So I'm doing a lot of things to control my horrible onset of cystic hormonal acne. I mistakenly went off of birth control after having been on it for 12 years and my skin went crazy. I'm almost at the end of my second pack and things finally seem to be under control. I now mostly have hyperpigmentation. Up until recently, my skin was awful and I'm pretty sure starting this birth control made things way worse. I also want to note that I DO NOT SKIP A WEEK OR TAKE THE SUGAR PILLS. Obviously this will just throw your hormones off again so if you want faster results, just keep taking the active pills for a while. Most importantly, DON'T STOP TAKING THEM NO MATTER WHAT PEOPLE TELL YOU. This will seriously make things worse. Ride it out. You might get lucky and it might work for you in 2-3 months. If it doesn't, just keep going for up to six months and consider my suggestions below to help you along the way. SO...In addition to birth control, this is what seems to have worked for me. And trust me I have tried EVERYTHING and spent countless hours researching this. I'm also a nurse and doing a research PhD so I am providing you all with what I believe to be the best information and tips I've come across. Good luck!
1) I'm on my 6th week of Doxycycline
2) ICE! Every morning I ice my spots. This really helps reduce size and inflammation and there are no risks
3) Green tea (loose leaf organic. I drink it and apply the leafs to my face 5 days a week), I also take ECGC green tea extract pills. Clinical studies prove that this works for acne. So if you're going the green tea route check that the ECGC content is high. It's typically higher in loose leaf teas. Otherwise just buy the extract pills.
4) NO DAIRY, SOY, GLUTEN, or OILS (except coconut oil). I also started a VEGAN DIET
5) CETAPHIL products- I stopped washing with water and only wash with the foam cleanser, it seems weird but I find that it significantly reduces redness. I also only wash once per day if I'm not wearing make up. I moisturize once per day with the day SPF moisturizer.
6) MAKE UP: Physicians formula non-talc liquid mineral make up. I researched every ingredient in several products and this was the best product I found. I had to import it from the US (I'm living in Australia at the moment). I also have not worn any make up on my skin for 2 weeks. I am on a school break and had 2 weeks off of work because I was supposed to go on vacation but had to cancel because my skin got so bad. Sad I know but things are finally clearing and I've been able to work on my PhD thesis from home...I also learned to cook. So if you also plan to isolate yourself, MAKE THE MOST OF IT!! There is light at the end of the tunnel.
7) 2.5 % BENZOYL PEROXIDE: I had given up on harsh topicals because my skin is so freakin sensitive and I found that Differin, Retin A, and anything over 2.5% BP made my skin look so much worse. However, 2.5% is PERFECT! it even reduces the look of the redness when it's applied. If I have to go out I have it on my pimples and I honestly don't care. It's probably only noticeable up close.
8) LOWER YOUR STRESS: Seriously ladies this is so important. Especially if your acne is hormonal. One night i was freaking out because I was supposed to go on vacation to visit a beautiful Greek boy I know and woke up with 4 new spots. Three of them were cystic. I've found that since cancelling and relaxing at home my acne is much better.
9) VITAMINS: Ok so I'm a little ridiculous when it comes to this and I now have a pharmacy in my room. But these are the best vitamins and supplements for acne. As a disclaimer, I wouldn't recommend always taking the Vitamin A like I have been doing because it can cause liver damage. So on that note: 1) Vitamin A- Retinyl Palmitate: I am mega dosing on these. So for the past three weeks I've been taking 10 a day. I realize there are risks with this but I've been getting my liver enzymes checked and I am fully aware of the signs of vitamin A toxicity. You could just try taking 1-2 per day. The logic behind this is that Accutane is a derivative of vitamin A in huge quantities. Mega dosing can really help some people. 2) Vitamin B3 (Niacinamide): this is the active ingredient is most expensive skin brightening/hyperpigmentation creams. I also break the caps and rub them right on my acne scars 3) Vitamin C: I mega dose with this as well. It tastes delicious and there are no risks with toxicity. I also have this in powder form (Skinstitute brand) and put directly on acne scars 4) Vitamin E. 4) Saw Palmetto (also great for hair) 5) Liquid Silica (also great for hair) 5) Omega 3 fish oil (also great for hair) 6) Zinc
Ok my friends this is all of the advice I have. If I had to pick and choose from this list I would prioritize antibiotics to help you get through the initial break out phase on this birth control, Ice, green tea extract or loose leaf organic tea, and Vitamin A Retinyl Palmitate. Feel free to e mail me with any questions: [email protected] (John is the beginning of my last name. My name is Shev). Cheers!