Struggling with adult acne for years saw Jennifer McShane at her wit's end – until a skin supplement changed all that
I've struggled with acne since I was 13 years old. To get rid of it, I've tried it all: skincare, antibiotics, over-the-counter creams, diet changes, the pill – nothing worked. Nothing ever completely took it away. Great skin products helped the breakouts on my face (a mild relief), but what of the rest? Shoulders, back, chest, there's hardly a surface of my Celtic-hued skin that remained unblemished; I'd stare in the mirror after showers with tears in my eyes.
Did you know the only part of your body that you can't get a spot breakout on is the soles of your feet?
I did. It's almost the only place I didn't have them.
In particular, I think body acne is harder to deal with and much more stigmatised; it's just not spoken about the way facial acne is. I could hardly bear to let a doctor or physio examine me when I fractured my shoulder and I'd grimace even bringing it up with a friend. Sure, some products took mine away temporarily, but they were never a solution.
I said no to summer trips, to wearing swimsuits or any kind of floaty dresses or backless tops because I felt ashamed. I'd wear cardigans even when it was ridiculous to do so – anything to not have my skin on show, to keep them hidden.
I've also been on the pill solidly for years. It helps to a degree by balancing my hormonal levels but leaves me waterlogged, heavy if taken continuously – and as soon as I take any sort of break from it, the spots reappear.
I've seen numerous dermatologists and was just about to contemplate going on RoAccutane (also known as Isotretinoin or Accutane in the US), but the side-effects (and hefty price tag) made me very wary.
My sister suddenly came across Skin Accumax (recommended by a skin specialist), a skin nutrient supplement containing ingredient DIM (a patented, highly active plant compound sourced from broccoli) specifically aimed at people who suffer from acne, hormonal breakouts and excessive oil production.
What's different about it?
Essentially it contains a synergistic combination of skin-loving vitamins A (400?g), C (20mg) and E (9.8mg) and phytonutrients, which all work in tandem to help the skin, targeting excess sebum, hyper-keratinisation, hormonal imbalance, bacteria on the skin, dietary intolerances and internal toxins.
Remember, RoAccutane is a synthetic derivative of Vitamin A, which greatly reduces the rate of oil production and the bacteria P. Acnes within the skin and on top of the skin, so the Skin Accumax contains this (alongside the other ingredients), but in a much smaller dosage which means you don't get any nasty side effects – but it will take longer to work as a result.
It also does not dry out the skin (a massive side effect of RoAccutane), and is completely free from harsh chemicals. As a supplement, it's very gentle on both skin and body.
I take four capsules a day (two in the morning and two at night) with food – which is the recommended dose for a minimum of 14 weeks.
I'm almost on week 12 now, so the end of my third month, and intend to continue taking them for at least another 6 months.
It's a sloooow process.
Month one: The redness began to reduce around the outbreaks – but the cystic spots still remained. No change on spots overall
Month two: My outbreaks became less frequent and even when I had them, they seemed to clear quickly. The small spots began to start fading but there was no massive difference still.
Month three: I've seen the biggest change now almost at the 90-day mark. Medium spots have almost completely gone and the small spots have almost faded completely leaving some scarring, which should fade in the coming months. Some clusters still remain but these are much smaller. My outbreaks would be more severe so if you have better skin, you'll see bigger improvements quicker.
The downside to, say, RoAccutane is that as opposed to one dose of treatments that should see the acne stay gone, mine will likely come back if I stop the supplement. But I'd rather take something long-term that does the body some good without any nasty side effects, so I'm okay with that.
It's around €80 for one month of 4 tablets a day which isn't cheap, but if I think about the wasted amount I spent on products trying to do the same job with no success, it doesn't seem bad – it's an investment in my skin and overall happiness and wellbeing that I budget for each month.
Photography by Jason Lloyd Evans.
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