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Monica Bielanko
A chronicle since 2005 of my marriage & move to Brooklyn in my twenties; becoming a mother in my thirties; moving to Pennsylvania and learning to amicably coparent after divorce in my forties while living 3 doors down from my ex-husband in a small country town.
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Monday
Mar152010

Life On The Farm... Or Something

For what it's worth, Serge says my hair is much lighter in person and everyone at work immediately noticed a difference. I'm happy with it. It still probably isn't as light as I'd hoped but the positive side of that is less maintenance. Also, enough with my hair. If I have to talk or think about my goddamn hair any time soon I may just go Britney Spears on y'all. Let's focus on the positive: the wussy grew a backbone and done got her hair did, again.

Speaking of hair, yesterday Serge got his hair cut off. I was nervous to see it as I didn't marry a Mormon boy for a reason. You know, they tend to be short hair wearin', chronic flip-flip sportin' no beard havin' cookie cutouts of each other. Right, brah? Right. I like 'em hairy and beardy and kinda dirty. Plus, he gets the cutest little curly curls at the nape of his neck and when he gets sweaty they kind of do this thing where they...

Sorry about that.

I didn't get so much as two consecutive hours of sleep last night. Violet is trying out this new sleep method that requires her to wake up every ten minutes and yell. Not cry. YELL. Serge and I take turns cursing and dragging ass into her bedroom where we drape ourselves over the crib and fall asleep again attempt to soothe The Queen. I swear to God I heard her chuckling the last time I left the room. I think she's playing us, y'all! On the bright side, all this yelling and screwing with her parents' sanity must be hard work because she is now sleeping in until eight instead of five-thirty or six.

Also, it's fertilizing time and all these awake hours during the night gives Serge a chance to plow the field, if you know what I'm saying. Apologies, my friends. If it's any consolation, I too, cringed when I wrote that sentence. It was either that or he be tappin' that shit, yo, so I opted for the relative white girl banality of the farming euphemism.

But I didn't come here to talking about farming or sex or any unfortunate combo of the two. Class, today's topic is acne. Or more specifically, nickel-sized zits that won't quit. What is the deal, y'all? There are maybe four other times in my life that I can think of that were worse than right now. These are large, angry spots that keep cropping up (there goes the farming terminology again) on my chin. I'll have one, two or three at a time and just when I'm bidding adieu to the last one another big bastard gets his mojo goin' and I look like a before picture on a ProActiv commercial.

Help me. Does anyone have any kick ass home remedies? What's worked for you in the past? I'd give ProActiv another shot but I'm trying to get knocked up and I hear that's no good for growing fetuses and whatnot. None of these fancy schmancy high falutin' acne fighters. Mama wants the home remedies that your mother's sisters cousin's best friends step-sister told her about. What's your secret? What d'ya got? Not only zit remedies, what do you know about getting rid of the red areas the zit bastards leave behind? They bother me more than the zits.

Reader Comments (58)

Food allergies? Dairy, wheat, gluten? they can be sneaky in their symptoms.
I have super sensitive and breakout prone skin and the Weleda products are the only ones that aren't irritating to my skin. Love the Iris moisturizing cream.

March 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAlexandra E.

Toothpaste is supposed to dry them out...and Tea Tree Oil is meant to be healing too.
(lovin' the hair!)

March 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSM

Ohhh and I forgot my favorite. Super simple and natural - Rhassoul clay. MAGIC. If you buy the plain clay powder and mix it into a paste with a little water it is super cheap; they sell tiny tins of the ready made paste for a lot of money... but you can get 1 lb of the clay powder which will last forever for $10 or so at Mountain Rose Herbs. MAGIC. I use it 2-3x a week, put the paste on 15 mins before I shower.

March 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAlexandra E.

I use toothpaste. Knocks the red out and dries them out. It has to be white paste, though. Gel doesn't work as well.

March 16, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterjeneria

I hear you. My only way to deal with these bastards is a visit to my very capable cosmetician every 3 weeks. Other than that, try the Neostrata products. They´re the real thing when it comes to acne (you should ask your dermatologist first I guess as they contain some sort of acid, and check re fetus safety ;)

March 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKatrin

jojoba oil. it unclogs your pores. I rub it into my skin it nightly then scrub my face in the morning with an exfoliating wash and apply a dab of neosporin to anything that looks like it might become a zit. this really workls fsor me.

