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Ask HN: Miracle acne cure?
5 points by hwallace 1832 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 19 comments
If you are like me, one of the many unfortunate people who suffer(ed) from acne, what has worked for you?

This is a big deal! Its bothering me! I'm sure others would love to know as well.

The reason there is no "miracle cure" is that acne is a symptom of many different imbalances.

Sometimes the simplest solutions are best: Adjust your diet. Reduce sugar and carbs. Consider trying gluten free to see if it has an impact. Rule out allergies with an elimination diet. Use sea salt water on your face 2x a day. It has a natural drying effect that reduces bacterial growth.

That's a myth! Please see my post in this thread regarding Accutane. It cures acne successfully.

I'd have to agree with @zdgman. The only health topics I think are relevant here are work-related or cognitive.

Regardless, many people on reddit have said that using a clean towel on your pillow for sleeping can make acne go away. I assume regular washing of the bed sheets might work as well. And some people find that they are actually slightly allergic to their fabric softener or detergent.

Personally, accutane completely changed my skin chemistry. I rarely have any acne anymore, and if I do it goes away quickly. However, my skin is often quite dry now, and the drug can also do a lot of harmful side effects.

Proactiv is pretty good stuff. Some important points to understand about acne:

- Acne is basically the result of your sebaceous glands (pores) becoming clogged. These pores secrete waxy oil onto your skin, but when they get clogged (from too much oil, or dirt), the pore fills up with bacteria. This is a whitehead. Blackheads are just oil + dirt and no bacteria.

- By time you get a whitehead...you're too late. Most people think whiteheads are the problem. They are actually just the symptom. The whitehead has been "brewing" for a couple of days to a week.

- What this means is that acne control isn't about treating your whiteheads, but being proactive (heh) about preventative treatment. Clean your face with gentle soap designed for sensitive facial skin, use toner to tighten pores, apply benzyl peroxide to help prevent bacterial colonization.

- At least for me, diet had a HUGE effect on my acne. Eating crappy food and not drinking enough water almost always resulted in an outbreak of acne a week later. Even in college, all-nighters and fast food would lead to some acne in a few days.

- A lot of people think "Acne! Must scrub my face to pieces!" Not true. Acne can be caused by an abundance of oil...but can also be caused by dry skin. As you dry your skin out scrubbing, your face increases oil production and you get more acne.

- Some people have more sensitive skin than others. What works for me may not work for you. Try a variety of products and routines to see what works the best. I had good luck with morning applications of benzyl peroxide, and salicylic wash at night to help cut through the day's oil.

I am not a doctor, but I am close to people who have undergone this.

Accutane works, but it is far more complicated for women in the US. They must sign a pledge stating they understand the risks associated with Accutane treatment and pregnancy. In fact, they require women on Accutane to take birth control concurrently.

If you are a guy, no problems. 6 months and you are done, usually.

That, and monthly blood tests as they want to make sure your liver take take it.

I can stand behind Accutane (isotretinoin). It really, really works. And in my case, it was the only thing that worked.

But the leaflet of possible side effects is likely to intimidate you – anything goes, from falling of the nails and hair, to bone damage, depression and suicide.

In my case, the only serious side effect I remember having was that throughout the treatment my skin was exfoliating badly, regardless of any creams I was using. It's really quite an aggressive substance.

However, one day, my acne entered remission. And after it went away, it never came back. I had perfect skin ever since.

I don't know if Accutane was worth it – it certainly worked, but I don't know what price I actually paid. When I took it a few years ago, specialists weren't even sure why it works; I don't know if this changed since then.

But it definitely does the trick.

Edit: 1) I read someone suggested washing your pillow – it made me chuckle. Seriously, I don't know what kind of acne you have; but trust me, when I had mine, I tried EVERYTHING. You must know what I mean – acne is annoying, and Google is handy. But in my case, nothing worked; besides Accutane.

Accutane actually cures acne; it's not like Aloe Vera or washing your pillow.

2) I remembered one peculiarity about Accutane: you finish the treatment (and acne starts entering remission) once you have ingested a certain amount of it, calculated per body weight. Doctors prescribe that you take a small quantity every day over the course of 6 months; I used to disregard that, and take a bunch of it every day, so I could finish the treatment quicker. One downside is that the side effects (i.e, exfoliation of skin) become more aggressive in the process.

