As his face changes, her fate unfolds. The Mirrors of Fate: Out of the Past (Book 1 to The Mirrors of Fate Trilogy). Click on the pic for e-outlets.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Why I no longer "worry" about acne

Keeping in mind that this is a 30% everything else blog, I chose this morning to write an entry about natural remedies. I am a big fan of them, and because I'm my own guinea pig, I don't say or recommend herbs or natural remedies that I haven't tried myself and seen success from. I have a few serious articles floating about the internet concerning natural remedies and their effects. This one in particular, titled "The Silent Enemy of Your Birth Control Pill" talks about the way in which certain herbs and berries can lower the effectiveness of your birth control pill without you even knowing it. It's lengthy and in-depth, so if you're not interested in really reading some precise information and details of an experiment, you probably shouldn't click the link. What I will mention though is what I have discovered to significantly or completely get rid of acne in myself.

A little history. Acne and me have been mortal enemies throughout the years. I'm talking the worst acne you can think of. If it's a type of bump, I've had it in multitudes. I couldn't eat anything sugary without flaring up; not even fruits. I couldn't eat anything oily otherwise the blackheads came to visit. Doctors told me again and again that eating sugar doesn't cause acne, but all I knew was that certain "bad" foods made my face flare, regardless of how impeccably clean I kept my skin. My skin is also naturally very oily. Wash it now and in an hour or less I'm shining like a marble. I went on diane-35 (not officially a "bcp" but you'll have to google that controversy) to control my acne, and it certainly did that. It cleaned it up perfectly for years. It was my "cure", but unfortunately diane-35 caused other health complications that weren't worth the benefit. You're supposed to use it for a limited time, but as I learned, and as many people discover, coming off a bcp will make your acne come back with a vengeance, and you'll regret ever stopping it. So I said to myself I had to find some natural remedies that DO exactly what "the pill" does for my acne.

But what does the pill do to fight acne anyhow? What exactly is going on? I'll try and lay it out simply.

Some people can use topical medications like a Clean and Clear wash and their acne problems are gone. For others like me, it's more internal. Hormones are involved. An overproduction of androgen, a type of hormone, and a subsequent overproduction of oil (Dihydrotestosterone or DHT promotes oil production which can lead to your pores getting clogged) cause acne in a lot of women, including myself. And of course stress is another factor for me. You first have to understand that for you, it may not be just about washing your face and keeping it clean or taking an antibiotic once. The best birth control to fight acne has low androgen potency and high levels of estrogen like Yasmin, Ortho Cyclen, Brevicon, etc., but you've seen the drug recall commercials for some of these pills. The risks with birth control pills were no longer worth it for me. 

So I said, fine, I know that I've gotta tackle this androgen thingy and this DHT monster. What's next? What herbs do it? What vitamins, if any, do it? 

I'll introduce you to the three things I use now and SWEAR BY. Without these three things as a part of my DAILY routine, my face would look like a mountainous dart board. Excuse my descriptiveness, but I've had it bad over the years. You may have heard of these three remedies before, or even mentioned together in  aregime.

---> Zinc, Saw Palmetto (The standardized extract people! Important), Stinging Nettle

Why zinc?

Taken from

 The idea behind the zinc skin care concept is very reasonable. There are two good reasons for this. First, zinc facilitates the production and regulation of about 200 hormones in your body, and one of that is testosterone. You should know that testosterone is one of the main promoters of acne. Intake of zinc may prevent potential hormone imbalances that can lead to outbreaks.

Second, zinc is closely involved in protein synthesis and in collagen formation in your body, both of which are essential in the maintenance of healthy skin and in normalizing production of skin oils. If you have been to a dermatologist and have been advised to take tetracycline, you may find it interesting that zinc is as effective as this antibiotic for preventing acne.

Saw Palmetto-
Taken from same website as above

The effects of saw palmetto are attributed solely to its ability to suppress the production of dihydrotestosterone or DHT from testosterone. Testosterone is a naturally occurring androgen which is needed by the body, while DHT is a more potent hormone produced from it. Testosterone is converted into DHT through an enzyme called 5-alpha-reductase which is inhibited by saw palmetto.

Saw palmetto is primarily used therapeutically for treating enlarged prostate or prostatitis in men. However, they are also seen to provide benefits in women, such that saw palmetto standardized extract.

Stinging Nettle-
Taken from 

Since both dissolving and flushing actions are most important for the purification of the blood, stinging nettle juice is the remedy par excellence for all complaints where toxicity and/or over-acidity of the blood are the source of the problem, including rheumatism and arthritis. Given its ability to dissolve and flush waste, nettle juice is also a “natural” for weight reduction. As stinging nettle stimulates gland secretion, particularly of the digestive tract, various eczemas and acne can be cleared up by regularly drinking nettle herbal tea.

Ok, you got that? According to the info, zinc balances testosterone and normalizes oil production, saw palmetto supresses DHT from existing testosterone and is an anti-inflammatory, and stinging nettle is a good ol' buddy that cleans you out. Simple enough. How did I get this to work for me? A lot of research on how others were doing it and having success, what kind of dosages work for women, and then fine-tuning it to me.

So, what does my routine look like?

Saw Palmetto Standardized (85-95% Fatty Acids) 1 pill 160mg
Stinging Nettle- 2 capsules of stinging nettle (Serving size 2 capsules 870mg nettle (leaf))
Zinc (1/3 of a tablet. Many people, like me, find that taking even a 50mg of a zinc supplement makes them terribly nauseous. I cut my tablet into thirds and take throughout the day.)