March 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBecca

My husband has had the same battle the last few months, and I told him the same thing I'm going to tell you: Witch Hazel! Get it at Walmart or something, it's about a dollar for a huge ass bottle. This remedy goes back six Grandmas.

My hubby didn't believe it would work, until he finally tried it last week, and now he's preaching the Witch Hazel Praise. It totally dries those suckers out and he hasn't had a new "crop" since he started using it.

It smells funny, though. But that part wears off. But seriously, it works like a charm. Wash your face then with a cotton ball rub Witch Hazel all over.

March 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJenny

long time reader, first time poster.
You need to go to a doctor. Cystic acne is the result of acne that has escalated to an infection. Nothing over the counter will work for an infection. Those massive painful breakouts will not stop without an antibiotic. Drop your pride or the nagging voice that you don't need to see a doctor about this and go get this taken care of. Once you get that cleared up, you can work with your doctor for other long term treatments. maybe topical, maybe low dose antibiotics, maybe low dose hormones. Low dose antibiotics do wear off, but if you are breaking out due to unusual body imbalance, then the antibiotics will help to eliminate the infection until your body rights itself, this is usually the same time that you become immune.

Forget about all that mumbo jumbo about super bugs and taking antibiotics. Antibiotics prescribed for this are a totally different class and won't lead to a MRSA infection, but you don't have to take my word for that, you can speak to your doctor about this. What has worked wonders for me is Spironolactone.--not an antibiotic. Wonder acne drug, but I still break out during my period. Nothing over the counter ever really really worked for me until Spiro.

March 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterC

Tip 1: COSMEDICINE! You can get it online at Sephora, or at Ulta in Sandy. I am not kidding you, it is THE ABSOLUTE BEST. I have recommended it to several people and they all have had the same results I have. Here's what you need to get: the Speedy Recovery Acne Treatment Exfoliating Cleanser, the Primary Care Multi-Tasking Moisturizer (with SPF!!), and the Speedy Recovery Nighttime Blemish Powder. It is seriously fucking amazing. I'm talkin' life changing. It's a tad pricy, but it lasts forever - especially the blemish powder - which will kill any blemish overnight.

Tip 2: Repeat after me, "I will only touch my face when I'm washing it." If you can actually train yourself to do this, it will transform your skin. Fo' realz.

Tip 3: Consider a plant-based diet. At least for a little while. I know other commenters have mentioned allergies, and trying this is a great way to find out. First you detox, and then you can add things back into your diet and see how they make you feel and how your skin reacts.

March 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

I agree with the above poster, YOU NEED TO SEE A DOCTOR. That sounds BAD, like the bad where they give you injections to get rid of the current crop. Once they have that under control this is what my sisters did in high school (they had pretty bad acne, i didn't AND i got the boobs... guess who everyone hates. me. aaaanyway.):

Eggs. One day they put a thin layer of egg yolk on their face and the next day they put a thin layer or egg white on their face. They left it on for 20 minutes and then washed it off with lukewarm water and a towel. Also, my sister just started using Rassoul Clay (or Aztec Clay which is how she found it at Whole Foods). It costs a little bit but you get a huge tub of it and her skin looks pretty amazing.

Good Luck! Seriously though, SEE A DERM. I can recommend a REALLY GOOD ONE if you need.

March 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCharlotte

Touthpaste its the only thing I use, it works like a dream put it on before bed and leave it on over night.... dries them right out! But per the above commenter it has to be paste not gel... Good luck!

March 16, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterkelly

I echo C - if you can go to a doctor and can afford it, they likely have the best options. Some non-oral prescribed medications that worked for a time for me are stievamyacin gel and differim cream.

I use dermalogica products - they have an overnight clearing gel that is pretty reliable. When it's really bad I get a dermologica facial every six weeks until the balance is restored. The facial is usually about 80$, but you wear your "face" in public every day, so for me the dollars on the facials and the toiletries are worth the investment.

I believe my skin issues are linked to food - I've recently cut out dairy and meat and started to notice a difference immediately. Only time will tell if that difference is coincidental.

