Holistic Acne Treatments versus Dermatologist Recommended Medicine

How are those dermatologist visits coming along? Are you getting answers? Is your dermatologist switching out your prescriptions to the next higher strengh each time you visit because nothing is working? 

We all know acne sucks, big time! Age never discriminates either – it never seems to be an okay time to have it. Ever! Conventional way of treating acne may be the only solution you know, but is it working for a chronic acne condition??

Trying to get rid of acne is like a gambling addiction. The more energy and money you invest, the more you seem to lose each and every time. Its exhausting.

So many different treatment options are bombarded at individuals through commercials, infomercials, radio, department store counters, dermatologist visits, and the Internet.

But, are any of them truly providing long lasting results worthy of a healthy, gorgeous, clear complexion?

Brand name topicals + doctors + meds + celebrities promoting acne products…

Still confused?

I know I was…

Truth is, masking the underlying root of the problem through conventional medicine of antibiotics, harsh topicals (Retin A) and the ever popular, and may I say, dangerous, Accutane is not the answer.


You may get rid of acne for a time period – but you will not address the root of the problem. Acne usually comes back, and with a vengeance. In addition, chemicals and toxins in conventional acne medications are extremely harsh on the skin and internal organs, which may lead to substantial damage in some individuals – resulting in other health issues not related to acne.

Top 5 Conventional Treatments

Let’s take a closer look on the conventional medicine first, before diving to the powers of holistic healing. The top 5 most popular acne treatment options out there are as follows-

         1. Benzoyl Peroxide – Probably the most popular and sought out remedy that can be purchased at your local drug store – its usually the first choice of recommended topicals that acne sufferers go for. Benzoyl peroxide is a topical treatment that can be drying to the skin- it unclogs pores to stop the bacteria from growing that cause pimples and cystic acne.

Since, chronic acne isn’t only an external problem (more on that later), BP will not solve or cure any breakouts in the long run. This may be an okay remedy for a short period of time or for those who’ve had acne due to puberty- then outgrow it. Aren’t you jealous of your friends who had acne as teens but after a few years- BAM! No more! Guilty – I know I was…

SIDE EFFECTS: Side effects for BP depends on the strength of the product, usually ranging from 2.5% to 10%. Peeling, redness, swelling, and itching could all be the result of BP.

Proactiv Solution and Murad utilize BP as their star ingredient along with salicylic acid. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never met a person who cured their acne with Proactiv or Murad. Unless again, their acne was puberty related only, and they simply outgrew it.

       2. Salicylic Acid – Another popular topical treatment for acne that can be purchased at your local drugstore + department store. Salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid that’s found in the bark of a tree.

It helps to kill the bacteria and unclog pores to keep them clear and free of acne. However, the majority of SA in topical medications is processed in the way that causes a reactive sensitivity and redness on the skin’s outer layer. This is based on strength of SA that’s in combination with other chemicals in the product.

You absolutely must wear a sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher if using SA and/ or BP due to skin’s sensitivity levels while on these topicals.

SIDE EFFECTS: Skin becomes dryer with the use of SA and reacts by producing more oil, which then will create more acne, requiring the use of more salicylic acid, which then creates more dryness, setting you up for a vicious cycle that only causes the condition of your skin to deteriorate.

This in turn, thins out skin overtime, making it more prone to fine lines, wrinkles, and premature aging.

       3. Retin-A (prescription only) – Retin-A Micro; Retin A- medicated based cream/gel (based on synthetic vitamin A) that sucks moisture and dehydrates the skin. By drying up existing acne lesions, it soothes the surface of the skin to a point.

However, you must wear sunscreen while on Retin-A to avoid serious sunburn and excessive dryness. This potent cream/gel is approx. 5X more drying than SA and BP.

SIDE EFFECTS: Some individuals will turn bright red while using this product because of how medicated and potent the ingredients are. Some report that acne subsides and gets better with prolong use.

However, most individuals who are on Retin-A for at least a year or longer start having thinning skin. Thinning facial skin isn’t good because it tends to age skin faster (premature aging), which is another side effect, even if the acne subsides. Who wants to look older than their age by a long shot?

