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cures for acne without full detox?  RSS feed

 
Jocelyn Campbell
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I could use some help for my son's skin...oh, boy, does he have some acne! He's 15, and only willing to do easier things, which makes it all the more challenging.

Oh, and there's one more complication: my son lives one week with me, one week with his dad, which means I don't have the cooperation or consistency to help him do a detox or a strict diet, even if the boy was willing (which he's not).

After discussing options with the boy, here are the efforts we're currently redoubling, before my mother (the boy's Grandma) hauls him off for steroid treatments or dermabrasion (I scared him with that one!):
  • tea tree oil soap - I'll buy some for his dad's house
  • buying two scrub pads, too, because the boy won't use washcloths 
  • clay mask at least weekly*
  • cod liver oil, good multi-vit/mins with high B-complex, vit D, cal-mag supplements - which I will also provide both weeks (grumble, grumble, cha-ching!)**
  • dairy makes his skin worse - I don't cook with dairy at all, but I do take him to fast food (I know!) and he gets burgers, etc. with cheese and lots of dairy at his dad's
  • other diet stuff - I try to keep sugar down, fresh veggies and fruit up, grass-fed beef/meats, seafood as much as possible, though his favorite thing to spend his own money on is [list]junk food!
  • homeopathic drops for acne - forgot the name, got them from the ND - son thinks they were helping; wants more so I'll get them


  • *clay mask - been getting loose bentonite powder, though now the boy asked for something pre-mixed so he'll use it more regularly. If I pre-mix the clay for him, what might be a decent preservative, so it doesn't, well, grow things, before it's used up? Otherwise, anyone know of a good, natural, non-girly clay mask product?

    **supplements - boy had been refusing to take his supplements - they make him nauseous in the a.m., and he didn't like it that I was pushing them twice daily, so we compromised: he will take one set with an after school snack (ya know, an after school snack to 15-year-old boy is a MEAL!).

    I'm open to critique of the list above, plus additional options or strategies. The boy really does not want to restrict his diet, and I know that's a big factor with his skin. He took Chinese herbs before (taken as a bitter-tasting, brown tea) which made an improvement, though he can't stomach (pun intended) the thought of those again.

    Maybe add oregano oil?

    <Edit: fixed formatting from software upgrade.>
     
    Seth Pogue
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    Essential fatty acids are ...well...essential - to minimizing acne.

    http://ezinearticles.com/?Acne-Program---Step-4---Adding-Essential-Fatty-Acids-to-Your-Diet&id=33151

    To keep it simple, get  efa's in pill form, present them to your son as "acne clear". 
     
    Jocelyn Campbell
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    Great article, Seth, thanks for the link. I'm giving him the fish oil, though maybe not quite enough, and he's agreed to take his supplements once a day. I wish tuna weren't so full of mercury because he loves tuna and your article lists it as a good source of the efa's, etc.

    I'm also adding a pro-biotic to his supplements, and wish I could add more fermented foods. You see, non-dairy yogurts are a no-go (soy is out, and he doesn't like coconut, so the amazing coconut yogurts are out, too), and besides sauerkraut, which he loves, I'm not sure how many other fermented items I can work in.
     
    Emerson White
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    Despite testing again and again and again no one seems to be able to come up with anything more than a collection of anecdotes to support changing the diet for clearing acne.

    Salacilic acid (which you can make yourself from willow bark if you are super dedicated) is the number one thing to use, topically, on the problem area.

    Benzoyl peroxide, (which sounds about as far from herbal medicine as you can get) used at a different time than the Salacilic acid will increase the effectiveness there of.

    If you wanted I could write you up an all natural way to make benzoyl peroxide using Toluene (distilled from the stem of the Tolu Balsam) cobalt, air, stomach acid, and hydrogen peroxide, but what you would get would be a very low concentration, smelly unpleasant Benzoyl peroxide solution, that it would take a lot of skill to purify.

    It's not a completely herbal cure, but it is a safe and effective way to help the problem with out cooperation or a lot of hassle.

    If this were for you and not for your kid I wouldn't have brought it up (being off topic and all) but maybe your value system falls in a place where you will look it up and think about it.

    Good luck getting his face to clear.
     
    Jocelyn Campbell
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    Emerson White wrote:
    Despite testing again and again and again no one seems to be able to come up with anything more than a collection of anecdotes to support changing the diet for clearing acne.