I've heard preparation H is good in a pinch - does similar things as the toothpaste. I tried the latter, but not the former. Would love if you could keep us updated on what you find works!

nj

March 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNJ

miracle gel: http://www.origins.com/templates/products/sp_nonshaded.tmpl?CATEGORY_ID=CATEGORY5808&PRODUCT_ID=PROD43

March 16, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermrs. smith

Change your pillow case every night.

I feel your pain. :(

March 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda F

I've tried the toothpaste and the antibiotics and the witch hazel and a thousand different creams. After 10 yrs of suffering the only thing that worked for me was cutting yeast out of my diet.
It makes sense if you think about what yeast does to food, it inflames. Stopped eating yeast and within 2 weeks, no more zits. I know it doesn't work for everyone, but it's worth a shot if you've tried everything else.
Hope you find your solution.

March 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAmber

Along with the good advice other people have given I would suggest drinking lots and lots and lots of water if you're not already. I've had trouble with acne off and on and I can really tell when I'm drinking too much Dr. Pepper and not enough water because it shows up on my face. I also try really hard not to touch my face, but I have this bad habit of resting my chin on my hand when I'm working, which is like, all day at the computer.

By the way, I saw that picture of Serge before your post and didn't even recognize him, but he looks good! And I love how your hair turned out too; very pretty.

Good luck with the baby making and the acne removal!

March 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBailey

Campho Phenique, ya know the old time bug medicine. Takes a day, but it works for me. I have also heard the change your pillow case rule.

March 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

It might be a simple matter of changing your face cream :) but that's the only tips I have. Heh.

March 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSarcastica

I went to the Derm. when I was preggo with baby #3 and he prescribed a topical 2% Erythromycin solution. Dried my face out a bit at first, then my skin adapted and was acne free! Plus, when I was about 8mo along with baby #4 I got these awful pimples on my butt(it's kinda funny now)! My ob wanted me to take antibiotic pills for 10 days, I didn't and instead used my spare magic bottle of zit zapper to clear that shit up in one day:)
Good luck! Love you Monica!!

March 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJen W.

CARMEX! It works great!! Put it on at night and it will be smaller in the morning, it works so good for me!

March 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKylie

Try something antibacterial. When I had boils the size of nickles on my face, neck and armpits, turned out I had a bacterial infection. I needed an antibiotic but the doc also gave me clindigel (topical ointment) and bacitrin cream to put on it.

Then I had to wash with phisoderm or cetaphil for months. ugh.

March 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterThe Domestic Goddess

Try plain white toothpaste. No whitening crap or tartar control. Just plain white toothpaste. Just dab it on right before you go to bed. Wash off when you wake up. Zaps the zit and removes the oils, naturally!

March 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKelby

Tea trea oil is your answer. Look into it.

March 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJoAnne

Sorry, I meant to say that tea "tree" oil is the answer.

March 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJoAnne

A combo of tea tree oil and sacylic acid worked for me. The tea tree oil reduces the swelling and the redness and the acid got rid of the zit faster. If you're having a crop of them, a tea tree oil mask works well to calm everything down.

March 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHilary

I had a similar problem crop up a few years ago. I was 25 and I started breaking out like a 13 year old (almost exclusively) on my chin. Turns out it was a hormone imbalance. According to my doctor, acne on the chin in women is almost always related to an imbalance in the hormone spread. In my case, I produce too much insulin and this whacks out everything else. When one hormone goes, they all follow. The only way for me to control the acne was to completely overhaul my diet. No soy, no dairy, no gluten, no alcohol = no acne. If I don't keep my diet clean, the acne always comes back. I can minimize it with a good cleaning regimen if I don't ever get rid of it completely unless I keep eating clean. Something to consider.

If it is cystic, on the other hand, the commenters above are correct. You need to see a dermatologist. There is no amount of home care that can stop cystic acne once it starts.

March 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMaggie

Ha-- it's a Bielanko Family Makeover (with your new hair!) Anyway, acne: the bane of my existence. You are experiencing cystic acne, and seeing a dermatologist would be a very good idea. Not only are the pimples deep and red, they hurt! Hate that.

My hormones are currently not going crazy, so my skin is not reacting in crazy, puffy, red spots. I read on your comments (!!) a while back about olive and castor oil http://www.theoilcleansingmethod.com/ It seems counter-intuitive but it has really helped soothe my face, and I have fewer clogged pores.

