This is a reader story by Love Vitamin reader Meagan (submit your own reader story here)
My natural skin care journey started in late October 2013 – almost a year and a half ago.
I’ve always struggled with acne, but I was suffering from particularly bad severe hormonal acne and peri-oral dermatitis following the birth of my son.
That’s when I stumbled upon The Love Vitamin.
I remember clearly the night I first saw Tracy’s post on how to treat female hormonal acne.
I was out-of-town visiting family and following a big dinner with lots of people to visit with, I washed my face and retired to my room really early to spend the night researching hormonal acne cures and Accutane.
I just couldn’t endure trying to be social and happy while having a horrible, painful and inflamed face. I was not myself. Here’s what it looked like at the time:
I was fed up. I was sad. My face HURT. I was disappointed that after seven years of feeling like I’d tried everything to have perfect skin.
Facials, Proactiv, multi-year antibiotic use, chemical peels, laser treatments, expensive dermatologist-recommended cleansers and moisturizers, purchasing (and returning) the Clarisonic Mia…
Yet I was still left with this face that felt abused, and was getting even worse than when I first started obsessing over finding an acne ‘miracle cure’! And it was all so damn expensive!
Going the Natural Route
I ordered quite a few things off The Love Vitamin’s recommended list – manuka honey, MSM cream, Estroblock, fermented cod liver oil/butter oil, kefir grains. . . and I started seeing a naturopath.
Some things really worked – I’ve never had a pimple during the multi-week candida cleanses I’ve done, and my skin started clearing up when I finished breastfeeding and my hormones settled a bit.
Fermented cod liver oil/butter oil makes my skin glow, and I drink raw milk kefir daily and avoid fluoridated water. I’ve formed relationships with local beef and poultry farmers and purchased a share in a goat farm to have access to fresh milk.
I feel closer than ever to the food I eat and who it’s grown and raised by. My son loves drinking fresh milk and my family overall is healthier for the changes we’ve made. I feel so much more knowledgeable about what healthy food is and how to nourish my body.
Me, smiling and happy during a clear stint this past June.
But, I have a confession to make.
A short while ago I realized that I was approaching natural skin care just like conventional acne treatments.
I was looking for the supplement, diet or routine that would ‘cure’ my acne. Instead of scouring the internet for reviews on doxycycline or chemical peels, I was researching Estroblock, cod liver oil and candida cleanses.
I was behaving EXACTLY THE SAME as I was before, but in this cloak of natural. In between candida cleanses I would go back to eating sugar and drinking coffee and doing things I knew weren’t good for me.
I was basically searching for Accutane in the holistic pharmacy – something that could cure my acne without too much effort on my part. And, eventually it became just as detrimental to my skin and outlook as what I was doing before.
The Real Change
Following my most recent candida cleanse this past summer, my skin started breaking out badly and this continued for a few weeks.
My naturopath thinks it may be a parasite cleanse product that I was taking that launched my gut into disbiosis or a healing crises.
I was pissed, and after a particularly bad breakout in early September, I was fed up. How could this happen when I’ve been trying EVERYTHING to cure my acne?
During my obsessive hormonal acne research, I recently came across a naturopath who cited this study from 2012 that basically said acne should be regarded as an insulin regulation disease induced by western diet, like type 2 diabetes.
It was like a lightbulb went off for me. I need to keep my blood sugar stable and think of my diet like I have a disease like diabetes.
This isn’t meant to malign what people with type 2 diabetes go through and how devastating this disease can be when not properly managed, it just helps me understand why my body might be giving me acne, and it helps me stick to a healthy diet.
I also saw some clearing success with the herb Berberine that is a digestive aid and helps regulate blood sugar so my naturopath and I figured there could be a link.
My New Lifestyle – And This Time I’m Sticking To It!
Under my naturopath’s guidance, I’ve started a 12-week sugar free (except fruit), coffee-free, alcohol-free, gluten-free, refined-carb free diet to keep my blood sugar stable.
I still eat yoghurt and cheese, but I avoid conventional milk. I’m on week three, and I haven’t had any acne breakouts, just one small spot of inflammation on my chin last week that quickly went away.
I feel fantastic, I have lots of energy and I concentrate better at work. I’m falling asleep faster and having deeper, more restful, sleeps.
Once the 12 weeks is up, I’m not going to just go back to the way I was eating before. This is becoming a lifestyle for me. I feel like the diet+acne thing has finally clicked for me.
I’ve continued taking supplements like cod liver oil/butter oil, probiotics, zinc, anti-fungals and drinking kefir and bone broth. But, instead of taking them daily because I’m afraid of getting a breakout, I’m just taking them to be healthier overall.
My mindset has changed from acne-fighting to body-nourishing, something that Tracy has always stressed, but that I don’t think I truly believed deep-down.
I’ve also completely ditched cleansing and moisturizing my face and have gone on a modified caveman regimen.
With no new breakouts, I don’t feel the need cover up with foundation (I still do full eye make-up). I’m on day 14 and I’m amazed at the difference. My skin is smooth, clear and has no inflammation. Even my fine lines are fainter.
Go figure that the worst thing I was doing for my skin was what I previously thought was the best – washing it and moisturizing it. I should have listened to Tracy and The Love Vitamin earlier! 😉
I feel free. It’s an incredible feeling. I thought I was going to have to wear foundation for the rest of my life. . .
Bring It On
The big test will come during my next pregnancy. Will I be able to avoid the skin sensitivities, breakouts, and painful, inflamed peri-oral dermatitis/hormonal acne during my third trimester and while breastfeeding?
I sure hope so, and I feel like I’m armed with the right tools.
For the first time when it comes to my acne, I’m not scared. In fact, more than ever, I’m up for the challenge.
Meagan is a communications professional living in Western Canada. This prairie girl loves Saturday farmers’ markets, strolls along the river valley and connecting with family and friends. She writes about her clear skin journey at www.theglowjourney.blogspot.com