I'm still struggling with clearing my skin, but I'm so much improved that I wanted to share what I've found that is working for me in hopes that I might help someone else.
I was put on birth control when I was young, and it just so happened to be a brand new form of bc (insert) that ended up with horrid side effects for me. I had perfect skin before going on the bc, and all through high school. When I went off of it, however, I developed horrible acne on face, chest, and back as well as hormonal issues and breast lumps. My hormones were out of control. I saw dermatologist after dermatologist, and everything topical they gave me burned my skin and didn't make anything any better so we did 2 years (yes, I said 2 years!) of antibiotics. My skin was better, but not perfect, until I decided that I wanted to go off the antibiotics. That was a year ago. For the past year, I have been dealing with worse acne than I have ever had before and intestinal problems from the antibiotics stripping my gut of good bacteria.
I had tried everthing under the sun... my dermatologist told me I had exhausted my options... until I started seeing a granola crunchy esthetist who took me off everything topical, gave me gentle, organic, all natural products that DONT treat acne but make my skin healthy, and we looked at my diet and overall health.
The acne, hormone issues, digestive tract issues were all related. I did a strict elimination diet, and found that I cannot have meat (other than fish), dairy (other than a little goat's milk/goat cheese), potatoes, processed sugar, or flour. I'm unable to digest these things (probably due to low stomach acid), so they sit in my gut and rot (gross, I know) and make me horribly sick (I was experiencing horrid stomach cramping every time I ate for two months!!). The toxins from that buildup was effecting so much!
I also am taking probiotics for my digestive tract, minerals that are depleted from extended antibiotic use (like zinc, magnesium, etc.), and DIM, saw palmetto, pregnenalone, and evening primrose oil to balance my hormones. Add in some essential fatty acids and vitamin C for good measure (and they help with PMS, btw) and I feel SO much better! And my skin has been getting increasingly better since I started. Now, every so often I NEED some chocolate or a cup cake, and I just know that I'll break out within two days. But that's OK, because now I'M in control, rather than my acne controlling me! And, sometimes, a cupcake is worth one little pimple. I can deal with that!!
I would encourage people suffering from acne to look beyond their skin, and see it as a possible symptom or side effect from a general unhealthy state or imbalance.