My Journey with Fatigue

(and how it inadvertently led to the best skin of my life)


I don’t know why I was surprised that so many of you wanted to hear about my health stuff that I mentioned back in this post. I mean, I love hearing about health topics too! But while I’m very open about health related matters in real life, it sometimes feels like talking about health (or diet, your fitness regimen, etc.) can be awkward in polite company. Everyone has an opinion about what works, and what doesn’t! So let’s keep that in mind as I share a little about my own journey today. First things first: I am NOT A DOCTOR, so don’t take any of this as proper medical advice. If you’re worried about your health, or your skin, go see a professional. This is simply what worked for me, and my personal body — the supplements I talk about might be a good fit for you, but they might not be. Second, I’m going to talk a lot about my own approach to health and even skincare, and it might differ from yours. That’s cool! I definitely don’t want anyone to feel that I’m judging their own routines, this is just what I jive with, based on my own experiences.

Ok, now that the disclaimers are out of the way…

So, the path to great skin started with fatigue. Weird, right?


Without going into the gory details too much, let’s just say the last couple of years have been stressful. For good and bad reasons — cross-country moves, job changes, family illness, loss, personal evolution, lots of change all around. I’m the type of person that manages stress pretty well. I’m communicative, try to take care of myself, notice when I’m not feeling good, all that. But everyone has their limit.

Last fall, I felt like a MACHINE. I was working out 3 or 4 times per week, doing intensive sessions of strength training at Barry’s Bootcamp. I had taken on double the amount of client projects I normally do. We’d settled into life in SF, so our social calendar was busy. But the stressors from the previous paragraph? Also happening. Looking back, I think I thought going about my life like it was business as usual would help reduce stress. I think it ended up adding to it. In any case, while all this was happening, I had so much energy it was unbelievable. I felt like I was flippin’ unstoppable! New deadlines at work? No problemo. Add on another client even though I really don’t have the bandwidth? Done and done. Wake up at 6 am to workout(after going to sleep at midnight or 1am)? Let’s do it. The weird thing is, I kept up this pace for several months and felt super energized.

Then, shortly after the New Year, I crashed. It wasn’t a flip-switching crash and burn, but more like a steady free fall. I started noticing that I was more tired in the mornings. Soon, workouts at Barry’s were leaving me tired for days. Even though I was still trying to power through them, I noticed it was taking me longer to recover. After longer nights of rest, I’d still wake up exhausted. I also noticed my workouts weren’t effective. Instead of gaining tone and mass, I seemed to be losing tone and was super bloated all the time. These were the first signs something was off. I was dumb and ignored them. DON’T BE LIKE ME.

By April, I had stopped working out because I was pretty tired all the time. After physical symptoms, the next thing to go was mental concentration. Work was absolutely horrible, like trying to mentally row your way through a giant lake of jello. I had a hard time concentrating on tasks in front of me, and I felt unmotivated to complete the types of things I normally loved.

In May, there were a couple mornings that I slept until 10, and still got up feeling exhausted. I wondered if I was depressed; I think it was definitely part of it, but all that registers with me now is just how damn tired I was.

It was during this time in the late spring that I first noticed a rash on my face. I honestly thought it was a tiny breakout at first — a cluster of little bumps and patchy redness, all around my nose and upper lip. Which would be a bizarre place for me to break out, now that I think about it. I slapped some zit treatment on it and called it a day. Except when I woke up the next day, and it was worse. It wasn’t a case of pimples. It was eczema, or maybe dermatitis. Too bad I didn’t realize this for a while.

I ignored the rash for a good bit, which was dumb. I tried using all types of different lotions (especially ones for sensitive skin) and nothing seemed to help. Eventually, I got a similar type of rash on the outside corners of my eyes, though this one seemed to come and go more easily than the lip one. That upper lip one was a stubborn fucker. But duh, a rash that’s spreading across your face? Hello, warning signs. Again, DON’T BE LIKE ME.

Cut to when I mentioned the rash on the blog, around the same time that I had put all the pieces together and realized something was super off. A reader, Shannon, mentioned she’d had something similar in the past, and that a dermatologist had diagnosed her with perioral dermatitis (thank you for speaking up, Shannon!!!). After an afternoon spent researching (don’t Google image it, y’all), I was 99% sure I had the same thing. Luckily, mine was a fairly mild case compared to others I saw, but the symptoms checked every box. Beyond the obvious rash on my face, here’s what bummed me out about it: most of the standard treatments I read about relied on steroids or antibiotics. For me personally, that wasn’t a treatment I wanted to start with. I subscribe to the idea that these types of ailments usually stem from some kind of internal inflammation, so I’d much rather treat the internal cause for a longer term solution, versus plying my system with a steroid to make it go away. Like I said at the beginning…this is my personal approach! If more holistic treatments didn’t work, then cool, I’d go see a dermatologist.