I also use salicylic acid (the wipes are very inexpensive at the drugstore) after washing my face and it seems to help keep my skin from over producing the oil, or whatever it is, that begins the cycle of acne.

What sucks the very most is that every single person has a different reason why their skin breaks out. It's really hard to find the remedy that works the very best for you. Best of luck, Monica.

March 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

I must sing the praises of aspirin masks. It's the only thing that keeps my skin clear. And when I forget to do it, my skin breaketh out again!

Take 3 non-coated aspirin and dissolve them in a couple drops of water. Add a big squirt of honey and mix it all up. Put it on your skin and leave it on for 10 mins. Wash it off (kind of scrub too) and moisturize!

Here's a link about it too...

http://ricebunny.xanga.com/567728185/aspirin--beautiful-skin/

Good luck!

March 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBonny

I just Googled Spironolactone and it said it is a diuretic, usually used in the treatment of heart failure. It is also used for treating acne, but usually the type caused by polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Have you thought about getting checked for PCOS?
Here is an interesting article:
http://www.womens-health.co.uk/acne.html
The BMJ (British Medical Journal) says this about Spironolactone :
'Spironolactone is a drug that helps diuretics work better. Diuretics are drugs that help to get rid of extra fluid in your body. If you have heart failure your body may hold onto water. If fluid collects in your lungs you may feel short of breath. Extra fluid can also make your ankles or feet swollen.

Spironolactone is usually only used in people with severe heart failure. Your doctor may prescribe spironolactone if you've been taking other drugs for heart failure, such as ACE inhibitors or beta-blockers, but you still have bad symptoms'

Good luck.

March 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda

stress! drink lots of water, change your pillowcase, clean your cellphone.

as far as getting rid of that shit, a shitload of benzoyl peroxide ($3 generic brand @ CVS is my choice) but, instead of putting it on each little zit, put it ALL over your face. ALL OVER your face. after a week, your skin will be all-in-all clearer with less crop-ups. i do not know why so much rests in the application, but this dude at http://www.acne.org/ explains it better and it sounds too simple probably but it works.

March 16, 2010 | Unregistered Commentergirly o

Preperation H will help with redness/swelling aftermath. Yep, totally serious.

March 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKrista

Witch Hazel is my solution.....dries it all out!

March 16, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermah

Seriously - if you don't eat a lot of fruits and veggies, change your diet! My daughter (3) has some health issues and after changing her diet (even though I always fed her pretty healthy food) to include and abundance of fruit and as many veggies as she'll eat (salads and pea pods are the faves), she's hardly ever sick! She has a VERY low neutrophil (type of infection fighting white blood cell) count and I can't even remember the last time she had a cold. Her doctors can't believe she's so healthy, and I think they laugh at me when I tell them it's her diet...but I believe it! Read any book by Dr. Joel Fuhrman - you'll be a believer, too.

PS we still eat fries and other "bad" foods, but in moderation...

March 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHanni

I stopped eating meat, eliminated milk/cream/butter (can't kick the cheese habit, dammit!) started drinking gallons of water and started taking spirulina supplements (mine is actually in a protein drink called Spiru-tein, which is seriously goud stuff). My skin got all glowy.

I've also read that potassium deficiency, or actually MANY kinds of vitamin deficiencies can lead to acne. Do you regularly take a multivitamin?

March 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTiffany Valentine

I've also used the Origins Spot Remover gel with great results, and $12 isn't outlandish if it works.
I've dabbed it on those damn "undergrounders" (you know--when you can feel that damn bump about to rise up and attack your face?) and -poof- they were gone. I'm not much of a home remedy girl......

March 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAmy C

I got a chain email teh other day and it said to use honey on a zit. Wash your face, dab on soem honey and put on a bandaid. It suppodedly kills the germs...dunno...it's worth trying!

March 16, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterjazzylove

I'm sorry...I have no advice for you. I'm just laughing my ass off at all the comments. Who knew so many people knew so much shit 'bout acne.
This is why I need a blog.

March 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterChrissy

I use Clean and Clear Morning Burst (the blue one) and Mary Kay acne spot treatment. I've noticed I get pesky zits when I switch cleansers, so I've just stuck to my basic product and use the spot treatment to bring any stragglers to the surface!

