ACNE WAS BEYOND HORRIBLE.
And the thing that sucks the most is, once it turns into scarring (which it can easily do if it becomes a cyst)... it's like having permanent acne, which can put a huge dent in your self esteem. I participated in an acne study once, where you had to record your feelings about it into a tape recorder. This was back in the days where you recorded things with an actual cassette tape. I wanted to hear back what I recorded, so I rewound the tape and I guess I rewound too far and ended up hearing some other guy saying the same things I'd just said. Basically, it is enormously damaging to your self esteem. Sometimes you don't even want to leave the house.
I really struggled with Acne in my teens and 20's. It can become physically and psychologically damaging, and I really feel for any person who still suffers with this condition, as I did. When I was a teenager, I didn't want to discuss acne with people, and was somewhat mortified when people would try to step in and help me. I hated it because I knew that if they could see I had acne, and went so far as to point it out and try to help me, that must mean the entire world could see I had it, too. Couldn't we all just pretend I didn't really have it?
Part of the reason I'm making this post is because I know that when I was a teen, I much preferred to do my own research and I would have rather figured out the answers on my own, in private, instead of having a family member or strangers step in and tell me what to do. It is a touchy and embarrassing subject, to say the least! The one type of person who I didn't mind getting advice from was my dermatologist... but he let me down, big time. And so did all the other dermatologists I saw over the next 10 years (except one who kind of explained the of the big root causes of why we break out).
If I had known my acne would turn into full blown scarring, I would have done more to prevent it. But I didn't know, and my mother never warned me because she didn't get acne like I did. So to this day, when I see a teenager with cystic acne I just want to shake them and say PLEASE! Clear up your skin NOW, you have no idea how much easier your life will be if you don't let this get out of control. I know my Mom probably felt guilty about the fact that she complained about how expensive the dermatologist was, and I wound up with acne scarring so bad that I felt like I needed to get a $6,000 laser resurfacing treatment in my early 30's.
I didn't realize, when I was a teen, that my well-known, well-respected dermatologist (who was the most popular dermatologist in the state I was from), was lying to my face about what causes acne, and would later be busted for insurance fraud. Either that or he really was clueless about what caused it. He actually told me diet has NOTHING to do with acne.
HE WAS COMPLETELY WRONG.
Because he led me to believe antibiotics, Accutane, Retin-A, and several other drugs and lotions he prescribed, were the only answer, he took thousands of dollars from me, my mother, and the medical system. He kept recommending that I use nitrogen treatments from his very expensive machine, which did not work for me.... and neither did they work for other people in my family who used them.
I called his office hoping to get a photo from my files, showing how bad my acne was when I was 19 and working in a frozen yogurt store (having NO clue that all that yogurt I was eating was making my skin erupt). And I saw the office was closed. I started googling to see if he might have moved, and come to find out, he had been busted for insurance fraud. He continually over-billed his insurance company (for that ridiculous nitrogen machine that did ZILCH for acne). It made me realize, if he had no qualms about lying to and over-billing the insurance company, why not do the same for patients like me?
To this day, I have acne scarring and it makes me mad to think it could have been prevented if someone just told me the truth about it. Now I want to let people know what really causes acne, because this is another one of those things that doctors won't tell you.
As a patient, you are, essentially, a customer. If you figure out the answers, you're not going to keep coming back and who's going to help your doctor make his house payments?
My dermatologist was the first in a line of many deceptive or just plain uninformed doctors who have made me so passionate about letting people know about the power in alternative (but effective) treatments. It still blows my mind to think that some of the most simple and cheap things were able to fix my health issues far better than anything a doctor ever recommended.
I'm going to tell you how I learned to GET RID of acne, for good. Trust me kids... this stuff really works. The only way I was able to see that it really did work was to do it for 30 days. If you don't give your body enough TIME to get rid of ALL THE EXCESS BACTERIA AND TOXINS, it's just going to keep coming back and festering in your system and you're going to keep thinking you're cursed. But it's not you. It's the toxins. And sometimes (when you are detoxing) the acne really does have to get WORSE, in order for things to get better.
If you don't view the excess bacteria from meat as a toxin, you will never stop eating it, and you will never see a true difference in your skin. YOU MUST DO THIS FOR 30 FULL DAYS, and also be sure you are cleaning your skin properly.