    That's interesting, Emerson, but without links to the tests you're referencing, it's difficult for me to grasp. You see, I've had very different experiences, where diet has most definitely made a difference in both of my kids' skin, my own skin and the skin of other people I know.

    I do appreciate the suggestion of the salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide, and I think he tried them at one point or another. For whatever reason, they weren't the solution back then. Plus, there are several overlapping goals and issues I have with the choices my son and I agreed upon, and why I left out s.a. and b.p.:

    1. get at the root cause whenever possible, instead of treating the symptom. So if there is an internal balance somehow, treating that makes more sense to me than using anything topical.

    2. getting rid of sodium laurel/lauryth sulfates in our bath and body products, along with other unnecessary dyes, perfumes, etc. Most of the s.a. and b.p. facial washes (that I've found any way), usually contain lots of other stuff that I'd rather not have on my kid's skin (in addition to the s.a. and b.p. which I also question)

    3. trying the simple, natural ways first, as well as some basic hygiene steps, before resorting to products that could be irritants, or to dermatologists or doctors of any kind.


     
    Emerson White
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    I haven't found an article that I can legally send to you with out paying at least $35, but I'll keep looking, as I crawl backwards in time eventually I should find one open to the public.

    I have seen two large studies that claimed that high glycemic index and dairy products were involved in acne, but they were pretty shaky, and I'll wait for someone else to recreate what they have shown before agreeing, since both those things were tested before (well sugar and milk) and the correlation was dispelled as a myth.

    I don't see why SA concerns you, it really is rather gentle stuff, exactly the same atom per atom as the SA from willow bark. When I was a teenager one of the biggest things that helped me was changing my sheets twice a week. Expensive to do laundry in the dorms when I left home for school, but it really helped.
     
    Jocelyn Campbell
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    Emerson White wrote:
    When I was a teenager one of the biggest things that helped me was changing my sheets twice a week. Expensive to do laundry in the dorms when I left home for school, but it really helped.


    That's a great tip! Simple cleanliness. He's had a funky bed with hard to change sheets, so we have not changed them very often. Moving to a better bed (this week, as a matter of fact) that will be easier to change the sheets, so that's a great reminder.
     
                        
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    Hi Jocelyn ,

    I can tell you that regular short sun bathing helped my son tons with his skin.

    Did you know that the culture for swiss cheese is very close to the persistent acne culprit?, I read some where that Acutain was invented to controll the groth of cheese cultures but failed to work for that purpose. Perhaps that has to do with the diary foods making acne worse.

    also I have read in my advanced herbology a Dr. saying that fresh burdock leaves & seeds crushed & applied directly to the skin will help as well as drinking fresh burdock tea 3x a day. I can scan the article for you If you like.

    Also my "so called" acne vanished when I stopped eating things I was unknowingly allergic to.

     
    Emerson White
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    Accutane (Isotretinoin) works by suppressing growth of human cells, possibly by telomeric shortening. I'm pretty sure it has no effect on bacteria except by starving them of the secretions from human sebacious glands. I think you are thinking of some other drug.
     
                        
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    Thanks Emerson,
    I'm just repeating what I seem to recall, read or heard, not sure if its true, it was a few years ago, but you could be correct I may be thinking of an other drug.

    Thanks for pointing it out, I'd hate to seem sillier than I actually am. D
     
    charles c. johnson
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    Accutane  Feb. 16 (Bloomberg) -- Roche Holding AG, the Swiss drugmaker, must pay $25.16 million in damages to a former user of its Accutane drug who blamed the acne medicine for his inflammatory bowel disease, a New Jersey jury ruled.

    Andrew McCarrell, 38, won the verdict today at a retrial in Atlantic City, New Jersey. An appeals court ordered the new trial after overturning a $2.62 million award he won in May 2007. McCarrell, a computer technician from Birmingham, Alabama, testified he got sick after taking the drug for acne in 1995. He needed five surgeries, including one to remove his colon....

    (2/18/10)  http://www.drug-injury.com/druginjurycom/2009/06/brandname-accutane-acne-medicine-is-being-removed-from-us-market-by-roche.html

    Drugs are bad mm kay
     
    Emerson White
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    Problems are inevitable, drugs or no drugs, herbs or no herbs. Its acomplicated picture.
     
