How To Clear Hormonal Acne: The Right Way
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It may have started when you entered into your teen years, or it may have started when you came into adulthood. No matter what age your hormonal acne began to take control over your life, the fact of the matter is, no matter what we seem to try, nothing truly works. Women today, no matter your size, skin colour, ethnicity, or any other label you wish to use, all struggle with finding a skincare routine that makes those blemishes vanish.
I, too, used to get hormonal acne terribly, and still manage to get a flare up every once and while. It all started when I entered puberty, and even as I found myself coming into my early 20’s, I had the same frustrations and the prevailing thought, “wow, my face looks like a pizza right now”. That’s when I learned the most significant and most impactful secret-
It all connects to the stressors in your life, and how you’re fueling my body (aka your diet). It’s not about investing endless amounts of money into new beauty products, or finding a new face wash that promises to “minimise pores and red spots overnight”. It’s precisely the opposite. I completely ditched my beauty routine, and I want to share with you just how I managed to do it.
Before we jump right in, I want to get something out there, I know it may sound strange and foreign, but to clear your acne, you do not need to be on medications, synthetic hormones, or try any “quick fixes”. By having acne, your body is trying to reach out and tell you there’s an imbalance happening somewhere in your system! No matter what you’ve heard before, here’s a sure fire way of balancing those hormones and getting the upper hand on acne.
As a Nutritional Therapist, I mainly focus on eating a whole food, nutrient dense diet, which means, if it comes in a package or box, I try to stay away from it. The foods I do want to include in my diet are the fruits, vegetables, legumes, endless amounts of water to help flush out the toxins in our system, and I know it might surprise you, but, fats! Having enough fat in our diet largely impacts our hormonal health and balance!
Fats have some functions. They protect and line our organs, they provide long-lasting energy and fuel for our brains, and here’s the punch line- they’re the building blocks of our hormones! If we continue on this myth of “if I eat fats, I will become fat”, we will continue to see the degeneration of our cells and hormones.
When I say fats, I don’t mean the fat content that’s included in those cheese puffs, or cookies right next to you, I mean the “good” fats like avocado, extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, and the fat from a grass-fed animal. This doesn’t mean you have to go full on “Keto." If you are not aware of Keto, it is a new diet trend where your diet is mostly composed of fats, which helps balance insulin and blood sugar levels by switching your metabolic state from a sugar burner, to a fat burner. It simply means to include more quality fats to help rebuild those hormones.
This was the first step in clearing up my hormonal acne- changing the way I ate.
So now that we know the importance of a good quality fat, and the importance of drinking enough water, let’s talk about some other foods that balance those hormones, and some that you may want to stay away from.
First, what I suggest, and what I did and found that helped me, was trying an elimination diet. What this means is staying away from the foods that most commonly cause an allergic reaction. These foods include eggs, soy, wheat, gluten, dairy, and corn. These foods are usually the most processed, cause inflammation, and are covered in just about everything today, so by reducing the amount you eat them, you can quickly see a drastic change in skin health, energy levels, bloat, and even weight gain or retention. When you try this elimination diet, you may also see your digestion start to improve. This is GREAT news. That means you not only found something to help your skin clarity but also your gut health. Our digestive system, for a long story short, is where most vitamins, minerals, waste, water, and foods get broken down. It is also where most diseases, allergies, and even acne start!
As for foods you do want to include, you want to load up on, and you honestly can’t go wrong with, are the vegetables, green vegetables in particular. Green vegetables are high in vitamins essential to our health like Vitamin A, K, C and also iron and fibre!
The next step in balancing your hormones and clearing up your acne is trying to reintroduce those previously eliminated foods, and seeing how your body reacts to them. This happens after about two months of being free from them. This may sound strange because I just suggested staying away from them, but it’s so vital that we reintroduce them because if it’s found that it was an irritant, it’s crucial to stay away from it from here on out.
Another substance you may want to stay away from is those with a high sweet or sugar content. Sugar is the enemy when it comes to clearing up acne of any sort. Acne loves to feed on sugar, so it’s critical to cut back as much as possible. You can help eliminate sugar cravings by yet again, including more fats. We most often crave sugars when we’re hungry, or in need of an energy spike. By eating a meal that’s high in fats in the morning for breakfast, like two eggs, for example, you tend to stay fuller longer and won’t have as many “sweet treat” cravings throughout the day I’ve found.
The last step and tip for cleaning acne and ditching that beauty routine are eliminating stress. From work, school, and having children, I know just how stressful a woman’s life can get. When we become highly stressed, our adrenal glands (essential for blood sugar regulation) start pumping out our stress hormone Cortisol. If our body is always under stress, our adrenals will start pumping out an influx of cortisol trying to keep up, but in reality, actually, tire us out and cause an overburden on the whole system (which means our other hormones try to keep up as well, creating an overall imbalance).
So, to recap, try an elimination to see what foods may be causing inflammation, add more good quality fats to help rebuild your hormones, drinking enough water (your body weight divided by 2 is the minimum oz. you want to drink a day), load up on vegetables and whole foods (stay away from processed foods), and reduce your stress levels. Whew! That was a mouth full.
This is how I managed the pesky hormonal acne I’ve had since puberty and ditched my skincare routine for good. If I can do it, so can you!
Next time you hear a commercial promising instant clear skin, simply refuse the idea and tune into what your body desperately needs.