Natural Remedies for severe acne? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 46 Old 06-07-2005, 04:43 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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,

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Mother of 14yo wonder boy, 5 yo girl of my dreams, and : on the way!
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#2 of 46 Old 06-07-2005, 07:58 AM
 
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#3 of 46 Old 06-07-2005, 08:44 AM
 
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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!
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#4 of 46 Old 06-08-2005, 11:56 PM
 
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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
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#5 of 46 Old 06-09-2005, 01:22 AM
 
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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.
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#6 of 46 Old 06-09-2005, 02:29 AM
 
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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.
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#7 of 46 Old 06-09-2005, 09:35 AM
 
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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
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#8 of 46 Old 06-09-2005, 09:42 AM
 
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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.

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#9 of 46 Old 06-09-2005, 12:01 PM
 
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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.
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#10 of 46 Old 06-09-2005, 01:28 PM
 
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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.

There is a crack in everything...that's how the light gets in.
~Leonard Cohen~
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#11 of 46 Old 06-09-2005, 03:13 PM
 
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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....
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#12 of 46 Old 06-09-2005, 03:50 PM
 
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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.
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#13 of 46 Old 06-09-2005, 07:33 PM
 
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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.
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#14 of 46 Old 06-09-2005, 07:37 PM
 
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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.
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#15 of 46 Old 06-09-2005, 07:53 PM
 
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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.
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#16 of 46 Old 06-10-2005, 01:53 AM
 
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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.
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#17 of 46 Old 06-10-2005, 08:26 AM
 
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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!

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#18 of 46 Old 06-10-2005, 03:39 PM
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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.
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#19 of 46 Old 06-10-2005, 07:48 PM
 
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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!
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#20 of 46 Old 06-10-2005, 08:28 PM
 
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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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#21 of 46 Old 06-11-2005, 12:18 PM
 
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It's likely hormonal and while giving up sugar is never a bad thing little actual evidence shows that acne is related to your diet.

I woudn't mess around too long with severe acne, scarring can be a really bad thing, KWIM? It has been my experience (and I have tried everything even though I only have post-partum breakouts, nothing severe) that sometimes you need something strong and stuff like TTO isn't going to cut it. Proactive has worked for everyone I know who has tried it from myself to teenage boys with terrible acne. You haveto use it twice a day every day but it really does the trick.

Amy: Certified Professional Midwife and mom to Max (11) and Stella (6).
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#22 of 46 Old 06-13-2005, 04:02 PM
 
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two words: USANA Sense


totally natural and doesn't zap moisture out of your skin like a lot of prescribed skin care products do.


pm me if you'd like some before and after pictures....I lived with acne for 4 years trying everything from Proactive, Retin-A, Olay, etc etc etc etc etc... they would all work only sporadically or had bad side effects. USANA was the only thing that did it permanently for me (3 years, still no acne now...)

Creating Art. Living life on Guam. Sharing my Journey.

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#23 of 46 Old 06-17-2005, 07:42 PM
 
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From a traditional chinese medicine perspective,
the lungs rule the skin. So one suggestion is to work
on breathing. To have a focus on watching the breath,
and putting it in sync with daily activities. Monitoring
breath overcomes many problems.

Closing the eyes, and imagining the air going out of the
body, through the pores. Then also imagining the skin
as a protective shield. Feeling that the skin is very
clean and healthy, imagining that if one sees any barriers,
then these barriers are penetrated with a healing light such
as gold. These actions can tune the brain
to specifically focus on the skin.

Perhaps he is an actor and is well spoken, but to focus
internally on breathing such as this is a separate concept.

This method may take the longest of all the methods,
but at the same time, can have the longest effects.
Eating right can become a meditative
exercise of sorts, such that one can sense what the effects
a food will have when eating, and become aware.

Tuning body and mind.
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#24 of 46 Old 06-17-2005, 11:56 PM
 
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I agree with PP that not washing your face is truely a great suggestion. Both DH and I have great skin and all we use is a wet washcloth and gently wash our faces with that. We also moisturize with almond oil or olive oil. I think when people use cleansers on their faces, it tends to remove all the oils and so your body makes more oil to compensate--kind of like the no-poo thing where you have to rinse with vinegar to balance your scalp so it doesn't produce more oil.

