Skin not as happy as it used to be? If you’ve tried every product you can get your hands on to make your complexion look clearer and healthier to no avail, it’s time to look deeper. Your hormones may be wreaking havoc with your skin. Find out how to zero in on what’s causing your breakouts and how to treat hormonal acne naturally.
As if dealing with the daily ins and outs of life isn’t taxing enough, our hormones have to throw us curveballs on the regular. From monthly cycles of ovulation and menses, through perimenopause and menopause, we go through highs and lows of hormonal balance that have big time effects on the way we look and feel. And this goes for skin too.
Rather than loading on the drugstore zit cream, it’s worth it to learn how hormones affect the system, why they cause certain skin issues, and what you can do about it.
Why You are Experiencing Adult Acne
Maybe you feel like your skin is going through its second puberty. Maybe this is your first go-round with acne. Either way, breakouts are no less distressing as an adult.
Hormonal acne symptoms tend to show up on hormone sensitive areas of the face – the cheeks, jawline, chin, and neck – and tend to be deeper rather than surface blemishes. Acne is one of the most common skin complaints in adults and grown up breakouts can be especially stubborn to deal with, since traditional acne products are often ineffective. That’s because what you are seeing on the outside is a result of what’s going on inside. Bacteria is only playing a small part in hormonal acne, so you'll need a new strategy to deal with it.
Our hormones fluctuate throughout our monthly cycle. Estrogen is at the helm of good looking, well behaved skin, and it’s responsible for keeping the complexion looking young, firm, and healthy. Since it’s the happy skin hormone, the complexion usually looks clear when estrogen is balanced.
Estrogen peaks during the second week of the cycle, during ovulation, then dips just before your period begins. During this dip and the progesterone surge that accompanies it is when most women see an uptick in breakouts that often last throughout their period. Women in perimenopause or those who are past menopause can also experience hormonal acne symptoms, since estrogen tends to diminish as we age.
So, what is the link between fluctuating estrogen and acne? A study done on women with oily skin showed an increase in sebum production the week before and during their period, and the lowest sebum production during the second week of the period which is during ovulation, when estrogen levels peak.
Stopping or starting birth control can also show an increase in acne due to changing hormone levels, as can diet. Certain foods are especially prone to causing hormonal imbalance acne in some individuals. Dairy and sugar, for instance, have been found to increase acne due to raising glycemic levels and influencing the hormones.
Another cause of adult acne is due to an overabundance of androgens (male sex hormones, like testosterone), often seen in women with PCOS, a condition of the endocrine system that can affect fertility. When estrogen and progesterone levels drop, testosterone increases, which can prevent ovulation and the estrogenic phase that gives skin a clear appearance, leading to breakouts around the time of the period.
How to Treat Hormonal Acne Naturally
If this is beginning to sound dismal, hang on. There are ways to combat signs of hormonal acne and keep your complexion looking healthy and radiant for years to come. The harsh acne treatments and products designed for teens are not the answer, though, because they do nothing to address hormonal imbalance acne. Benzoyl peroxide, the most common OTC acne medication, is strictly an antibacterial ingredient. It does nothing to help with the many other triggers of hormonal acne symptoms.
Another reason to avoid mainstream zit zappers is that they are designed to dry out the skin, eliminating the oiliness that is often associated with acne. Sapping skin of natural oils not only makes skin feel rough and irritated, it can cause flakiness. And dry, flaky skin can clog pores and lead to breakouts. Certainly not the goal, here.
First off, if you feel you may have PCOS or a health issue that is causing your skin issues, talk to your doctor. A trained herbalist, naturopath, functional medicine doctor, or natural chiropractor would also be able to help you with hormone imbalance acne. When dealing with treating a hormone imbalance it is best to get detailed tests done so that the right approach can be taken to treat it. Blood, saliva, and stool testing can be done to tell you very detailed information about your hormone levels. Once you get your results you and your practitioner can determine which herbs and therapies will be optimal for your unique body chemistry.
A relationship with a Holistic Esthetician will be a good resource for dealing with existing deeply congested pimples and scars. They will be able to offer therapeutic treatments that will help the skin balance and rejuvenate itself without risky prescription medications. Techniques like blue light LED therapy and facial massage are noninvasive and can help your skin while you work on your hormone balance in other ways. Having a regular facial booking is also extremely relaxing and can lower stress hormone levels, which will benefit your skin in a big way. The benefits of therapeutic touch and facial massage from your esthetician go deep to mobilize your body's healing response.
Many Holistic Estheticians have training in nutrition, and will be able to consult for you on dealing with hormonal imbalance from the inside as well. How to treat hormonal acne naturally really involves a lifestyle approach with many facets. You can also play your part to treat hormonal acne naturally at home and ward off the appearance of further breakouts.
Natural Topical Ingredients for Hormonal Acne
Natural herbal ingredients can visibly clear the skin, reduce signs of redness and irritation, and offer a balancing sensation to overly dry or oily skin types. Oils may not be the first ingredients to come to mind when addressing hormonal acne, but it’s important to remember that balance is key and there are several natural oils that help to beautify the skin and lessen the appearance of breakouts.
