I started developing acne when I was in grade school, partly due to the fact that my disability causes pubescent puberty (early puberty). Therefore; I had the joy of enduring all the things we all do at an earlier age i.e. extra oil production, budding body issues, etc. But that is only part of it, other factors were things like regular intake of antibiotics whether I had an infection or not due to so many surgeries to fix things that were not right with my body from my disability which, if you’re wondering and you haven’t read my “About Me” page I encourage you to do so. My condition is Spina Bifida. Consistent antibiotics cause a disruption in the natural good bacteria in the digestive tract, which can lead to bad bacteria flourishing in the body, but these things are only part of the puzzle. As a teen I finally convinced my mom to let me see the doctor about the problem, because I was sick of the papules all along my jaw and chin and pustules on the apples of my cheeks (Insert pizza face comment here lol). The doctor herself had cystic acne so, I thought I found someone who not only could empathize but help me. She prescribed the same thing that she was using Tretinoin. I started using it and like most of us, I broke out worse, which I knew to expect for a couple of weeks, but this really didn’t stop and my face hurt like hell! I never saw improvement during the entire time I used it. I now know why; this was because it was only working on one angle of the problem. Like so many of us, we try ALL the lotions and potions out there on the shelves as if they’re a “cure all”. Those things like benzoyl peroxide and you name it. Which just isn’t going to happen. I even tried this product called Nature’s Cure. It was a two-part system of a low dose benzoyl peroxide cream with soothing botanicals added to it (to minimize the drying effects of it. The second half of it was these oral tablets you took twice a day that was to help with the problem from the inside. These contained things like red clover and echinacea to help kill the P. acne bacteria. I had to attack this from multiple angles to get to the root problems. The problems I was faced with was excess oil production, a buildup of extracellular matrix and probably the sneakiest thing of all micro inflammation in my skin cells. This information I didn’t learn until I was in my early mid-20, (I am 42 now). I was enlightened to this revolution thanks to a book that I came across in my hometown bookshop called The Acne Prescription by Nicholas Perricone. He lays out a full program approach to getting to the root problem (micro inflammation in the cells of the skin). He is a board-certified dermatologist who decided to examine things much further than what previously had been done. He created the Perricone Program for acne. This is made up of a multi approach of topicals, internal supplementation and diet changes. Now, I want to be totally honest and say that I didn’t follow the plan to a T, because for one thing he wants you to incorporate salmon into your diet most meals for all the anti-inflammatory properties of the omegas in it. But here’s the thing, I went vegetarian when I was 16. So, my alternative was to incorporate more flaxseed and hemp seeds and the oil of both into my daily diet. I did cut out as much refined sugar as I could, which wasn’t all that hard since I have never liked sweets much anyway. I already had a mostly organic diet, growing up with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables (my parents grew a large garden). I started incorporating even more vegetables into my diet, the more colorful the better (more antioxidants). Another very small change but with a big impact that I made, was to start every meal with my selected protein. This was something else that I learned from Nicholas Perricone. He explained that the blood sugar/digestion process starts in the mouth before food even hits the stomach. This is because our body is so intelligent that it recognizes whether we are eating a protein or a carbohydrate and the saliva gland produces the appropriate enzymes to start the digestion process. All of these little tweaks made a big impact for me over time. Some of the changes I began to notice were less texture, much faster lightening of any post acne discolorations,eventually I also saw more toned skin that came probably last over time my face would get less and less breakouts (patience is key here). He also recommends supplements as well as his topical products. I do want to say this, I am very aware that his topical products are quite expensive and they are at a retail price that is out of my price range. I have, however, found some of them at places like Marshalls and T.J. Max at times. But even with some of these small adjustments to my life I saw significant improvement in about six months. I realize that it can’t work for everyone, as there is no “One size fits all” product or regiment out there due to different body chemistries and possible allergies one might encounter. It is always a good idea to check with your doctor before trying something new if you are unsure about the ingredients.