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Natural Remedies for severe acne?

post #1 of 46
Thread Starter 
Hello--

My almost-15 yo ds lives with his father 9 months out of the year, and is about to come to live with me for the summer. He has cystic acne, pretty badly, and his father is suggesting accutane at the behest of the dermatologist. I am completely against this, since this drug is linked to liver damage, sight and hearing loss, depression and suicides, and not to mention birth defects--not a small worry for me since I'm 25 weeks pregnant and don't even want to be around the stuff. Needless to say my ex and I don't exactly see eye to eye about holistic remedies, but he's scared enough too to try a round of something more natural. My son's acne is pretty bad and he's already tried topical Retin-A. I know that his father isn't diligent about his diet, and my son who is an actor and very self-concious just wants the acne gone. Does anyone know of or has anyone tried a regimen of diet/supplements and other natural treatments that have been successful for severe acne? Can you point me to any good websites?

Much appreciated,

Kenai
Mother of 14yo wonder boy, 5 yo girl of my dreams, and : on the way!
post #2 of 46
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post #3 of 46
Hmmmm Digging deep into my pre-baby brain - and former life as a nutritional advisor, here's what I what suggest:

Homeopathy; sulfur is the usual recommendation (makes for some pretty stinky gas though - sorry )

Diet/ Supplements: A really complete multi-vitamin (no iron, unless you have reason to think he needs this)
Vit C (helps skin to heal)
Vit E - DRY form only though, can be a bit harder to find
Silica (strengthens skin and hair)
EFA (flax, fish, epo) to lubricate the skin - sounds counterintuitive, I know, but it will make the oily in his skin less 'sticky' and cloggy...
Zinc
Vitamin B6

Lots and lots of water - good luck with this one!
It may help to eliminate yeast...but I know that would probably not be approved by ds

And really basic hygiene, which I'm sure you already know but may not be easy for ds to follow: Change pillowcases often (daily would be great), don't pick (says the girl with acne scarring ), avoid hair products that contain mineral oils or silicone, as this just 'sits' on the skin, gentle cleansing...

Good luck with this - I totally understand your reluctance to have Accutane around, it scares the bejeepers out of me!
post #4 of 46
My cousin gave up dairy and her acne cleared up. She had been the dermatologist/allergist route for years and had no results. Creams, meds, etc did nothing. Eliminating dairy was the trick. It might not be the problem for him but you could give it a try for a week and see what happens
post #5 of 46
Couple suggestions:

Cabbage. Yes. Eat it (Coleslaw, or boiled/steamed for 3-4 mins. tops, or natural sauerkraut.) Topically: Put a gently (like 1 minute) steamed leaf on your face. It sounds demented, but it worked for me. I had moderate to severe acne. There's something very soothing in it.

Try homeopathy like bumblebee suggested, and dairy elimination per shannon.

Dr. Hauschka facial products are very pricey but very gentle. Might be what he needs, too. So many products are too harsh and then cause the skin to produce even more oil. There a licensed estheticians (sp?) who give great facials. Would he go for that?

: to him - it's tough enough to be a teenager.
post #6 of 46
Sorry if this is off topic, but I did take accutane. I was all for natural remedies-- but acne was too devistating to my spirit. I had it for too long and nothing helped much (went through just about every demotological option you can imagine). It was intense but usually it works fast and last a long time. I was on it for about 4/5 months and was acne free for at least 8 years. My pregnancy seemed to start up some things but NOTHING like before. The birth defects would only be for person taking them, and only for a female. Good luck to your son.
post #7 of 46
I have had 'bad skin' for my whole adult life (some of us even have a tribe here at MDC) and lately my skin has been relatively clear using ProActiv products (google it?).....it's not perfect and my acne wasn';t cystic, but it is definitely worth a shot before Accutane, IMO.


Giving up dairy, sugar, etc. can only help too.

Good luck, I know how life is feeling like beauty is only skin deep
post #8 of 46
My son had good results with ProActiv but it didnt' last... after a few months the acne came back in full force

I think we might try the dairy elimination route for a couple weeks and see if that helps.
post #9 of 46
Sulphur helped me. I did use a sulphur-based prescription called Plexion and it took a while (several months) to work.

Also, use NOTHING with fragrance. Most acne meds. have fragrance.

Wash with a mild cleanser like Cetaphil. Make sure when he washes his hair that the shampoo and conditioner do not drip on his face. Make sure sheets and pillow cases are washed with fragrance free soap.

I started taking fish oil a few months ago and got a REALLY BAD BREAKOUT, several large cysts on my jawline that lasted for months. Works for some people, but not me. Just too much oil.

Also, I squeeze a fresh lemon into a glass of room temperature water and drink it right away. It seemed to really balance my skin's Ph.
post #10 of 46
I'd recomend dandalion root and burdock or milk thisle internally to help cleanse the entire system, so your treating the acne from the inside out.
post #11 of 46
Oh, and I totally forgot to add that your ds should avoid iodine-rich foods - seafoods, seaweed etc - iodine can exacerbate the acne. There is no need to wash skin more that 2x per day - *unless* he is in an oil-rich environment, such as working in an fast food restaurant, or factory.

