My natural acne routine + progress pictures

Some months after my skin nightmare began, it’s time for an update. It feels very scary and vulnerable putting these pictures online for the world to see. I decided to do it anyway, because dealing with this made me feel so lonely and sad, and to know there are others struggling just the same or even more than you are, can maybe make some people out there feel a bit better about themselves. So here I am, bare faced. With the worst skin I’ve ever had in my life. I had severe acne as a teen, but it was never anything like this.

What caused this horror for me? There a number of options.
  • I learned Lyme disease and the co-infection Bartonella can make your skin go crazy like this. 
  • I had been taking antibiotics for my Lyme’s for a year when things with my skin got way out of control: my family doctor thinks it was a reaction to a certain antibiotic. 
  • It could also be the toxic load in my body had built up too high so that my liver and kidneys couldn’t eliminate everything. What your body uses next to get rid of stuff: your skin. 
  • Or it could be my immune system that doesn’t function properly, leaving my skin defenseless against bacteria, with this result.

The main thing about all of these possible causes is: without my Lyme disease, I wouldn’t have had to deal with this. All possible options are a consequence of the Lyme. And that sucks, because it tells me that as long as my main disease isn’t cured, my skin could keep acting up. Lyme patients often are invisibly sick and that causes a lot of misunderstandings. Well, this is my visible Lyme face, and it ain’t pretty either. As frustrating as it can be, I would love to go back to being invisibly ill, rather than having to cope with disappearing self esteem too.

Since this all started, I was able to control the destruction of my face. Yes, I have been following treatment by a dermatologist who, not surprisingly, first suggested Accutane. This is a drug that is so heavy on your body, that I refused to take it. My body is under enough pressure already with the Lyme and all the meds for it, that I didn’t want to put another toxic remedy in it. Next option was, guess what: antibiotics. I really didn’t want to go down this road, but I did anyway, as something really had to be done. As soon as my skin has really calmed down, I hope to be able to stop the antibiotics for good. I also got some benzoylperoxide and corticosteroid creams. I did/do use them, but am not happy at all doing so. These aren’t natural, and I feel I can’t use these long term. The steroids have been tossed already. My dermatologist told me the benzoylperoxide is to avoid bacteria on my face becoming resistant to the antibiotics, so although I didn’t want to use it, I decided to go along with it as I didn't want to make things worse. But as soon as I can, I hope to stop this topical as well. 

My natural routine


What I feel is really helping my skin tremendously, are a few things that I will discuss today. The good news is they’re all natural, and I know they’re not harming my body, so I will keep using them for as long as my skin needs it, which I’m guessing will be a long, long time. Here’s my routine:

1. Redmond healing clay
As you could read in the introduction written by Jana from Purely Natural Cosmetics, this clay can be used both externally and internally, and so I did. Every night I put a teaspoon in a glass of water to drink the next morning and a teaspoon in another glass with a bottom of water for my mask (just enough to make the consistency of mustard). Be sure not to stir with metal kitchenware! When I get up, I drink the clay water. It doesn’t have much of a taste, it just tastes “chalky”. It’s not bad to drink at all, even though it might seem a bit weird at first. After drinking, I wait 30-60 minutes before having breakfast, just to let the clay pass in my system. If you don’t have that much time, you can also eat sooner though. This clay is supposed be a very good detoxer. Beautiful skin comes from within they say, so detoxing is a must: especially in my case where the very cause of my skin problems could be toxic overload. 
 

After showering, I put on the clay mask. What was new to me is that you’re not supposed to let a clay mask dry completely. This is not good for sensitive skin at all as it pulls too harsh, it dries out the skin and it’s more difficult to wash off. So my clay sits on my face for about five minutes only. When I see it becoming drier, I take it off. Next to drawing out impurities from your skin pores, this clay is also a “healing clay”, making your skin heal faster. Sounds perfect, no? You can buy a jar of 284 g of this clay here at Purely Natural Cosmetics company for 11.99 £. This will last you quite some time: after one month of daily use for mask and drinking, my jar is about 1/3d empty.

2. Aleppo soap 

This is a completely natural soap made from olive oil and laurel oil. The higher the concentration of laurel oil, the better it is to heal blemishes, and the one I have is 50% in laurel oil which is very high. I felt I needed something to cleanse my skin at night as well, as I only was doing the clay mask in the morning. I do use make-up when I go out, so something was needed to cleanse that properly. When I saw a tweet by cosmetic shop Solobiomooi about the benefits of aleppo soap for acne, I thought, why not? 

I use this soap by Damas Riche to cleanse my skin twice a day: before my shower in the morning, and before bed at night. This is the one I use: cost is 13.50 € for 200 g. It will last a long time, as after one month I haven't even used my first 100 g bar up.




