I’ve had “bad” skin for what feels like my entire life. In reality, the acne started in my early teens, like it does for so many others. In high school it feels normal to have acne—who doesn’t? But my fight against acne always seemed harder than my friends, due to the fact that I’m allergic to most antibiotics dermatologists prescribe for skin issues. So I relied solely on topical treatments with benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid; some would work for a little while, but then my acne would come right back again.
By the time I got to college I started taking birth control to tame my breakouts, and it worked like a miracle for about two years—up until the day I ended up in the emergency room with chest pains. I was too scared to pop another pill after that. So I went back to topicals—my dermatologist prescribed Retin-A Micro and my pesky skin problems were solved once again.
But just a few months shy of my 30th birthday, my acne came back with a vengeance—in the form of deep, painful cystic bumps. This new form of acne was unlike anything I had encountered in the past, and I didn’t have a clue about how to fight it. I started making more frequent dermatologist visits, getting monthly extractions and cortisone injections when necessary, but it wasn’t letting up.
I also started working with a celebrity aesthetician, Renee Rouleau, who happens to be famous for her her anti-cyst treatment. Articles have been written praising its effectiveness—but it didn’t work for me. Rouleau explained that it doesn’t work for everyone, because each case of acne is unique. I altered my diet and stayed away from dairy. I tried so many different lotions, potions, and gadgets, but the acne didn’t budge. The cysts were popping up so ferociously, I practically moved in with my dermatologist.
If you’ve ever suffered from acne—you know what it feels like to be at wit’s end. I was convinced that I would never have clear skin again, and while I like to think that I have a heathy dose of self-esteem, it was starting to take a serious toll. My selfie days were over. To make matters worse, my dark skin means I’m also prone to hyper-pigmentation (see some pictures below). Any sign of inflammation on my face leaves a dark mark which can take months to fade away—even with a prescription of Hydroquinone.
My dermatologist then prescribed me Spironolactone, a cardiovascular drug, she said could help with hormonal flare-ups. Following a quick blood test, I began taking it twice a day, but shortly after I started experiencing chest pains. I immediately stopped taking it, disappointed once again. The doctor made it seem like Acctuane was my last resort but I did not want to go down that road (the potential side effects were just too much for me to handle). Out of options, I turned to Google, as one does. I spent hours scrolling through Amazon reviews and message boards—and that’s where I first came across the acronym DIM. A commenter on Into The Gloss had raved about a cure-all acne pill—DIM—and how it was an all-natural way to clear hormonal skin. Other reviews on retailer’s sites and natural health blogs mirrored the sentiment of the first. I didn’t need to read any more. This was it, the ticket to finally curing my skin.
For those who’ve never heard of it before (I certainly hadn’t)—DIM stands for diinodolymlethane. It’s a food-based compound found in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and brussel sprouts that supports hormonal balance. It’s basically like getting a super dose of greens every day that can clear up your hormonal acne, and can even lessen PMS symptoms. It’s also been touted as a wonder-solution for menopausal women. Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center even recognizes its ability to have both anti-inflammatory and anticancer effects.
After taking it for just two weeks I noticed a change. I was breaking out way less. About a month later, it seemed like my acne had come to a complete halt. As active cysts were fading away, no new ones were popping up the replace them. Trust me, I could barely believe it. After suffering though painful, stubborn zits, countless cortisone injections at my dermatologist’s office (my last visit before starting DIM I got six injections!)— the miracle I was looking for was waiting for me on Amazon.com for $18. SHOP
I’ve been on the pill—DIM, that is—for six months, and I can happily report my skin is still healed, save for a few scars still lingering on my cheeks and jawline. I’ve had little to no side effects, and both my gynecologist and dermatologist gave it their stamp of approval to keep taking it (always check with your doctor before swallowing a new supplement). Oddly enough, when I first mentioned it to them, neither had heard of it before. And neither had so many other women I shared my skin concerns with. So I’m here to shout it from the digital rooftops: DIM has been my saving grace. After all these years, my skin is finally, beautifully clear.
Update August 2019
Not a week goes by that I don’t received emails or Instagram DMs from readers who either have DIM success stories to share or want to know if I’m still taking the supplement and if it’s still working for me. So I thought I’d share an official update with everyone.
I’m pretty bad at taking pills consistently so once I had achieved my desired results in 2017 I took a break from the supplements. My acne stayed at bay for a while, except for a few white heads here and there which I could handle. However, things definitely worsened this year and my cystic acne once again felt a bit out of control. I would start taking the DIM once a day for a week or so, but then fall off the wagon.
For the last month I’ve committed to taking it every single evening and the jury is still out on whether the supplement still works. My first trial with DIM had me seeing results within two weeks, however a month in and I’m still getting deep painful cysts, but maybe not at the same rate as before. I’m going to stay on it for another month and see if things work themselves out, but I’m definitely starting to believe that DIM is not a long-term fix. However, I’d still recommend it to anyone looking for relief.
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