I really hope he feels better soon - as a 30yr old who *still* suffers from acne he has all my sympathy....
post #12 of 46
My 15yo DS tried all the over the counter remedies and he changed his diet. He also tried the benzoyl peroxide/clindamycin lotion twice a day and it did nothing.

The only thing that has helped has been tetracycline 2 twice a day. I don't know how you feel about using an antibiotic, but it has really done wonders.
post #13 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShannonCC
My cousin gave up dairy and her acne cleared up. She had been the dermatologist/allergist route for years and had no results. Creams, meds, etc did nothing. Eliminating dairy was the trick. It might not be the problem for him but you could give it a try for a week and see what happens
That sounds like a great idea -- and I would give it more than one week -- probably two. In that does work, I would consider a calcium supplement.

There are lots of great ideas here -- I'll post what worked for me separately.
post #14 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShannonCC
My cousin gave up dairy and her acne cleared up. She had been the dermatologist/allergist route for years and had no results. Creams, meds, etc did nothing. Eliminating dairy was the trick. It might not be the problem for him but you could give it a try for a week and see what happens
I had to look that up and it appears she is definitely on to something. Here is ONE of many links:

http://www.acnehelp.org.uk/dairy.htm

Now that I think about it, my 15 year-old daughter rarely breaks out, but when she does, she gets quite a few. I'll have to try to notice if it follows a lot of dairy consumption.
post #15 of 46

Month Long Migraine and Acne Diagnosis

I'll never forget the month of October, 1997! I had a migraine that lasted nearly a whole month! At the same time, I was getting these horrible zits -- like cysts. Though I'd had pretty bad (T-Zone) acne as a teen, I'd thought it was long gone and had no CLUE what these things on my face were.

My doctor diagnosed me with "Adult Onset Acne" and prescribed Retin-A, anti-biotics and who-knows-what-else. After telling me that my face would be sore, red, peeling and would look a whole lot worse before it got better, I left there dejected and worried. The same day I had an appt. with my chiropractor. I told him about my acne diagnosis and the prescriptions. This was our conversation:

D - "You don't need all those medicines. You need carrot juice, lots of water and to wash your face with nothing but warm water and a washcloth."

Me -- "But I wear make-up."

D -- "Warm water and a washcloth."

Me -- "No, I mean I wear foundation."

D -- "Yep, warm water and a washcloth, lots of water and lots of carrot juice."

I left there very skeptical, but I trusted him. And I went home and made carrot juice every day. And I drank lots of water. And I washed my face with warm water and a washcloth. Within a week, my face cleared up.

Fast forward 8 years.
I have NEVER washed my face with any cleanser (and have encouraged my daughter and sister to do the same).
I seldom drink carrot juice.
I drink at LEAST 1.5 litres of water nearly ever day. Usually more.

WHEN I do have a RARE pimple, all I have to do is go back 2-4 days and think about my water consumption. I find that the breakout has ALWAYS been the result of lower or zero water consumption (like when I'm traveling).

Different things work for different people, of course. I realize it's hard for people to think that water will actually wash your skin, and I'm living proof.
post #16 of 46
If he's game, I would suggest acupuncture - treatment and/or herbs.

I had great skin using Proactiv during my college years when I was breaking out a lot. I don't use it anymore, cuz I don't need to. I wouldn't call it natural though - it will actually bleach the towels you use to wipe your face - but when you have bad acne, it's definitely worth a try.
post #17 of 46
Curious_Me - there is a woman I use to work with that has gorgeous skin. She is 60 but looks like she is going on 30. One day I asked her her secret and she said she has never used facial cleansers or soap - just water. I started doing the same thing and my skin has never looked better!
post #18 of 46
I hear Tea Tree Oil works. I got Tea Tree Oil pads for Acne at the Body Shop once, they did seem to help, but I never applied Tea Tree oil from the health food store directly on my face or anything.
post #19 of 46
I had fairly severe acne all through my teenage years. I still get some now (at 25), but I've cleared up greatly. As a teenager, I tried everything short of Accutane (Proactiv, benzyl peroxide, tetracycline, you name it) with spotty (ha!) results.

Anyways, this is what finally worked for me.

1. Tea tree oil applied neat to the face twice a day - in the morning and in the evening. It smells pretty strong, but it helps existing blemishes heal and kills the skin bacteria that create new ones.

2. Two capsules of vitex (chaste berry) a day, taken consistently for a few months. Vitex balances hormones, and acne is caused by a surplus of testosterone (which in turn cranks up the oil glands).

3. Washing my face twice a day with unscented natural soap (Sappo Hill Oatmeal Natural is good, as is Dr. Bronner's Unscented) and water. Cleaning your face helps pores not to get clogged (which is what forms the base for blemishes).

The results I got with this combination were better than any OTC or prescription acne medicine. Drinking lots of water also seems to help. Good luck!
post #20 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by HelloKitty
Curious_Me - there is a woman I use to work with that has gorgeous skin. She is 60 but looks like she is going on 30. One day I asked her her secret and she said she has never used facial cleansers or soap - just water. I started doing the same thing and my skin has never looked better!
I'm happy to hear that! You are the first person I've ever "met" who uses just water (before I recommend it to them). Amazing, huh? Course, ingesting a ton of it is important for me too -- clean it from the inside out. What about you?
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