though. Good enough for me! After that I begin a morning and night routine of washing my face with Cetaphil, toning with witch hazel and rose water, then rubbing aloe vera gel on my face. I bought the plant from a local store for less than $2. Before getting the aloe vera, I would do the above regime and simply moisturize. My skin started to break out again though. The deep, pus-filled cysts on my cheeks and chin were starting to return. So that's why I added the aloe vera gel. My skin now looks amazing!! The aloe vera really took the healing process to the next level and within a few days, my oil control was much better, the new cysts that had formed where healed with in a few days instead of the dreaded 2-3 week process that would leave horrible scarring. This dries my face a bit but my skin is very oily since my hormones went wacky so this helps a ton. The overall texture has improved since introducing aloe into my routine and my face is now brighter and more healthy looking. In addition to all of the things stated above, I have also begin to treat the hormonal acne internally by cutting all animal-based foods (vegan) especially dairy. Sometimes I may eat like a small piece of chicken or something but not a whole meal and not very often. I drink a lot more water (Essentia Alkaline water hydrates better so all of the benefits of drinking water are captured), and I have learned to stop picking my pimples. I also added good probiotics to my daily routine. I still get a few pimples around my period time but its literally like 1-2 whiteheads and not 20-25 deep cysts. I believe the aloe vera plant calms my face before a breakout begins plus it keeps my oil down and my pores clean so it will remain apart of my regime until I see otherwise. I hope this helps someone because acne is a TERRIBLE confidence killer. Its been about a month or so since I begin with this process so I will update at 3 months to let you all know if this is still working. Good luck!
UPDATE!!!!- Ok so I got my period and my acne flared again. Ugh. I am so exhausted with this crap. Anyway, aloe is still working and healing cysts much faster than normal. It seems like now my cysts are localized to one cheek instead of all over so I am happy about that. I am able to cover it with my hair now so one side of my face is really clear and the hyper-pigmentation has improved TONS since I use the aloe regularly. Again, I tone with rose water witch hazel (Thayers). I believe that has also helped the pigmentation. A few other things that I am trying includes calcarea sulpurica (got from a health food store for like $6. It supposedly drains the pus in cysts. Today is my first day taking it), maca root to balance my hormones, serrapatese to dissolve scar tissue (on the one cheek that is breaking out, I have hypo-pigmentation and the new skin cells are not breaking through because of scar tissue. It feels like a lump under the skin or like a deep bump that won't go away. Serrapatese is suppose to help with that), and a high grade Turmeric with biopeprine. I have used Turmeric before and it really works for inflammation. I am starting off with 900 mg. I am still vegan but I am eating even cleaner and doing balanced meals with lots of nuts, beans, etc. Staying away from gluten as much as possible and soy. Trying to do at least two "raw" meals per day. I believe this is helping me. All of the hard, tiny acne nodules that I had on my chin (which I could have like 30 or more at a time) are gone. I think I may have one that's healing but that's it. My left cheek is HORRENDOUS at the moment but I am hopeful that it will heal in a few days thanks to the aloe vera.