Again, chronic acne is NOT an external condition; therefore, Retin-A will not permanently get rid of it.

**In addition, all the topical treatments mentioned above are compiled with chemical, toxic based ingredients that seep into your already sensitive, reactive skin and can only cause more damage by sinking into your internal organs. Please always keep in mind, what goes on your skin gets absorbed in the blood stream. In other words, our bodies absorb over 65% on what we put on. Doesn’t this alone make you wanna consider what topicals to choose that goes on your precious face?

       4. Antibiotics (prescription only) – the first medication taken orally to be prescribed for light to moderate acne. These include, but not limited to: clindamycin, doxycycline, erythromycin, and tetracycline.

There are many forms of antibiotics based on strength; however, antibiotic’s job is to kill the ‘unfriendly bacteria’ in order to clear acne. Problem is that antibiotics don’t just kill the ‘unfriendly’ bacteria; they also kill off the ‘friendly and beneficial’ bacteria as well (probiotic), which is essential to your gut.

All this may result in side effects such as resistance to antibiotics (for future cases), IBS syndrome, digestive problems, candida, and sensitivity to the sun.

Acne forums are filled with individuals stating that after a couple of antibiotic rounds, the acne clears up but comes back even worse once the treatment is over.  Makes you wonder…are antibiotics really necessary, if they don’t get the job done?

SIDE EFFECTS: Studies have been done on prolonged use of antibiotics- body will become susceptible to resistance to antibiotics in the future.

Why is this bad? Because every time you take antibiotics when you don’t need them or you do not take all the rounds of the antibiotics recommended by your doctor, you increase the chances of someday getting an illness that’s caused by resistant bacteria.

Doctors won’t be able to treat if some serious form of infection occurs and the only way to fight it is through rounds of antibiotics.

**Some of the more serious side effects of antibiotics include: Candida, which is internal yeast overgrowth (fungal) that’s linked to a “leaky gut syndrome” – Auto-immune disease, increased permeability of the intestinal lining (all pose to seep toxins from food, environment, cosmetics, etc. into internal organs), digestive problems, depression, and IBS.

       5. Accutane (prescription only) – Also known by Isotretinoin and Roaccutane. The same logic as above applies to taking antibiotics, although they don’t have the same strength as Accutane, but essentially, they are doing the same exact process of killing off some sort of inflammation in one part of the body, but damaging something else. The result is never a healthy alternative when it comes to treating acne because damage to the organs are done, regardless.

Accutane is a form of vitamin A and works by attacking the body’s natural oil gland, thus reducing the sebum production. This result is much drier complexion, which includes very chapped lips.

You must be properly hydrated throughout the day while on Accutane. This is typically a last resort for those who have tried other acne medications and/or antibiotics without success per dermatologist.

A series (up to 3+) of rounds of Accutane may be suggested if acne is severe and one round doesn’t help.

SIDE EFFECTS: Dermatologists will make you sign a waiver if you’re female that states you cannot get pregnant while on Accutane due to it potentially causing birth defects.

If this is the case, then why is not anyone really questioning- what is Accutane really doing to organs if it’s known to cause internal damage to an unborn fetus? There’s an obvious connection here of damage going on to our bodies that pose very serious health risks.

 **Some of the dangerous side effects of this drug include: Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) Ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, depression and other psychiatric disorders, increased risk of suicide, birth defects, health problems as well, including liver, heart, and kidney damage, heart problems, been linked to a kidney disease known as acute glomerulonephritis -this disease causes inflammation of the kidneys, which then lose the ability to filter toxins and produce urine.

However, everyone responds differently to conventional drugs prescribed by dermatologists and will have varying responses. Some will see results right away and the acne may not come back until menopause (when hormones become unbalanced) for women.

Inflammation Factors & Triggers

Body needs to heal from the inflammation of acne because acne itself is inflammation and your body is trying to tell you that something is very wrong by purging pimples/cysts on the face, chest, back, etc. The inflammation could be a result of food allergies/intolerance (most often), hormone imbalance, vitamin/nutrient deficiency, or chemicals from makeup and skin care.

It’s up to the individual to balance body in harmony without destroying the healthy bacteria that thrives and functions the digestive system. Everyone will be different – not one fits all, case, is ever done on treating acne.

