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AngieW in Texas

AcneFree not working any more, any other suggestions

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My 14yo and 16yo have been using AcneFree for several years now. It used to work for them, but now it doesn't. Basically, they used just step 1 when their skin was clear and then used all 3 steps whenever anything flared up. That used to take care of the flareups within a week or so. Now they are both staying flared up a lot of the time.


Any suggestions for a product that might work better?


My 16yo has several skin allergy issues, but hasn't had any problems with AcneFree in that regard.

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benzoyl peroxide kits (like acne free) are generally very initally helpful but folks tend to run their course with them in fairly short order.


Longer term results will be achieved using:

rx retinoids (differin, retin-a/tretinoid/retin-a micro or my favorite, tazorac/tazarotene)

improving intake of zinc (diet/supps) and D3(supps) - both have immune and effects on the bacteria that are the issue.

improving diet (lots more produce, less grains, less/no dairy, sufficient zinc, magnesium, legumes, some animal protein)

dealing with hormonal issues (via diet and supplements or even medications if necessary.



Rx retinoids are not only the gold standard in treating most kinds of acne, but also the gold standard in anti-aging.....of course, they coudln't give two hoots about the latter, but it's nice to know that unlike some acne treatments (ie benzoyl peroxide), retinoids not only don't hurt the skin, but over the long term, absolutely improve dermal thickness, cell turnover, decrease TEWL all while treating the acne. As long as the use of retinoids is 'tweaked' to make it tolerable, it's really just a long list of benefits. Tweaking means - most often - not using as directed in the package but using a variety of techniques to maximize benefits while dampening down any possible side effects. I used to have extremely sensitive, irritable, dermatitis prone skin and now can use strong rx retinoids daily.


Zinc and D3

Both have immune effects and likely direct effects as anti-microbial agents and are evidence based acne treatments. For both, you want enough (which is probably alot more than they're getting) but 'too much' is not desirable. They may need 10-60 mg supplemental zinc in addition to what they're getting now. 30 mg (twinlab 30 mg zinc caps) are a good, inexpensive place to start. A product called 'Ethical Nutrients Zinc Status' is a liquid prepartion used orally to 'test taste perception of zinc in solution'. Interestingly, it's a fairly accurate way to assess zinc tissue levels - as opposed to blood tests for serum zinc which offer *no* useful information.


Vitamin D deficiency is ubiquitous. Most will need 1000 IU per 25 lbs body weight to maintain optimal serum D levels (yup, i know....sounds insanely high) and it's not unreasonable to quadruple that for six or so weeks to get levels up quickly. It's important to work on diet while doing this to optimize magnesium (nuts beans seafood) and potassium (produce...tomatoes esp...celery, cukes, melon, kiwi) and to get sufficient calcium.


Omitting dairy and soy can be exceptionally helpful.


Eat 1-2 high dha eggs per day, 2-6 oz animal protein (dark or bright preferred over white meat), 1-2 servings (or more) legumes (ie beans/lentils....again, dark or bright are preferred over white), 10-13 servings non-starchy produce. additional winter squash, sweet potato, peas etc to make up carb cals.

Be sure to keep blood sugar healthfully low, minimize or eliminate grains/starches (getting carbs instead from veg and some fruit), keep bmi healthfully low.



Vitamin D testing options: has ZRT's home test for $65 ($10 of which goes to support the nonprofit D council......a great makes the ZRT home D test available for $40 home D test available as part of a five year study. the test needs to be done twice a year to participate in the study.


Do the breakouts seem to be at all cycle related? Jaw, chin or eyebrow/hairline? Or are they all over, all the time?


Other helpful options:

BHA/saliclyic acid - especially a great little cleanser called SalAc. there are also many serums, lotions, toners with BHA/Salicylic, wipes/pads.



glycolic is a common and popular AHA - Serious Skincare Glycolic cleanser is one of the best and is a great formulation for really all acne prones....great to alternate with SalAc cleanser


Lactic acid is also's not as widely used b/c of it's *terrible* smell. great for the 'marks'/brownish-reddish spots left after the active acne is gone. it's called post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and responds very very well to a combination of rx retinoids and some kind of AHA (glycolic, lactic, mandelic or malic acids)


Where would I start right now in their shoes?

