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Acne help

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
I did a search on here first to read the threads and nothing was of any use to me so I thought I'd try and post.

I have acne and it embarasses me. It's fickle and randomly flairs for any reason. I don't have "clear" days....I have less severe days. I have recently had a flair up of a while new kind. I got it down a bit and was feeling better about it but not great. My little brothers graduation was recently and while at my mom's she says (though she meant no harm), "What happened to your skin!? It was looking so nice a few months ago." My skin is serious crap and it makes me want to cry. I have a spot on my forehead that has been there since I was in middle school. It never goes away. I am so tired of having this skin. What can I take? I know what I can't use...I'll give you rundown.

*No soap of ANY kind..mositurizing, oil balancing, natural, man made. glycerin only etc. Soap is no good for me in any way at all.
*Neutragena etc. face scrubs/bath products. All of it makes me break out worse
*Creams, lotions, moisturizers all make it worse
*Natural remedies don't work. I've done witch hazel and honey and the oil cleansing method etc. When I was a teen I did a multi step method that had am and pm pills and a cream. Again, it makes it worse.
*It's not a diet thing. I've had just about every diet out there and it hasn't changed one bit. I can't do a cleanse either (not that I want to) due to pregnancy and nursing.


I'm at my wits endn. Seriously nothing works. I thoguht to myself last night, "Too bad Acutane is no longer available....I'd be sterile if I could have clear skin." The sad thing is is my face is not all over broken out. My forehead and chin area mostly. Since this reccent breakout though it now is on my neck, chest, and back/shoulders. I gross myself out. I know, I know....it's a shallow thing but I've had this going on a decade now and I'm beyond tired of it. It's not like I have oily skin or dry skin. In fact, it's pretty dang neutral. I went and checked out proactive tonight after a couple comments in the past week and while I would love to try it I'm not going to. I'm not willing to pay that much money on somethin I just know is going to make it worse. I did a search for it on here and seems if you have sensitive skin to begin with it's not a good choice for you. I can't handle increased sun sensitivity since I'm already extremely sensitive to it. I can't handle skin lightening since I'm already pretty dang pale. Increased skin reddness is so unbelievably noticeable on me that it looks like I have a 2nd degree burn.

I know I sound dramatic and like I'm exagerating but sadly I'm not. The comments as of late (all very well meaning) are just breaking my heart. I want clear skin. I want pretty skin damn it!

So barring everything in my list (which really? What does that leave?) any suggestions?
post #2 of 19


I don't think you're silly or shallow, but I suffer from acne too. Mine doesn't sound as bad as yours, but I still have quite a bit of scarring from when it was (in adolescence). I'm also guessing I'm a little older than you (32).

Anyway, here is my regime that seems to help (somewhat):

I don't wash my face at night. If I worked out and it's all salty, I rinse it lightly. Otherwise, I just don't wash it at all.

When I wash it in the shower, I don't use soap. If I wash it at my sink in the morning (I don't shower every day, or even every other day most of the time), I use plain honey and a washcloth. I change my washcloths very frequently.

I really, really try to limit simple sugars. That is actually what makes the biggest difference. I know you said you've tried all the diets out there, so maybe you have tried this, but for anyone else reading, a high-fiber, low glycemic index diet is what helps keep my skin the clearest.

again, because I also think a lot of it is genetic, too, and we can't really do much about it. I have the HUGEST pores, and a lot of the people on my mom's side have that same problem.
post #3 of 19
Have you had your hormone levels tested? Back and chest acne can come from unbalanced hormones (in fact any acne at all). I was having hormonal acne and now take herbs to balance me out and my acne is gone.
post #4 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by marimara View Post
Have you had your hormone levels tested? Back and chest acne can come from unbalanced hormones (in fact any acne at all). I was having hormonal acne and now take herbs to balance me out and my acne is gone.
I agree - this is why birth control pills have such a dramatic effect on acne, because they alter your hormone levels.
post #5 of 19
I use the OCM, but you said you tried that and it wasn't good.

You can spot treat the really bad ones with Lavender EO. It worked like a charm for me, but I don't know if I'd to it all over all the time since it can act like a hormone. Actually, I wonder if you could do that for a week or two all over to try and cut back on the resident bacteria and then only spot treat after that? That's just an idea off the top of my head though. good luck!

ETA... TTO might work well, too.
post #6 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by marimara View Post
Have you had your hormone levels tested? Back and chest acne can come from unbalanced hormones (in fact any acne at all). I was having hormonal acne and now take herbs to balance me out and my acne is gone.

