Acne – My Story, Part 3: Vitamins, Antibiotics and Herbs


Read: Acne – Part 1: Introduction, Acne – Part 2: Skincare

After having tried the myriad of products for my skin and not getting the results I wanted – i.e. clear skin – I was told by a friend that she had known someone who had really bad acne and had been prescribed some tablets by the doctor which worked wonders. She didn’t say anything else, probably because she didn’t know anymore, lol!

  • Antibiotics

At this point in time, my knowledge on health, nutrition & exercise was next to nothing. So I didn’t realise that what I was actually being advised was antibiotics. Anyway, I booked an appointment with the doctor and told him my problem and how I was told about “some tablet” that can get rid of my acne. He was more than happy to prescribe the antibiotics, maybe he was getting a kickback from the pharmaceutical company, who knows? Imagine, even at this point I still didn’t know I was taking antibiotics, until I actually got the medicine from the pharmacist and even then I didn’t know the harmful effects of antibiotics, especially with long-term use!

So I started taking these tablets, hoping for the best and what did I get? The BEST! My skin returned to how it used to be! I was ecstatic! I was so incredibly happy! Everyone started complimenting me again, telling me how my skin had gone back to normal again and asking me what I was doing etc. At this time I was also using the Clinique skin care range.

I was so happy, back to the days where I didn’t have a care in the world!

And then…WHACK!

I started to put on weight (which is very abnormal for me!), my skin started to slowly deteriorate and I started to lose my clear skin! Ahhhhh!

I was so confused! Though at the time I didn’t know it, this was a blessing in disguise. As a result of this, I started to research and read heavily into acne, diet, nutrition and health! I wanted to know more about the tablets I was taking. I wanted to know what they were doing to combat the acne and whether what I was eating had any effect on my skin.

I was told quite categorically that acne and diet are not linked. Even now, if you go to some well established websites or doctors, they will regurgitate the same information. I’m telling you from first-hand experience that what you eat in most cases, if not all, has an effect on your skin!

What you put in your system has to come out some how, and if your internal processes are not functioning optimally then your skin is the largest organ, what better place to dump the rubbish.

I later learnt that not only do antibiotics kill the bad bacteria in your body, but also the good. That’s why alot of people are advised to take probiotics after a course of antibiotics, to help replenish the good bacteria in the gut.

Continually taking these antibiotics (doxycycline) resulted in my body becoming used to them and therefore it started to become resistant to its effects :(

  • Vitamins

I started taking some multi-vitamins during my acne phase. At first, I had a skin reaction with one of them (Solgar VM-75), so I dropped that one. Than I tried the multi-vitamin by Dr. Murad which was VERY good. It also had some essential fatty acids and aminos as well as cleansing herbs in the formula. It was really good and probably had the most benefit to my skin.

After all my years of reading, researching and testing, I came to the conclusion that getting your nutrients and vitamins from food is the best source. Contrary to what many nutritionists and dieticians and supplement companies would advise. Unless you are severely deficient in a certain nutrient/vitamin, in which case take a supplement, I advise eating healthily. It doesn’t make any sense that every human being NEEDS 100% of every vitamin or nutrient every single day!

I know by making that statement, many will argue this point (i.e. supplemental vs whole food), but that’s their opinion, that’s right…OPINION, not FACT! Imagine, just 1 teeny weeny ounce of broccoli (approx. 28g) has 42% of ones RDI of Vitamin C! And that’s not taking into account the bioavailability and the co-factors of that vitamin C compared to synthetic Vitamin C (i.e. ascorbic acid) which is also very acidic! If you really want to take vitamin C, then take magnesium ascorbate, it is more gentle on the stomach and not acidic like ascorbic acid.

  • Herbs

Yes I even tried the legitimate herbs! I went to a Chinese herbalist and after a brief consultation where I had to stick my tongue out so that my lung’s could be seen (JOKE!), I was prescribed several different herbs – all written in Chinese – hence I can’t really tell what they were. Though it is fair to surmise that one of the herbs was dandelion – the only reason I can tell you that is because of its EXTREMELY bitter taste!!! So what was the verdict? Did it work? Well it helped a little, but after spending £25 (approximately $50) per week, it didn’t seem very cost-effective, I’m trying to be very diplomatic in case you hadn’t realised!

