How to Get Rid of Hormonal Acne (Hint: It's Possible)

How to Get Rid of Hormonal Acne (Hint: It's Possible)

CEO of CLEARSTEM Skincare
By: Danielle Gronich

Danielle Gronich, known as The Acne Guru™ is the formulator and CEO of CLEARSTEM Skincare, a non-toxic skincare line that uses premium ingredients to correct acne, acne scars, DNA damage, and melasma. Danielle studied cellular biology and genetics throughout her education and has had a passion for solving acne

Danielle Gronich, known as The Acne Guru™ is the formulator and CEO of CLEARSTEM Skincare, a non-toxic skincare line that uses premium ingredients to correct acne, acne scars, DNA damage, and melasma. Danielle studied cellular biology and genetics throughout her education and has had a passion for solving acne

What is Hormonal Acne?

Hormonal acne is acne caused by hormonal fluctuation. Although hormonal acne is mostly connected with hormone changes during adolescence, it can impact adults of both sexes at any age.

Our hormone system is very delicate and can easily be disrupted due to diet, lifestyle, and environmental factors. There are many health issues that can arise from hormonal imbalances, and unfortunately acne is one of the issues that can manifest. 

What Does Hormonal Acne Look Like?

Initial hormonal acne is typically located where we have the most oil glands such as the nose, forehead, and chin, specifically, during the teen years. Whereas adult hormonal acne appears on the lower half of the face such as the bottom of the cheeks and the jawline where we have the deepest hair follicles.

Hormonal acne can manifest as blackheads, whiteheads, or even cysts. Cystic acne originates deep beneath the skin and is often sensitive and even tender to the touch.

How Do I Know If My Acne is Hormonal?

Hormonal acne can be triggered by a variety of hormonal changes. Some of the most common hormonal phases that cause hormonal acne are menstruation, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), and heightened androgen levels which occur as a result of menopause.

These hormonal changes can stimulate acne problems by increasing skin inflammation as well as oil production within follicles and pores which therefore clog pores and hair follicles.

As mentioned above, hormonal breakouts often occur on the lower half of the face, especially the jawline. If you are experiencing breakouts on this area of your face, there’s a good chance you’re dealing with hormonal acne.

Here's Exactly What to Do If You Struggle With Hormonal Acne:

If you are someone who deals with hormonal acne there are some simple yet effective steps you can take to control acne breakouts. 

  • Ensure that you apply a conservative amount of acne products to your skin to avoid drying out your skin and causing a backfire response of thicker oil 
  • Although it sounds obvious, it’s important to thoroughly cleanse your face morning and evening to rid your face of any makeup, oil, bacteria, or germs. 
  • Check all your current skincare and cosmetic products to ensure you are only using acne-safe products to reduce clogged pores. 
  • Wearing non-comedogenic, oil-free sunscreen is essential to keep your skin healthy. Sun exposure may dry out the skin and over time can cause the skin to generate more oil and clog pores. (1)

Look Into Potential Hormone Imbalances

There isn't one single test that doctors can use to diagnose a hormone imbalance. So it's important to make an appointment with your doctor for a physical examination to discuss your symptoms. Your doctor may recommend one or more diagnostic tests based on your symptoms. 

The most common test will test your blood as the majority of hormones are detectable through blood testing. A blood test can enable your physician to analyze your thyroid, estrogen, testosterone, and cortisol levels. If you are a female, having a pelvic exam or mammogram may also be helpful. 

There are also tests available you can do at home that can evaluate hormones such as progesterone, testosterone as well as, cortisol levels, and thyroid hormones by testing saliva or blood from your fingertip. 

LetsGetChecked offers FDA-approved at-home exams. Once you have the results back from your at-home test it’s important to discuss the results with your doctor. (2)

Pay Attention to Your Diet

Research shows that diet, specifically the Standard American Diet (SAD), is a prevalent culprit in triggering hormonal acne because of the large presence of high glycemic index (GI) foods such as fast food, cereal, and baked goods.

