I never thought I’d be dealing with acne at age 27. I was under the false impression that acne was merely for teenagers in the oily throes of puberty. Funny enough, I didn’t have acne at all as a teenager. I’d get the occasional pimple, but I really did have great skin. That’s definitely not the case anymore.
My jawline is beginning to look like the moon—the bloodmoon in fact. (Did you see it last night?! Magnificent! Zany! Astronomical!) It’s always inflamed, blotchy, and there are always at least four large and red pimples. Not fun, my friends. At. All.
(LUSH is my happy place! Bath bombs for life. Also, this graphic made me smile while I was in there the other day.)
I realized it was for sure hormonal acne a few months ago after observing my breakout zones and the timing. My breakouts get worse when I am ovulating and right before my period. And they are always on my jaw, lower cheeks and chin! HORMONES. And stomach issues.
This is not a good thing. Clearly. I have hypothyroidism, so there’s that to factor in with wonky hormonal imbalances. I am also a mother of young kids, and I SWEAR my body is still adjusting to the hormone shifts of bearing children. However, I’ve arrived to the conclusion that a lot of it relates to what is going on inside my body. Specifically my stomach and digestive system.
I’ve been diagnosed with every bowel disease out there—IBS, Celiac’s, ulcers… I’m waiting for the day the gastroenterologist tells me I have colitis or Crohn’s disease. Each year I get tested and then the results change, and I am re-diagnosed with a new gastrointestinal issue. It’s frustrating, and I am starting to see its unfortunate effects on my face. When the gut’s not happy, ain’t nobody happy!
And now here is a no filter iPhone photo of my bare, sweaty face after I scrubbed the floor so you can see exactly what I’m talking about. Even here it doesn’t look as bad as it does up close and in the flesh.
I thought I’d try a few natural remedies for getting rid of hormonal acne to see if they made a difference in the quality of my skin and in my gut health. They go as follows (and not in order of importance, just in order of my shoddy memory):
1. Epsom salt baths. This helps draw out excess toxins in the body, and also doubles as a fake spa day after wrangling kids for hours. I’ve been lighting an apple spice candle and listening to Elizabeth Gilbert’s Magic Lessons podcast. I highly recommend! Which leads me to my next thing…
2. Decreasing stress. Baths and candles and an inspirational podcast will absolutely aid in reducing stress in your life. Yoga, meditating and exercise is another one I like to do. Exercise is good for the skin because it also helps release toxins and gets proper blood flow to the skin.
3. Cutting out dairy, sugar, and eating more leafy greens. This one is preposterous to me. A world without cheese, butter, ice cream, and sugar is no world worth living in! Obviously, I still eat these, but I am trying to cut back on the excessive amount. Also, eating all the green foods is MAGIC for your skin. Liz Gilbert needs to add a segment in her podcast about that. One green smoothie a day keeps the acne away!
4. Sleep. It’s 11:32 pm right now, and I am obviously not following my own rules. Aaaaannndd I ate a swirl ice cream sundae for dinner. And the closest I got to having green in my meal was the green logo on my napkin. Oops. Do as I say, not as I do, people! But really, sleep is the number one thing for having great skin. Pretend this is tip number one, okay?
5. Drinking tons of water. Alright, so I think this is actually the number one tip for glowing, radiant skin. The recommended amount of water per day is 64 ounces. That is at least eight glasses of water. Whenever I am diligent about my water intake, my skin starts behaving like its old self and clears up. Water is the real dermal elixir, really. My cousin’s wife’s mom has the most beautiful, flawless, hardly-wrinkled skin and she is in her 60’s. It’s gorgeous to the point where you are mesmerized by her face and ask upon meeting her for the first time, “What are your beauty secretz?!” Her answer: “WATER! Drink gallons of it, darling.” Done.
5. Exfoliating. This is my weak spot. I hate exfoliating. I feel like I am abusing my skin, but all the skin experts always tell me to do this. They are always right. If you are fancy, you might have one of those Clarisonic brushes. If you are frugal (cheap) like me, you resort to a washcloth and this exfoliating scrub. The combination of the two works well for me. I also like to apply a Bentonite clay mask once a week. It looks scary and you feel like your face is melting as you wash it off, but your skin will be so smoooooth afterward.
6. Taking probiotics and vitamins. My gut feels so much better now that I have been taking probiotics to help with bacteria balance in there. I take Vitamin D, a B-complex vitamin, and Omega-3 fish oil as well. Oh, and I also drink apple cider vinegar tea first thing in the morning. It’s full of that crunchy mother earth juju that gives your body superpowers. And if I’m not drinking that, I drink a bottle of kombucha. I swear on my life it helps get rid of the candida (yeast) and restores everything to its proper place. The result? Glowing skin. There is a reason that hippie guy selling you granola at the organic, raw farmer’s market has eyes as radiant as sapphires and skin like a Greek god. I’m jumping body and soul onto that bandwagon.
I also really like this infographic as a guide:
I am obviously not a doctor (although I am really good at meandering my way through WebMD) and these are not proven results for getting rid of hormonal acne. These are simply remedies that have helped me clear up some of my acne. The trouble for me is staying on track with all of them simultaneously. However, the one time I have managed to follow the rules (rare, but it happens on occasion), I was very pleased and relieved to know there is a solution for hormonal acne out there.
If you are dealing with the same issues, I feel your pain, and I hope these tips help! And send your tips my way, too!