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My acne is healed. I healed my skin with a combination of: Diet - I do not eat gluten, I avoid dairy products, lots of fruits and vegetables. I still enjoy my food and eat out on occasion. A few months of the caveman regimen (which allowed me to discover that my skin is extremely DRY and SENSITIVE not oily.) Stopping my skin picking habit (took a long time but I no longer touch my face or pick my skin.) The first and most important rule of my current acne routine is that it is NOT a routine. I pay attention to my skin and respond accordingly. I don't mindlessly wash my face morning and night - I keep my use of products as simple and minimal as possible. The second rule is be GENTLE! It is so important for my skin that I am extremely gentle with it. I touch it as little as possible and when I do it is only very gently and I only ever wash using lukewarm water. Never ice cold, never very hot - both of these temperatures dry out my skin. Products In My Routine (I keep to these products but I use them as and when I see fit.) Raw, organic, unfiltered honey - as a mask, applied gently, approx. 2x a month for up to 6 hours. Moo Goo Full Cream Moisturiser - rich, gentle moisturiser with great, natural ingredients. I only apply this to very damp skin after splashing with water. 100% cold-pressed, organic argan oil - helps with my hyper-pigmentation healing, seals in moisturiser when skin is particularly dry. Also doubles as my eye 'cream.' Soft microfibre face cloth - allows me to remove light makeup with only water. For heavier makeup I follow up with some argan oil and remove with the cloth. ALWAYS extremely gently (take your time) and only with lukewarm water. I am only able to use these products with success now because I believe I found the route cause of my acne, which was a poor diet (high in gluten, sugar and dairy) and continuous use of a harsh, acne-targeting skin care routine which damaged the barrier function of my skin. Of course these products will not work for everyone's skin as they have for mine - but I wanted to document what has been working for me for the past year or so. If anyone has any questions please don't hesitate to ask!
Disclaimer I have successfully healed my acne with the methods I will go on to describe. I do not claim that these methods will work for anyone else, however, I feel that I owe a lot to this forum, which has not only supported me throughout some difficult times, but its posters have provided me with much of the insight and information that has lead me to healing my acne. Finally, this post is not preaching that natural methods are the only route to take; and I do not judge those who choose to continue to use topical acne medications, take antibiotics, or use Accutane. I would also like to add that the photos I have included were taken over the course of the past 2 years and serve to document my skins healing. I have used a watermark as I have seen instances of cosmetic companies using photos such as these to falsely promote their products. Brief Acne History I suffered some mild form of acne for most of my teenage years, but at the age of 22 I developed what my doctor would describe to me as moderate/severe adult acne, and I went on to make many, many mistakes in treating it. Years of exhausting trial and error has wrought havoc on my skin, broken me down emotionally, and, eventually, made me a stronger person. No three-step solution/miracle product/pill or cream worked out for me. Here is a non-exhaustive list of things that didn’t work: Antibiotics (doxycycline, oxytetracycline and lymecycline), benzoyl peroxide (5% and 10%), Duac, Dan's Regimen, Differin, Epiduo, Tretinoin, countless over the counter treatments and washes, apple cider vinegar, manuka honey, asprin masks, I could go on. What Worked For Me A 3 pronged treatment approach that took around 2 months to begin working, but finally cleared my skin and changed my life. STEP ONE Dietary changes I eliminated all gluten, dairy and all refined sugars. Now this was the hardest thing for me to do, and it took me months to even consider it (I absolutely love pizza, ice cream and cereal) but it has without a doubt made the most dramatic difference in my skin and health. I am more alert, full of energy and a much happier person. One thing I feel is important to add here, is when I started out with this diet, I was taking it incredibly seriously, but as I have started to see increasingly consistent results, I will occasionally treat myself to a nice dessert out at a restaurant, and sometimes that will result in a pimple in the coming days, but this only serves as proof that what I eat directly effects my skin. I also supplement 2x 1000mg Omega 3 Fish Oil, 1x Vitamin D3 Tablets 25ug, 1x Zinc (Gluconate 15mg) and drink a green smoothie a few times a week, consisting of around 70% kale/spinach/other greens and 30% fruit/veg. STEP TWO Skincare The most successful learning experience I have undergone with my skincare was the caveman regimen. I did not wash my face for upward of 50 days, not even with water. I won’t talk too much about that in this post as I logged my whole caveman regimen here. I experienced some good success with the caveman regimen, but it’s what it taught me that was the most valuable thing; that I don’t have to wash my face religiously twice a day. The most important aspect of my current skincare regimen is the infrequency. I don’t stick to a strict washing schedule. Since the caveman regimen, I have realised that my skin is in fact very dry, so if I feel dry I will use a raw honey mask for as long as I have time (sometimes up to 8 hours) then I’ll use a very diluted apple cider vinegar toner to balance my skins Ph, and finally pat 2 drops of high linoleic oil into my skin. Then I’ll leave it alone for at least a few days and up to a week. STEP THREE Stop Picking Throughout my time with acne; I developed a chronic skin picking compulsion called dermatillomania. Without even noticing I would touch and pick at my skin all day, and most evenings, sometimes a few times a day, I would have a long session stood an inch away from my bathroom mirror, just scouring my pores for something to extract. This has taken a huge amount of time and patience to overcome, and along with my diet changes, has been one of the hardest and most beneficial changes I have made. I am still working on this issue, and I do have the occasional relapse; it’s a work in progress, but as my skin continues to heal I find myself increasingly encouraged to quit the picking. The first step I took towards letting go of my skin picking compulsion was purchasing some toys on amazon called 'Tangle Jr.' to occupy my hands. I also read the book ‘Skin Picking – The Freedom to Finally Stop’ which I highly recommend to anyone suffering with a similar compulsion. Little Extra I know acne is a serious and sometimes deeply depressing disease, but if you can find it in yourself to go out and laugh and run about then you absolutely should, and if you can’t, don’t beat yourself up about it. If you need to be sad then you should be sad; forgive yourself and try to give your body the care it needs. Please don’t hesitate to ask any questions and I will answer to the best of my ability. Thanks, J