Nope I haven't. I've had it since I was about 13 though so I imagine hormones have something to do with it. I was on birth control for awhile with no noticeable change. While I'm sure hormones have something to do with it I don't think they are the cause for me. I do think some of it is genetic as my mom has horrendously ugly looking skin.

I should clarify...the back and chest/neck stuff is VERY random. Like one or two large ones no where near each other. That's what makes them stand out. They are so out of context for those areas. All of it is like that really. The stuff on my face is closer together but I think only because my face isn't a large area.
post #7 of 19
are you certain you're getting optimum levels of all vitamins and minerals? That can really make a difference for your skin. Zinc deficiency can cause acne, as well as bromide toxicity, which indicates iodine deficiency.. but it doesn't really end there. You may want to spend some time in the health and healing and allergies forums reading about supplementation and detox pathways and see if anything strikes a chord..

I have really bad acne as well and in addition to cutting out some foods (gluten, corn, and refined sugar), I have to supplement zinc, b vitamins, vitamin c, and i'm going to start iodine soon.. I'm determined to beat this!!!
post #8 of 19
Have you tried Cetaphil? My sisters both have acne like you described. They have found cetaphil products to be really helpful.

I have milder acne, but very persistant. cetaphil also worked for me. Now I am trying the OCM and so far so good, but you said that you had tried that already. Have you thought about getting professional help? a naturopath might be able to offer some ideas.
post #9 of 19
I've had acne since a teenager. At some points it was really bad. Tried lots of topical medications, pills, bc pills. For me the bc pills really cleared it up but they made me CRAZY. Now I am 32 and I still have acne, not as bad though.
One thing that has really helped me out is seeing an ethetician (sp?).
I first started going a few months before my wedding in 2004. At that time I had cystic acne deep and painful. So what happens is the woman cleans my face and puts this mask on and I sit with steam on my face for 20min. Then she washes the mask off and then the fun begins. With a magnifying lens she manually cleans out my pores. This is pretty painful, but it's worth it. Then I get another mask and wash and some other stuff depending on how much work she's done. It costs about $90 a time and I go every 3rd month or so. I went more often, maybe every other month in the beginning. It's worth checking out I think. I also use the cleanser and other products that she recommends for my skin.
Other things: do not touch your face unless your hands are washed (this is a big one for me), including touching your back. I have found that when I'm on the computer or whatever I realize I'm touching under my shirt on my shoulders or something and then I end up with a zit on my shoulder. Blah.
I have heard that pimples on your chin are either hormonal or liver related. On your forehead is blood related. This is what the etheitician said.
It's hard I know, been there. Hugs. Hope you can figure something out.

BTW I would NOT try proactive. For me yes it worked but the week LITERALLY after I stopped using it my skin was horrible. And while my skin looked better, at closer looking I had many white bumps under the skin that would not go a way, like white heads? And it ruined a bunch of towels and sheets and pajamas due to bleaching.
post #10 of 19
Ok a couple of other things that I forgot to write late last night.
First, I do use everynight a 10% benzoyl peroxide lotion. Yes it bleaches stuff, but I have learned to have only white sheets, jammie tops, and towels and the there's no problem. Sometimes I use it in the morning, a thin layer, like during pms time or when warmer weather starts. For me it helps to control the oil which I have lots of when the weather gets warmer.
I also use a cleanser that my ethetician mixes up that contains benzoyl peroxide and herbal extracts.
When I have pimples on my shoulders or back, which is usually in the summer, I use Neutrogena Body Clear Body Scrub (I think it's callled), it has salacylic acid and little scrubby particles. Not really in the natural realm but it works for me and so it's a little sacrifice.

Lastly, I know that mine is mostly hormonally related because, get this, when I was pregnant my skin WAS THE BEST. I don't think I had a single pimple my entire pregnancy. And there was no oil face and my pores shrank. IT WAS AWESOME! So I am really looking forward to that benefit again (working on getting prego now).
post #11 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by marimara View Post
Have you had your hormone levels tested? Back and chest acne can come from unbalanced hormones (in fact any acne at all). I was having hormonal acne and now take herbs to balance me out and my acne is gone.
What would be the best way for one to have this checked?
post #12 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by p1gg1e View Post
What would be the best way for one to have this checked?
Maybe your doctor, or I know here in my small town, a local pharmacy does these saliva tests to determine some hormone levels. You might be able to do it throught the mail even. Sorry, I'm not much help in that dept!
post #13 of 19
Acne sucks so bad. The money I have spent
What seems to work for me is raw honey/aspirin masks and Egyptian Magic cream. No washing with a soap, just hot water and a wash cloth. Dissolve two aspirin in as little water as possible (5-6 drops?), mix with a Tbsp raw honey and spread on face. Let sit for 20 minutes, rinse with tempid water, pat dry. Apply EM & massage in.
post #14 of 19
I have a daughter who is in her 20s and has battled severe acne for years. She has tried everything on the market, from alternative to conventional. We even tried proactive. Nothing helped.

