When I first visited my GP as a teenager about my skin, the first step to treatment was topical. I was prescribed Zineryt, a lotion containing zinc and antibiotic- erythromycin.

It is prescribed to patients with acne for around three months, where it usually clears up two thirds of spots. However, for the unfortunate few, their strain of acne bacteria are resistant to erythromycin.

After a few months I was prescribed oral antibiotics. At the time I didn’t understand the health implications for taking antibiotics for that length of time. I had developed a very sensitive gut and have ever since suffered with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome).

With minimal results, I requested to try Dianette, a contraceptive pill that is prescribed to women with severe acne that has not cleared up with the use of antibiotics or other treatments.

At this point I had finished my qualifications as a beauty therapist and entered the world of skincare. I loved learning everything about the skin. I wanted to know it all. I hoped that along the way I would find the answer to clearing my skin.

Years went by and my career got in the way of ‘finding the answer’. I looked after my skin impeccably but was no closer to ridding myself of acne, not while my digestive system and hormones were so out of balance.

At twenty four I decided that I had enough. I set up a private consultation to enquire about isotretinoin (roaccutane). It was a lengthy process because I had to lower my cholesterol before I was able to start the medication. I was told then that the side effects of the drug were severe depression and damage to the liver.

I was completely torn. My holistic, beauty therapist self was telling me ‘DON’T DO IT’ and my blemished, emotionally exhausted self was saying ‘IT’S THE ONLY WAY.’

Did I really want to take the risk of medication again after what happened with the antibiotics?

Yes… I was desperate.

I was closely monitored and had to make some adjustments to my diet to maintain my cholesterol levels. It was an expensive process because I opted to go privately due to the long wait for our national health service.

After nine months, my cystic acne improved and my pores were incredibly tight.

Four years later… I still have acne.

In all this time, it seems the cause of my acne has never been treated.

I have recently made an appointment with a naturopathic doctor to try and eliminate some possible causes for my acne. Answers certainly do not come cheap but at twenty-eight, it is worth the investment. 


  1. Tim

    Well done on the great blog and best of luck. I am a 40 year old man who has suffered with acne since 13. I have been on Roaccutane 4 times and tried every other drug, lotion and potion under the sun – i promise you! My acne is now very mild with the odd occasional spot and I have really got it under control by using the following natural treatments:

    1) Initially I took Saw Palmetto supplements (must be labelled ‘standardised’ extract ). They are from a south american fruit and basically lower testosterone levels. It worked brilliantly for a year but caused low moods and are not really recommended for men for that reason as testosterone is key to mental health and wellbeing. Other less potent Testosterone (or DHT to be accurate) inhibitors that I have tried and work well are Spearmint tea (tastes horrible but effective) and stinging nettle extract. All these anti DHT blockers are effective if good standardized extracts are used.

    2) Zinc tablets. They are definitely worth taking as a daily supplement and there is now clinical evidence that they are as effective as some antibiotics (although that is not saying much!) and are completely safe in mild doses

    3) Red / Blue light therapy. I used an old clunky and noisy machine but my 11 year old daughter is using the new neutrogena light therapy mask for 10 mins a day and it is very effective (even if their pricing model is expoitative unethical but that’s another discussion).

    4) La Roche Posay Efflacar Duo +. This is a great treatment lotion containing Salicylic acid and Vitamin B3 (niacinamide) and absorbs in seconds and really calms skin

    5) Mindfulness and exercise. Keeping stress-free always helps but you know this as you are living on a desert island!

    In the past 27 years I have spent dozens of hours with so called expert dermatologists, probably £20k on treatments that did not work and countess weeks worrying about my skin.

    While my skin is now excellent, I am still an acne sufferer and without my routine, it will flare up again.
    However, what pleases me is that the current routine is basically drug-free. Whaty pleases me even more is that I was able to use my experience to help my daughter with her acne and by just using the mask, lotion and occasional zinc tablet (3 times per week) her skin is almost flawless. I hope that she doesn’t have to go through what we have had to.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Beautiful by Breakfast

      Tim, thank you so much for your comment and advice. I’m so pleased that you found some positives from your situation in that you could help your daughter. She is extremely lucky to have had your wisdom. Thanks for sharing!


  2. Monique

    Ohhh I am so glad I found your blog. I’ve suffered with acne for years and did the whole antibiotics thing which completely destroyed my previously indestructible gut!! I went on Yasmin about 4-5 years ago and that completely cleared the acne up, incl back acne. About three months ago I decided to get off the pill at age of 30 and boy did my acne come back, however it’s now settling to only popping up (!) around pre menstrual, and it’s not as severe as when I was younger. It never really worried me so much when I was younger however once I started working professionally I was keen to rid myself of the ‘youthful’ look that acne denotes as I felt it put in place barriers (no doubt perceived barriers in hindsight)! I am so terrible at applying makeup so I’m looking forward to exploring this in your blog- such a great idea!!
    Best of luck!!
    P.S. So funny I applied for a job at same place as you in 2015 and the whole acne thing did concern me too, glad you didn’t let it get in the way of you pursuing your career goals!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Beautiful by Breakfast

      Thank you for your comment Monique. I’m so pleased your acne was treated with Yasmin. I tried that too and unfortunately it didn’t work, so I decided to stop using contraceptives to heal my acne and give my hormones a chance to balance on their own. I’m pleased I made that decision; looking back!
      Enjoy having a look at the makeup! It really is my secret weapon when I’m feeling self conscious.
      Thank you again!


  3. Anonymous

    Accutane worked great for me. I’m so happy I used it. NOTHING NOTHING worked for me. over 10 years and only accutane worked. Only had one bloody nose and my lips were dry.. No bad side effects. I use to look like I had chicken pox. ACCUTANE was worth it. I actually go outside now.

    Liked by 1 person

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