Some are simply vitamin deficient in some areas and by taking up something like Vitamin D will clear their acne. Some have food allergies – by completely eliminating specific foods from their diet, inflammation calms down and acne disappears. Some individuals have caffeine sensitivity because it raises cortisol level (stress hormone), which in turn causes inflammation such as acne.

Every person has a different reason why they have acne; therefore, I will reiterate again, not one fits all, solution is ever done on treating acne. What worked for one may or may not work as well for another – perhaps to a certain degree, but the underlying cause of inflammation is something that will balance with the help of holistic practices.

Some individuals may have an allergy from a specific food group or have imbalanced hormone system. Liver also plays an important role- if liver is backed up by toxic waste (pesticides, herbicides, chemicals, too much estrogen) then it will have a hard time clearing the waste and thus your skin will show this through acne.

One woman had acne for years until she stopped consuming fruits- all her acne cleared up. She clearly had a serious reaction to consuming fructose, which is a natural sugar component found in all fruits.

You see, everyone is completely different. Yes, it all sounds so complex, but there is a way to balance your body.

So, What’s the Alternative?

The Solution?

Holistic healing through healthy nutrition, various supplements/vitamins, herbs and nutrients to feed your body from the inside out (where inflammation, not infection occurs). 

Living a healthy, balanced lifestyle is what this site is about (which of course includes finding solutions to clear and beautiful complexion).

Having a combination of healthy nutrition through real foods, superfoods, essential oils, and supplements/ vitamins are a sure way to decrease and eliminate acne, once and for all.

Holistic healing is not only limited to acne healing, but amazing for overall health benefits for years to come versus damaging the body through prescribed drugs and topicals.

This site is going to help you understand how to take care of your skin internally and externally, so you won’t have to suffer the painful outcries that your skin is purging every day.

Truth is, individuals will stress that something like Accutane is the only answer left – rounds of Accutane per couple of times that is. The agony and loss of self-confidence makes people go to great lengths just to feel normal to have the beautiful, blemish free skin that they’ve had as children.

  • Before you take that route, think about the negative and possibly life-threatening side effects these drugs may impose on your health. Lawsuits have been filed because of internal damage done to organs that Accutane caused. Don’t take my word for it, research yourself.

Holistic medicine, which includes proper nutrition is definitely not practiced by dermatologists to treat acne. But if it works, why don’t they?

It’s simple, actually- dermatologists are taught in schools to prescribe drugs. That’s how they stay in business. They were never given training on why inflammation sets in and creates acneic skin. They were never taught the importance of nutrition and how it effects our skin.

Another major point I want to address – in the last 20+ years, no meds have changed the way dermatologists are prescribing acne prescriptions. What’s the, be all, end all solution? Accutane and Retin-A. Okay, so why isn’t it working for most?

I am by no means stating that seeing a doctor is a bad choice because for some individuals, some light medications work. I’ve personally seen this with some of my friends from the high school years.

Then again, maybe if they didn’t see that dermatologist, just maybe they would’ve outgrown their blemish prone skin. Who knows.

I’m speaking to those that tried EVERYTHING and are hungry for the answers that will help and clear the skin- holistically. You weren’t born to suffer each time you look in the mirror. Acne is not your fault! Please always remember that.

The Experiment

Here’s a little experiment to prove that proper food and nutrition ease chronic acne. If you try juicing for a week- just 1 week…

You WILL notice a big difference in your complexion. Acne will not permanently go away, but this experiment will prove to you that food/nutrition has the power to heal internally, thus showing results externally on your skin.

Why does this work? You’re adding fresh, organic green/fruit juices that detoxify and feed your cells with oxygen and proper nutrients, thus decreasing inflammation.

This little experiment is just a detox phase to heal your body internally and oxygenate vital organs so the liver can finally do its job and turnover all the toxic buildup. Consuming fiber rich foods is also ideal to help the liver do its job and calm inflammation.

Eliminating possible food allergens such as caffeine, dairy, and gluten can have a major positive outlook to the skin.

However, most people’s bodies don’t recognize allergens into acne- other possible health issues are an issue when food allergens are in play. Ex. gut issues, bloating, auto-immune diseases such as lupus, etc.