I am a member at One Medical, which is basically a system of doctors’ offices across a city. They have this collective in NYC, DC, Boston, Chicago, lots of places! It started in SF though, and I’ve been a huge fan for years. Basically, even though you have a primary care provider with them, you can visit any of the locations in the city and see any doctor, which allows you to get same day appointments. They have a ton of other cool features too in terms of patient care, but one thing I’ve always appreciated about them is the scope of care you can get. In this case, I decided to meet with an acupuncturist, who also served as one of their integrative medicine specialists. Integrative medicine just means she could integrate modalities beyond western medicine, like acupuncture, or Chinese medicine, etc.

We met for the first time in early June. She took a look at my skin, listened to my symptoms, asked me a ton of questions. Then she looked up and said, “I think you’re suffering from adrenal fatigue.”




You have heard of adrenaline, yes? That hormone we produce that’s a big part of fight or flight response? That thing you feel right before you get on a roller coaster, or go into a nerve wracking meeting? We produce it all the time, and especially so when we’re under a lot of stress.

Anyway, the way she explained it to me is that when you’ve been under a ton of stress for a really long time, you might actually notice that you feel super energized (sound familiar?). You’re pumping out so much adrenaline that you can be-bop around like a maniac and look good doing it. I’m pretty sure this was me last fall. The running on little sleep, feeling like a machine, feeling like I could conquer the world — all that sounded like “fight” response to me.

With adrenal fatigue, eventually your little adrenal glands are like “thanks but no thanks” to having to produce so much adrenaline. You also start to see a drop in other essential hormones, because in simple terms, resources are diverted to produce more stress hormones, like adrenaline and cortisol. With a big enough drop, this is when you’ll begin experiencing tiredness, lack of motivation, and even infections (colds, etc). In other words, your body stops being able to care for itself because it’s too busy trying to manage the stress. A perfect opportunity for some perioral dermatitis to rear it’s ugly head.

I did a few sessions of acupuncture to help with everything, but what most interested me was this huge coterie of supplements she prescribed. These, she told me, would hopefully help with the adrenaline and cortisol levels, and also assist with rebuilding levels of other hormones that typically drop with adrenal fatigue. The results would leave me feeling more energized, and with an improved mood. I was game.



You know it’s a good sign when you can’t just waltz into any old grocery store and buy prescribed supplements off the shelf. These were super specific.

Phyto-ADR //
This was the first supplement she mentioned to me, available via Amazon. It’s a mix of different herbs that’s specifically meant to help address adrenaline levels and improve energy. She called out the herb ashwagandha as a mood improver, too. I started out taking this one twice daily and saw a near immediate improvement in energy, though that may have been in combination with a few of the other supplements too. Now that things are better, I tend to take one in the morning.

If you’re here for the good skin: I DON’T think this one impacts my skin quite as much. Just energy levels.

A probiotic //
I was experiencing issues with digestion, so she also put me on a probiotic. Specifically though, she told me to only buy one that was refrigerated and had a minimum of 50 billion probiotic strains in it. I guess my cheap-o one from Walgreens was not cutting it! Pro tip: she also said you shouldn’t order anything that needs to be refrigerated off Amazon, since you can’t guarantee that it stayed cool. I bought mine from Whole Foods; it’s this one. Bonus: it also has ashwagandha in it. Double the mood boosting effects! I take one in the morning and one at dinner. If you can’t handle a probiotic on an empty stomach and don’t eat breakfast, you can try taking it at lunch, too.

If you’re here for the good skin: I don’t think this one impacts my skin. Just regularity (ha).