March 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKelli

Your chin, you say? When you talk on the phone, do you let the receiver touch your chin? Sanitizing that puppy might be the answer.

Or, you know, antibiotics, doctor visits, witch hazel or whatever else everyone has recommended. But running a Lysol cloth over your work, home and cell phones might be an easy first rule-it-out kind of step.

March 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJill

Tiny dab of bacitracin or neosporin mixed with a tiny dab of hydrocortisone cream. Takes the inflammation down and kills any infection in the area.

March 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterVeronica

This is what works for me (I have sensitive, combination skin):

1. never touch your face/ zits
2. wash face with lukewarm water only twice a day max. I use Cetaphil for sensitive skin. (has been a godsend)
3. When you feel a zit brewing, apply Aveeno Salicylic Acid cream. This works great, but you can't use it when pregnant
4. To handle the "red" mark after the pimple is gone, use one of those green concealers, very lightly.


I also agree with other people who have said to avoid dairy. Apparently there' s a lot of evidence to support that.

It's very upsetting. I know. Especially when you feel like the rest of your body isn't the same post childbirth.

March 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSue

First time comment - TOTALLY agree with Sue: KEEP YOUR HANDS AWAY FROM YOUR FACE.

Do you tend to sit with your chin rested on your hand? I used to all the time, and also had cystic acne. I figured it out one day when I sat most of the day with my hand by my mouth (I was confused by something I was reading on the internet - for some reason, resting my hand on my chin with my "pointer" finger over my lips made it less confusing :) I woke up the next day with three big zits - two above and one below my lips - it was like my finger left a trail of pimples leading to the mother ship on my chin.

March 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMary

olive oil. Go here and read about it: http://www.theoilcleansingmethod.com/

March 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterWindyLou

What Sue and Mary said: Be aware of touching your face and never ever touch it. Are you drinking enough water? Otherwise, dermatologist is your friend.

March 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterChristine

A little baking soda and water mixed together makes a paste that you can put on the zit. It shrinks it and doesn't hurt your skin. Also, after you wash your face at night, take a cotton swab with some rubbing alcohol and wipe it over the trouble areas. Moisturize skin after you do that so it doesn't dry too much. Hope it gets better!

March 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSherry

It's always good to keep your hands away from your face, but from a person, plagued with acne, and who would rather gnaw her hand off than touch her face..... ahem, that is not necessarily a reason for breakouts.

For the longest time I was so ashamed of my bad skin, but it wasn't a result of something that I was doing. It was a result of how active my skin is and my hormones. Keep us posted and let us know if you visited a derm.!

March 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

Try a necklace and bracelet made out of hazelwood.

I love the ones at http://www.hazelaid.com

I wear mine for heartburn but BONUS, clear skin!

Quite a while ago I stopped using almost everything on my fact to combat the zits, acne, fun poppers!

I stopped washing my face with anything other than water. 1x or 2x per week I exfoliate with sugar or a mixture of sugar and coconut oil.

As soon as I get out of the bath/shower, while my skin is still wet, I use either Vitamin E oil, Manuka oil, Argan oil, Emu oil or Coconut oil on my face.

Manuka oil is fantastic for they stray eruption.

Good Luck!!

March 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGreenInOC

All these posts are making me hungry!

March 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSanto

It has nothing to do with touching your face and frankly, toothpaste will not help either. It is deep hormonal acne. You need to see a dermatologist. I do not know if you are on the pill and recently went off - that could have something to do with it though. But really, I would go to a dermatologist for the type of acne you are describing.

March 18, 2010 | Unregistered Commentern

Get a scrip for a generic Clindamycin lotion from your general practitioner.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clindamycin

Not nearly as good as an oral antibiotic from a dermatologist, but it's a start. Also, a salycilic acid nightly. I know they're not an herbal/folk remedy, but they are pretty effective and cheaper than the other stuff the dermatologist will give you.

A suggestion for teaching yourself to leave the zits alone, if you need it: choose 2 zits that look the same, and DON'T TOUCH one of them. Just a hot compress held gently against it, if you must. That will speed up the process. Then watch the progression, and see if it persuades you to NOT TOUCH them.

March 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSam-I-am

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