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Saturday, August 21, 2010

My Clear Skin Quest


So this summer I embarked on the no (natural) product left behind clear skin search. I saw a doctor who focuses on more natural treatments. I researched. I read. I googled for days on end. All in the quest to clear my crazily broken out skin. And I think...I's getting better.

This all started about a year ago when I came off of birth control and everything went CRAZY. I've always struggled with acne, but this was like nothing I've ever seen before. It was deep cystic acne under my skin. And it was all over my body. I'm not kidding. I don't want to over share, but seriously. It was out of control. So at first I thought, maybe my body is just readjusting to coming off of birth control and my hormones just need time to regulate themselves. Well nine months later, things were still crazy. And I mean embarrassingly crazy. I try not to be super vain, but like I couldn't wear some short sleeve shirts because of the acne on my arms. Ugh.

Why, you might ask yourself, didn't I see a dermatologist during this time? Well I have seen them throughout my teen years. I've tried all the creams and antibiotics and I knew they would just stick me back on birth control or acutane. And let me tell you one thing. I will do a lot of things and endure a lot of bad acne before I'll go on acutane. I can't believe they even prescribe that anymore. Ridiculous. Ok don't get me started. Anyway. Let's just say the side effects outweigh the benefits.

So this summer I started putting two and two together that maybe my diet really could be effecting my skin and I still really believed that part of my acne was hormonal. So I cut out most of the sugar from my diet. And I also cut out most dairy. That was REALLY difficult. I love milk like you wouldn't believe, but I found out that most cows (even organic ones) are milked when they're pregnant. HELLO! Hormone disruption! And did you know that even organic cows live in confinement sitting in manure?! Ew! Just because it's organic doesn't mean it's good for you. I learned that from Kelly the Kitchen Kop. She'll be talking about it in her Real Food for Rookies Class. Ok I'm done plugging now. So when trying to find milk that's good for you go for raw milk and grass fed beef. To eat grass they have to roam. I'm still learning, but I know that much. Also, a lot of people are allergic to milk and don't know it, but do better with raw milk.

Anyway...cutting out dairy and sugar has seemed to help. If I could find raw milk I would start to work it back into my diet to see how my skin did. I haven't found a provider close by yet. It's kind of a big deal (maybe illegal?) to sell it I think. The FDA is not down with it, even though it's way better for you. Listen about raw milk here. Anyone know where to get any in or around Birmingham? Email me!

Like I said, I went to see a doctor who will do some more natural things, but she does conventional things as well. She tried to put me on an antibiotic. I'm not really a fan, but she said I should just take it around the times of the month my acne flares up. I'm still trying/deciding about that. We're also working on getting my hormone levels back to where they should be, so I'm on something that lowers my testosterone levels. I'm getting my levels tested again in December and I hope then that they will be where they should be and I can come off of the medicine. She also tested my vitamin levels and put me on some super charged vitamins that are really helping my energy levels and I think they're helping my skin too. We also figured out I have rosacea, and she said all her patients with rosacea have low B vitamin levels, so we're hoping the super B vitamins help with that.

I also changed my skin care routine. I read about Hemp Hemp Hooray on High on Health and let me tell you how amazing this stuff is. Oh my goodness. First of all it just smells delicious and I know that's not what we're after here. We want clear skin, but really it smells gooood. Ok back to the skin care benefits. It has all natural organic ingredients from Australia including lime and hemp oils. It just feels good and cleans your skin without drying it out. And then the Skin Soothe cream. Aaahh. It's like a treat for my skin every morning and night. It feels so good and really does calm down the redness and inflammation that's there. I think it's helping with the rosacea just as well as the prescription cream. The doctor also put me on clindamycin pads. Kinda like oxy 10 pads, remember those? They're kinda intense, but I think they really help with the acne on my chin and I only use them once a day.

So where am I now? Most days it's really manageable and way better. It's nowhere like it used to be. I still have occasional moderate acne, mostly on my chin and I think there are still some hormonal flare ups (around my period) and when I don't eat as well as I should that it gets worse. I also think that not managing my stress well can send me into a break out in no time. But it is nothing like what it used to be. The all over body acne is gone. It's not as cystic, deep and painful. I feel like I'm taking better care of my skin and my body as a whole. And I feel better about it because I feel like I'm not having to rely on birth control (putting more hormones in my body) to control my skin.

Without having gone through that painful (physically and emotionally) period, I don't think I would have learned how to eat real food and about the connection between eating real food and feeling and looking great. My skin keeps me accountable with eating real food and for that I'm grateful. Otherwise, I'm not sure I could always stick to it on a consistent basis.

So if you're struggling with acne, investigate the causes. Try cutting out certain foods and see how it goes. Check out High on Health. She's got a lot of great info. And feel free to share your tips here too! I always want to know more about how other people are caring for their bodies!

And remember, you're beautiful! Treat yourself that way!

This post is a part of Fight Back Friday at Food Renegade.


  1. Goat's milk is amazing. My mom milks goats, so if you're interested in driving up 65 to Gardendale/Morris to try it, let me know. Also... it is illegal to sell raw milk. BUT, what you do is buy "stock" in the animal and then the milk is rightfully yours, since you own part of the animal it came from. Goat's milk is also a little safer raw, as well.

  2. Thanks for the suggestion. I have tried goats milk. It felt like I was drinking goats cheese. I couldn't get past it. I just want to find some cows milk. Really bad. I'm going to keep researching and not give up hope. I know there are people who get it regularly. I just haven't been able to find it. And I would drive to get it and then buy bulk and freeze it. I'll keep looking. Surely I'll find it eventually...:)

  3. Hi, Stephanie. Have you tried the Weston A. Price Foundation? If you go to the website and type "raw milk" in the search bar, it brings up a list of sellers by state. Hope you are able to find a source. It's great stuff. We love it!

  4. I did find a link through Weston A. Price yesterday. I'm so excited! I have learned about herd shares and everything! Thanks Kat! And I'm scheduled to start with my new farmer friend in October! I can't wait!!!

  5. Good for you! I'm 30 years old and I get that deep cystic acne too. It's horrible! I finally figured out that cutting out dairy and sugar is the answer for me as well. It's hard, but it's so worth it. Thank you for sharing your story!