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Alternative Medicine/Acne treatment time table


QUESTION: Good Day to you Sharon,

 I have just started my 18-year-old son on daily supplements of chromium picolinate, acidophilus, and a topical colloidal silver gel as a treatment for acne on his face.  I understand that it may take some time to "work".  But do you have any idea of approximately how long it might take to start seeing some results?  Weeks, months?  etc.

Thank you for your time,

ANSWER: Hi Michelle,  
this is tricky as I don't know how you ended up putting your son on those supplements.  
Chromium is for sugar dysregulation and what your son has is a hormonal surge and probable zinc inadequacy.
Acidophilus is very general and while it may support the immune system, it is not the immune system that specifically needs supporting.  
I have not had reason to vouch for colloidal silver as a topical antibiotic an I would be concerned about the possible aluminium content of that.

My recommendation is that you look for a skin-specific supplement that includes
-at least 15 mg of zinc
- 2000Iu of vitamin A
- 100mg magnesium (preferably magnesium citrate)
-silica (eg in the form of the herb horsetail)
If he is over 120lb he can have 2 each day.

He also needs liver support - dandelion greens, rocket, chicory, artichoke hearts, beetroot and lemon in the diet.  No alcohol or fast food....

You'd be best making a tea tree or Manuka oil face wash for him. Imake a specific cleanser but I'm in NZ ... A bit far a way!

Hope this helps

Kind regards

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: FYI:  I read that these supplements have been shown to be effective for the treatment of acne from the guide, Prescription for Nutritional Healing by Phyllis A. Balch.  I plan on trying these, but am certainly willing to give your recommendations a go as well for Plan B.  :)

Thank you for the advice,


Hi Michele
I wish you luck with that. If a course of treatment is the right one with such a condition, I'd expect to see an improvement within a couple of weeks - certainly I'd expect an excellent result by 10-12 weeks.  
The use of chromium seems to be founded on the basis of 2 things:
1.  Assumption of blood sugar dysregulation as a cause
2.  Research using brewers yeast that is high in chromium. However brewers yeast is high in B-group vitamins as well, which are also involved in hormone metabolism.

You can research ourself, using google scholar - there is a good research report which used a combination of fish oils, zinc and chromium for acne.  With effect..

Acne is a combination of hormones, liver function, skin function and topical bacteria...

Let me know how you get on

Kind regards

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Sharon Erdrich


Any health related question, particularly those related to an holistic approach, using nutrition, herbal medicine, aromatherapy and lifestyle options.


30 years as a registered nurse, Private health consultant and experienced educator of complementary medicine practitioners.

NZAMH, NZ Nursing Council., AIMA (Associate member), Naturopaths of NZ.

Kai Tiaki Journal. Healthy Options Magazine. See my website for downloadable articles.

Reg Nurse, Post Grad Cert Health Science (Nutrition), Dip Herbal Med, Dip Naturopathy, Dip Aromatherapy.

Awards and Honors
Best Research Paper, Top Naturopathic Student (2005)

Past/Present Clients
Varied, from all ages and with a range of health issues.

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