Hormonal Acne: How to Eat + How to Deal
Let’s face it, acne sucks.
There is absolutely no doubt about it.
I’ve been there. I’ve struggled and it’s frustrated the hell out of me in the past, but at the end of the day, I always say “how lucky are we that our body so clearly shows us when something is causing it distress?”.
Acne is a sign from your body that something is off, that something needs some of your tender love and attention. When we stop looking at our skin with frustration and anger, we can start looking at it with patience, gratitude and love—which is probably what your body is really craving over the latter.
There are many reasons why you could be experiencing acne on your face or on your body.
In fact, Traditional Chinese Medicine even maps out breakouts to different causes, which can for sure be a helpful insight.
Today, I want to talk to you about acne that occurs either on your back or around your lips, chin, jawline or neck. This acne tends to be hormonal in nature, and though topical treatments might help a bit— (trust, you’re talking to a skincare junkie)— at the end of the day I feel though supportive, the topical stuff won’t get you to where you want to be with your skin if you aren’t addressing the underlying hormonal issues you are facing (literally).
Signs your acne is related to your hormones:
it comes in cycles ( ladies, I recommend tracking your cycles and your symptoms in an app like FLO so you can see if there are common times when you breakout each month, for example at ovulation or right before your period begins)
the acne is on your back, jaw line, neck, chin or around your lips
the acne is cystic— which mean deeper, more painful, last longer and not “poppable”
topical stuff doesn’t seem to help
you’re no longer a teenager
you struggle with sleep or are struggling to manage your stress
If you can relate, firstly, know that I’m sending you and your sweet face lots of love and light. I know how upsetting, frustrating, deflating and all around shitty this can be— especially if you feel like you’ve struggled for along time and nothing seems to do the trick.
Right now, rather than getting too deep into the hormonal causes behind acne (I’ll save that for another day), let’s talk about a few simple things you can do starting right now to help balance your hormones and help clear up your skin.
3 Trigger Foods to Remove From your diet
I recommend removing dairy for a month and monitoring how things change. You can change to coconut milk, nut milk, oat milk or anything of the like— but opt for unsweetened and avoid soy if you can.
Refined Sugar + Flour
This will essentially eliminate more processed foods from your diet along with the crackery, muffiny, noodle type food that can further exacerbate skin issues. Instead, opt for whole grains, you can have oats with berries for breakfast, feel free to add a bit of honey or maple syrup for a bit of natural sweetness (just don’t over do it). Other examples of whole grains are ones like rice, quinoa or millet in their whole form— but I recommend sticking to 1/2 cup servings and not having them at every meal.
You’ll find these in a lot of takeout foods or restaurants that cook in cheap, highly processed oils (sometimes over and over again). These are oils such as soybean, canola, corn, cottonseed, sunflower, peanut, grapeseed oils and straight up “vegetable oil”.
The type of fat you consume can make a HUGE difference so I recommend investing in QUALITY oils that come in dark bottles and are unrefined— oils like olive oil, avocado oil, coconut, walnut oil, flax seed oil, hemp oil and as a supplement— quality fish oils. Check out this awesome resource for clarity on what oils you should be eating, which you shouldn’t and when to have them (ie- to cook with them or not).
5 Skin Loving Foods to Add to your diet
Dark leafy greens + cruciferous veggies
I challenge you to a smoothie and/or a big green salad daily
Anti-inflammatory fats from nuts, seeds and fatty fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel, anchovies, and tuna.
Prebiotic foods (which feed the good bacteria in your microbiome) such as apples, dandelion greens, garlic, onions, banana, and leeks
Probiotic foods (which support a balanced microbiome) such as kimchi, coconut kefir, kombucha, and sauerkraut.
Colourful fruits and veggies like orange carrots, sweet potatoes, and dark red and blue berries and cherries.
10 Lifestyle Tips That Can Help Balance your hormones
Get to bed before 11pm and make sleep a priority.
Drink half your body weight in ounces of filtered water daily
Make sure you are eliminating regularly— at least one bowel movement daily!
Exercise within your limits at least 3 times a week (ie- if you are very fatigued, stick to lighter, less-intense workouts)
Keep blood sugar balanced by managing your portions at each meal and having a healthy snack when you need to
Take at least 10 minutes daily to sit in silence focusing on nothing
Swap one daily coffee out for green tea with lemon
Use natural products on your skin and in and around your home as much as possible
Don’t spray perfume or use heavily fragranced things on your skin.
Eat organic as much as possible, especially for the DIRTY DOZEN
Starting here will set you off on the right path! Remember, it can take a good few weeks to really start noticing the fruits of your labour, so stick with it! I recommend taking a picture of your skin before you start so you have something to compare back to after a few weeks time. Hormones are particularly frustrating because it takes TIME for them to balance out and for benefits truly to be seen.
Stay tuned because I definitely want to follow this post up with some helpful supplement suggestions that can help speed up the process, but in the meantime— grab this free meal plan I made you to help get the diet part dialed-in— in the right away.
Lots of love to you and remember, when we start looking at this situation with more care, gratitude and patience—things will naturally start to shift in a better direction.