                        
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    Hi Jocelyn, how is it going any success?
     
    Jonathan 'yukkuri' Kame
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    A number of people have reported success using oil pulling.  Look on youtube.
     
                        
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    My husband did oil pulling w/ organic sunflower oil, he seemed to find it refreshing & said he felt it was detoxifying.
     
    Emerson White
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    Why are there supposed to be fat soluble toxins just sitting around in the mouth?
     
                        
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    Hi Emerson,

    I'm not sue about the toxin question,

    The info I have on oil pulling is below, I can not say if it is accurate or not, but its here if anyone would like to read & decide for themselves:

    Oil is non polar and attracts non polar molecules. The arrangement or geometry of the atoms in some molecules is such that one end of the molecule has a positive electrical charge and the other side has a negative charge. If this is the case, the molecule is called a polar molecule, meaning that it has electrical poles. Otherwise, it is called a non-polar molecule. Whether molecules are polar or non-polar determines if they will mix to form a solution or that they don't mix well together.

    Saliva which is secreted into the mouth when the oil is repeatedly swished and pulled is mainly water, electrolytes, digestive enzymes, anti bacterial and antifungal/anti viral agents, and is mainly polar and therefore attracts polar molecules.

    It is this heterogeneous mixture that works together to rid the mouth and body of unwanted toxins and chemicals.

    READ MORE HERE: http://www.oilpulling.com/oilpullingscience.htm
     
    Emerson White
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    There is some real science on that page, but it stops before it gets to oil pulling "toxins" from the body. or really doing anything except feeling good.
     
                        
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    Well Emerson, I know you like to see evidence & science, I wish that page had a better conclusion.

    However here is my unfounded uneducated theory: In many ways our mucous membranes protect us from toxins, so it might , in my mind, be possible that if the body was attempting to expel toxins through all channels then there may be some toxins in those membranes.

    I also believe that tings can move rather quickly through the mucous, I have experienced(on the suggestion of a healer) holding water in my mouth when contested & just sitting there for a 10 minutes. To my surprise my sinuses seemed to suddenly flush & after some nose blowing my head was clear.

    This is of course subjective, but it makes me suspect that there is a reaction & connection between the mucous membranes & cleansing of toxins, perhaps viable through the mouth.

     
    Emerson White
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    Well the thin is that mucus membranes are exactly wrong for moving nonpolar molecules out from the blood. Non-polar molecules are pulled around the body in association with serum albumins in the blood. Those that are toxic are dissolved into the phospholipid bilayer of the liver cells, moved into the enodplasmic reticulum (specifically the smooth ER) and hydroxylated, which makes them more polar, and then returned to the blood and eventually excreted by the kidneys.  They can dissolve into the cellular membranes of the oral mucus membrane, but those cells are stratified squamous epithelium, which means that they are flattened out and parallel with the main tissue direction at the top, but that there is a tall stack of them, that coupled with the fact that the oral mucosa is just like 3 percent of the mucosa in the body and a tiny fraction of the cells raises the question, why would these bad things head to the oral mucosa?

    Additionally there is a problem with diffusion rate. The oral cavity is pretty simple, no complicated structures increasing surface area, if you put oil in the mouth you have a thin layer of water between it and the tissues, and then the tissues are made up of a bunch of non-polar zones separated themselves by polar zones dictated the the phosphate sugar head groups, it would be very slow going to get anything out there, only the fastest absorbing things can move through that mucosa (pills are taken sublingually because they do not immediately go to the liver, where they are given that treatment I mentioned before). What you end up with is a slow rate over a small area (additionally the blood flowing over that area is small) I'd be surprised if you could get the removal of non-polar materials that was even within 7 or 8 orders of magnitude with the liver. I suspect that it would be worse if it did work, you would drag everything out at once, and loose all your fat soluble vitamins, and the more exotic fats that your body makes slowly, it would wreck your nervous system which really needs those exotic fats to run.
     
                        
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    Well I love science but I'm not all that well educated, I think I follow what you are saying.

    So perhaps we should not underestimate the power of doing something that feels good & is believed to be good for us??

    I would be interested in hearing your thought on this:
    If it were possible for oil puling to do something beneficial, what would you guess it would be & how would it work?
     
