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alternatives to antibiotics for acne

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  • alternatives to antibiotics for acne

    As we know, there are external and internal causes of acne. Recently, I have confirmed to myself once again that the main cause (or at least 50 percent!) of my acne is internal. I have been on antibiotics various times in my life (never actually for acne though) and always noticed how nice it looked during the course of it. The other day I got my wisdom teeth out and was prescribed antibiotics. While I try at all costs to avoid antibiotics unless absolutely necessary, I decided that this particular time was not one where I wanted to abstain (I am sure some of you feel differently but I am not bringing this decision up to argue about it). As expected, my skin looks absolutely AMAZING while on it, but the results never last after I go off of them. While "normal" people might then run to their dermatologist for a prescription, I will not because I actually like my stomach flora (and yes I take probiotics). So my question is...what is an alternative I can use to antibiotics? Clearly there is an internal problem I am having, but how can I deal with that naturally?

    Yes, diet has helped clear my skin but it hasn't cleared it completely. It could be because there are more foods I need to get rid of, more foods I need to add, or perhaps I need certain supplements. I am currently experimenting with cod liver oil, but either way it doesn't really explain why the antibiotics would work...and so I am guessing if the cod liver works it wouldn't be solving the problem that the antibiotics did....

    I also know there are naturally occurring antibiotics...should I experiment with those? Or are those not good to use every day either?

    Obviously, there is no clear cut answer here so I am really looking for your personal experiences, and theories about the matter!

    One last thing:
    Just want to add that I do encourage changing your diet to clear your skin and want to remind lurkers/beginners/whoever that diet CAN change your skin but for SOME people it is not enough. For some diet is the main cause, for some there is some other internal cause, and for others it can be mainly external...or like me it can be a combo of all three! My skin is considerably clearer when I abstain from grains and dairy (especially full fat :/), and probiotics have helped as well. I am also currently switching over more and more to natural skin routines (jojoba oil, coconut oil, oil cleansing method, apple cider vinegar, etc) and am finding it much better for my sensitive skin/acne prone skin. However, sadly all those changes have not been enough for me...which is very odd considering my level of acne is really not that bad! I never have cystic acne, and don't even have many black heads or anything. I just have a moderate level of zits all the time, and with the above changes got it down to a mild level of zits! But for whatever reason, the remaining amount though mild is still very stubborn! You may have even less zits than me and have even more trouble clearing (or not hopefully!) and you may have even worse acne and an easier time (I hope!)!!! It is not a black and white matter...that much is true!

  • #2
    Have you ever been prone to yeast infections? How much sugar do you eat regularly (fruit, starches, juice etc.)? It is possible that your intestinal bacteria is very out of balance and it's only the antibiotics that get it "right". Time with a good probiotic and avoiding excessive sugar consumption might set you straight (how long have you been grain-free?), but it could be more than that. I've been working on ridding myself on a yeast overgrowth for the past 6 months now. It's slow progress, but I can now eat fruit and starches with no ill effects (yeast infections or acne outbreaks). It seems that only refined sugar and wheat bother me now. There are supplements you can take to help re-balance your gut flora (clearing the slate so the probiotics can help re-build).
    Depression Lies


    • #3
      Have you ever tried oatmeal mask? While eating oatmeal is not primal, a mask of oatmeal and yogurt or sour cream is one of these traditional remedies.

      As for your restrictions, non-fermented dairy and sugars are another cause of acne. I know that I get zits from honey literally overnight, which sucks, because I think honey is great for many other reasons. I get acne from other high natural sugars as well, but honey is the most dramatic.
      My Journal:
      When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.


      • #4
        I agree about the inadvisability of throwing antibiotics at this sort of condition. I'd have thought it would be worth anyone's while trying Professor Cordain's protocol first:

        Dietary Cure for Acne by Dr. Loren Cordain | The Paleo Diet


        • #5
          it could be a food allergy. my husband only gets acne when he eats chocolate.
          my primal journal:


          • #6
            Probiotics > Antibiotics

            Probiotics will increase your number of "good" bacteria, while at the same time reducing the amount of bad bacteria. Antibiotics just attack all bacteria, and your own cells in the process. Better gut flora means a better immune system, and less flare ups. Antibiotics seem very counter productive as many people report having a lot of trouble with candida, and general worsening of health afterwards. And most people that I've heard that used them for acne, said that it only worked temporarily, and their acne came back afterwards and sometimes it was worse than before.

            Work with your body, not against it. More tips:

            - Omega 3
            - Not using products on face (only water once in a while, and cold water at that)
            - No shampoo/conditioner
            - No makeup
            - More sunlight (gradual, if sensitive)
            - Exercise (calms cortisol levels, less stress)

            Just to name a few.
            Last edited by Bosnic; 06-06-2012, 06:07 PM.


            • #7
              Could you share your probiotic brand and dosage? How often do you consume fermented foods?

              Also, have you considered Chinese medicine? A good friend had a reduction in his cystic acne with it. If you tell me your city, I might be able to track down a good L.Ac in your town. (I go to school for CM now.)


