Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Acne with Alcohol Sensitive Skin

Millions of people have acne of varying degrees of severity. In fact, 80% of people between the ages of 11 and 30 have some acne. No matter how severe the outbreak, acne is frustrating. It’s costly, time consuming and hurts the self-esteem.

There are countless products lining the shelves of grocery, pharmaceutical, and beauty supply stores all claiming to be the answer. Magazine ads and newspaper ads, commercials and infomercials with celebrity endorsements touting the newest miracle solution for acne are everywhere. There are pills and creams and gels and even lasers used to treat acne. Consumers place high hopes on these products, and pay big bucks for them, all too often to be disappointed in the end. And some of these products do work for some people, but other people try product after product with no results.

This is the story of how I  found the cure to my daughter's acne when it seemed there was no answer to be found.  I hope that through reading this other people can be helped just as my daughter was.

Our Story:
Aside from a very minor breakout here and there, my oldest daughter had always had beautiful skin, so when her face started to break out shortly after her fourteenth birthday, I didn’t think much of it. I assumed it was the result of hormones and bought her some gentle cleanser thinking it would clear up in a day or so. Over the next three months things only continued to worsen leaving us both frustrated and seeking answers.

Here is what those three months looked like for us…

After the mild cleanser didn’t work and seemed to make matters worse, I did what most people do, I bought another cleanser and another and another and another. My daughter masked, steamed, exfoliated, replaced makeup, and changed bed sheets.

After about a month of carrying on in this manner, I took my daughter to see her pediatrician.  Her doctor suggested a couple of over-the-counter products and prescribed an antibiotic. If this didn’t work, her suggestion was to visit a dermatologist. She also said she wasn’t opposed to prescribing my daughter birth control pills because perhaps she was breaking out due to her hormone levels.

After the products recommended by the pediatrician failed to help, I made an appointment with the dermatologist as was suggested. He prescribed another antibiotic and gave us samples of a gel treatment, handing me a prescription to fill when the samples were gone. One use of the antibiotic caused such severe acid reflux that my daughter was throwing up everything she ate. She discontinued use of the antibiotic, but kept using the gel samples. After the samples were gone, I called the pharmacy to inquire about the cost to fill the prescription. It was going to be $400! It didn’t even seem to be working. The acne was worse, her skin was dry, and now there appeared to be some scarring.

I decided that it made no sense to pay for medication that seemed to be making the problem worse. I wasn’t thrilled with the idea of prescribing birth control to my young daughter and messing with her hormones, but I felt out of options. I told myself I would do a little more research and call the pediatrician in a couple of days.

At this point, I sat down and started searching for some sort of answer that didn’t involve birth control pills or pills of any kind. I recalled an occasion from the prior year in which my daughter had tried facial cleansing cloths only to discover that they broke her out in a rash. The only ingredient in those cloths is alcohol, so we knew she was sensitive to alcohol at that time, but surely that sensitivity couldn’t be causing all these problems. We had mentioned her being alcohol sensitive to both the pediatrician and the dermatologist and neither seemed to think it was an issue, as both of them recommended treatments that contained alcohol.

I decided that since their recommendations to this point hadn’t helped, that maybe they didn’t know everything. I went to the bathroom and took out every product with alcohol in it. When all was said and done, we had thrown out every facial product my daughter had: every cleanser, moisturizer, spot treatment, mask, make up, you name it. It didn’t matter where I had bought the product or how much it had cost, it wasn’t working and it went into the trashcan.

I spent the next few days searching for alcohol free products and this was no simple task. Unfortunately I could not find an alcohol-free product line. Even the cosmetics that claimed to be alcohol-free had cetyl alcohol listed in the ingredients. Cetyl alcohol breaks my daughter's face out just as bad as any other type of alcohol and probably has the same effect on anyone who is hypersensitive. After searching on the Internet for hours and spending mounds of time reading the back labels of facial products, I finally found a handful of things to try. 

I had no idea if this would work, but I had to give it a go. In the end my daughter had two facial cleansers, a spot treatment, a moisturizer and powder makeup.  I felt she still needed some sort of disinfectant, because the spots were so bad. I remembered a product that we used on my scraped knees and elbows when I was a child, called Betadine. I looked it up on the Internet and found that people do use it for acne.

With a little hope and a lot of prayer, my daughter began her new regimen.

Her face improved the first day!! Two to three days of our new regimen and her face was clear, and within a week all signs of scarring had disappeared.