A fish oil with super super high levels of EPA //
To be honest, I’m still not totally sure why having higher levels of EPA in an omega-3 supplement was more important, versus higher levels of DHA. But I do know that she told me to buy this supplement, with the higher levels of EPA, and expect it to help with internal inflammation and mood. Boy did it ever. Interestingly enough, since I had to order this supplement from an individual supplier on Amazon, it took a bit longer to get. In the interim, I started taking a different fish oil supplement that Joe takes, which has equal levels of DHA and EPA. I noticed IMMEDIATELY that my dermatitis started clearing up. But it never went away completely. When I got the new fish oil with the elevated levels of EPA, it went away entirely. Like, within a day or two. It was like magic! I’ve read for years about the anti-inflammatory effects of fish oil, but OMG you guys, it’s spot on. Taking this also seemed to correlate with a boost in mood. It was recommended I take this twice per day, and I still try to. At the very least, I try and take one per day, usually in the morning. I’ve never been able to find a fish oil supplement at Whole Foods with as high of levels of EPA, but it’s possible a store like GNC sells it.

If you’re here for the good skin: ESSENTIAL. When I don’t take this at all, I notice an immediate difference in skin tone, clarity, and texture the next day.

Borage oil //
This was a new one for me. Borage oil is apparently super high in GLA, a fatty acid (just like an omega-3 is) that is an excellent anti-inflammatory. Luckily, we’re not talking about drinking borage oil or anything like that…you can get it in soft gel form. I was recommended this one. Because a lot of these supplements were coming from separate suppliers via Amazon, it was kind of cool to see how each affected me after adding it into the regimen. This was the last one I received, and this is what took my skin to next level glow. I couldn’t believe it. My dermatitis had already cleared up pretty well from the fish oil, but after taking this, I noticed I’d wake up with super soft, smooth skin. Even though my skin texture had always been decent, with this, the redness was gone in my cheeks and everything just seemed brighter. I think that extra dose of anti-inflammatory goodness just helps your skin shine.

If you’re here for the good skin: ESSENTIAL. Same as the fish oil, I try to take it twice per day if I want amazingly optimal skin. At the minimum, I take it once per day. When I don’t take it at all, I notice a change in my complexion.

The Whole 30 Diet //
I literally just felt all of your excitement wane. Haha!

A lot of why she recommended I do Whole 30 was to give my system a damn break. For me, it was really about clearing out inflammation and reducing stress on my digestive system (which, frankly, is tied to how your skin looks, but more on that in a sec). I’ll cop to it: I only followed the diet for about 2.5 weeks. To be honest, we don’t eat a ton of junk at home anyway, so it was helpful for me to reduce my dietary options further and see what was impacting me and my skin. I’ve suspected it for years, but as an example, through this process I discovered I’m very sensitive to eggplant and too many nightshades (which includes tomatoes and peppers). I always noticed that after a pot of chili, my skin would get red and inflamed. So now I tend to avoid eggplant especially, and eat fewer peppers. Tomatoes, I can’t avoid — I LOVE them. I’ve also always known I was sensitive to dairy (CHEESE!). Interestingly, once I reintroduced it after not eating it for a few weeks, I realized it gives me post nasal drip. I nearly always have to wake up in the morning and blow my nose, but when I didn’t eat dairy, I’d wake up with a clear throat. Weird, huh? Like I said, I still eat these things, but the great thing about giving my system a little break was it gave me the knowledge about what I’m sensitive to, so if I’m feeling run down, I know to avoid certain things to not put additional stress on my system.



“Victoria,” you are saying, “This is getting in depth. JUST TELL ME HOW TO GET GREAT SKIN.”

Ok, ok, so you might’ve noticed that the pieces that correlate to great skin also dealt with inflammation. Fish oil, borage oil — anti-inflammatories. Eating eggplant, or dairy — the redness and post-nasal drip is a response, or a type of inflammation. So the number one thing you can do to have amazing skin is to reduce inflammation. For many of us who suffer from long-term skin problems, it likely has to do with some source of internal inflammation, either from stress or diet (but probably both). Do you notice you’re often bloated? It’s probably due to inflammation. Have digestion issues? Probably due to inflammation, or some imbalance in your gut (take that probiotic, yo).

Drinking water is also HUGELY important. I can’t stress this enough. You need to be hydrated not only to flush things from your system with urine (obvious), but also for your intestines to work properly. You’ve definitely heard this piece of beauty advice over and over again, but drink more water. When I don’t drink enough, I always notice a change in my skin texture the next day. It’s been helpful with these supplements, because since I take so many in the morning, I force myself to drink an entire glass with them too.

For me personally, I find that taking one of the fish oil and borage oil supplements daily is enough to maintain good skin. If I want absolutely glowing, vibrant, healthy looking skin, I need to take two of each per day (I’d dose it at fish oil in the morning, borage oil at lunch, then both again at dinner or before bed).