I later tried drinking some dandelion tea (with a lot of honey) and it seemed to help my skin! Dandelion is one of the strongest lipotropics known to man. I first learnt about dandelion when I was taking a product called AcnEase, this product really helped my skin but again it was too expensive! As a student, one has to be very careful with expenditure!

Other herbs which cleanse the blood, liver and the kidneys were also very helpful (e.g. artichoke leaf, milk thistle – see below)

I was getting extremely frustrated, some things worked to an extent and some things didn’t work at all!

My cupboard was well on its way to becoming a small pharmacy!

  • Other tablets

When I went to Malaysia in 2005, I was taking digestive enzymes (one capsule with each meal, containing protease, amylase, lipase, lactase and some other enzymes) and milk thistle (3x day, each capsule containing 175mg – 80% Silymarin). This combination proved to be amazingly…well…amazing! My skin was 99.9% clear – I guess not 100% clear because I was the only one looking at my skin with a microscope! And I wasn’t eating healthily. I was eating burgers, ice cream, all the bad food (from a health perspective) you can imagine, I was eating it! I first came across digestive enzymes and their incredible benefits to health when I was reading Jon Barron’s ‘Lessons From The Miracle Doctors’ (a free eBook which I advise EVERYONE to download, all you have to do is provide your name and email address, download here!).

Milk thistle is a herb which cleanses the liver and re-builds liver cells. It is an amazing herb with many benefits. If you want to know more about this herb, you know what to do…google it!

I remember reading on the acne.org forum about the benefits some people had with using cruciferous extract supplements, in particular, broccoli and broccoli sprout extracts. I never got round to using these, but the benefits I have gained from eating cruciferous vegetables since has been immeasurable!!! More about this in the ‘Acne & Nutrition’ article.
I remember when I went into the Himalaya Skin care shop in Malaysia and the sales assistant asked me what I was using for my skin, I told her what I was using…which was nothing! Just water. She asked me again, assuming that I hadn’t heard her correctly. I answered the same! She was totally shocked! I felt quite good! Even after that, she tried selling me some products, true sales person!

I guess after hearing this you would think that I had found my solution, right? Well you’re wrong! I wanted the perfect solution, which was to use nothing on my skin, be care-free like most of the other people I used to see everyday (that coupled with being lazy too!). Again, digestive enzymes and milk thistle were not cheap at the time.

  • Summary

So what can you learn from this? Beware of what people advise you, always do your research! If something doesn’t work for you, move on and try something else – trial and improvement! Though I don’t take any supplements now, the use of a few of them (e.g. milk thistle, dandelion and digestive enzymes) has benefited me in the long-term by cleansing and rejuvenating my system.


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Related posts:

  1. Acne – My Story, Part 1: Introduction
  2. Acne – My Story, Part 2: Skincare
  3. Antibiotics: Reversing the Damage
  4. Digestive Enzymes for a Baby
  5. Overeating and Overindulging – what to do next?
  6. Milk: Good or Bad?
  7. Cure for Hay fever
  8. Vitamin C – Protecting you from the common cold?
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  10. Starbucks Switches To Hormone-Free Milk!

21 Responses to Acne – My Story, Part 3: Vitamins, Antibiotics and Herbs
  1. Laura
    March 31, 2008 | 1:36 pm

    I’ve tried dandelion tea, but it is too bitter. Though it has helped me alot with my skin. Haven’t tried it with honey yet, hope it helps!

  2. [...] the whole thing over here This entry was posted on Saturday, March 29th, 2008 at 3:54 am and is filed under Uncategorized. [...]

  3. kulsum
    April 3, 2008 | 2:37 pm

    i tried milk thistle a couple of years ago – and it made my skin worse!!!!! i’m sure its good long term, but short/medium term my skin looked an absolute state. AND, it took ages to clear up. is it normal to break out like that??

  4. kulsum
    April 3, 2008 | 2:59 pm

    You mentioned AcnEase – i’ve read about it. seems to promise good results! Would you recommend taking this?? is it safe for long term use? Or do you just take it for short term. Is it better than taking antibiotics? AND finally, if one were to stop taking this, would the results last or deteriorate? So many questions I know, but I’d really like to know! thanks, keep writing!