1)get a 30 mg zinc supplement and take in the middle of a large meal once a day.....twice a day if tolerated for a couple of weeks (ie no stomach upset)


2)vitamin d-3...4000 IU per 25 lbs body weight for 4-6 weeks, then down to 1000 IU per 25 lbs body weight (this is appropriate dosing for the family unless you live in the tropics and get midday sun on most skin)


3)order tazorac gel (4 tubes) from


4)order SalAc (google) from wherever and order Serious Skincare glycolic cleanser from hsn or'll just help get faster won't be needed over the long haul.


4)increase dietary intake of nuts (raw or lightly toasted, no oil roasted), legumes and nonstarchy produce. consider tracking magnesium intake via or similar.....shoot for at 500-1000mg magnesium (the lower end if eating mostly plant based, the higher end if eating more meat)


5)track calcium intake from all foods - strongly consider ditching dairy and soy and supplementing as needed with calcium to get to 800-1200 mg calcium (the lower end if eating mostly plant based, the higher end if eating more meat)


6)and 4700 mg potassium (at least) from mostly nonstarchy veggies and fruit. bananas have a bunch, but you'd need 10 bananas to get about 3700 mg potassium...that'd displace way too many calories needed from other foods. best bets are tomato (tomato juice, veggie juice, tomato sauce, salsa at every meal?), potassium rich veggie broths, 2 svgs nonstarchy veg and 1 serving fruit at every meal and snack (5x per day) are some of the ways that folks get in sufficient potassium.


7)take a great cheap multi like natrol my favorite multiple take one....broad spectrum, high potency, cheap from (same for D and zinc)


Occasionally, it's less about the immune/bacteria/zinc/d thing and more about the d/hormone/estrogen/testosterone/androgen/blood sugar thing (in the hormone issue there are subsets of issues. without spending more time on it here, most of it will fall into place with dietary changes- more nonstarchy produce, legumes, fiber (from food not supplements). occasionally, herbs are needed (saw palmetto, spearmint can reduce the acneic issues related to androgen/testosterone).....rarely, meds (spironolactone/aldactone for androgen/testosterone or bcp for estrogen/progesterone issues) are needed but I really encourage other options



Accutane is truly a great option for some people, though it tends to be for those that don't find relief from retinoids and abx and that have very oily skin. It's a pretty serious drug to consider, but it's a lifesaver for those that need it.



Most of the time though, it's truly amazing what just dietary changes, sufficient D and sufficient zinc will do- even without meds. truly amazing.


I happen to love retinoids though and strongly recommend them. The rx can come from any doc....they often like to recommend differin but I find it slow, less effective and frustrating in comparison to tazorac. Both are very expensive in comparison to generic tretinoin (generic retin-A). Many of us (myself included) order rx retinoids from In fact, I just ordered 8 tubes today....four for me and four for another friend in our homeschool group.


Wishing them all the best in getting this cleared up asap.




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After 20 years of acne and trying everything under the sun I have gotten it under control with a tea tree oil cleanser. I would have never believed something so simple would work but it has for me and some friends and even their teenaged sons. The one I use is Desert Essence Thoroughly Clean Facial Cleanser with Tea Tree Oil and Awapuhi. I use it to wash twice a day and don't need any other lotions, etc. If something flares up I might but a little spot treatment on but that is rare.


I buy mine in a big bottle from I can't remember what I pay off hand but I know as far as skin care goes I think it is inexpensive.


I don't know if it would work for yours but it is cheap enough to give a try.


Good luck.


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Guest Virginia Dawn

This is what my 16yo has been doing to keep his once horrible acne under control:


Washing at least twice a day with warm water and a wash cloth, NO SOAP, witch hazel as an astringent afterwards, spot applications of plain old peroxide on bad spots. No cheese, limit dairy and soy, no dairy at all that does not specifically say the cows did not get hormones. Absolutely no junk food that has "flavorings," like flavored chips and crackers. Those are the kiss of death. Plain tortilla and potato chips or plain wheat and saltine crackers are ok.


He also soaks a couple of times a week in the tub with epsom salts for his body acne. Other than that he showers daily with only warm water and a wash cloth.


The No Soap and diet changes were big keys to his improvement.

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