Not to sound rude but this is where I wished a down vote system existed. Unsure if this question merits a spot on the front page.

I had no motivation to try to bump this to the front page. Just wanted some input. I agree.

That's what Reddit would be for :)


Other people here must share your interest.

I appreciate that. I apologize for being ignorant. I hope so!

Accutane is pretty miraculous, if you want to risk the side effects and can get it somewhere it's available. It worked for me (~ 10 years ago).

It sounds goofy, but wash your pillowcase or put something clean over it. Even for people with really bad acne, washing your pillowcase can make it so much better. This discussion[0] on reddit goes into it more; that's where I learned the trick. It's worked well for me.

[0]: http://www.reddit.com/r/reddit.com/comments/9p2f8/i_am_a_sev...

Avoid two things - dairy products and sugar for a month. i.e., ZERO dairy and sugar. The relationship is well researched. See, for ex: http://www.societavegetariana.org/site/uploads/5d20f3f1-7a2f...

If only there was a simple way to stop sebaceous glands less toxic than accutane.

Washing with soap a lot throughout the day and applying moisturizer with a small amount of salycic acid liberally has helped me a lot to control it on my face.

I've heard, but never tried, eating a LOT of apples.

Source for this? This has to be the most out there one I have heard.

Try proactive, I used it when I was teenager.

polyfractal says it best with [http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4893197].

I would like to add some things.

The oil produced very much depends on diet, and your body's own ability to combat the growth of extraneous bacteria (There is lots of bacteria in your body that is GOOD for you).

For what it's worth, your body's immune system uses Vitamin D, and the best way to help that? Get Outside! You'll notice that surfers and active beachgoers tend to have clear skin more often than not.

Lots of water is just too important to not reiterate. Try to shoot for one glass of water every hour. Want a helpful reminder? Set your own calendar alerts on your phone.

Be careful of causing frequent insulin spikes. Fruits, Starches, Sugars, Grains, and Dairy are all stronger insulinotropics (produce a high response in release of insulin) than vegetables, healthy fats, and meats. Having more leafy vegetables and healthy fats (Omega 3s, 100% Grass-fed (Grass-finished) red meats and even grass-fed butter) will flatten out that response to insulin. (You may lose weight by flattening out this insulin level as well).

Essentially, everything is a hormonal response. At the end of the day, once you improve what's inside, your outsides will vastly improve as well.

With that said, there isn't hope lost once you do have the acne occur. You can use [egg white + coffee] face masks (homemade recipes can easily be found), and spot treatment Benzoyl Peroxide. However I wouldn't recommend doing daily Benzoyl Treatments (Proactive) without making sure you follow the system to the 'T'. The moisturizers are essential and basically required. If you don't use them as provided then you won't fix the acne.

You can also just use Murad's Redness Therapy if the acne is red but not ready to surface [http://www.sephora.com/redness-therapy-correcting-moisturize...] Although I recommend the lotion version, not the cleanser version.

You can also use straight up brewed coffee. Rubbing your skin with coffee grinds (as recommend by some places) can scratch your skin, but taking a paper towel and dipping it in hot coffee, and letting that rest on your face for a few minutes will open up the pores and let the caffeine absorb through your skin. Caffeine provides many things, will make your skin more vibrant, but most importantly it is a vasoconstrictor (tightens capillaries that may by causing redness). It even helps fight some of the mold/toxins (The higher the caffeine content of the coffee, for instance, the easier it is for the bean itself to fight off mold before it is roasted).

If you want to have more life-changing information, just keep reading! Four Hour Body by Tim Ferriss is a great step, but his writing is really only a stepping stone. For the next step of reading I really recommend Dave Asprey's Bulletproof Executive. Check his stuff out at BulletProofExec.com.

Just to add a little more detail, insulin spikes themselves (hormonal response to food, etc) cause other hormonal responses that trigger everything from weight gain, to oil production, to lack of sleep and stress response. One particular thing to note is how much the strong and hard insulin spikes raise cortisol levels. Cortisol production can highly affect the level of oil and stress you are under, further throwing your body into a loop. If you are causing yourself to create and release a high excess of cortisol, then you will find that the rest of your body's systems (skin, hair, cardiovascular, etc) will have profound and often adverse affects.

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