  5. jimma
    August 28, 2008 | 12:38 am

    We need to keep after prevention & cure. Control and remission are getting better – through diet and medication. It is hard to sift out the genuine research from the frauds.

  6. acne
    January 12, 2009 | 3:03 am

    woah great post.. i\’m officially a subscriber! ;)

  7. the health blogger
    January 20, 2009 | 7:37 pm

    thanks ‘acne’!

  8. Dave
    February 10, 2009 | 2:22 am

    Those tablets are ecstasy.

  9. Jonathon
    February 18, 2009 | 12:08 am

    Those Pills are Exstacy! Wow =] And No Antibiotic is gonna cure acne! Try getting advance Skin! Works to a point!

    • the health blogger
      February 18, 2009 | 9:29 am

      yeah? didn’t know they were ecstasy tablets – oops! The key to clearing skin up is diet + nutrition – can’t emphasize that enough!

  10. A1555
    April 11, 2009 | 8:23 pm

    Generally, I only get acne when I have high to extreme stress – especially in situations where you are trapped and have no control. I like your health advice. All supplements need to be used carefully. I use tons of ginger and garlic, but other people might not do well on ginger, etc. I used too much zinc without copper and became copper deficient. I had to start taking copper to fix the imbalance. Right now, I don’t use a multivitamin, because you’re right – it’s way too much for someone who eats a normal diet. It’s not healthy. However, I do a use sythetic B-Complex from Country Life and Life Extension or Jarrow. This has helped me a lot. I try not to take B-Complex everyday or every meal, but it does help me with stress. I recommend green drinks, organic foods, flax, omega 3, kelp and other sea veggies, garlic, ginger, maybe turmeric, 1-3 grams MSM, magnesium ascorbate or sodium ascorbate or real vitamin C in pill or whole fruit – not juice(kiwi, citrus, etc). I don’t recommend high dose vitamin C everyday. Make sure you get enough vitamin D3. Consider Methyl B-12 (I use Natural Factors B-12), but you need to only take this like once a month. I am a vegetarian and it is definitely the way to go for me. If you feel you need zinc, take copper also, in 10-1 or so ratio. Also, you could just use a multi occasionally, instead of everyday, which is generally, not healthy in my opinion. By the way, women do not need iron supplements. This is a myth. It is possible to be iron deficient, and in that case you might need a supplement or try chlorella for natural iron.

  11. [...] Acne My Story Part 3 Vitamins Antibiotics and Herbs The Posted by root 2 hours 40 minutes ago (http://thehealthblogger.com) I was told quite categorically that acne and diet are not linked thank you a1555 for your comment very beneficial the health blogger is proudly powered by wordpress entries rss and comments rss Discuss  |  Bury |  News | Acne My Story Part 3 Vitamins Antibiotics and Herbs The [...]

  12. Body~Detox Diet
    July 9, 2009 | 4:02 pm

    a good acne diet should always include foods that are rich in Vitamin-A since Vitamin-A helps in the maintennance of skin health.

  13. CJ
    January 14, 2010 | 7:02 am

    Read the book entitled, “Your Body’s Many Cries for Water”. When I drank soda and ate processed and sugary foods I had the worst acne. I cleaned up my diet and started drinking 8 glasses of water a day – and nothing else, and the problem stopped. It will with you too.

  14. Great Taste No Pain
    April 28, 2010 | 3:01 am

    Great Post,completely different topic,make me understand,There is a lot of good information provided in the link Thanks A Lot

  15. George
    August 28, 2010 | 10:03 am

    Great info, hidden away neatly :)

    I went through a similra acne experience with supplements. We should definitely chat. Please e-mail me :)

    • the health blogger
      September 12, 2010 | 12:19 am

      Thanks George.

      You just reminded me, I really need to finish this series!

  16. acne no more review
    November 20, 2010 | 12:04 pm

    There is quite a lot of support that a raw diet, consisting of fruits, nuts, and vegetables is great if you have acne

  17. Fitbase
    August 28, 2011 | 3:30 pm

    Great blog, I like the article, great review. And I like the design of the website!!

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