Acne is a cruel skin condition - it’s just inconsiderate and mean. It can destroy self-confidence and self-esteem. It can flare at a moment’s notice without warning, especially before a big event or important meeting. It can feel like there is no rhyme or reason behind flareups. It can feel like nothing helps. You can spend a fortune trying prescription and over the counter lotions and potions. You can take medications. You can go to estheticians. Nothing. Seems. To. Work. It can feel devastating, frustrating and endless.
I know. I had acne from ages 11 to 34. Through ruthless trial and error, I finally figured out how to achieve beautiful, clear skin - and I have kept my skin clear for 9 years! Don’t get me wrong - I still get zits. But getting a few pimples is very different than having a face full of acne. I can tell you exactly how I did it and how you can do it too. No gimmicks - this is my actual successful routine. If you read my health story you’ll learn about the various health issues I battled my entire life. I am relentless when it comes to finding solutions to the conditions that plague me. I never give up. I always find an answer. And when I do, I share it far and wide because I know people are out there suffering just like me.
First, my quick acne history. I started breaking out on my forehead at age 11. I was terrified because my older brother had horrible cystic acne and my mother had horrible cystic acne when she was young (she still bares deep facial scars as a reminder). I knew what the future held for me, and I was right. My acne worsened in my teen years and became cystic. I had it on my face, my chest and my back. I took lots of antibiotics and even took Minocycline for an entire year! It held the breakouts at bay but the long-term use of antibiotics destroyed my intestinal flora and greatly contributed to my other health issues. I tried every over the counter topical I could get my hands on like benzoyl peroxide, sulfur, glycolic acid, salicylic acid, tea tree oil, zinc, charcoal, Proactiv, Neutrogena - everything! I also used a lot of prescription topicals like Retin A, Differin, steroids, etc. None of it worked and I often had red, peeling, painful skin in addition to the acne. Talk about adding insult to injury! I was so desperate I even took a dangerous medication called Accutane - twice! Its side effects are so serious you have to take monthly blood tests to check your liver enzymes while on it. And you have to sign a waiver that you are not pregnant nor will you become pregnant for 6 months after stopping it! This drug actually worked and I had beautiful clear skin for the duration of the treatment, but as soon as I stopped taking it my acne came back in full force. By the time I was in my 20’s it was worse than ever. Eventually I found a birth control pill that seemed to control it. But then the birth control pill itself contributed to or caused a myriad of other health issues so I had to stop it. As soon as I stopped the pill, the acne came back! It just seemed hopeless.
I felt like a failure because I was a health care practitioner counseling people on how to be healthy - but I couldn’t clear my own skin. It was a daily battle. But with perseverance, I finally figured it out! This skin routine works. It is simple and cheap. It is not 100% natural, but it is not toxic either.
As soon as you wake up in the morning, put AHA 10% on your skin while you are going about your morning routine. You want this to be on your skin for at least 15 minutes - the longer the better. Then wash it off. I use www.acne.org AHA 10%. I will leave this on my skin for an entire day or overnight if I’m not going anywhere. You may be fine with it during the day, but I have oily skin and it’s just too thick for me to wear under my makeup.
Wash your face morning and evening. Don’t wash it more than that. Use a salicylic face wash. I use Murad’s clarifying cleanser. Let it sit on your face for a few minutes while you wash your hair and body.
Use ice! This is magic! Rub ice all over the affected areas twice a day after washing your face and before putting on any lotions. If you have a flare up or stubborn acne use an ice pack and leave it on your skin for 10-15 minutes every day. I truly believe this is what finally calmed down my acne flare ups.
Before bed slather an abundant amount of benzoyl peroxide 2.5% on your skin - don’t use a higher percent because it’s too drying. Do it while your skin is still cold from the ice. The more the better. Don’t skimp - use a ton of it. I get mine from www.acne.org. Beware, this will bleach your sheets and pajamas. It will bleach any fabric it touches.
Once the benzoyl peroxide is dry, slather on a lot of moisturizer. Your skin is going to get red, dry and flakey from the benzoyl peroxide.
No grains. That’s right - zero grains. This is key! See our “Grain Handout” for more details.
No sugar. None. Zip. Nada. This is non-negotiable. See our “Sugar Handout” for more details.
You need to eat the autoimmune paleo diet in order to get rid of acne. There is no getting around this. Make sure you’re including lots of leafy green veggies and lots of probiotic lacto-fermented foods like sauerkraut.
Take 1000mg of Saw Palmetto Extract. Make sure you get a good brand. Quality counts! I like DaVinci Laboratories.
If the above doesn’t clear your skin within three months you need to see a practitioner who does Nutrition Response Testing. NRT practitioners can pinpoint which organs or systems are contributing to imbalances in the body that are causing or contributing to your condition.
Another thing I do is micro-needling. This is optional. It works to lightly resurface the skin, improving scars and large pores, and it promotes collagen production for skin tightening and healing. I go to Natalie Sweeney of Skin Studio in Ithaca, NY - www.skinstudioithaca.com. She is wonderful and has helped me so much!
I have used this protocol on a bunch of clients and it has worked nearly every time! Who else can say that!? Now to be fair, some clients have had their skin completely clear up while others have only seen some improvement. But it works better than anything else I have come across, and believe me - I have done it all!!
I hope this information helps!
Tara Lambert, Founder of Nutritional Wellness Center