Recently I was walking thru an airport and saw a store called Lush. They make their products with natural ingredients. She started using the ocean salt cleanser and with in a few days her face dramatically changed for the better. You use a very little bit of the product, so it goes far. Hope you find something that works for you, having acne isn't fun.
post #15 of 19

I have been battling acne since I was 10 years old. I am now almost 31. I can't even remember what life was like with clear skin. My worst problem is my chest and back. It's horrible in the summer because I have to wear shirts that cover everything up. No tanks, no camisoles, no v-necks, no sundresses. It's the worst. I have tried everything. The only prescription stuff to work for me was clindamycin gel (cleocin-t), but I don't have insurance anymore and can't afford it often, plus I'm nursing and want to TTC soon.

I know you tried honey, but did you try raw honey? I switched to raw honey and have seen some improvement. Here is my routine: I wipe my skin down with apple cider vinegar and wait 2 mins. Then I apply honey to my face, neck, chest and back. Occasionally, I add a few drops of TTO, Lavender oil or chammomile oil (and I have used all three together before with no ill effects) to the honey. I let that sit for 15-20 minutes. Then I was it off in the shower. I do this about 3 to 4 times a week. I never wash my face. I splash water on my face during the day when it gets very oily.

I do use TTO, Lavender and/or Chamomile oil to spot treat and they all work very well for me.
I also use Queen Helene's Mint Julep Mask here and there. You can get it at any drugstore, supermarket, wally world, etc. I'm not crazy about some of the ingredients (parabens, fragrance), but it has never hurt my skin. I dab a bit on big ugly zits at night before bed and they have usually shrunk by the morning, or they turn into a whitehead that I can easily zap with essential oil.

A reminder with things like honey and queen helenes, sometimes they bring impurities up through the skin. You see breakouts or more zits at first because this is actually a process of healing before the skin clears.

I also have begun taking a high quality fish oil, a prenatal vitamin, acidophilus and chlorophyll. I have noticed improvement.

Good luck. I know how awful it is and how it traps you in your own skin.
post #16 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrsMike View Post
The only prescription stuff to work for me was clindamycin gel (cleocin-t), but I don't have insurance anymore and can't afford it often, plus I'm nursing and want to TTC soon.
It's safe to use during then. I used that 5ish years ago (and it worked moderately well) and called after realizing I was pregnant and was given the clear on it. Unless the formula has changed you can use it during pregnancy and nursing.


Thanks for all the tips ladies! I'm going shopping here in the next day or so so I'm going to see if I can't get some of the things mentioned.
post #17 of 19
I've battled acne for 25+ years now and I'm only 36 years old.

I have been on Accutane, 3 times.... I still have it. I've been on everything and anything under the sun.

I've lately had rather good results with using an anti aging line from Arbonne called RE9. I do use OCM maybe 2-3x times a week and just water the other time with sometimes a light toner.

All this being said, I find that any time I switch products/methods, my skin always gets worse before getting better. It took about 1.5 months using the Arbonne stuff to get my down to just one-two flare ups at any given time. But that 1.5 months was awful. literally awful, I cried, I hid in the house, it was awful.

One of my biggest problems now is that because of the Accutane, my skin heals very slowly now. So an ance flare up, can and will last for 3-4 months as a red dot on my face. The actual acne itself if long gone, but the red spots remain.

The RE9 stuff is giving me the best skin I've had in maybe 15+ years since I was actually on the Accutane.

I would just keep trying different methods, but do know that you will often get worse before better and to not give up on a new mthod before it's really had time to "work".

best of luck to you, I know the battle all too well.
post #18 of 19
I just wanted to link you to a blog I wrote about my routine. I don't know if it'll help anyone, but it works for me. My skin routine
post #19 of 19
i wish i could help but i'm in the same boat. i've had "some" success with a sulphur smelling soap by grandpa's
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