3. Aloe vera gel

After a while, Jana, who has been very supportive through this whole process, suggested I could use Aloe vera gel to moisturize my skin without oil, and to speed up healing. I found an organic, cold pressed gel at my local health store by the brand Aurea, and have been using it on my entire face after my clay mask. Before bed I put a big blob of gel on active blemishes that need extra healing. Aloe vera should help your skin heal and is supposed to be good for healing scars as well. And boy, do I have scars now! The only downside for me is you can’t use this under make-up as it feels a bit dry and flaky. But when I don’t go out, I don’t mind my face being pulled together a bit by the aloe vera. As long as it’s healing, I'm good!


 4. No make-up when I don’t have to
When I don’t have to leave the house, which is in my case most days, I don’t wear any make-up now. The best way to give your skin the chance to heal is to avoid putting too much stuff on it. The less things that can irritate (and irritation is not only done by ingredients of make-up, but also by rubbing to get your make-up off later), the better! On days that I do wear make-up to go outside, I only use natural brands of course, and as soon as I get home, I take it off.

5. Avoid dairy
Time and time again I have read on blogs about acne: avoid dairy! This triggers acne in so many people, so I gave up my beloved cheese… Very hard to do, but I’m willing to do everything to get my normal look back. I should probably add I eat gluten free almost entirely, and never eat any sugar. I avoid processed foods as much as possible as well. 

6. DO NOT TOUCH YOUR FACE!
This is so important as well. Avoid getting bacteria from your fingers on your face, as this will make the inflammation and infection worse. Don't pick. Leave your face alone. Wash your hands before you touch your face for cleansing it or putting on make-up or creams.



The progress


Every week for the period where I have been using the Redmond clay and the other products, I’ve been taking pictures. You can see me in all kinds of stages: swollen up, huge fluid-filled bumps, scales, big black blood filled blister-like things, dark red inflammation and so on.


The pictures aren't nearly as bad as it was in real life. My cheeks and jawline area were the worst the whole time. I had some bad areas on my forehead, chin, around my mouth, even between and in my eyebrows, and also on the top of my head in my hair too, but my cheeks and jaws really were and still are the very worst. But not one area of my face was spared. 


Now, I still get breakouts regularly. Actually at the moment I can feel bumps coming up at different places. But I hope I can keep it under control. The main issue now is hyper pigmentation and scars. I have an enormous amount of red spots, but I can see some of them become lighter. It will take time for my skin to heal from this disaster, and I’m sure there will be a lot of scars left for life. I still find it difficult to find make-up that really covers all this op nicely: whatever I do, the dark red pigment shows through. 



But, on the bright side: it does get better! I’m not there at all but it’s a million times better than before already. The pain is gone for the most part. I can lay down comfortable on my pillow again. The constant bleeding is gone. The itching is gone. I don’t have a deformed face anymore. However, I’m still scared every day that things will turn to the wrong direction again, but I’ll just keep doing my routine and hope for the best. I just have to be very patient. 

Do I feel the progress I've had is due to these natural remedies, when I am also using antibiotics? Yes. Although I think the medication is probably helping, I was taking antibiotics months and months before and while this acne explosion began as well. While things got this bad, I was on Doxycycline which is an antibiotic that is normally used to treat acne. But still, things got worse every day. It wasn’t until I introduced the clay and later added the aleppo and aloe vera that I could see things really heal. I went through a phase of things getting worse before they got better as you can see in the pictures. I feel the clay was pulling all kinds of stuff to the surface, resulting in inflammation, before my skin could start healing.


You are beautiful!


This turned out to be a very long blog post. But it is an important one, so I don’t mind. I just want all of you struggling with acne (or similar things) to know that you are not alone and that you are a wonderful person regardless of the way your face looks. This can put you down very, very deeply, and I still feel ashamed of how I look. But that is just not right. We don’t choose to have our skin behave so badly, and we are just the same persons as before. I hope by showing these pictures I can give some of you courage and tell you: you are beautiful anyway, and things can get better! 

And for those of you that have the occasional blemish or breakout and feel bad about it: don’t! This post may be putting things in perspective. I too was feeling bad whenever I had a few pimples. But now I wish I could get that back instead of this terrible nightmare of a skin. 

Are you dealing with something like this? Or are you a Lymie that has gotten the same reaction as me? I would love to find out, as together we can keep strong!



*The Redmond healing clay was provided to me as a PR sample. All of the other items were purchased by me. 