A photo by Nico Beard.


Maybe, but not really. I will say that in July, I started using this lotion (the one I mentioned in Tuesday’s post) and absolutely love it. I chose it because honey is hydrating and soothing for skin, and the gals at Credo in SF told me this was the most hydrating lotion they offered in the store. But what blew me away about it is that for something so deeply hydrating, it dries matte. I’d never seen a thick, natural, oil-based lotion do that before! Sometimes I pair it with a facial oil layered underneath, but other days I wear it on its own. I routinely don’t wear any makeup or concealer when I go out (only armed with lotion, supplements, mascara, and this cream blush) and people tell me I have nice skin. So give it a try.

If you suffer from oily skin, you might want to experiment with products that address dryness. I know, it sounds counterintuitive. But in some folks, oiliness is actually caused by dry skin; you keep treating your skin as if it’s oily, which only dries it out more, so your skin tries to produce even MORE oil to deal with the problem. I always hear about gals who start applying facial oils to their skin and the oil levels actually even out, normalizing things. That, when combined with fish and borage oil (which in addition to being anti-inflammatory seem to lubricate my skin somehow?) might sort you out.

Wanna know how else I’m sure it’s not just the creams? Around the time I started the supplements, a friend of mine here in SF shared that she was having a similar dermatitis/eczema thing around her eyes (she was also super stressed out). I told her to buy a fish oil tablet with high levels of EPA, and some borage oil. She did. The next week when I saw her, she couldn’t believe it — the rashes were completely gone. She hadn’t changed anything in her skincare routine, she just started taking those two supplements. These weren’t even the same brand of supplements I had bought, which just goes to show the power of these anti-inflammatories!



Hey, are you stressed out? Take a chill pill. Maybe it’s in the form of these supplements I’ve mentioned, maybe it’s doing more yoga or meditating, maybe it’s learning to say no to things. Something I’ve learned through this journey is I have a very bad habit of telling myself that I’m invincible and can handle anything thrown my way. The truth is, you can still be a badass and NOT make yourself sick. I think as women, there is so much pressure on us to do all and be all and we forget to stop and tune in with ourselves and put ourselves first. So if you have been feeling stressed, or noticed your health taking a dive even in the smallest of ways, let this be a friendly reminder: it’s ok to put yourself first. Check in with yourself. Give yourself a break. Address those little health related things you’ve been noticing but ignoring. If I’m any indication, it CAN spiral out of control until you literally can’t get out of bed one day.

I saw my acupuncturist/integrative specialist again in early July, after I’d been on the supplements for 3 weeks or so. She said looking at me was like night and day compared to my previous visit — that the previous version she saw was like a shell of who was sitting in front of her. “But my skin!” I told her, “I didn’t know the side effect of all this would be such AWESOME skin!”

“Yeah,” she said, smiling, “That’s the part I don’t tell patients about when we’re focused on making you simply feel better. But everyone comments about awesome skin and hair in their follow up appointment.”



So anyhoo, that’s my thing with the supplements! I’m so happy you guys were interested, and that you enjoyed this (ridiculously long) post. Please feel free to ask any questions or share your own journey below. I’d love to hear from you, and it might be helpful for others in the community too!

Leave a Comment


  1. Kelsey M wrote:

    Thank you so much for this post! I found it incredibly interesting and informative to read. I’m going out and buying that fish oil and borage oil ASAP!

    22 Sep 2016 · Reply
  2. Rebecca wrote:

    Fascinating! I am going to try this….also the energy/mood booster! I need that.

    22 Sep 2016 · Reply
    • I know for a fact you’re a busy lady with lots on her plate too! You might find some of these guys really help regulate your stress response!

      22 Sep 2016 · Reply
  3. Gigi wrote:

    Great post – it was a really interesting read! I’m glad you’re feeling better. A couple questions… when you say you take 2 a day of each supplement, do you mean that you take 2 pills or two “servings” (4 pills)? Also, I’m curious if you take a multivitamin. I take one, but i’m not convinced i get any benefit from it :)

    22 Sep 2016 · Reply
    • Oops, sorry for that confusing point! I meant 2 pills total per day. So, with the borage as an example, 1 capsule at lunch, 1 with dinner or before bed. If you’re worried about taking more than 1 per day, you can always start with one and see you how tolerate it!