Afternoon- 1/3 of zinc tablet with meal

Evening- Repeat morning

What has this done for me? My oily skin is no more. Some will want to adjust dosages to ensure their skin does not become too dry. Breakouts only occur when I'm overly stressed (but tweaking to a higher dosage combats that) and haven't been sticking to my routine. THIS is what has worked for me in weaning off my birth control pill. I thought it couldn't be done, but no challenge is gonna get the better of me. I had tried several times to actually come off of diane-35 but to no avail. The very day and the very last time I quit diane-35 I went on this regime to essentially hope I could fool my body into thinking I was still taking the pill, which the herbs provided similar benefits to. And I'll say this in all honesty. It worked. The only time I experienced a drawback or two when weaning off the pill was when my pharmacy ran out of the standardized saw palmetto (i.e. higher potency) and I had to take the weaker dose, or when I forget to take one of the stuff in the regime.

Certainly, if you choose any regime, you should always talk to your doctor first, or ensure you're not taking anything else that these herbs might impact. Some doctors may give you the "Meh, herbs aren't really effective" look, but I also got the "Well, technically there's nothing wrong with using a birth control pill" look and statement from a doctor and I'm off diane-35 because of side effects. So you be the judge. Always be careful and always consider healthier options to your ailments.

Best of luck,
Cindz :-)


  1. Hi!!!! you´re really saving my hope that was almost drowning. I´ve experienced the exactly same thing with diane, oily face, etc... I´m now taking a very soft bcp that doesn´t make me ill, but would like to stop it one day just to prevent a low libido or depression (like with diane occurs) i started to take zinc but which brand is the best for acne? and which brand of saw palmetto and stinging nettle?? please tell me. And how long have you been taking this?? no side effects? THANK YOU!!!

  2. I am happy to read about this. I have been researching for weeks on what I could take as an alternative to Diane35. I have been taking Diane35 for years and it has caused me so much negative effects such as depression, crying all the time, negative thoughts, anxiety etc etc. I am still on it and today I bought bluebonnet saw palmetto standardized extract which I will take on Friday after I stop the Diane(I have a photoshoot in the morning and I don't wanna risk getting even a single pimple lol). What brand are you using? Which zinc should I get? I really hope this works for me too. I am desperate to get off Diane35 without getting so much acne. I did try to stop a couple of times before and acne popped out straight away! Thanks for this. Really hope this works for me too.

  3. Hey guys! Sorry about the ridiculously late response. I've been busy and unable to update.

    As for zinc brand, I use Sundown Naturals. As I'm sensitive to soy, wheat and dairy, they're a great brand because they don't include any of those ingredients like many other brands. As for Saw Palmetto standardized, Nature's Answer is the brand I use. It's proven to be great and really helps control oil production. One thing I'd also critically suggest is avoiding dairy and wheat. Cutting these out of my diet has done wonders for my specific androgen issues. I thought eating them once in a while would be fine, but a cheat treat only led to bumps that took weeks to get rid of and it's just not worth it. Also eating a low sugar diet is crucial. Eat fruits in moderation and a lot of healthy fats from fish and seeds which will make up for the energy gap you might experience if you've always relied on lots of sugar to get you through the day.

    Cutting out caffeine has also been extremely helpful. I noticed caffeine only made me crave sugar after it wore off, so I'd go running for the cookie cabinet. Cutting out soy out of my diet helped as well because soy only made me fatigued and sent me in the direction of sugary foods to get back that energy. So it was one vicious cycle. Find out what foods you're sensitive to and avoid them like the plague.

    I hope this helps!

  4. Hi Cindee,

    So glad to have found this :)

    I'm thinking of weaning off Diane to get pregnant. Can I do so with this herbal regime?


  5. I found this post while desperately seeking the internet for how to regulate my hormones and get rid of this terrible cystic acne I've been having since my daughter was born in 2011. I was trying to figure out what was going on but I've been having panic attacks, anxiety, very crazy irregular periods and the most annoying and hard to hide of all very bad cystic acne. I've been on antibiotics several times over infections which I react worse to each time other than getting rid of the infection. When I read this post Friday night I had just told my husband that I guess I would go on birth control. Which I very much don't want to do bc it has always made me so miserable but also the only times in my life I have been cystic acne free since puberty.
    Anyway I went straight to amazon and filled my cart with your suggested herbs along with gotu kola to hopefully help with all the rest and I am starting tonight! Very excited and I will definitely remember to come back to you to give an update if this works for me bc it will be life changing!!

    1. hi did you end up trying the products? did they work for you??

  6. Thank you for your well researched and well written post! There is SO much misinformation out there, so it's nice to see someone actually get it right. I've had a very similar experience with acne and BCP making my skin flawless until I quit. I'm going to try this combo and stay positive. Thanks again! :)

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  8. hi. i just wanna ask if you're still doing this regimen? if yes, how is it going? i will try this soon to get rid of my condition. please reply :) thanks so much!

  9. hi!
    I have been on spironolactone for atleast 5 or 6 yrs now and it works perfectly for me. also on bc pill due to my spotting inbtwn periods..i have a ovarian cyst and fibroid, was told those may be cause of spotting..? anyhow, I wanted to do one thing at a time. first I wanted to get off of spiro, but am very nervous I may regret it. whats your advice pls?