34 comments:

  1. This is such an inspiring post, and it is so, so brave of you! So many people must be suffering with severe acne and keeping silent, but to write this post will help so many people emotionally as well as physically. I'm so glad as well that the active inflammations have gone down, your skin looks so much calmer (minus the scarring) in the latest pictures. I can't even begin to imagine what it must feel like to have to deal with this every day, but you're right, it has definitely put things in perspective for me. Stay strong, and keep doing what you're doing - it looks like you are on the right path! And a post like this just shows that you are beautiful inside and out, and acne (no matter how bad) can't take that away x

    Chesca x

    www.fernandmoss.blogspot.com

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    1. Thank you for this lovely comment. I really hope I can make a difference for someone. I almost didn't find severe cases like this online, so people are keeping this silent indeed. Time to come out of the shade I thought!
      X

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  2. Amai Sofie. Wat enorm moedig van je om deze foto's te posten. Dit geeft zeker heel veel realiteitszin aan al die vrouwen en meisjes die jammeren om die ene pukkel. En klei is echt een wondermiddel! Ik gebruik de franse montmorillonite zelf ook wekelijks (als ex-acne patiënt), die is gelijkaardig aan de wyoming bentonite. Blij dat je duidelijk schrijft dat klei niet moet indrogen, want klei verliest zijn zuiverende eigenschap wanneer droog (in tegenstelling tot zovele ingedroogde kleimasker-gezichtjes die je op menig blog kan vinden). En ik ben zo blij voor je dat de routine die je nu gebruikt effect heeft. En chapeau voor je openheid. Ik wens je veel sterkte, doorzettingsvermogen en geduld!

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    1. Bedankt Iris voor je lieve berichtje! De klei is wat mij betreft zeker een blijver inderdaad. Geduld zal ik moeten hebben, maar het is toch al draaglijker nu dan een tijd geleden... Hopelijk wordt het alleen nog maar beter dat ik tegen de zomer zonder make-up kan ;-)
      X

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  3. Yes this is what has happened to me... I also had severe acne and the therapy that has helped me the most is practically unknown in USA... though it is practiced by millions in China and India. I have practically have cleared up all of my skin using this method described in this book:

    http://bit.ly/perfectmedicine

    there are videos on youtube.com for more information.

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  4. Well done Sophie!!! really inspiring post!!! Wishing really the best of luck !!!!! Never give up the battle :-)!
    Lyme disease is caused by a parasite?
    x

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    1. Thank you! I won't give up :-)
      It's a bacteria called Borrelia. When it gets untreated like it was with me for ten years, it gets into your whole body, your cells, your organs, everything, leaving you extremely ill. So that makes it very hard to defeat and that makes it can give a very wide range of symptoms.
      X

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  5. OMG I didn't image Lyme could do something like this?! You poor thing! :(( You're so brave to share this! I had Lyme disease two or is it already three years ago and fortunately I didn't have such problems, now I know how lucky I am! What about using honey as a face mask or like everyday face wash? It works wonders on my skin, it really calms it down and prevents lots of new spots :) It is also great for hyper pigmentation :) For that I also really recommend turmeric :) x

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    1. You probably discovered your Lyme's quickly? When you treat it right away, you can get better easier. For me it was only discovered after being very ill for ten years. So the infection disease it was turned into a multi-system disease that destroyed my body. I'm glad you got better!

      I did use honey indeed, when things were not this bad yet. But as you can see, they have gone worse and worse even when using the honey. I guess it wasn't strong enough. I could maybe try it again sometime, but am also a bit scared to add new things to my routine. But I'll keep it in mind :) X

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  6. Oh my goodness, bless you, your face must be so sore :-( what a hand to be delt along with other health issues, it seems very unfair.
    A big, big, big well done to you for sharing these pictures and your story. It's a very inspiring story and I wish you lots of luck and hope it continues to improve. I second the honey comment, especially raw. It is moisturising, antibacterial and healing. I use it as both a daily cleanser and as a weekly face mask with great results.
    Rach xx

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    1. Thank you. Yes, sore it was very much! Right now it's better luckily, it's just sore on small areas when something new is coming up, but not nearly as painful as before.
      Thank you for your tip about the honey! But as said in the response above, I did try it with no succes. Maybe I'll try it again sometime!
      X

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  7. Dear Sofie, I have tears in my eyes when reading this post. I am speechless to be honest. I am just happy you feel the clay has been helping and I wish you the best of luck in curing yourself of the bacteria. Oregano oil may be the way forward to kill it eventually. The raw honey is a great advice I will adopt myself I think. Take care and hold on!!! You are an inspiration.
    Love, Jana

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    1. You see I wasn't exaggerating about things being very bad ;-)
      Thanks for your kind words, it means a lot! X

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  8. I have the same problem my dermatologist said that it was my own fault I did make this wounds on perpuss (self mutalation)

