I have suffered with acne for 2-3 years now. It has its worst and best times and it seems to change throughout the month. At first I thought my acne was product related but I have only recently figured out that my acne is mainly down to internal factors.
I put down the products that claim to ‘fix’ acne and focused more on what was actually happening in my body. I am still on the journey but in the past 6 months I have seen the most dramatic change in my skin and it is only continuing to get better! (yay)
Acne is caused by 3 main things:
Hormones, Diet and YOUR Environment.
Everything that comes in to contact with your skin can either replenish it or damage it. Pollution and UV exposure can dramatically damage the skin and age it.
Ingredients in some products can irritate and inflame the skin which can cause redness. But some products can also clog the pores resulting in your skin swelling up and breaking out.
So Is it hormone related?
Hormones contribute to the oil/bacteria growth in the skin. If your glands are producing too much oil then your pores are going to become clogged and infected.
I figured out my acne was hormone related by monitoring when my acne was worst through out the month and using a menstrual cycle app to log when I was breaking out and comparing that to what cycle I was on during the month, such as ‘my time of the week’ or ‘during ovulation’.
I did this because different hormones are released throughout your monthly cycle, so it helped me pin point which hormones it could be.
For me, I would break out the most just before my period (tmi) and my acne would only show in certain places such as my chin and cheeks. This might not be the case for everyone as everyone’s skin and hormones are completely different.
If you are finding it hard to monitor your acne, looking at the Chinese traditional face map can give you a rough idea as to why you could be breaking out. It is helpful to some degree, but it isn’t always accurate, however it did give me confidence that yes, hormones are causing my acne because of the areas on my face where I was breaking out. (Along with my diet which I have also realised is a big factor).
What hormones do what?
Hormones effect our skin in many ways:
This hormone, if in the right dose can control oil production and help clean the pores. The positives are that estrogen helps to produce collagen and proteins to keep the skin looking young.
Too much Estrogen can cause over cleansing of the pores which can leave your skin dry resulting in an excess oil production to compensate.
Too little Estrogen can make your pores MORE oily as the skin cells don’t have their daily dose to clean and exfoliate the pores.
This hormone is created in small doses in woman as it is a dominant male hormone. We don’t use it in the same way that men do, however it does help with keeping pores elasticated and moisturised.
Normal levels of testosterone will help keep skin supple and moisturised by creating oil in the hair follicles of your pores.
Too much testosterone can lead to excess sebum being created in the pores which leads to infections and bacteria build up.
DHT is a testosterone hormone which is very sensitive to insulin and so if your blood sugar levels are high, the oil gland receptors will create too much oil! This can lead to oily skin and blocked pores.
Progesterone lowers the male hormone Testosterone and similar androgens by inhibiting the enzyme 5 – alpha reductase which keeps the balance in check and lowers sebum/oil creation. It also lowers inflammation in the body which is great for redness on the skin.
Too much Progesterone can cause swelling in the skin and force the pores shut. This will trap any sebum, dirt and bacteria inside the pores causing inflammation and acne.
Too little Progesterone can prevent the testosterone hormone to be inhibited which will lead to oily skin and sebum filled pores.
How do you pin point which hormone?
During your menstruation (flow week) -Estrogen starts off at its lowest point and rises throughout the week. It will give you a good feeling of self confidence and happiness but because the fall of Estrogen was so big before this stage, your body could be feeling run down and more susceptible of infection.
Progesterone also drops in this week so you may be more susceptible to breakouts and oily skin because your testosterone levels are higher.
During this time if you are experiencing breakouts, it could be because of your Estrogen or Testosterone levels.
Before ovulation –
Estrogen continues to rise as well as your testosterone levels. You may feel great during this week but if you are breaking out it may be the same case as it is during your flow week where your testosterone/DHT or Estrogen levels are too high and very little progesterone is produced.
During ovulation –
At this point, your progesterone levels rise which gets the body ready for the release of the egg. You may feel quite down and post PMS during this week because your estrogen also drops slightly again before rising back up at the end of the week.
Testosterone also falls during this week which may in turn clear your skin up. If this is the case – then Testosterone may be the cause of your acne breakouts.
When progesterone rises it blocks the Estrogen hormone and helps heal the body of inflammation.
Before menstruation/ After Ovulation –
Estrogen drops again in this week, sometimes leaving you very sad, unmotivated, bloated and irritated. Your progesterone also falls during this week and your testosterone should also be back to the low level by now. Because of the decrease in Estrogen and Testosterone in this week, collagen production is a lot lower than usual and so youthful, clear skin could be a bit too much to ask for. This is a great week to eat healthily, take suppliants such as Omega’s and Pro Biotics and maybe do the odd organic face mask and exfoliation to get that glowing skin back!
Supplements for hormones –
Botanycl Skinclear Elixir – These are 100% vegan and organic plant based supplements which are carefully blended to help with hormonal breakouts.
– I have been using Botanycl for 4 months now and can definitely say they are making a huge improvement, not only to my skin but ALSO to my menstrual cycle! (Which for 2 years had never been in a set routine UNTIL NOW).
Evening Primrose – These are probably the most talked about hormonal supplement because they contain Omega 6 fatty acids and are cheap and easily accessible.
