If you are an adult struggling with acne, you’re not alone. In my clinical practice, I’m constantly surprised by the number of women that struggle with acne and can’t find relief. The first step toward curing your acne is to learn as much as you can about your symptoms, so you can understand the underlying issues.

In January 2017, a study reported that clinical acne affects 45 percent of women ages 21 to 30, 26 percent of women 31 to 40, and 12 percent of women ages 41 to 50. More adult women are getting pimples than ever before. The cause of acne goes deeper than your skin-care regimen and is rooted in keeping your hormones healthy!

When it comes to adult acne, you’ll need to tap into your inner Nancy Drew to determine where skin changes have occurred. Whether you’re dealing with acne from your teenage years, adult onset, or it’s seemingly brand new, you can start to determine if it’s due to changes in hormones, environment, lifestyle, birth control, or another new factor in your life.

Since there are various causes for acne, let’s take a look at the different types of acne. In this article we will discuss two: immune related and hormonal.

Immune-Related Acne

An inflammatory, immune-related reaction can usually show up as a rash-like appearance on the face or any part of the body.

Stagnant lymph and immune function can lead to inflammatory skin conditions. Currently, there is a rise in autoimmune diseases, which compromise the immune system. With autoimmune diseases, the immune system attacks healthy cells, including your pores, by mistake.

Immune-Related Acne Treatment

The first line of restoring your inflammatory, immune-related acne is usually to focus on stress management and digestive health, particularly inflammation. Here are some healing tips to begin:

  • Try the Elimination Diet for 2–4 weeks. Then, slowly start reintroducing foods to determine your triggers. Take note on how your body and acne react to each type of food you consume. These food groups include: sugar, dairy, grains, legumes, processed foods, and eggs (for some). Take note of your feelings and symptoms and work with a doctor or nutritionist to understand your findings.
  • Add fermented foods to your meals—this will help add good bacteria into your gut. The good bacteria will help heal systemic inflammatory responses including the largest organ in your body, your skin!
  • Add collagen powder to a glass of water two times a day to assist healing your gut lining. The intestinal lining will prevent undigested food and bacteria from passing through the bloodstream, which will reduce inflammation.
  • Spend a few minutes a day doing a relaxing activity that will decrease stress and help you connect to your body and inner stillness. This could be a nap, meditation, staring at nature, or whatever is relaxing for you. Cortisol can raise when we are stressed, which can directly increase testosterone. Testosterone can be a leading cause of acne.
  • Add to your diet fish oil and other healthy fats, such as avocado and wild Alaskan salmon. Healthy fats can lower inflammation.

Treat Hormonal Acne

Some women experience hormonal acne and PMS symptoms before ovulation, while for others, these symptoms manifest before menstruation. Hormonal acne can be exhibited at either time.

There are many ways we can get hormonal acne. One way is when testosterone turns into Dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which leads to an increase of sebum production and male pattern hair loss. This high testosterone level can cause hormonal cystic acne, oily skin, and clogged pores. Low progesterone is a causative factor in leading testosterone into DHT. When progesterone levels are low then they regulate DHT levels. One main way progesterone becomes low is when estrogen is dominant.  

Hormonal Acne Treatment

Understanding the relationship between your diet and your body is key to treating your hormonal acne. Here are some healing techniques to begin with:

  • Liver Cleanse! Your liver is at the core of your body’s natural detoxification mechanisms. It also regulates fat, digestion, and circulation, which makes it a key factor in maintaining hormonal balance. The liver needs help cleansing because our world is filled with toxins. When toxins enter the bloodstream faster than the liver can break them down, then the liver becomes toxic and sluggish. One of the biggest signs of a toxic liver is estrogen dominance. Since the body isn’t detoxing estrogen, it is recirculated throughout the body, causing further toxication.
  • Reduce xenoestrogen exposure. These are endocrine disruptors and mimic estrogen, so your body believes you have extra estrogen. It will go straight to the already over-sluggish liver. Xenoestrogens are found in plastic containers, food sprayed with pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides, and household cleaning products. They’re also found in our tampons, pads and condoms. Cora has life changing products that are free of dioxins and other toxic byproducts, with no plastic chemicals or pesticide residue.
  • Balance your blood sugar levels. Eating high-glycemic-index carbohydrates and foods filled with sugar will raise your blood sugar and insulin levels. This will increase testosterone levels because insulin causes your ovaries to produce more testosterone. The key is to focus on adding wild, pasture-raised and grass-fed protein, healthy fats, lots of greens, and fiber to each meal. This will help stabilize blood sugar levels and eliminate excess estrogen.

Acne can be a warning sign that your body needs some extra attention and support. For many, there is a crucial link between your complexion and the foods you are eating. Your diet is your first line of defense to improve your skin.

Featured image by Nicole Mason

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  • I have bad hormonal acne that comes durning ovulation and horrible durning my luteal phase. I found two supplements, Estroblock and DHT block that claim to regulate testosterone and help estrogen maintain a healthy level. would these be good things to consider? I’ve tried everything under the sun, eat clean, don’t use plastics, have blue light glasses to not mess with my internal rhythm, tried going to a natural doctor, everything. I’m exhausted and frustrated and have no idea what to do next.


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