    Emerson White
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    Absolutely something that you think will make you feel better can make you feel better, the problem is that it usually doesn't stick,. 2-6 weeks until you are back at baseline. Someone who doesn't feel unwell can jump from one treatment to another, each time they change they will feel worlds better, then in a few weeks they have crept back to feeling unwell and need to change again. Some people spend hundreds of thousands of dollars playing this game, the rollercoaster effect causes stress and that is something that doesn't creep back to baseline. So now they not only have the symptoms of life they also have stress because they feel that it is wrong for them to have these symptoms of life, they feel like a lemon. They build complicated rituals of vitamins and supplements and meditations and treatments sometimes, adding one modality after another like a palimpsest . When a real doctor refuses to endorse something like Theraputic touch and they go and get there two weeks of feeling good from it is perminently etched in there brain that the real doctor said nothing would help and that therapeutic touch did help so they abandon the real doctor and when they get Lyme disease off a tick on a nature hike lead by a white guy named John Tumbling Eagle (legally John Talbot) they refuse to go see the real doctor and try and treat it with colonics and they feel better for two weeks but now they have permanently lowered there baseline and earned a whole bunch more symptoms of life.

    It's like an addiction to cigarettes, it's a completely forgivable thing (not even the type of thing that even needs forgiveness), it's a product of the environment and the way humans are supposed to work; that doesn't mean the answer is more cigarettes. We are imperfect knowing machines, and there are so many variables happening at one time that we ourselves could never hope to figure out a fraction of a percentage of the things we need to know to live. In order to be responsible citizens of earth we have to use the tools or reason and logic that we have developed to winnow deep truth from deep nonsense. and making decisions and recommendations about treatment based on something as flimsy as "I was doing this at the same time that I felt better, therefore this made me feel better by fixing the deeper physiological problem" and really it becomes just more noise, it makes it harder for people to find the few things that really will fix their problems.

    Understanding my impassioned plea (read: rant) here is all dependent on accepting something undeniably true but very offensive about ourselves, each and every one of us believes deeply in our heart of hearts that what we experience is true. Every single person may recognize that humans in general feel the placebo effect but they know that they don't feel the placebo effect, and when something works on them it really works. In a quirky but widely mirrored effect the person who accepts that they feel this way is less sure of their feelings and in tests will perform better (but still no where near perfect) at determining if the effect they feel is the power of suggestion or something more direct.
     
    Al Loria
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    Emerson, I hear you when you talk of Lyme disease.  Our son went to the doctor yesterday after complaining of aches about 10day after removing 2 deer ticks from his body.  He had no bullseye rash, just the symptoms of joint and jaw pain.  He was immediately put on Doxycyline for 3 weeks pending the blood test results.  The permanent neurological damage Lyme disease can inflict is reason enough to seek antibiotic treatment and leave the alternative measures for something less severe. 

    Western medicine has an important place in the scientifically proven treatment of disease.  Folk, eastern, native, anecdotal and alternative medicinal practices are better left to treat minor illnesses until scientific evidence for their efficacy can be determined.

    Right now I am using Tea Tree oil and cider vinegar to treat toenail fungus.  The oral Lamisil works, but the possible side effect of liver damage is keeping me from using it as a first line treatment.  This anecdotal cure is one I am comfortable with.
     
    Brice Moss
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    Thing that made the most difference in my fight against acne was  heat

    simply put I started soaking a washclosth in almost boiling water and draping that over my face for 30 seconds before I washed my face every night, I still got a lot of acne but they opened and healed in days rather than lasting a week or more. note that my tapwater was 180 degrees in most homes you're gonna need something better than the 120 the water heater is set for
     
    Franklin Stone
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    For me, diet has proven to be the most important factor. Sure, if I get acne, I will use benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid as a TREATMENT, but I find that PREVENTION is best.

    For me, the primary dietary trigger is VEGETABLE OIL . Any vegetable oil, and my skin breaks out. (So no fried foods for me. Or oil-based salad dressing.) Other triggers are PEANUTS and FISH OIL. It only took me twenty or so years of bad skin to figure this out.

    Animal fats and butter do not cause me to break out, at least not in the small amounts I eat.

    Best thing I ever did for my skin was to buy a food steamer, and stop eating fried foods.