They help to soothe period cramps, mood swings and irregular periods because it fills the body with “Prostaglandis” which is a fake but natural hormone.
It also contains essential fatty acids which your body doesn’t create naturally. Essential fatty acids are in some foods and can help with the clearness of your skin, stronger nails and shiny hair.
Omega’s such as 3 and 6 are really good at helping the effects your hormones might have on the skin.
Omega 3 is an essential fatty acid formally known as ‘fish oil’. It helps reduce inflammation on the skin and works in the epidermis layer (the top layer of skin) to retain moisture.
Omega 6 is another essential fatty acid that is commonly found in vegetables and eggs. It can help with period cramping and pain as it has the same Prostaglandins that Evening Primrose Oil has.
Vitamin B goes from 1 to 12 and each one has different benefits.
But the main ones that are good for acne and hormonal balances are:
B2 helps to increase your energy levels during your period so you can feel more awake and this in turn boosts your mood!
B3 also helps to boost energy on or off your period and can help with fatigue which again will boost your mood and hopefully make you feel the best you can. B3 is also known as Niacin which helps the skin on the epidermis level to reduce and improve rosacea, acne, eczema, dermatitis, hyper pigmentation, sun damage, ageing and dry skin. So this vitamin is a win win!
B5 is a great stress reducer! Acne has been proven to be an occurrence from stress due to the amount of hormonal imbalances and toxin build ups it causes. But B5 works by lowering the amount of cortisol produced and allows you to sail through the month stress free.
B6 is a great hormone balancer, so whether you feel you have too much testosterone or too little estrogen, it can help with restoring the natural balance. B6 is also great for helping with cravings… which I can personally say is my downfall!
B9 also helps to regulate hormones to help with pms mood swings. It can also help with sleep patterns by allowing the correct hormones to work at the right time each day.
B12 is the common B vitamin that helps with fatigue and energy. Similar to B2 and B3 this little vitamin can make you feel more awake and less pms during your period.
Pro Biotics and Oil of Oregano are two natural substances that can help with the bacteria in your gut. Although not hormone related, they can aid by restoring your gut after damage from hormones, diet and toxins.
Pro Biotics help to add more good bacteria in your gut creating a barrier of soldiers against the bad bacteria.
But if you have too much bad bacteria this may be really hard to overcome…
Oil of Oregano helps to kill the bad bacteria in your gut so using both together is going to be really good for both your body and skin.
They are both antimicrobial and anti fungal.
Magnesium can help with skin inflammation and if you are lacking in this vitamin your skin and pores could be red and tender and prone to spots. However, if taken with vitamin C this can cause more inflammation so stay away from doubling up!
Zinc is great for also reducing inflammation on the skin and if you are deficient in Zinc then redness on the skin is a big sign. However, when taking Zinc you must be sure to also intake Copper too, whether that be through food or supplements because Zinc and Copper work hand in hand and must be balanced.
Finally.. Vitamin A is amazing for detoxifying the liver of all of hormone build ups. If you have too many toxins or hormones in your liver, they will try to get out of the body any way possible and the most common place is by the pores which can create a build up of sebum and inflammation. So taking Vitamin A to detoxify them before they get to this stage can result in clearer skin!
Green teas and other natural flavoured teas are slowly rising in popularity after more and more people are becoming aware of their amazing benefits!
Some of the best teas for hormonal imbalances and acne are:
Nettle Tea: This tea is really addictive. It has a very smooth finish and instantly makes you feel good! But the best thing about Nettle Tea is that it is a DHT blocker meaning it can reduce the amount of sebum that is produced from the hormone testosterone. This can lead to less oily skin and even less acne!!
Green Tea: Green tea is just great for so many things but I personally love its benefits of detoxifying the body!
Your liver is the organ which detoxifies and filters out all of the bad toxins from your body! If it is over run and over worked it might not do the best it can. Green tea helps in aiding the liver to filter out the toxins when you go to the toilet, this also includes used or excess hormones.
Tulsi Tea: This tea isn’t just tasty! It is great for naturally balancing hormones and inhibiting testosterone. It can help the with over production of sebum and also enlarged pores.
Spearmint Tea: Spearmint tea is different to peppermint but taste very similar. The reason why Spearmint tea is amazing is because like Nettle and Tulsi tea it works against DHT which is the testosterone androgen which create sebum and oil. The more you can block and inhibit the less oily and blocked your pores will become resulting in a lovely, clear complexion.
Liquorice Tea: Liquorice can have its benefits and negatives. But one benefit of this tea is the ability to smooth skin and help with anti ageing. It doesn’t work for everyone but it’s well worth a try as it can help clear up your skin and leave it silky soft.
Dandelion Root Tea: Different to Dandelion Leaf, this tea comes from the root of the common garden weed. But it isn’t a tea you’ll want to get rid of!
It works in similar ways to Green tea in respects to it detoxifying the liver but it can also detoxify the kidneys too. If your blood is clean, it means your skin can stay healthy and clear. Dandelion Root is also high in Vitamins A, B, C and D as well as iron, potassium and Zinc, however you would have to either drink a lot of this tea or eat to get the full nutrients.
Kara Olivia Beauty X