Updated: Oct 10, 2019
You've asked, so I'm answering! This is one of the most common topics I have been asked to cover: hormonal breakouts.
Let me just say, I totally get it. While my acne has cleared up now, I promise you my skin has been through the wringer and my hormonal imbalance was definitely a key contributor! Am I the only one who dreamed all through puberty that my breakouts would magically clear up once I turned 18 and became an “adult”?? Instead I got a wake up call when I developed terrible, cystic acne my sophomore year of college. Clear skin does not just happen, it takes work!
Here we sit, investing our hard earned money into gold leaf face masks and the best concealers money can buy and, inevitably, picking and poking even when we know we shouldn’t. These hormonal flare ups just make getting your period even more stressful… don’t we have enough to deal with already?
So, how can we tell if our acne is hormonal?
Location, location, location. If your acne tends to pop up right around your chin and jawline it’s the number one sign that your hormones are playing a trick on you. Some have even said that the side of your chin that a hormonal breakout appears is the same side ovary that is ovulating!
Timing. If the same crop of pimples appear around the same time in your cycle every month you can start to track your breakouts alongside your cycle, to know about when they’ll reemerge.
Type. Typically, your standard hormonal breakout is going to involve deeper, more swollen pimples, rather than blackheads or whiteheads (which typically indicate clogged pores). This also is the kind of acne that tends to scar the easiest… No thank you!
I’ll leave the treatments like retinoids and salicylic acid up to your dermatologist to suggest for you, but as your go-to holistic health gal, let me point you in the direction of some natural lifestyle remedies to supplement that.
1. Probiotics. I will preach this from the rooftops to all who will listen. Probiotics have radically changed my life and overall health. There is the traditional nightly probiotic pill which has a myriad of health benefits, but there is also a probiotic facial cleanser. This helps retain the natural pH balance of the skin, which many cleansers and makeup removers can interfere with. The healthy bacteria of the probiotic cleanser support the skin’s protective mechanisms to impede inflammation.
2. Cut the dairy. Pimples are an inflammatory response-- so go to the source and find out what might be causing the inflammation! Along with the side effects of added hormones present in most dairy, it also triggers mucus production and inflammation within the gut. This often shows its face through breakouts along your cheekbones and chin.
3. Say no to refined carbohydrates. The spike in insulin levels that your body experiences when it consumes refined carbohydrates can trigger increased testosterone production, leading to cystic outbreaks.
4. Eat more healthy fats. This one should be a no brainer along the lines of ‘drink more water’ when it comes to skin care. Healthy fats like nuts, salmon, avocado, and your favorite EVOO contain omega-3 fatty acids essential to the health of your skin and hair. These healthy fats should be a staple in our diet for all hormonal purposes.
5. Hormonal Birth Control. Managing acne is one of the main reasons women start the pill. Controlling your natural hormonal fluctuations through birth control can greatly decrease your hormonal breakouts, as long as you find the right dosage and kind for your body. Not all birth control is created equal and you may have to try one or two before landing on your perfect match.
Moral of the story, this is not a one stop shop OR a quick fix. Acne is an external sign that something happening internal is off balance. Creating a balance between a healthy lifestyle, diet, and hormonal swings is essential.
Want to talk more and learn how to personalize your hormonal health journey? Give me a shout!
*** As a reminder, this blog is for educational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional care by a doctor. It does not constitute medical advice or services. Your FIRST & FOREMOST task should be to talk one on one with your doctor for concrete medical advice. It is important to have a trained and licensed medical professional walking through your health journey with you, ESPECIALLY when it comes to your hormonal and reproductive health. As an Integrative Holistic Health Coach my focus is simply educating on and supporting healthy habits and lifestyle changes so you can put your best foot forward into your health journey.