      I do take a multivitamin. I usually take these Alive! women’s gummy vitamins. I wasn’t convinced I got much benefit from it either. Recently, Whole Foods was out of them, so I bought the Alive! women’s multi pill (i.e., the giant hard pill you have to take, versus gummies). I kind of think it might be more effective. But I HATE taking that giant pill. So once they were back in stock, I still went back to the gummy version ;)

      22 Sep 2016 · Reply
  4. Amanda wrote:

    I was so excited today to see this post! My husband has been asking me every day if you had put up a post addressing these issues after your previous post. LOL. It is truly amazing how everything in the human body is connected with what you put on or in it. And how just small or big tweaks can make such a difference in your health whether it be mood or appearance. Thanks so much for sharing what you’ve been through when it comes to your health and wellness. I do understand how people can be kind of weird about sharing that information since it is so personal and can affect people in different ways, but personally I love to hear people’s stories and advice on health because it’s a great way to learn about others and what worked for them. Plus it gives me new info that I didn’t know about that I find helpful especially holistic treatments because I believe strongly in being organic in your health. Thanks for the share Victoria!

    22 Sep 2016 · Reply
    • Yay, I’m so glad you enjoyed it! I am with you on turning to holistic treatments before certain standard western treatments. Hopefully you got some new nuggets from this post that’ll help you too!

      22 Sep 2016 · Reply
  5. I have rosacea so am going to try out these supplements to see what they do for my difficult skin! And it’s crazy what stress can do to the body.

    22 Sep 2016 · Reply
    • Hopefully it will! I think I get mild rosacea after eating certain foods or in certain environments, and I find it helps with that. I feel like the cause of rosacea is a little different for everyone, but fingers crossed this can help yours.

      22 Sep 2016 · Reply
  6. This post is so timely. I’m in the middle of Whole 30 right now. The main driver for doing it was to get more energy, which hasn’t happened yet. I’m on day 22. My friend just suggested integrative medicine yesterday, so I think I may go for it and see what supplements can help me out. I’m glad you figured out what works for you.

    22 Sep 2016 · Reply
    • Hm, that IS suspect. Whole 30 is great for many things including a jump in energy, so if you’re not feeling that at all, working with an integrative specialist (or, if you want to get even more technical and have some blood work done, an endocrinologist) might be able to help you pinpoint the cause further. There IS testing available for adrenal fatigue — they basically test for levels of cortisol and other hormones in your blood. I hope you’re able to feel better/energized soon, Kate.

      22 Sep 2016 · Reply
  7. Michelle wrote:

    Thanks so much for this post! Does this fish oil from GNC have the right levels of EPA?

    22 Sep 2016 · Reply
    • Hi Michelle! Yes, definitely — that one has even more EPA than the one I am taking by about 150mg!

      22 Sep 2016 · Reply
  8. Dana wrote:

    YES YES YES! It is unbelievable the effect stress has on our bodies and when we don’t listen, our body keeps turning up the noise until we have no choice. I am a freaking burnout coach and yoga instructor and found myself this year suffering in many of the ways you’ve mentioned, except mine also expressed it’sself as a hormone issues (PCOS) As a vegan, I couldn’t do whole 30- but I am doing the 30 Clean and I stared taking these supplements (holy basil leaf, magnesium, rhodiola Rosea, shatavari, and Ashwaganda. OMg I feel like a new person. Stress is real. And its so important to care for ourselves! I also love the trilogy lotion you are using now – I’ve been using it for about a year and its great. Thanks for sharing.

    22 Sep 2016 · Reply
  9. Thank you so much for this post. Buying basically everything you mentioned. One question I have – how do you decide which brand of supplements to buy? Supplements aren’t regulated by the FDA and I read an article a while back where they did a study and found that the supplements they tested didn’t contain the things they were supposed to contain – since they’re not regulated, it’s just kind of a free-for-all. I’ve been hesitant to ever try supplements because I didn’t know what brand I could actually trust. Curious to hear your thoughts!

    23 Sep 2016 · Reply
    • I didn’t — the acupuncturist gave me a specific list with the brands called out. The only one she didn’t specify was the probiotic, but she did say 50 billion strains, and must be refrigerated. From there, I just looked at the options at Whole Foods and selected one. I picked the one I did since it specified mood boosting, and had a similar herb as the Phyto-ADR…seemed like I’d be on the right track there!