I did read in one of my natural healing books that smashed strawberries will help acne, but I haven't tried it! I've tried the USANA vitamins and they were wonderful--I really think that their phytoestrin helped me get pregnant this last time. One of DH co-workers loved their Sense line.

OT: Shell024: We lived on Guam for 5 years (not in the military, just for fun)--we miss the beach!!!

Barbara:  an always learning SAHM of Ilana (11) and Aiden (8) living in Belgium with my amazing husband.

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#25 of 46 Old 06-18-2005, 02:42 AM
 
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I would have to second (or third or fourth) the no soap or cleansers idea. I have never had cystic acne, but it was pretty bad. I've tried every cleanser under the sun, and nothing has worked as well as just washing my face less. I still use cleanser, but only every other day or so, as opposed to several times a day, and I follow with a moisturizer, otherwise my face freaks out and produces extra oil.

I had a roommate who had horrible acne, cystic, and took antibiotics for years with no results. She went to see a herbalist in chicago who told her she had systemic candida- an overgrowth of yeast basically running all through her body. So the antibiotics was actually making it worse. She changed her diet, no sugar, no milk or cheese, and no refined flours. Basically all she ate was meat, vegetables, and brown rice. Also she had to drink this horrible tea (she made me taste it) several times a day. As the yeast died off, she was sick at her stomach a lot, and also she stank. (I'm not making this treatment sound too attractive, am I? :LOL ) But within a couple months, her skin was soooo much better. Now it looks *great* and she is able to eat a normal diet again. Now, I have never known anyone else who had this. Also, she had other symptoms besides acne, massive fatigue being the worst. I just thought I'd mention it since nobody else had.
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#26 of 46 Old 06-20-2005, 12:38 PM
 
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I'm not sure if this will help, but I was perusing the mothering.com main page and came across this article:

Natural Acne Care for Teenage Skin

I wasn't sure if you had seen it or if it will help, but thought I would put it there for you to check out
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#27 of 46 Old 07-08-2005, 04:08 AM
 
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Hi, I found a website called www.acne.org which is owned by a guy who suffered really badly with acne, managed to clear it up for life and is committed to sharing his discoveries. He advocates a regime of benzoyl peroxide - yes I know it has been mentioned before - but he recommends using it in quantities that you hadn't thought of before. And it really works! I have had acne, worse and less, ever since my teens. And I have done it all including accutane (which worked for a while but at the cost of pretty unpleasant side effects). When I tried his regime to the letter, my skin cleared up completely, including my forehead which resisted everything always. I get the odd pimple now and only have myself to blame when it doesn't clear up really fast (darn! just couldn't leave it well alone!). His website and the testimonies are inspiring. I wish that I had known that when I was in my teens - not my 40's!!
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#28 of 46 Old 07-08-2005, 09:16 AM
 
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I agree with the poster who said not to mess around with acne. If it is severe enough, it can cause permanent scarring and can be very detrimental to self-esteem if it gets bad enough.
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#29 of 46 Old 07-08-2005, 02:51 PM
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Natural remedies only help with mild acne, severe acne typically responds only to treatment through a dermatologist.

Accuntane is an oral mediction for severe acne that I have heard very amazing things about.
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#30 of 46 Old 07-08-2005, 04:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by intruth
Hi, I found a website called www.acne.org which is owned by a guy who suffered really badly with acne, managed to clear it up for life and is committed to sharing his discoveries. He advocates a regime of benzoyl peroxide - yes I know it has been mentioned before - but he recommends using it in quantities that you hadn't thought of before. And it really works! I have had acne, worse and less, ever since my teens. And I have done it all including accutane (which worked for a while but at the cost of pretty unpleasant side effects). When I tried his regime to the letter, my skin cleared up completely, including my forehead which resisted everything always. I get the odd pimple now and only have myself to blame when it doesn't clear up really fast (darn! just couldn't leave it well alone!). His website and the testimonies are inspiring. I wish that I had known that when I was in my teens - not my 40's!!
Yes, this is the only thing that has helped my skin longterm. I know it is not NFL, but it does work and it is better than accutane. This guy's website lists a number of drugstore products that he and others have found efficacious. He is not getting kickbacks from anyone, it is really just to help people.
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