Here's what worked for me:
1) Stop eating meat. I know, if you eat meat you're going to fight me on this one. It sounds like total BS. Well, it sounded like BS to me too until I actually tried it and OMG... no more acne. Same thing for my sister. If I were to go drive down to the Jack in The Box 3 blocks from my house right now, and have a burger - whether it's chicken or beef - I would start to develop a huge cystic zit. How do I know this? Because I went vegetarian on and off (but when it was "on" it was for several months or years at a time) and did exactly that.
I've been vegetarian for many years now but there were several times when I tried to eat fast food - after my body had been cleaned up - and BAM. ACNE.. and I mean cystic acne. This made me realize there really IS something in the meat - maybe the hormones, I'm not sure - that affects certain people. My neighbor has a very good friend who reacts the same way to meat. Not everyone does, but people with acne prone skin do, just like some people can't peanuts and some people can't have shellfish (but I can).
My acne was never as bad as it was when I was 19 and working at a frozen yogurt store. It was horrible. Like I said, I wanted to get a copy of my "before Accutane" picture that was in the file at my dermatologist's office, but discovered the office closed after he was busted for insurance fraud so I don't think I will ever have access to that pic. It was only after I took the accutane and my skin cleared up, that I looked back at the "before" pic and gasped. I couldn't believe it was like that... it was like there was more red than pink on my face... similar to the pic at the top of this blog post. I couldn't believe how bad it got, or that I had somehow just gotten used to it.
I'll never forget when I worked with this girl (who was not a particularly nice person) at a reception desk. She told me she had been on a ProActiv commercial. But her skin was still breaking out! I will never forget the day she was bragging about how she'd just gotten some kind of special deal with a steakhouse, and they had just pampered and treated her to dinner when they realized she had the ability to get them a lot of business, catering lunches to the VC we were working at.
On the day the food arrived - trays of beef - I watched her chow down a huge plate of beef, quite proud of herself for her "big score." Over the next few days, I was surprised she didn't call in sick for work, with how bad her face had broken out. I call it "The Cow's Revenge."
Dairy is just as bad. It is LOADED with bacteria and fat that cause breakouts. Don't believe me? Try going to McDonald's and ask them for a small creamer. Pour out most of it, and just leave a few drops in, and let it sit out for a day, then come back and have a whiff. You're going to get a nose full of bacteria, and trust me, it's not the GOOD bacteria people think it is.
While it seemed harmless to be consuming tons of dairy, what I didn't see, and would never know about until my 20's, was what really goes in on in the dairy industry. If you watch this, you will see why there is something intrinsically wrong with dairy, as it is produced today. And please take note that some of these clips are from ORGANIC dairy farms.
You might say, how come so-and-so (your friend / sister / cousin) can eat meat and it doesn't affect her??? I don't know why, but consider it a blessing. If you continue eating something you don't think you could kill yourself, you are MUCH better off NOT eating it. It is damaging to your own psyche to keep doing things you don't feel good about. I've been vegetarian for the better half of 20 years and am so much happier, more energetic and way healthier! You do have to eat healthy food and I take vitamins but things are waaaay better now, than they were when I was eating lots of meat. Trust me, your colon will thank you.
2) Probiotics. A big part of the reason I had acne (besides the meat, stress, and not taking care of my skin) is, I believe, I had SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth), largely due to the bacteria that's in meat and dairy. When you can't properly clean out your colon, you're gonna have some major issues. Probiotics can help you to get more of the good bacteria back in your system, and it can greatly help you with SIBO.
3) 70% Rubbing Alcohol. Please note you must use the right cotton pads (100 percent cotton, textured) and clean your face properly (I'm going to do a video about this). That means, take off all your makeup before bed. You can do this super cheap and easy with the right cotton pads (quilted pads that are textured... I'm going to do a video about this), and plain old 70 percent rubbing alcohol.
For some people this may be a bit strong but it worked brilliantly for me and my super-oily skin. This simple method makes my skin look great after I do it. Dermatologists and the makers of Clearasil will of course never mention that 70% RUBBING ALCOHOL kills bacteria just as well as benzoyl peroxide... but you don't have to have this ugly white zit cream on your face when you use alcohol. Again, it's DIRT... CHEAP.