      23 Sep 2016 · Reply
    • Georgie Hambright wrote:

      Jackie, I was curious about the same thing – I wish it was easier to find certified organic vitamins that you can trust! Do you know of any retailers that specialize in this?

      23 Sep 2016 · Reply
      • I don’t know of any retailers that specialize only in that. With things like fish oil, fish cannot be classified as organic in the U.S. (at least not yet), so if you ever saw a fish oil labeled as such, just know that is completely a marketing ploy. When looking for a fish oil tablet, I prefer looking for ones made from smaller fish (like anchovy or sardines). Here’s an interesting article I just found online about selecting a fish oil (and FWIW, a lot of people really love the brand I’m using, Nordic Naturals!). For the borage oil, I’m sure you can find a certified organic supplement. Borage is very commonly grown, and a quick search yielded several producers of organic capsules (try typing in ‘organic borage oil capsules’).

        With regard to finding organic vitamins, one brand I’m familiar with is Garden of Life. I take a magnesium supplement from them to aid in digestion. I’ve looked at their website before, and it seems like they are one of the few certified USDA organic supplement manufacturers. I think it’s difficult to make an “organic” vitamin, because vitamins are either synthetic (made in a lab) or derived from actual food (usually labeled with the term ‘natural’). But to find a 100% organic women’s multi is pretty rare (though Garden of Life purports to have one).

        Hope that helps!

        23 Sep 2016 · Reply
  10. katie wrote:

    W-O-W. I’ve been suffering from a form of dermatitis around my nose for years now. Yearssssssss. I try to eat right, use new lotions, zinc cleansers, do ANYTHING and I can’t get it to go away. My Dermatologist just gave me a steroid and I can’t use that forever…so wow. Your journey is so fascinating and THANK YOU for sharing it, and in such detail. I am going to buy that fish oil and borage oil immediately! I feel like I’ve been tired a lot lately too, but I’m still trying to determine if it’s an internal thing, or work related…or both? I’ve also had chronic acne on my chin for years, that has been so stubborn, I am convinced it’s an internal issue. Perhaps this post is a good kick for me to meet an Integrative medicine specialist…my friend has been recommending hers to me for a few years now. Thank you! :)

    23 Sep 2016 · Reply
    • One thing I didn’t discuss in the post (as it didn’t seem relevant to the supplements bit) were all the homeopathic treatments I tried on the dermatitis. This included zinc treatment…I used natural sunscreen, and eventually found myself purchasing “Butt Paste” (literally high strength diaper rash cream) to see if that helped. That was a highlight of my year for sure (note: don’t bother).

      Do you find the zinc helps you? When I first applied an all natural zinc oxide sunscreen, I did notice a slight improvement in the rashes. The thing is though, they’d flare up depending on my stress levels or what I ate, so it wasn’t a reliable treatment, and it definitely didn’t do anything with a really bad flare up. Again, it’s just treating the symptom, not the root cause, so like the steroids, it’s not a long term solution.

      Your acne seems to indicate inflammation. Acne is another common condition that’s usually a result of internal inflammation, caused by either stress or diet or hormones being out of whack, or all three wreaking havoc on each other (it’s a terrible cycle!). Give the supplements a try, going with a slightly higher dosage, and see how it goes. I really hope it helps you — I know the misery of worrying about that damn dermatitis everyday!

      23 Sep 2016 · Reply
      • katie wrote:

        I have tried both zinc cleanser treatments and even putting dandruff shampoo/treatments on my nasal dermatitis. I have found that the cleanser kinda sorta helps take down the flakiness briefly, but really doesn’t do a lot. The dandruff treatment (although not meant for the face), helps for like that day…it would make that skin smoother, but no less red. And the next day the flare up would begin again. So, neither are a final solution. Thanks for the tip about the diaper rash, I’ll steer clear!

        And yes, the damn acne. Part of me is trying to just learn to live with it, but it is so frustrating. (And honestly it can be painful, literally!) Here’s to hoping these anti-inflammatory oils will help!

        28 Sep 2016 · Reply
        • Yep, I did the dandruff shampoo thing too, with the same results. Sorta helped, but not really. Let me know how the supplements go!

