I know what you’re thinking – you’ve seen clickbait like this before. There are tons of products out there being touted as the cure for acne, and if you’re like me, you’ve tried about a million different ones, all with less than stellar results.
For those who have followed me on my blog for a while, you know that I have a long history with acne. I was on Accutane as a teenager, and even after that I still continued to battle acne into my early 20’s and beyond. I went on extreme diets to try to control my acne and make my skin perfect. I got to where my acne was manageable, but never achieved perfection.
About 6 months ago, now a 34-year-old woman, I started getting crazy breakouts again for what seemed like no reason. Like, 3-4 new pimples DAILY! (Not just regular ones either, the huge ones that take like 2 weeks to go away which then leave marks on your skin that take months to go away!) That’s when I started getting strict with my diet again to try to control them, and I wrote a post titled, “Would You Eat Salmon Every Day for Clear Skin?”
That post got a lot of likes, and even now still seems to be popular among my readers. (I think it might be my most-liked post.) I think this is a testament (NOT to how great a writer I am – I wish!) to how many people are dealing with the issue of acne and looking for a solution. When you’re desperate for a cure, you are constantly Googling things, and you get to the point where you’re willing to try anything.
Part of the problem with acne is that it’s so hard to nail down the reason WHY you have it – acne can be caused by food intolerances, hormones, sensitivity to skin or hair products, dirty pillowcases, excess oil… I knew that some of my issues were coming from food – sugar seemed to cause breakouts in me, as well as too many carbs, or overeating in general.
But it also dawned on me that I was primarily dealing with hormonal acne, which doesn’t always respond to dietary changes or topical treatments. I came to this conclusion for three reasons:
1. I consistently had large breakouts on my chin
2. I remembered when I was pregnant, that my acne virtually went away
3. Back on one of my extreme dieting phases, when I got so thin my period actually stopped, my acne also stopped (aka. no hormones, no acne)
Back in April, I was in one of my Googling phases, trying to see if anyone out there had solutions I hadn’t yet tried or thought of for hormonal acne. I came across a health and wellness blog, Living Minnaly, and read a post from 2019 where she talked about how she had successfully managed her hormonal acne (and she even included pictures of her before and after, which is always helpful for us skeptics.)
You can read her post to hear her full story, but in a nutshell, one of the supplements she describes as “magical” for acne was Diindolylmethane (DIM). I had never heard of it before. She recommended this brand, which also contained dong quai and chasteberry (Vitex), two herbs that I had heard of in the context of treating hormonal acne.
This particular supplement is only $21.95 for a 90-day supply, and I figured that was inexpensive enough to give it a shot. I started taking one pill a day, after receiving it in the mail about one month ago (May 5th to be exact).
Most of the time, these “miracle” cures don’t do anything for me, or they only help to reduce my acne by a tiny bit. But I was amazed to see that after only a week of taking DIM, my skin was improving. I realized that I hadn’t gotten a new pimple on my chin in a while, and I couldn’t feel any brewing under the surface either.
During the past month while taking the DIM supplement, I took a trip to Arizona and California for 10 days to visit friends and family. In my own home, I normally try to eat pretty healthy – but on trips, healthy eating is much harder for me to manage. Whenever I start eating more sugary and/or fried foods, I will typically show it on my face with a few new breakouts. So I fully expected to have this happen during our trip. But since taking DIM, even though I was not very careful with my diet, I only had minor breakouts happen during my trip. That in itself felt like a miracle!
Full disclaimer: my skin is still not 100% perfect! Honestly, I think that is just the way it will always be for me. I have to accept that I’m a human being, and that I have hormones and oil and dead skin cells (among other things) and they all contribute to acne occasionally. I still am aware of what I eat, and I do realize that if I go overboard on indulging in some foods, it can cause breakouts.
But I’m still so surprised that this DIM supplement seems to have really helped with my large, cystic, hormonal breakouts! I’m thrilled that I can eat a cupcake or a slice of pizza without having to feel immense anxiety knowing that I will pay for it later on my skin. That was really what I was hoping for – freedom to enjoy foods without feeling guilt or dread all the time.
If you’ve tried everything under the sun for hormonal acne and nothing seems to be working, I suggest giving DIM a try (especially the specific brand Living Minnaly recommends!) If you have taken DIM before, let me know what your results were in the comments!