    I imagine different people have different triggers. Keeping a food/acne journal would be the best way to determine cause and effect.
     
    John Rushton
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    Many good suggestions here.  I have seen more than one case of mild to moderate acne clear up quite quickly through the use of burdock root tincture, a dropper taken three times a day.  Never tried it on a severe case though.  This can be purchased commercially of course, but it is easy to make your own too, chop the root, cover with vodka and shake the jar once daily for two weeks.  Burdock is a common weed in most places, a huge plant with large burrs, that many people are anxious to get rid of.  It is almost root harvest season too, when you can get the most potent substance.  Or, look for "gobo root" in the local Asian market, it's the same thing.
     
                            
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    Most skin problems go away with garlic.

    Crack a clove to loosen the skin and peal, take a slice and wet it and apply .. to shingles, skin cancer .. what ever. Hold it there for five minutes several times a day. It should go away immediately or after three days. It can back splinters out and kill the awful pain.
     
    travis laduke
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    Surfing
     
                                  
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    I've had great success with topically applying a 20% ethyl alcohol solution once per day after washing my face. It can be slightly painful if your son has a habit of picking at the acne.
    Regular exposure to salt water or chlorine water also works well. I've never tried garlic, but I suppose it could work.

    Lowering his consumption of greasy foods will also help.
     
    Kat deZwart
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    My mom made my brother drink one cup of nettle tea every morning, not that tasty to a young guy, but it worked like magic after a few weeks.
     
    ellen rosner
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    otoh I healed myself of Lyme following an herbal protocol, while many of my Lyme buddies who chose to go the conventional route are winding up in wheelchairs and are going from worser to worser.

    different strokes, and whatever worked for you - good. 

    Al Loria wrote:
    Emerson, I hear you when you talk of Lyme disease.  Our son went to the doctor yesterday after complaining of aches about 10day after removing 2 deer ticks from his body.  He had no bullseye rash, just the symptoms of joint and jaw pain.  He was immediately put on Doxycyline for 3 weeks pending the blood test results.  The permanent neurological damage Lyme disease can inflict is reason enough to seek antibiotic treatment and leave the alternative measures for something less severe. 

    Western medicine has an important place in the scientifically proven treatment of disease.  Folk, eastern, native, anecdotal and alternative medicinal practices are better left to treat minor illnesses until scientific evidence for their efficacy can be determined.

    Right now I am using Tea Tree oil and cider vinegar to treat toenail fungus.  The oral Lamisil works, but the possible side effect of liver damage is keeping me from using it as a first line treatment.  This anecdotal cure is one I am comfortable with.
     
    ellen rosner
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    Accutane use is also associated with suicide.

    http://www.rense.com/general32/scu.htm


    charles johnson "carbonout" wrote:
    Accutane  Feb. 16 (Bloomberg) -- Roche Holding AG, the Swiss drugmaker, must pay $25.16 million in damages to a former user of its Accutane drug who blamed the acne medicine for his inflammatory bowel disease, a New Jersey jury ruled.

    Andrew McCarrell, 38, won the verdict today at a retrial in Atlantic City, New Jersey. An appeals court ordered the new trial after overturning a $2.62 million award he won in May 2007. McCarrell, a computer technician from Birmingham, Alabama, testified he got sick after taking the drug for acne in 1995. He needed five surgeries, including one to remove his colon....

    (2/18/10)   http://www.drug-injury.com/druginjurycom/2009/06/brandname-accutane-acne-medicine-is-being-removed-from-us-market-by-roche.html

    Drugs are bad mm kay
     
    Jocelyn Campbell
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    Just looking up this thread for the hormonal acne thread and realized I had not replied about what ended up working for my son.

    He actually had cystic acne - which to me was basically huge boils that would erupt on his face - poor kid.

    After the accutane (sp?) suggestion, I took him to a Naturopathic dermatologist who put him on vitamin A palmitate (sp? the fat soluble kind) and a saw palmetto/nettle herbal supplement to help cool his teenage testosterone. It worked like a charm.

    Kat, sounds like your mom was spot-on! (Uh, no pun intended.)

    Now, at age 17, my son's hormones must have been righted by the herbs, or calmed down on their own, because he hasn't taken the supplements in about six months and his skin is beautifully clear.

     
    Maybe he went home and went to bed. And took this tiny ad with him:
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