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Re: Am i a mutant?
May 3, 2001

This is long, so bear with me.

Hang in there! I'm 31 and have suffered from cystic acne for almost four years now. It DOES get better, but I think you have to invest a lot of time into just increasing your general health. If your condition is a symptom of a deeper problem (e.g., your body's reaction to stress or a chronically toxic diet -- yes, sugar and hydrogenated oils ARE toxic substances....), it will most likely take more than a few weeks to reverse this. When I was 26, I lived on a steady diet of fast food, chinese food, soft drinks, etc...EVERY DAY. I also experienced more stress than I'd ever experienced before in my life -- being a graduate student and going through a lot of ``reorganization'' in my personal relationships. I weighed over 200 pounds at six feet (gained a lot of it in the space of a few years) and developed a horrible case of cystic acne (which I'd never had when I was younger). It's taken me two years, but I am a completely different person today. I run 4 miles/day, meditate daily, and eat a completely natural diet with no refined foods or hydrogenated oils. I do use some mild topicals (2.5% BP and 6% glycolic acid), take a couple of supplements (8g/day of b5 and 160 mg/day of saw palmetto), and I've made some minor changes to my personal hygiene habits (like using an electric razor and switching to more mild cleansers), but I think the main difference is the meditation/excercise/diet regimen). Right now, I have NO acne -- this is unprecedented and has not occured in more than four years! Once I'm satisfied that this is permanent -- i.e., lasts at least a few months and is not just one of those frustrating ``fluctuations'' -- I'll gradually stop the topicals and supplements.

My opinion is that ``curing'' acne without a powerful drug requires a radical change in lifestyle -- and this takes more than a few weeks.

Interestingly, I recently visited my derm and asked her about her opinion on accutane as a cure. Her opinion is that accutane does nothing but buy more time than other drugs -- once the effects of accutane in the body wane, acne will return unless the individual has either grown out of it or addressed the deeper causes of the acne (that is, of course, the hard part....).

One final note: If you've been on a steady diet of refined carbs for years and suddenly eliminate them, you will experience withdrawal symptoms. Your acne may get worse before it gets better. Also, it is VERY difficult to eliminate refined carbs. Even ONE grain of sugar on your tongue will put a huge amount of stress on all of your internal organs in order to metabolize it (there are several studies on this quoted in a great book by Walt Stoll, MD: ``Saving Yourself from the Disease-care Crisis''). Not everyone experiences acne as a symptom, but everyone reacts to stress (and physical stress counts....) differently....

Hope this helps -- It WILL get better!


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