          29 Sep 2016 · Reply
          • katie wrote:

            Ok it’s been roughly 1 1/2 months I think that I’ve been taking that specific fish oil you recommended in your post and I just wanted to say THANK YOU. My nasal dermatitis has improved so so much. Like, unreal results. It’s basically gone. I’m astounded by the success, that just a simple thing like taking fish oil can help a condition that had been plaguing me for years. So my sincerest thanks to you. :)

            7 Nov 2016 ·
          • Ahhhh! This makes me so happy. Seriously, completely THRILLED to hear it worked for you and was the cure you’d been looking for. That’s fantastic news! Thanks for telling me :)

            7 Nov 2016 ·
  11. Lauren wrote:

    Just ordered the borage oil. I currently take a fish oil for my psoriasis so I hope this helps! Great post!

    23 Sep 2016 · Reply
    • Hope so too! You might find that extra hit of fatty acid from the borage helps your psoriasis too. Good luck!

      23 Sep 2016 · Reply
  12. Ashley wrote:

    Thank you for being so thorough! I pinned this so I can come back to it.

    23 Sep 2016 · Reply
  13. Theodora wrote:

    I’m so glad Grace shared this post — this was a great read…and makes me want to go back to my acupuncturist immediately!

    24 Sep 2016 · Reply
  14. Caitlin wrote:

    Thank you for this post! I’ve already bought the EPA supplement and am going to try a couple others once I see if there is any effect with this. I’m always interested in reading about more natural ways to combat these things.

    27 Sep 2016 · Reply
  15. Rose wrote:

    I had something semi-similar happen, in terms of face freak-outs, last fall—sorry for the long story below but it lead me to the best supplement I’ve ever taken!

    Growing up I never broke out, like, EVER. I could count the number of zits I got on my face before I was 25 on two hands, give or take. Last fall, my face powder was discontinued so I switched to a new one which had sneaky fragrance in it and made me break out like crazy. Around the time I figured out what that was, I got strep throat, and found out I’m allergic to Penicillin (!). This caused a crazy bad rash on my entire body, so they put me on prednisone (one of the worst meds I’ve ever taken).

    Apparently, if you have skin issues, you should avoid prednisone at all costs, but I didn’t know that at the time and it was also this or go to the hospital which I did NOT want to do. I have always had what I thought was eczema on my upper arms, occasionally around my nose and legs during the winter. I started to break out on my face after the rash went out away, and this went on for 10 MONTHS—I only just healed, finally, in late June this year. It was so crazy, and I’m still not sure what finally got it to go away; I visited a derm a few different times who diagnosed me with psoriasis and she gave me various steroid creams and treatment creams but, while they seemed to lessen it, they didn’t seem to heal.

    On to supplements though…the only one I fully 100% recommend from my own experience is Epicor. I was on a huge dose of metronidazole, a super strong antibiotic, a few years ago when I was never properly diagnosed for something. It killed me…and I took probiotics but they never seemed to help. My mom had heard about Epicor and ordered me a bunch, as it’s supposed to help boost your immune system. About five months ago I started taking that at the same time as the probiotic in the morning and, lo and behold, my skin is better and my GI tract is nearly normal, something I’d been afraid would never happen after my previous experiences.

    The backstory behind it is that it was being put in animal feed, and eventually the people who were in charge of that went to their boss because they were never taking sick days and wanted to use them as vacation days instead. They did some studies and realized they were exposed to the dust (it’s basically fermented yeast) and their immune systems were crazy good. I’m hoping that this winter, which will be my first on it, helps me stave off colds and the like!

    27 Sep 2016 · Reply
    • Wow, thank you for sharing your story. I’m SO SO sorry you had to go through all that. Antibiotics are of course amazing and life saving, but man can they wreak havoc on our bodies too. It’s interesting you say that about the face powder. You know how most people love Bare Minerals? When I tried it years ago, I found out I was sensitive to bismuth oxychloride. It gives me a breakout that aren’t zits, just horrible bumps everywhere! I can’t imagine the strep and antibiotic reactions on the heels of that.

      It bums me out that the standard way to treat these types of things is just antibiotics or steroids. Lucy was on metronidazole before for giardia, a parasite. It’s literally an antibiotic for dogs. It kills EVERYTHING in the gut, so no wonder you were wiped out. Same thing with the steroid creams — yes, it helps for a bit, but why aren’t we addressing the underlying issue versus giving people something that isn’t a long term solution, and in some cases, can exacerbate other skin conditions? I don’t get it.

      I’m so glad you are feeling better now, Rose! Here’s a link to more info on Epicor if anyone would like to learn about it:

      28 Sep 2016 · Reply
  16. naveen wrote:

    Any recommendations of the types of things to look for when trying to find a integrative medical doctor?

