Monthly Archives: November 2011

Can Vinegar help control Cystic Acne?

Do you have acne or acne prone skin? Tried EVERYTHING but found that it did not do the trick? Well, let me tell you about my messes and successes in hopes that it will help some of you suffering through the same path as my skin once did.

Growing up, I never really had troubled skin. I did have my occasional stress induced pimple or two and my “It’s that time of the month” zit that came with it’s seven day army, but nothing a little Noxzema couldn’t handle. Once I hit my 20’s though, watch out! My face decided to go through puberty and the rest of me didn’t get the memo. Statistics show that adult acne affects 25% of all adult men and 50% of adult women at some time in their adult lives. People can develop unpleasant acne or have an acne recurrence in their 20s, 30s, 40s and beyond and worse, find that over the counter and prescription medications are not making any kind of an impact on the unwelcomed inhabitants and sometimes causing it to increase. Cystic acne is the most serious kind of acne blemish occurring around the jawline, chin and neck areas and affect nearly 30% of women and 20% of men ages 20 to 60 and beyond.

At 23 years old, I started suffering from not just acne, but severe cystic acne. My flareups would last weeks or even months and would spread from ear to ear along my jawline, neck and temples. I had moments where the flareups would subside and become dormant for a while, then come back in a painful vengeance. I tried it all, every over the counter remedy that you have ever heard of. I became one with ingredients such as salicylic acid, benzoic acid, clindamycin,  benzoyl peroxide, glycolic acid and sulferic acid. No matter how many acids I used, nothing worked. I went through 5 different dermatologists and begged to be prescribed accutane, (Accutane is a form of vitamin A. It is used to treat severe nodular acne. It is usually given after other acne medicines or antibiotics have been tried without successful treatment of symptoms.) but to no avail. I went through painful laser treatments, facial peels and expensive organic treatments and still, no relief. My face was a war zone and everyone was able to see it.

After my self esteem went down to a -100, stopped taking all the antibiotics and threw away every bottle of topical acne creams I had invested much money and time into, I took my mothers advice. My mother, the illustrious Elsa Houdek, saw my face transform from normal, to bad, to depressing as my skin became worse with age. One day while having lunch with her, she said, “I know you’ve tried everything there is to try to clear up your skin, but why don’t you try cleaning your skin with vinegar at night before going to bed?”. So, I FINALLY did it. Well, what do you know! Just 1 week of using white vinegar after washing my face at night, I noticed all the nodules along my jaw and neck start to decrease in size, became less painful and no new ones in sight! 2 weeks after using the white vinegar, all nodules had disappeared and my skin was starting to heal. 3 weeks after using it, my skin was not only clear, but my pores had become smaller and my skin had a more youthful look to it. At 4 weeks, the vinegar had past the “time of the month” test having prevented any new acne to form and maintained a good balance of essential oil on my skin.

Here is a  routine I recommend to anyone willing to smell like a salad to bed and waking up with remarkable results:

Week 1-3:

  • Wash face with Cetaphil Gentle Face Cleanser to remove all make-up.
  • Use an exfoliating scrub to further remove traces of dirt and makeup, while sloughing off dead skin cells, to give your face a healthy glow. I prefer to use Pharmagel’s Enzyme Ex-Cell.
  • After face has been patted dry using a clean towel, apply the vinegar to a facial cotton pad or cotton round and apply the undiluted white vinegar to your skinusing a dabbing motion. It is important not to smear or rub products onto the skin, since that spreads acne-causing bacteria. Begin with a small amount of astringent, adding more as necessary. If you feel its to strong, dilute the vinegar by adding 1 equal part water.
  • keep hair away from the face as you sleep and make sure your pillow cases are always clean.

Week 4 and on:

  • Repeat and maintain same routine. If you have not done so already, this would be a good time to dilute the vinegar solution to 1 part vinegar and 1 equal part water. I would recommend applying the solution immediately after showering, as pores are open, to clean and close the pores.
  • If at any point you start to notice a potential flare up or a pimple wants to make an appearance, add straight undiluted vinegar to a cotton round and dab the problem area.

Remember, it does not work over night, but with consistent use, you will see a difference not only in the appearance of your skin, but in your self esteem as well. Thank you mom for your productive advice and thank you Jason (Oak Tree’s Sweetheart) for not complaining about my smelling like a pickle at night.

Don’t be shy, give it a try and let me know how it works out for you!