              • #8
                I'm in a similar position for skin infections and not wanting to use antibiotics ongoing. Mine isn't acne, but similar problem.

                My research has turned up:
                Things I currently do:
                -Fish oil.
                -Limiting dairy- I eat hard cheeses - less lactose, and probiotic unsweetened yoghurt (trying to get gut flora back in balance). No other dairy. (I have a friend who use to have severe acne, she is 100% dairy free and her skin is fine now. Still occasional break outs but nothing like previously. Dairy seems to be a huge issue for a lot of people with skin problems, I may consider cutting it entirely again soon).

                Things I plan on doing (have been researching, and have ordered, waiting for it to arrive):
                -Curcumin (from turmeric). Don't just eat turmeric, it's not water soluble so can't be absorbed at high enough concentrations. Supposed to help with inflammation.
                -Vitamin C. High doses supposed to help immune system and fight infection. Anecdotal evidence of high doses having great effect. No known toxic dosage.

                I've tried many things in the past (which have slipped my mind)... but I've been researching skin problems for a long long time, and curcumin is one of the things I've decided looks the most promising. Vit C I'm not as sold on, but one person in particular had very good n=1 results so that has persuaded me to give it a go (I figure if nothing else, maybe it'll help me fight off colds/flus because I work at a medical centre haha).

                I'll definitely be posting about my results with them if they're worthwhile.
                Current weight lost: 82.9lb (37.6kg)

                Current PRs:
                Bench: 45kg/99lb
                Squat: 100kg/220lb
                Deadlift: 120kg/265lb

                My blog
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                • #9
                  I am currently taking cod liver oil and probiotics. The probiotics have had no where near the effect that antibiotics have had on my face though. I have been taking high dose probiotics (perhaps I could take multiple a day but 1 a day is the dose and they ARE expensive) for about a year now and it has helped my digestion enormously and helped clear my skin a little bit. However, being on antibiotics a few times in my life my skin has cleared almost completely in a weeks times, while probiotics for a year has only cleared them a little bit. While I have no plans on getting rid of my probiotics, I am not sure it is THE alternative I am looking for. The cod liver oil hasn't done much yet either, but it has so many benefits I am sticking with it at least til I finish the bottle!


                  • #10
                    How many billions of cultures are in your probiotics?
                    Depression Lies


                    • #11
                      I had a bad acne infection in my late 20s. After over a year of trying topical and medical treatments, the only thing that cleared it up was a 4-month course of antibiotics, which I agreed to as a last resort. I think by that point the original cause of the infection was irrelevant. The drugs cleared it up and I never had a problem again.

                      I'm not against antibiotics when they're prescribed for infection, or prevention of infection in the case of wisdom teeth extraction (that shit is nasty, nobody should have to experience that). I am opposed to antibiotics MIS-prescribed for every sniffle and virus.
                      *My obligatory intro

                      There are no cheat days. There are days when you eat primal and days you don't. As soon as you label a day a cheat day, you're on a diet. Don't be on a diet. ~~ Fernaldo

                      DAINTY CAN KISS MY PRIMAL BACKSIDE. ~~ Crabcakes


                      • #12
                        I'm not suffering with ache but a recurring infection and I have been on and off antibiotics since January. Every time my course of antibiotics runs out I get recurring infection - the thing is extremely frustrating as it seems that the antibiotics are only holding the infection at bay and not solving the issue. I'm thinking of coming off them all together because it seems there is little point in taking them any more.Does anyone have any suggestions? I've tried garlic tablets and vitamin C. In the last two/three month I have started eating paleo for good but even that has not helped to budge my infection.


                        • #13
                          Avoid all rancid oils, vegetable oils, dairy, fish oil, all grains and legumes, most sugar (including excess amounts of some fruits like mango, but most fruit is fine, especially apples). Avoid all soaps, shampoos, tap water and stress.

                          Megadose on dandelion root (chop and steep, drink and eat), green tea, green apples, berries, sunlight, icy water, land animal fats, meditation and slow breathing.

                          Some combination of the above factors should make a difference for you. It's worked for me, I'm often zit free for weeks at a time when I'm strict. But I'm still an instant boil farm if I eat some pizza!
                          Crohn's, doing SCD


                          • #14
                            Thanks some new things to try there. I've thought about looking for alternatives to shampoo as I wash my hair daily. I'm surprised at the inclusion of fish oil. Green tea I can add, dandelion root sounds a bit scary, berries and icy water are already there as are the grains and most dairy (I only eat a little dairy). I've not eaten a pizza since I started paleo two/three months ago but I used to eat two a week at least. I shall definitely try drinking more green tea immediately for starters to see if that helps. Thanks again.


                            • #15
                              Yeah, loading up on green tea alone will/should help a ton! I'll do six bags (twice a day, that's about the most you really want to be drinking due to fluoride, and I forget - oxalates, maybe?) in a large cup and let it steep for a few minutes, so it's very dark and very bitter. That seems to work best. Drink it on an empty stomach for best results, you'll feel it tightening your skin almost immediately.
                              Crohn's, doing SCD