clear skin

I’m going to be away sightseeing in New York this week, so this is a clear skin interview from Michelle!

These interviews get us some insight into the specifics of what helped fellow Love Vitamin followers ditch the acne and clear their skin!

If you’d like to fill out your own interview to be featured on the blog, then just click here.

What was your experience with acne? How many years did you have it and how did it make you feel?

I had some mild acne on and off through high school, but it got bad in my early twenties.

It made me feel ugly, dirty, trapped in my routines, and above all, helpless.

What kinds of things did you try prior to holistic healing that didn’t work?

In high school I was put on Retin-A which basically made a layer of skin slough off every night, so I’d exfoliate in the shower… but often this wasn’t enough and my skin would start to peel at highly inopportune times.

And I still had acne…

I tried various antibiotics for a couple of years.

One worked really well for a while, then my acne came back, so I tried another which didn’t do anything, but it did make me highly susceptible to solar radiation.

I remember going on a road trip with my then-boyfriend and the skin on my hands got horribly burnt from driving.

Thirty minutes in the sun and I’d get fried, so I had to make sure I was sufficiently covered up, hoodie and all, if I was going to the beach or anywhere unshaded. I also remember trying to hide my freakishly sunburnt hands on the first day of a new semester at college.

I stayed on that antibiotic for a long time, because even though it wasn’t working, I reasoned that it might be preventing my skin from getting worse.

On top of all the other negative side-effects from prolonged antibiotic usage, it made me feel nauseous in the mornings after I took it. A couple times I had to leave class and go gag in the bathroom.

Fear that the antibiotic was harming my body paled in comparison to my fear of acne, which is why I kept taking it.

Meanwhile, I was back on the pure evil that is Retin-A. The medical professionals I encountered simply give you a stronger prescription if it’s not working and call it a day.

After a routine trip to the gynecologist, I ended up on birth control for about two weeks to a month.

It cleared my skin completely, but it also made me gain weight out of nowhere which was horrifying.

It also made me feel psychotically angry, and gave me morning sickness. I couldn’t control my emotions which was very disturbing, to say the least. So, that didn’t last long.

Of course I also had the usual antibacterial, oil free, acid-laced acne face scrub, various tubed spot treatment products, and harsh alcohol based toners that would burn and turn my face beat-red. All of that drug store crap.

The last product I slathered on my face, and which did work for a while, was benzoyl peroxide, which is basically bleach.

That stuff cleared my skin for about a year, with a zit every now and again.

It also dried me out, and made my skin as dull and lifeless as the chemicals it contains. If I was going out I would have to run home and exfoliate, then reapply makeup on the lower half of my face so it wouldn’t peel while I was out.

My skin was so dry that I was getting ‘laugh lines’ that would stick around after I smiled, which made me freak out and think I was aging already.

It was not a happy time.

Despite that, I thought I had found my cure… until I started getting cystic breakouts, of the likes I had never before experienced.

How did you discover that acne could be treated holistically?

Throughout this whole time I was getting my daily fluid intake from diet soda and eating total garbage because my doctor told me “acne has nothing to do with your diet” and “hopefully, you’ll grow out of it.”

Five years later and this was STILL a monster in my life, consuming some of the most vital years of my young adulthood.

To poo-poo the grave importance of diet and nutrition could be the greatest failure of modern medicine… I thought there was inherently something wrong with me, my hormones and my genetics, destined to suffer acne until my skin stopped secreting oil altogether.

But then I started asking questions.

My grandparents never had adult acne, my parents never had adult acne… but my sister and I do.

So I turned to my old friend, the internet, and went through a period of obsessive research and found that adult acne in women has been skyrocketing since the 1950’s, though the articles provided no theoretical reasons.

After some bad cystic breakouts, I was considering some serious medications and treatments, androgen blockers, accutane, laser whatever…

And my obsessive research lead me directly to The Love Vitamin YouTube page where I probably consumed all of the videos in a few evenings.

Finally, everything made sense.

Once I understood the root cause of acne, I implemented the necessary lifestyle changes right way and have been clear for about two solid years of bliss.

What were the specific things that made the biggest difference to your skin? What worked for you?

1 – Stop eating commercial, processed foods and ESPECIALLY SUGARS

Don’t purchase foods with ingredients you can’t pronounce.

Don’t purchase foods that contain soy, sunflower/safflower oils, flax, or any of that estrogen-riddled BS.

Eat lots of healthy oils like olive oil, avocado, and coconut oil (I add a dollop of coconut oil to organic decaf coffee).

2 – Stop putting chemicals on your skin, switch to oils

I like tamanu, argan, and rosehip for my face.

Coconut oil is good for hair/body, but not for your face because it’s highly comedogenic. I’ve noticed moisturizing with coconut oil or coconut oil based products will clog my pores, resulting in a less smooth skin texture.

Manuka honey is amazing, I use it for face masks and spot treatment.

Use natural soaps and cleaning products. I like Dr. Bronner’s.

3 – If you like to switch up your look and wear makeup like me, use natural/holistic brands

I like Alima Pure (best mineral foundations, blushes, bronzers), Dr Hauschka (best mascara), Red Apple Lipstick (best lipsticks), and RMS Beauty (best concealers).

(Note from Tracy: also check out my recent makeup recommendation post)

Arrowroot powder is an amazing foundation setter, or a light dusting will suck up any excess oil throughout the day.

4 – Take Estroblock Pro and a liver cleansing supplement

These supplements will help your body get rid of the 20 or so years of xenoestrogen exposure from eating so much crap/ absorbing so much crap/ life in the West.

5 – Drink organic apple cider vinegar daily

Mix with plenty of water so you don’t burn your esophagus (some people mix it with water, lemon, and honey). It also makes a great toner.

If I become lazy with the ACV consumption, I’ll get a few spots on my chin or jawline around my period. It definitely makes a difference for me.

Guzzle lots of fluids in general and keep your gut bacteria in check with ACV, kombucha and other fermented foods/drinks or probiotics.

Were there any obstacles? Things you found difficult about the whole process?

The only real obstacle for me is all the extra spending that occurs when getting healthy and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. BUT, IT’S SO WORTH IT.

Clear skin is just about priceless, as is evidenced by how much people spend doing all the wrong things to get it… and if there’s anything we should be spending more on, it’s staying healthy.

How did you feel once your skin cleared up?

FREEDOM. I feel like I can do anything I want whenever I want. I feel beautiful with or without make-up, and no longer yield to an impulse to turn away when my boyfriend touches my face.

I look better than ever and feel better than ever.

I didn’t associate my ‘laugh lines’ with my use of benzoyl peroxide at the time, and yes, they went away completely when I started taking care of my skin holistically.

My mind is free from the constant worrying, fear, the sorrow, the unpredictability and helplessness that we who have gone through this all understand.

Thank you Tracy!

Michelle Denz is a professional graphic designer and illustrator who enjoys writing stories on the side. She is a humanist and principled thinker with eclectic tastes in just about everything.