In conclusion, your internal health has absolutely EVERYTHING to do with how your external health radiates out.

Detoxify your life and beautify your skin!

Sources + References (click link below)


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12 Replies to “Holistic Acne Treatments versus Dermatologist Recommended Medicine”

  1. Wow was I relieved to get your alternative. I hate taking anything that says that you must be aware of this or that if you use something. It seems to be a side effect world these days. I never really suffered from acne to bad during my life but I know it could be a nightmare for others.
    To me, natural anything is the best way. Just look at all the warnings associated with medicines! So I would rather try the Holistic approach any day. Thanks.

    1. Thanks, Ronnie! Side effects on acne meds can sometimes be way scarier than acne itself! How crazy is that, right? Holistic alternatives should always be highly considered when dealing with acne because it simply works!

  2. I hate using Benzoyl Peroxide it leaves my skin so dry which then causes my skin to break out more. I used to have acne on my face but I don’t anymore. I remember the days of taking antibiotics. I remember antibiotics didn’t really do much for me. They just made me very tired all day long.

    I really believe what cured my acne was just eating better. Eating lots of fruits and vegetables seemed to help the most. I did completely cut out milk and it helped a lot. I have heard from a lot of people that milk is the root of acne, though.

    1. Hey Garen- yes, dairy products are def to stay away from when trying to heal acne. I wrote about dairy and acne connection –here.
      Benzol Peroxide acts as a band aid to breakouts – it only addresses the thriving bacteria and high sebum production – but in the end it’ll just dry your skin out more and cause some irritation in the process. It might work for a few weeks but eventually those individuals that use it will start looking elsewhere. That’s why holistic approach to treating acne is the best option.

  3. Thanks for the information. This is definitely a good advice for my daughter. She is having this acne problem since she was in high school. She has tried all type of facial wash, cream and medication. Her acne problem got better when she took the medication. But, this is not a long term solution. Too much medication is not good for her health. She should try the detox experiment. I have signed up for your acne healing guide for her.

    1. Thank you, Christine. Acne is such a tricky health problem…Trying everything is def a waste of time and energy but I’ve been there, so I can relate all too well. I know your daughter will find my 6 step Acne Healing Guide very helpful – please keep me updated on her progress!

  4. Hi, this is such a great post! I’ve been through quite a number of over-the-counter products, and some prescription products for my acne over the years. You have every one of them listed here, and you are absolutely correct on all counts! Those products that dry the skin are so very harsh, and the antibiotics do cause digestive problems. I have a cousin who’s life has been absolutely ruined by Accutane that she repeatedly took. It only helped her when she was taking it, and I fully believe that it is the cause of her many health problems today.
    I applaud you for sharing this article with others. It really rings true with those who have suffered from prescriptions.
    Proper nutrition is so very important to the way we feel and ultimately to the way we look.
    Thank you for sharing this.

    1. Angela, I’m so sorry about your cousin- Accutane should be forbidden to take. Period. There are extensive reports on the web how accutane has caused VERY serious internal problems to those that used to be in great health. All of these topicals and oral drugs only act as a band aid! That’s it. Its a vicious cycle- to use something that will stop working in the next few weeks, then find something “supposedly” different – only to find THAT will stop working too. Hmm…holistic healing is the only REAL answer, really…

    1. Aww…thank you, for such kind words! It’s taken me a long time to figure out why acne forms + HOW to heal it, naturally! But, now I know and want others to see the real truth.

  5. Hi Kseniya,

    Great post! I am from the alternative side of medicine in my thinking so I think its great that you recommend a juice fast. I just went and saw a guy named Don Tolman who is know as the Whole foods Cowboy and he is a big believer in fasting and a plant based diet as am I. He does seminars around the world and was in the Gold Coast, Australia yesterday where I live. Well worth looking him up.

    I had acne as a kid and tried all the potions but none really worked. So the natural way is definitely the best. Thanks for a really good in depth post,


    1. Thank you, Kevin! Plant based diet is def awesome and produces some amazing results in all parts of health. I’ve done juice fasting many times and although its difficult for a few days in the beginning- by the end, you feel like a brand new person- more like a 10 year old!

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