Evening Primrose Oil is one ingredient that works well on hormone imbalance acne, helping to diminish the appearance of breakouts and clogged pores. The oil is rich in Omega 6 essential fatty acids including the rare Gamma-linoleic acid. By keeping the skin well nourished it calms oil production from pores, reduces the appearance of redness, and helps you create an even-toned, radiant look. This oil is also well suited to protect and condition menopausal and post-menopausal skin, which may suffer from increasing dryness. All ages can benefit from this ideal natural hormonal acne treatment oil.
Several other oils that can be extremely helpful for hormonal acne are hemp seed oil and tamanu oil. Hemp has a perfect ratio of Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids and offers softening, absorbent properties that are good for all ages. Tamanu is an ideal oil to help skin that is recovering from breakouts. It has some very unique phytochemical nutrients that help your skin build new cells, making those breakout marks a thing of the past quickly.
Herbs acne often responds to are willowbark and fennel. Both are cleansing and toning due to the phytonutrients they contain, and minimize the appearance of congestion and breakouts. Willowbark contains Beta-hydroxy acids that help skin exfoliate efficiently, removing dead skin cells that could serve as food for bacteria or cause a clog. Fennel has pore-cleansing properties contributed by its essential oil compounds.
Keep in mind that anti-bacterial herbs may not be the first choice for addressing hormonal acne as the causes differ. Reach for herb ingredients that have anti-inflammatory, soothing, exfoliating, and regenerative properties instead.
Sea salt is good for balancing oil production and makes skin look purified and decongested. Try making your own sea salt spray for skin by following the recipe below:
SIMPLE DEAD SEA SALT SPRAY
1 cup of boiling water
1 tablespoon sea salt or Dead Sea Salt
Combine both ingredients and allow to cool. Spritz onto clean skin twice daily and follow with facial oil or moisturizer. May be stored in refrigerator for up to three months.
Internal Ingredients for Hormonal Acne: Natural Herbs Acne Treatment Tips
The liver acts as a filter for the body’s hormones, helping to create a state of balance. Most people have overly taxed livers due to alcohol consumption, prescription medications, and low quality foods, which can cause hormonal imbalance. Dandelion, a liver supportive herb, is effective in improving the appearance of hormonal acne and is a safe supplement for most people, even those with a high estrogen or a sensitivity to estrogen. Try brewing a dandelion root and leaf tea, or making dandelion "coffee" from the roasted root. Kicking your morning coffee with a dandelion root brew is great for you in many ways by taking stress off your adrenal glands, nourishing your gut health instead of eroding it, and hydrating you deeply first thing in the morning with a mineral-rich brew. As a bonus this is even an herb you can wildharvest from your yard if you choose.
High blood sugar levels contribute to inflammation and
IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor 1) presence, which aggravates hormonal acne. Consuming low sugar, low glycemic foods is a great start to managing your blood sugar levels, but you might want a little extra help. You can spice things up for a delicious solution to this sugar problem.
Cinnamon and turmeric are common spices that make easy additions to your diet. Make your morning beverage with some cinnamon, put it in your smoothies, and use it in flavorful sauces. The Ceylon cinnamon variety is recommended for daily consumption. Cinnamon has been shown to increase cell sensitivity to insulin, which helps your body remove sugar from your blood and put it to use as energy. Cinnamon works to keep blood sugar levels lower, which helps prevent inflammation and unwanted hormone imbalance in your system. Turmeric is another spice that helps to manage healthy blood sugar levels. Turmeric has been shown in studies to have hypoglycemic properties, so consume this yellow wonder in curries, sauces, and golden milks. Just make sure you don't hurt the blood sugar benefits by adding additional table sugar, honey, maple syrup, or other sweeteners to your dishes. Both these spices also have additional health benefits like being antioxidants and anti-inflammatories.
To address signs of androgen dominance, try sipping spearmint tea twice daily. It’s not only delicious but studies show this herb helps to balance testosterone levels and improve the appearance of hormonal acne symptoms.
The suggestions we are providing are suitable for most people and have few potential negative interactions. See a naturally-focused nutritionist for a customized diet plan that will help you bust the symptoms of hormonal acne and make the most of the foods you eat in your fight against breakouts.
Hormonal imbalance may cause skin upheaval, but it doesn’t have to mean suffering through chronic breakouts. Take steps to understand your hormonal acne symptoms, talk to your health provider and holistic esthetician, and get in on the goodness of natural oils and herbs for acne.
Disclaimer: The information contained on this site is general in nature and for informational purposes. It is not meant to substitute for the advice provided by your own physician or other medical professional. None of the statements on this site are a recommendation as to how to treat any particular disease or health-related condition. If you suspect you have a disease or health-related condition of any kind, you should contact your health care professional immediately. Please read all product packaging carefully and consult with a healthcare professional before starting any diet, exercise, supplementation or medication program. Cosmetic products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.