    27 Sep 2016 · Reply
    • Hi Naveen! I think that finding an integrative specialist who is embedded within a more traditional (i.e. western) practice can be a good sign. For example, at One Medical (where I went), their main focus is western medicine, and is like a regular ol’ doctor’s office you’ve been to before. But they believe that there’s a lot of value in other approaches to medicine, so I really like that you can approach certain symptoms/issues from a more holistic standpoint, but still fall back on western medicine if stronger treatment is necessary. I find that most integrative specialists tend to have a lot of experience with TCM (traditional Chinese medicine), have done a lot of work around nutrition/diet, and even are licensed acupuncturists. Along with these things, I think it’s also important that you feel comfortable. I think integrative medicine is a lot about really listening to a patient, so be sure you find someone who is truly invested in your health, listens to you, asks a lot of questions, and isn’t dismissive of the connections you’re making between symptoms (i.e., you saying, “I wonder if X is happening because of Y,” doesn’t illicit a complete brush off). And as always, if you find someone you’re interested in working with, Google can do wonders — I always like to read reviews about other peoples’ experiences. Hope that helps!

      28 Sep 2016 · Reply
  17. jess wrote:

    Thank you for sharing the info! I have so many of the supplements you suggested but I went out and bought the borage oil. Not sure if it’s placebo effect but does my rosacea look better…omg.

    27 Sep 2016 · Reply
  18. sharona wrote:

    i think i’m experiencing this right now — thanks so, so, so much for this post — first, for helping me identify what’s happening, and second, for providing some suggestions! much appreciated!

    4 Oct 2016 · Reply
  19. Sara wrote:

    Thanks for sharing V! I haven’t heard about borage oil, will check it out. I agree with your post about fatigue, stress, diet, inflammation – glad you found ways to remedy the situation. It’s so easy to ignore these signs! I have rheumatoid arthritis and inflammation plays a big part of my life, as it’s what causes me to flare up and brings a lot of other health issues to play. I struggled with eczema too, and found diary was the culprit. BOO. And nightshades affect me to, which is such a bummer as I LOVE tomatoes too. They wreck havoc on skin and inflammation levels. Sugar is also a big issue for me even though I don’t eat a lot of it, I have to read all the labels and monitor the intake level. Nice to hear you found a routine that works, exhaustion is so draining on our bodies.

    7 Oct 2016 · Reply
  20. Kelly wrote:

    WOW this is quite the journey! So glad you are feeling better! Thank you for the supplement reccs!

    14 Oct 2016 · Reply
  21. Ashley wrote:

    Thank you SO much for leaving such a detailed review of your journey. My skin was okay when I was reading your story and I bookmarked it just to improve my already good skin. Fast forward to December, I had some unfortunate changes in my life and my hair/skin freaked out from the stress… enough for my young kids to say something. Yikes. I purchased the Borage Oil and the Nordic Naturals Pro EPA and have been using them for a month. Though the factors of stress are the same, the redness, acne, dark spots from acne – all things I did not have before are either gone or fading away. I had to come back to thank you for taking the time to inform us. I was one of the ones patiently awaiting for the review when you asked. Now I can say I fully benefited from your input! Thank you so much for your dedication and I really enjoy all aspects of your blog. P.s. I also should mention that have less hair on the floor and my curls are luscious. :)

    3 Jan 2017 · Reply
    • Hi Ashley! Ahhh I’m so happy to hear that! That’s awesome. I’m so glad you came back and told me it worked for you :) I’ve actually been off my supplements game through the holidays (probably when I needed it most), and need to get back on in the new year. Toasting you over fish oil tablets… xx VM

      3 Jan 2017 · Reply
  22. Michelle wrote:


    Just wanted to leave a quick comment to say that I keep coming back to this post. I appreciate your openness and honesty on this blog and even though you don’t post too often, I know every time I open a post, it will be filled to the brim with unique and quality content. Your voice is appreciated!

    2 Feb 2017 · Reply
    • Thanks, Michelle, I really appreciate that! It’s crazy to me that I used to be able to blog 2 or 3 times a day (this was wayyyy back in the day). I’m always grateful to know people are still along for the ride, even if I’m only checking in once a week or so. Thank you! I’m glad you’re here. :)

      6 Feb 2017 · Reply
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