WHY ACNE HAPPENS
The ONE dermatologist who actually gave me some good advice was at UCSF. She told me that acne is caused when cells stick together. Basically, that's what plugs the pore and it keeps your skin from being able to breathe. The reason Accutane works so well on Acne is because it prevents your cells from sticking together. This is why, when I was on Accutane, my skin felt smooth as silk. When the cells can't stick together and clog, acne can't form. The cotton from the 100% cotton pads helps to remove the debris from your skin.
Another reason this works so well for me is I HATED washing my face in a sink. Water gets all over the place and I still never felt my skin really got that clean. Soap just seemed to clog my pores. The best solution for me is to clean my skin with a really good cotton pad (not too hard and rough, like acne pads like Stri-Dex used to be). I use both sides, then even rip the pad in half so I can re-use the cotton on the inside. All I need is one pad to do my whole face, and sometimes my chest and back (depending how oily it is at the time). I used to break out really badly on my back, and it was much worse when I exercised.
4) Vitamins. A friend of mine who had terrible acne, really cleared up her skin by taking nutritional supplements. My favorite vitamins are called the Visalus Vi Pak. But please note that I'm not saying these are necessary to take for acne. They are just my favorite, and I did hear a story of how there was a kid who took these and his skin cleared up. My friend couldn't remember what vitamins she had taken that cleared up her skin, when I asked her several years after it happened (she wasn't the one who told me about it, it was a mutual friend who commented she couldn't believe how much our friend's skin cleared up from vitamins). The bottom line is, Nutrition is usually the best healer you are going to find.
5) Magnesium. Years ago a friend told me she was breaking out, and her husband told her to take magnesium and lo and behold, it worked. I can't help thinking this is because it can help clear intestinal blockages and clear out your colon. If it's true that SIBO, which can cause acne, is caused by bacterial overgrowth in the colon, it makes sense to me that Magnesium could help to clear things up by helping to clear out the excess bacteria. Just my theory. Magnesium helps me a lot with cramps. It seems like it just helps to "get things moving" through your system, in general.
6) Proper Hydration. If you're going to remove toxins from your system, you need to drink lots of water. You can read about the water I drink, by clicking HERE. It is the most detoxifying water you will find (it's medical grade). You can learn even more about it by clicking HERE.
7) Hypochlorous Acid. I did not use this for acne (since it had already cleared up) but many people have had great results using Hypochlorous Acid (aka 2.5 acidic water, which is another type of water made from the same machine that makes my drinking water). You can see some of the results by clicking HERE.
8) One day I was looking at this Liver Detoxifier & Regenerator, and to my surprise I saw it had a ton of reviews by people who said it cleared up their acne! Which makes me think my acne had something to do with my liver all along... I might write more about this later but for now let's just say that learning that detoxing your liver to heal acne was a real "a-ha" moment for me.
Here's a little tip for anyone who doesn't already know this. If you ever want to see if a certain product on Amazon works for a certain condition, type the word (acne, high blood pressure, etc) into the search box that's on the right side of the Amazon page (usually under the reviews in the right column). Then you can easily see if other people have reported success with this issue. There was a time I din't know this, and spent a ton of time searching through individual reviews!
This is what people had to say about the Liver Detoxifier & Regenerator on Amazon. There are more than this, it's just what I could get in one screen shot : )
When I was a teenager, there was a woman who was the mom of one of my coworkers from a frozen yogurt store we worked at, really wanted to help me, and worked at a health food store and was trying to give me things to detox, and she turned me on to psyllium husk in orange juice to cleanse my body. She told me enemas could help too.
To be honest, at age 18, the thought of an enema just creeped me out. I appreciated that she was trying to help my body detox, but what I wanted was immediate results. I wanted to just pop a pill like Accutane, that would make it go away fast. I didn't realize that, if I could go back in time, I would NEVER have taken Accutane or antiboitics, given the long term side effects I'd have to deal with later.
There are a couple of other things I'm going to write about... regarding controlling your stress and your thoughts... when I have time. There was a day I literally made myself slow down my thinking by about 90 percent and a friend commented on the fact that my skin had really cleared up! It was then that I realized how much my thoughts and my stress levels really did have a lot to do with acne.
If you have any questions feel free to get in touch with me via the contact form on the right.
Laura Ellen (Ualani)