Discovering my daughter’s hypersensitivity to alcohol made me realize that she can’t be the only one. My theory is that there are thousands of people with the same issue who can’t find relief. Since almost every product designed for the face contains alcohol, it’s a difficult  problem to pinpoint. It’s almost an unknown problem as no doctor mentioned that alcohol could be a major contributor to the problem, even when I mentioned my daughter being hypersensitive. 

I can’t guarantee that what works for my daughter will work for you, but with the hundreds of dollars people spend on skin care products, this simple and inexpensive solution is worth a try.

Our Regimen:
I am not a doctor and accept no liability for the statements written here. If you try the products recommended here, you do so at your own risk. It’s also always a good idea to consult a physician before trying any medical remedy. If you are sensitive to iodine do not use liquid iodine or Betadine. I also can’t guarantee any results. 

Evening: Olay ProX Exfoliating Cleanser (with one drop of Betadine, as needed)
                Neutragena Oil Free SPF 15 Moisturizer (with one drop of Betadine, as needed)
                Acnevir spot treatment (as needed) 
Morning: Beta Topix Benzaderm Cleanser with Aloe Vera (with one drop of Betadine, as needed) 
                 Neutragena Oil Free SPF 15 Moisturizer
                 Acnevir spot treatment, as needed
                 Clinique Almost Powder (use as cover up as well with a small facial brush)
                 Dove cleaning bar for body (with one drop of Betadine, as needed)

Note: When the skin is clear, you can discontinue using Betadine. Resume use when breakouts occur. 

Products Used: 
Olay Pro X Exfoliating Cleanser
Beta Topix Benzaderm Cleanser with Aloe Vera
Neutragena Oil Free SFA 15 Moisturizer
Clinique Almost Powder 
Betadine (or any povidone iodine)
Dove Cleansing Bar

On The Double - at running speed, very fast

Moving at breakneck speed and only slowing down to sleep. That's how I live my life. Most days I barely even know what took place. I wake up and start running. When a hurdle is put in front of me, I jump and hope like heck I make it over. I wish I was like so many of the other women I encounter: perfect hair, designer clothes, manicured nails and decorated homes. They bake, they sew, they make their own home decor. They're involved in PTA, volunteer at church, organize community events, manage to hold down a job, and maintain an organic garden. They're children make good grades, stay out of trouble, and look like they just stepped out of the American Girl catalog. I'm thoroughly impressed!

It's difficult not to compare myself. I fly by the seat of my pants and I look like it. My hair is a mess, my nails aren't done, my house is in a constant state of renovation, and I wear the same pair of jeans almost every day. My husband assures me that other women aren't perfect, that's only my perception of them. And he tries to convince me that I look great, but I can see the cuticle beds creeping up on my nails. I'm just saying... I know, I know... no one's actually perfect, I just wish I felt a little less sub-par.

I tell myself that I do the best I can. It's not like I don't try. And when things aren't working, I readjust. I don't just keep doing the same things over and over and expecting different results. At least that means I'm not crazy, right? And that's a plus.

I have this ever mounting To-Do List and as soon as I cross one thing off, three things get added to it. It's not that everything is a big deal, but even the tiny things add up. Making phone calls, sending emails, paying bills, eating... And when you add these small things to the big ones, it becomes a bit overwhelming. I have been refinishing the cabinets in my kids' bathroom for nine months. I mean really? Other women would have done all the bathrooms in their house, plus the kitchen in that time frame. For the most part, I do fine as long as I can see progress, but when nothing seems to be getting done, I get all flustered. I suppose I shouldn't be taking the time to write this blog. It's not really helping my cause any, is it?

The crazy thing is, I'm known for being an organizer. I actually enjoy the process of organization, so why do I feel so out of sorts?

I have a great husband and two wonderful kids. We've had a rough couple of years. It's been one hurdle after another and I think it's really taking a toll. I pray we're on the other side of the hurdles, but I'm all scraped up now from the many times I fell down trying to jump over. It'll take some time to heal. (I'll expound upon that later.)

Sometimes when I have an internal struggle, it helps to try and see myself through another's eyes. So I ask myself, "What would I say to someone else who feels like they just can't get it together?"

I suppose I would say, "Who said you have to have everything together? Why do you compare yourself to others? You don't know what issues other people are dealing with. And I assure you, everyone is dealing with something. It's not a contest anyway. As long as you're taking care of the things that really matter, the rest will work itself out. So just be the best you can and forget the rest."

Yeah, you're right self. I feel much better:)