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My experience
Jul 12, 2001
Hi all,

I haven't posted here in a long while, so I thought I'd update you on my progress.

First of all, I have had little active acne for a few months (only the occasional small blemish). I had suffered from severe cystic acne for four years until a few months ago, and I've tried the following treatments (roughly in chronological order):

1) PanOxy BP bar (10%) -- USELESS!! prevented the acne but basically burned and blistered my skin, making it look even worse.

2) Proactiv -- did nothing for the first couple of months. After that, my face cleared up for a few months, but my skin was never really healthy looking. Also, eventually my skin started to blister again (it's easy to confuse blistering due to skin damage with acne -- the difference is in the time it takes for the lesion to develop).

3) Azelex + minocycline -- azelex (azelaic acid) is the best topical I've ever used, which isn't really saying much). The problem is that my skin was still never really healthy looking (putting acid on your face is never really a good thing....). Minocycline was effective for acutely infected acne but did nothing to prevent new acne lesions (which aren't infections initially). Also, the side effects are insidious -- I only realized how bad I was feeling when I was off the drug for a few months.

4) Vitamin b5 (6g/day) -- dried my skin and hair somewhat and reduced acne, but my skin was not very healthy, and I experienced symptoms of deficiencies in other b vitamins.
Again, I didn't realize how bad I was feeling until I was off the b5 for a while

During the last year, I have also been practicing a general ``wellness'' approach advocated by Dr. Walt Stoll. This consists of eliminated refined carbohydrates (eating only whole, unprocessed carbs and other foods), practicing a form of skilled relaxation to reduce stress, and excercising regularly.

Last month, I stopped ALL treatments (including b5 and Proactiv). My skin is slightly more oily (but MUCH healthier), and I DO get the occasional zit (mostly whiteheads), but NOTHING like the stuff that was happening while I was on the meds. I never thought I'd say this, but I'll take mild acne ANY day over the skin pathologies which occured on the meds I've been on.

Anyway, my experience is that a minimalist approach to skin care (while supporting your skin with healthy habits) is the best regimen I've come across.

Here's what I do:

1) whole foods diet
2) skilled relaxation
3) regular excercise
4) wash face twice/day with a mild soap (I use the Purpose Gentle Cleansing Bar).
5) spot treatment with Clearasil for the occasional lesion that pops up

That's it! And no dreaded severe breakout due to going off any of the other ``treatments''.

Hope this helps someone out there


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