There is a huge misconception that hormonal acne can’t be helped, or that we just have to deal with it as is. Not true. Diet and supplements play a pivotal role in determining your hormonal equilibrium. Here are the hormonal factors that most commonly affect acne:

Testosterone and Other Androgens - Food items like coffee, peanuts and dairy can all raise testosterone if consumed in high doses. Thing is, you don’t need much to trigger acne. Someone who is breaking out will see their skin worsen after consuming dairy or coffee. Other items that commonly trigger testosterone are zinc supplements and vitamin D supplements, because they stuff way too much concentration into a single dose. The devil is in the dosage, always. During cold season we always see a flare up in hormonal acne due to the use of zinc supplements; it’s practically a guarantee that you’ll get an acne flare up if you are acneic and begin supplementing with zinc. Another random supplement that can cause a spike in your T levels is calcium. We need calcium, but we need it from food – not the altered style and high dosage that comes in pill form.

High-Androgen Birth Control - The following are best to avoid if you’d like to avoid acne: Depo-Provera, Nuva-Ring, Lo-Estrin, Ortho Tri-Cyclen-Lo, Microgestin and hormonal IUDs.

Sugar and Alcohol Over-Consumption - Alcohol messes with hormones in a double-whammy. Initially it will increase testosterone, then leave you with higher estrogen levels a few days later. We do not recommend drinking alcohol more than once per week if you are acneic.

Period Breakouts - The monthly curse. Believe it or not, the pores have generally been clogged all month (see the list of secret pore-cloggers). The skin can maintain relatively peaceful skin-hormone balance until PMS week, in which testosterone spikes, and then we see the acne present itself. Once our patients rid their routines of pore-cloggers and begin exfoliating at the right level for their skin type, they can dodge the PMS flare ups extremely well!

PSOC. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome - This condition is directly linked to a high-androgen hormone profile, which results in persistent acne all month long. There is, however, a way to minimize the acne effects by eating a low-androgen, low-inflammation diet. The 80/20 rule we discussed, along with alkalizing green juices, can make a world of difference here. Those with PCOS should avoid all alcohol and stimulants.

Medications, Pharmaceuticals, and Drugs - Anything that keep you up at night can make you break out. Adderall, Ritalin, Wellbutrin, Zoloft, just to name a few. You can easily look up the name of your prescription and “testosterone” in Google, and see if there’s a correlation.

 Danielle Gronich | @danielle.the.acne.guru

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