I'm done, you guys. It's been four months since I started on my natural, chemicals are evil! experiment and I just don't have the time/money to pursue it farther. I would rather buy organic fruits and vegetables for my kids and hold off on other items til Damm has a steady paycheck (to which he replied, "oh, so you're telling me to not get a job as long as possible?" haha funny).
This also means that I"m done with trying "natural" products for my face. Fortunately for me the zinc cream I bought just last week was the highest priced item I bought that I probably won't be using in the near future; everything else still has a place in my routine. But, and it's a big but, I've gone back to salcylic acid. It wasn't completely preventing facial issues but it was doing a much better job than anything else I've tried. And if I hear "your skin is purging itself!" one more time, even if it's true, I'm going to hit something. So what I'm doing right now is: Neutragena Oil-Free Acne Wash (I think, it's in the bathroom and it's such a looong ways away) with grapefruit something or other. Then I use Witch Hazel as an astringent/toner, then I apply a spot treatment of salcylic acid, and then when my face is dry I put jojoba oil on it. This routine, combined with a tremendous effort on my part to not touch, has already cleared up most problem areas (in under a week). In a week or so I'll be going back on Vitex* (I had stopped as an experiment to see if it was really doing anything and I think it was) but on a much higher dosage than before. If you don't know, Vitex, or chasteberry, is an herb that helps to regulate female hormonal wackiness. If you want more detail google it, you'll end up with way more information than you ever wanted.
Although I'm done with crunchiness for now, and relieved to be back to Herbal Essences and body wash (the natural stuff just didn't work the same and I never got used to it), I am grateful for the journey. I found out that gluten does nasty things to my stomach, at least for the time being, and that I can live without carbs (great for weight loss). I have some natural remedy tricks up my sleeve now and I also have started buying loose leaf herbs and making my own teas (I love doing this; just be sure to do your own research before buying and mixing). And soomeday, when I'm not working 40+ hours (at least this month; when you walk into retail stores and see all the beautiful holiday displays think of me), I think I'll try crunchy stuff again.
*Remember that I'm not qualified to give medical advice and that before taking anything you should consult with someone who is.