This seems to be one of the biggest challenges women face throughout their hormonal journey - breakouts.
Acne as a teenager can be quite debilitating and can not only affect self esteem and also mood but can actually leave physical scarring.
Acne as an adult is the same and it can be really upsetting to still have huge breakouts as a woman and embarrassing.
But why do we get hormonal outbreaks around our period or at all?
Acne is caused when the skin produces more sebum (oil) than it needs and it blocks pores (along with dead skin cells and bacteria) and it becomes a 'cyst' or a pimple.
There are differing types of acne:
- Cystic (huge, painful and blind 'spots' that have no head and feel very large under the skin. These can occur on the face, chest and back. Often found in PCOS and can be concentrated on the chin and jaw line.
- Pustules (have a white head)
- Black heads (blocked pores)
Once bacteria is introduced it causes an inflammatory response within the body, white and blackhead acne are not usually inflammatory it is more the cystic acne that is.
So what causes hormonal acne?
The major cause is the hormone testosterone. In puberty we get a boost of testosterone, it causes male development in boys and helps females with muscle and bone strength. But testosterone also increases sebum (oil) production at the hair base, and the oil glands that produce the sebum are very very sensitive to testosterone.
With women who suffer from PCOS this is what happens as well, the excess testosterone they produce affects their skin and also causes excessive hair growth. Often due to being stimulated by too much sugar within the body (insulin sensitivity).
When our estrogen levels fall the testosterone may seem more predominant and acne may become more prolific.
Acne breakouts can also be a sign of excess estrogen in the body, one of the most common hormonal conditions for women.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?!
- NEVER over clean your skin. I know you want to deep clean but the more you strip the skin the more oil it will produce. Consider using a gentle skin balm as a cleanser that will remove the 'dirt' and make up but not overly strip your skin.
Helping to support your hormones is key. You want to look at what you are eating and what 'good' foods you can add in. Skin loves Vitamin C so eating foods rich in this will help support your hormones. Our glowing skin blend is designed to have foods that the skin loves in it! You can also eat more bitter foods, drink more water,reduce your dairy and gluten intake and eat more fibre rich foods such as nuts, vegetables and seeds - Try sprinkling our hormone loving seeds over your meals. Zinc is also great for helping skin so eating foods rich in this such as pumpkin seeds can be really beneficial.
Up your fibre intake to help with waste and excess hormone elimination. One of the hormones that can cause a lot of PMS issues is the hormone estrogen. Eating more fibre rich foods can help get rid of this hormone through the bowel. Our fibre blend makes it easy to just sprinkle onto meals or into smoothies
Reduce your sugar consumption and balance your sugar levels. ESPECIALLY if you have PCOS. It will help reduce the inflammation in the body as well. Try and have .a snack such as a pear with a layer of almond butter or a sprinkle of seeds, the fibre, fats and protein will help to stabilise your blood sugars. You might like to try our sugar craving support spray to help.
Remember that hormones take at least 4 months to replenish and your skin may take up to 6 months for you to see full results. It's not a quick fix but by helping support your body you can and will have the glowing skin you dream of!
You can also consider working with a Naturopath or herbalist to help you monitor what is going on and also tailor a plan for you. (We will be opening our doors for consults in June! as well as our hormone support programme pop your name on our mailing list here) You can spend a lot of money on differing products and some guidance can be very beneficial and save you money in the long run.