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Acne mysteriously crept up on me in my early/mid twenties. At first I thought it was because I had stopped taking birth control pills but even after getting back on them I still had bad skin. No matter what acne products I used on my face (both over-the-counter and prescriptions), I could never take control. That's when I started thinking of my condition differently and realized that there was something triggering my break-outs internally.

I have always eaten well (no junk food, no meat, no dairy) so I couldn't cut out much bad stuff... except coffee. As insanely difficult as it was, I gave it up along with much of the sweet I was eating. I also started taking flax oil supplements daily (specifically Barleans brand supplement called "Essential Woman"). I noticed quite a change after that; I wasn't getting as much hormonal cystic acne along my jawline and my PMS was not nearly as bad as it had been. However, I was still breaking-out so I kept trying new things.

I'd tried taking additional vitamin supplements daily (B vitamins, zinc, selenium, etc.) but didn't notice a difference. I tried sulfur topical skin care which helped more than any other treatment I'd tried (Proactiv and Murad) but I still was only treating the symptoms of something bigger.

I had always read that cystic acne along the jawline indicated a hormonal imbalance. After some online research, I came across an herb called chaste berry (aka chaste tree or vitex). I decided to try it because it claimed to have helped regulate women's periods and premenstrual symptoms. I started taking a dropper-full of the bitter liquid herb mixed in water twice daily. I also continued with the flax oil supplements daily. Even though it took months for my hormones to regulate, I stuck with this regimine. After a few months, I had no more cysts, no more tiny clogged pours around my chin, and no more slathering my face with layers of acne medications and cover up. It's totally amazing.

As for how I care for my skin topically, I wash it with a mild scrub in the shower and use tea tree oil and a very light moisturizer under make up. In the evening, I very seldom wash my face. I usually just use a warm washcloth to freshen up before bed and sometimes some more tea tree oil. Sometimes I skip that altogether and go straight to bed. I still have to use cover up on the occasional blemish as well as the hyper-pigmentation from past break-outs. But compared to how out of control my skin used to be, it's completely unbelievable that I've been able to get a hold of it. I'm still sometimes shocked when I look in the mirror!

Not to say that medicine is bad or doesn't work for people, but every traditional doctor I've ever been to would only treat the symptoms of my acne and would not take the time to go to the root of the problem. One doctor of mine told me I was wrong when I said that giving up coffee had helped my skin. She told me there was no proof that diet has any effect on the skin. After the great results I had experienced, I felt like she was calling me a liar! As a side note, I would recommend seeing a Naturopathic doctor if you can. T

Anyway, after about 6 years of battling acne, I've found something that works for me. Finally. Natural approaches are always better! Good luck and thanks for reading my story. I hope my experiences are helpful to you!

~Em





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