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Acne Vulgaris (Teenage)
A 17 year old male presented with one of the worst cases of cystic acne i had seen. The boy & his mother had frequented their local doctor surgery several times over the years with differing results ; at first repeated roaccutane courses seemed positive, as did recurrent antibiotic therapy, although over time his symptoms were continual and the pharmaceutical side effects were proving a problem. It had now been 4 years…
The Acne Vulgaris patient was a fairly sensitive type, and the self esteem / social implications the acne was causing were huge. The symptoms had been progressive for 4 years, worse on the jawline, upper forehead, cheeks and temples. Skin specialists were at a loss in knowing what to do next. The lesions produced a lot of pus and would bleed particularly easily, and his skin was very itchy. The patients mother noticed a foul ‘sulphur’ smell which would infect his clothing & bedding and was getting worse. His diet was fairly typical for a boy his age, and was full of refined / convenient foods. He knew this would need to change!
The diet required a real shift, which i really hate doing in teenage cases as compliance is often a concern. Fortunately the patient was really keen to do whatever was necessary. I took him off dairy, sugar, peanuts, smoked meats, vegetable oils (inc margarine), alcohol, carbonated drinks, and white flour products. I increased his daily protein intake to 1.5g/kg to increase the skin healing process and to stabilise his blood sugar levels. I also increased his water intake to 2.5l / day.
His medication base consisted of the Chinese herbal formulas, siler combination & coix, plus a herbal alterative (bowel / liver), a broad spectrum probiotic (after all the antibiotic use) and a hormonal homoeopathic phenolic agent to de-sensitise his body to the mass of age-appropriate hormones running through his body! I also took him off roaccutane, and provided a broad spectrum healing agent & antimicrobial herbal cream to use topically on affected areas.
Within 4 weeks his mother noted that the foul sulphur smell had completely stopped, and his skin had ceased to itch. The dark, purple / mottled skin presentation was really improved and the skin tone generally had lightened. The skin was still very cystic, with small new breakouts.
5 weeks later on the same treatment, no cysts were evident along the jaw line. The patient also started using a surgical silica patch on the non-affected skin to promote healing (not supplied by me). At this point i ceased the Chinese herbs, maintained the phenolic agent, probiotic and alterative. I added a high potency vit c / zinc powder and a high quality liquid fish oil @ 1 tsp per day to drive down inflammation & further promote healing.
6 weeks later the patient had absolutely no cystic acne or breakouts of any kind. I actually recommended the patient seek advice from a cosmetic surgeon at this point, to address skin ‘pitting’. I maintained treatment with the liquid fish oil and probiotic.