Disclaimer: I am a Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, however this post is not in place of medical/professional advice. This is my personal experience and opinion.
*I’ve tried to find photos that show how bad my acne used to be, however I REFUSED to be photographed without makeup on. I’ve found some old pictures that show the texture of my skin but in all of them, I have pretty thick makeup on to try and cover how bad my acne was, but I don’t have any pictures of me without makeup when my skin was really bad. I was too embarrassed and didn’t want anyone to somehow find them. Hopefully you can somewhat tell the extent of my acne with the pictures I do provide in this post.
I just realized, it’s been about 2 years since I stopped suffering from TERRIBLE cystic acne! It’s been 2 years since I’ve woken up in the morning and counted the new zits on my face. It’s been 2 years since I stood in front of the mirror struggling to cover my face without my makeup looking too thick and cakey.
Not having acne anymore has been so freeing! I have more time in the morning because I’m not obsessing over my face and my wallet is fuller. I’m not spending all my money on the latest full coverage makeup and acne treatments and devices (a lot of those treatments and devices are expensive!)
I feel so much more confident and comfortable everyday. Everyone used to think I was rude and shy because I was so uncomfortable around people. I thought everyone was looking at my acne and thinking how gross it was. (I have no idea if they were, that’s just how I felt.)
If you have suffered from terrible, debilitating acne, just know you’re not alone. I was there for 11 years! I hope my story and solution gives you hope and helps you figure out what is causing your acne.
Journey to Clear, Acne Free Skin!
When you suffer from acne, you’ll try anything! I tried about every cleanser and treatment from the drugstore. I also tried all those 3 step systems like proactiv. When none of that worked, I started seeing the dermatologist.
Acne Treatments from the Dermatologist
The first treatment from the dermatologist I tried was an antibiotic called Ampicillin. Ampicillin worked for a little while but I eventually stopped seeing results. When Ampicillin stopped working, my dermatologist prescribed me a different antibiotic called Tetracycline. I did NOT have a good reaction to Tetracycline. It made me so lethargic and it was exhausting to even breathe! All I wanted to do was sleep! So after about 2 days of that, I refused to take anymore antibiotics.
I went back to the dermatologist and he prescribed me a topical antibiotic called Clindamycin for the morning and Retin A and Cortisone for the evening. He told me if I break out at all, to call him and he would adjust my dose. Well within a few days, my skin was breaking out so bad! So my dermatologist adjusted my dose of each. When I tried that, my skin got worse. He then suggested I try birth control and accutane. I’ve never liked the idea of birth control and messing with my hormones. And after researching accutane, I realized it was not for me and I wasn’t comfortable taking it. I didn’t want to put my body through that because it’s a harsh treatment. When nothing I was comfortable taking from the dermatologist worked, I thought I was completely out of options. At this point I was 22 years old.
So I started researching everything about acne. Causes of acne, common ingredients that clog pores, and foods that cause inflammation in the body and trigger acne. From all this research, I started cleaning up my skincare routine and using more natural products. Click here for my current natural skincare routine. Plus, I started cleaning up my diet by eating more fruits and vegetables and eating less refined sugar. I also tried eliminating dairy and gluten.
The Cure for My Acne!
Come to find out, gluten is the culprit of my terrible cystic acne! Eliminating dairy from my diet was easy. I didn’t eat it that much in the first place and there are sooo many dairy substitutions out there so it wasn’t a problem at all. But gluten took me a lot longer to eliminate. My diet consisted of a lot of bread and pasta. I didn’t know what I would eat if I didn’t eat gluten!
In October 2015, I realized I had gone 2 days without eating gluten. I hadn’t even thought about not eating it. It just happened. So I thought, if I can go 2 days so easily, I’ll try 2 weeks without gluten. If it works, great! If not, back to the drawing board. Within the next 3 days, I had no new breakouts and by the end of the first week, my skin was clear! Now, 2 years later, I have not had a bad breakout since I stopped eating gluten!
Diet Has EVERYTHING to do with ACNE!
Ever since this experience, I’ve realized diet has everything to do with acne, especially cystic acne. Doctors and dermatologists told me time and time again that diet has nothing to do with acne. From my own experience, I will NEVER believe that. Cystic acne starts at the deepest layer of the skin and you can feel cystic acne coming on days before you ever see it. So how can they sit there and tell me diet has nothing to do with it and something I’m putting on my skin, or excess oil (when my skin was dry as a bone after the harsh prescription treatments) was causing my cystic acne. It makes no sense!
Have Hope! You WILL Find A Solution To Your Acne
If you’ve tried everything and nothing works, try looking at what you’re eating and chemicals in your environment. Do you have trouble digesting certain foods? Do you break out more after eating something specific? Or is your everyday routine loaded with hormone disrupting chemicals and you have some sort of hormone imbalance? Dairy and gluten are the 2 most common sensitivities that people don’t realize they have.
There IS a solution to your acne! I really hope my experience helps you in some way and gives you hope that you WILL find a solution! If you’ve found changing your diet has cleared your skin or helped cure other ailments, leave a comment below! I’d LOVE to hear your stories! It’s always encouraging to hear others’ similar stories!
*Also, check your face cleanser. Sodium laurel sulfate is superrr clogging and it’s in almost every face cleanser. SLS is fancy term for SOAP. I’ll get more in to ingredients in a different post.