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    1. I'm so sorry you are going through something similar! Self mutulation was definitely not the case for me, and if it is for you, I'm sorry you have to go through this. But even then I wouldn't say it is your fault at all. No one chooses this. I genuinly hope you can get some help somewhere! Take care and stay strong! X

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  9. Sofie, you are such a special person to share your struggle so that other people will not feel isolated with theirs. Really. It is very touching to feel how much you genuinely care. I'm happy that you found many healing and natural ways to tame your inflamed skin. It looks like it was very painful. Out of the dark comes magnificent light. It looks like you are turning your challenge into a way to help others. You have a beautiful, generous spirit that comes through. Sending you hugs! This post was so important for many people, I'm sure. xoxo

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    1. Thank you Sarita for your lovely comment. I feel overwhelmed by the beautiful things people are saying, feeling the love! Big hug!

      Delete
  10. Hello Sofie, you're a brave woman and thank you for sharing your story with us! I hope your skin and health will get better soon, all the best!

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  11. You are so very brave to share this and I'm sure your experience will help others with what they're going through too - must be hard to stay positive but you are doing such a great job of it! You mentioned one of the causes could be a build up of toxins...Burdock Root is great for drawing excess toxins out of the blood so they don't exit through your skin. As for dealing with the scarring, I think anything that is going to increase your cell turnover will be the best thing - has anyone mentioned salicylic acid to you? In it's natural form it's willow bark extract. Also, the only natural full coverage foundation I've come across is Jane Iredales BB cream...it has dimethicone which might not be great for your skin but worth investigating.

    Mayah x

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    1. Thanks a lot for the helpful tips, I'll definitely look into all of it! X

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  12. Wat moedig van je dat je hier zo eerlijk over bent en je foto's online zet! Ik heb zoals je las hormonale acne, maar dat beperkt zich voornamelijk op en rond mijn kin en kaaklijn maar daar durf ik al geen close-up foto's van te maken, dus respect! En ik ben erg blij voor je dat de producten wat helpen, ik ga die klei ook op mijn lijstje zetten. Bij mij is het nog niet echt minder geworden namelijk, ik ga deze week met nieuwe producten beginnen... Ik hoop dat we er snel beiden verlost van zijn!

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    1. Bedankt! Ik volg jou proces ook, ik duim!

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  13. Such a humbling post and very brave one too. I can't begin to imagine what you have been through, I hope your skin continues to improve x

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    1. Thanks Karen, it's acting up the past couple of days again, fingers crossed I can turn it around again! X

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  14. Agree with everything that has been said above - amazing post and thank you for sharing. I'm sure that a lot of people will be going through similar stuff and not be able to find others posting about it. So glad too that you're beginning to see the difference. I hope you'll keep sharing your progress and what is working. Go Sofie!

    Regarding make up, you mentioned not being able to cover the redness - have you tried any of the green correctors out there? I don't know if any of the ingredients would put you off, and I can't vouch for their effectiveness, but I think there are a few more natural options out there, like Vegan Faces or this one from Cherry Brown

    Best of luck, thank you again for sharing :) x

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    1. Thank you lovely! I haven't tried it yet, my budget just is acting against me and I can't try that many things, sadly, but I'll give it a look! X

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  15. Dag Sofie, wat moedig van je dit te delen!

    Sofie, ik ben eens gaan kijken in mijn geliefde webshop en heb dit product gevonden:
    http://www.gekruid.com/dermadrome.html , misschien kan het ook een beetje helpen?
    ik wens je veel sterkte en een snelle genezing!!

    groetjes christophe

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    1. Hoi Christophe, bedankt! Confronterend, maar hopelijk kan ik hier iemand mee helpen...
      Ik had dat product inderdaad ook al eens gezien! Voorlopig heb ik nog vele andere detoxers zoals paardenbloem, brandnetelthee etc, maar ik ga dit zeker nog eens bekijken als die op zijn. Bedankt!
      Groetjes!

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  16. Hi Sofie, I just want thank you for sharing your story with us… I suffer from hormonal acne and, you’re right, your post has definitely put things in perspective for me… I can't even imagine what it is like to have to deal with such a severe acne everyday! I’m sure your experience will help many others struggling with acne (or troublesome skin in general) and make them know that they are not alone. You’re a extraordinary, beautiful, brave woman! Sending you hugs! :) xoxo @Bio_Biba

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    1. Thank you so much hun, appreciate it! And so are you! X

      Delete
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  17. Awesome! Great article. Your progress is really amazing. I'm looking forward to see more information like this. As for me I have good results using this proven system. My acne is almost gone. Have been using this for 45 days now. It really helps me. http://bit.ly/2bzStnH

    ReplyDelete

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