I have been diagnosed with a plethora of skin issues:
and worst of all – Hidradenitis Suppurativa.
All of these started in my teens and got progressively worse throughout my twenties, especially with weight gain and too much stress.
Now, except for a minor bump here and there, my skin is pretty clear all over my body. I’m going to share the things that made the biggest difference:
1) DIET – low carb. I used to drink a lot of sugary drinks – Coke, coffee, etc. I was also a carb addict – chips, pasta, rice, bread, potatoes…
I saw an immediate change in just about everything in my health when I cut back on carbs. Even as a vegetarian, it is easy to eat more healthy vegetables and proteins and limit intake of processed sugars and starches. It’s also important to embrace healthy fats – olive oil, avocado, nuts, coconut, red palm. Changing my diet, along with exercise, also helped me lose all the excess weight. And my skin took on a healthy glow and increased in elasticity instead of being doughy.
2) Stop taking those pharmaceuticals. My doctors had me on antibiotics, antidepressants, crap. I stopped taking those and looked for natural alternatives. I take Vitamin-A, Horsetail, anti-oxidants, and other skin feeding supplements.
3) Sulphur soap – my new dermatologist told me to avoid tea tree oil (because I could become sensitive to it) and use a sulphur soap. In addition, we recently read that tea tree oil in constant low doses (like shampoo and body wash) contributes to the development of resistant bacteria like MRSA. So we’ve rid our toiletries of unnecessary tea tree oil (now used for specific isolated treatments only in our house). I use the sulphur soap on my face and in the shower. I also exfoliate with a natural vegatable fiber face puff and a large scrubber that gets my whole body.
4) Drink lots of water. In fact, we like sassy water – not because it’s trendy, but it really tastes good and has lots of vitamin C. Hydration keeps skins elastic and helps your body get rid of waste products.
5) I cut back on mineral supplements and only take the ones I need. I noticed that if I got too much of certain minerals, my breakouts, especially the big painful ones, would get worse. My personal theory is that bacteria thrive in mineral-laden sweat. I thought about this when I was reading how overfertilized soil run-off is a severe breeding ground for bacteria because of the magnesium, etc. We don’t take multi-vitamins. There’s evidence that they don’t absorb right and the over load of minerals isn’t good. We take each vitamin and mineral in a proper dose separately.
6) Salycilic acid astringent – I wipe down with it twice a day and after any kind of exfoliation or hair removal. I also take a low dose (81mg) aspirin every day.
7) Laser hair removal – yes it was expensive and it hurt, but it was so, so, so worth it. I got a brazilian and had my arm pits done. This investment probably cut my hidradenit suppurativa breakouts a hundred fold by itself.
8) Laser facial for rosacea – not as painful as laser hair removal, but did make me look like I had a sunburn for a while after each treatment. However, it nearly completely removed all the red spider veins around my nose and imporved my over skin tone. I need to get a touch up every few years.
9) Remove all chemical toxins from anything that touches skin. This means osmosis filter in the shower to remove chlorine and only organic and natural products for moisturizers and makeup. Also, only natural, color and fragrance free laundry detergent.
10) Thong underwear. Yes, it helps to have free air and circulation down there. Plus, run around the house nude for a little while each day and let the sun shine on you for a few minutes. Vitamin D and aeration.
Now, this was certainly not overnight. It took a good five years of following this regimen – with certain changes taking affect more quickly than others. But it was worth the wait and the effort.