The glycemic index (GI) is a method of determining how foods raise blood sugar levels in the body. High GI foods are common in Standard American Diets, and they have a huge negative impact on blood sugar levels. This partially explains why acne is so common in the United States in comparison with other countries.

According to Medical News Today research shows that in areas that consume more low GI foods, the presence of acne was found to be lower. Researchers found that acne rates spiked when participants began eating Western foods like soda, dairy, and processed foods. Other popular high GI foods are baked pastries, candy, sweet desserts, and processed carbohydrates such as sugary breakfast cereals and white bread. 

In addition to high GI foods, research shows that there could be a link between cow’s milk and acne. Some studies show that cow's milk may be an acne trigger for some people. 

Some people may benefit from modifying their diet to help heal hormonal acne. Although it’s important to always check with your doctor or a nutrition professional before making any serious dietary changes, foods that have a low GI may offer substantial positive results on your hormonal health and skin health as well.

Consuming meals with a lower GI has other positive benefits such as blood sugar control. Foods with low GI to consider are whole grains, beans, nuts, and seeds as well as non-starchy vegetables and fruits like apples, plums, and berries. 

Food rich in fiber are foods you’ll want to focus on. Many foods found within the Mediterranean diet such as olive oil, eggs, lean poultry, and fish can have a positive effect on maintaining blood sugar levels while also offering essential nutrients for optimal skin health. (3

Look into Food Sensitivities

Research shows us that acne is an inflammatory issue. Some food sensitivities can contribute to inflammation. Food sensitivities often develop when your immune system mistakenly sees a specific food as a threat and attacks it. This results in the body producing inflammatory chemicals which often trigger acne. 

If you aren’t sure of your acne triggers that occur as a result of your diet, the best way to identify them is to analyze the side effects of various foods through an elimination diet under the care of a dietitian or nutrition professional. (4

Do You Have an Excess of or Deficiency in Certain Vitamins or Minerals?

Vitamin D deficiency is linked to Hashimoto's disease, an autoimmune thyroid disorder. Although the majority of our vitamin D comes from the sun and foods such as milk, eggs, cheese, and even seafood like salmon, many people who are deficient from food and sun alone take vitamin D supplements. Vitamin D is an essential nutrient for bone-building which is vital to the thyroid because hyperthyroidism causes bone loss. 

Vitamin D deficiency is common among those with acne. Although less common, having an excess of vitamin D can trigger acne as well because excess vitamin D in the body can throw testosterone out of balance.

Research shows that around 30% of people with thyroid disorders are B12 deficient. Vitamin B12 is found in meat and dairy products as well as nutritional yeast. Deficiency in B vitamins is also common among those with acne.

Iodine is required for the production of thyroid hormones in the body and hormones regulate the body's metabolism and a variety of other functions. If you have an excess or deficiency in iodine this can negatively affect your thyroid. Iodine is used to make thyroid hormones, therefore having too much or too little can be harmful to your thyroid. (5)

Check Your Beauty Products for Hormone-Disrupting Ingredients

Endocrine-disrupting chemicals can be found in a variety of cosmetic products such as soaps, nail polish, and hairspray. Parabens are also linked to endocrine disruption and they have commonly used preservatives in cosmetics. 

Look for ingredients such as methylparaben, propylparaben, isoparaben, or butylparaben. Polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins are ingredients to look for in cosmetic packaging. Bisphenol A or BPA is also found in the packaging of feminine hygiene products and toiletries. Research has shown BPA to interact with hormone receptors and the thyroid.

Triclosan is an antimicrobial agent used in personal care products that can be dangerous because of its absorption in the skin and its effects on reproductive issues. Benzophenone-3 is often found in sunscreen and cosmetics that contain UV protection. It can have serious negative effects on the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal system. 

Phthalates are another endocrine-disrupting substance often listed as a fragrance in cosmetic products such as nail polish, lotions, soaps, shampoos, perfume, and hair sprays. (6)

Your Body May Need a Functional Medicine Liver Detox

The liver is one of the most important organs within the body and it is tasked with a wide range of essential functions, including purifying toxins from the bloodstream, processing nutrients, and regulating hormones. Functional detoxes are a great method to keep your liver healthy. 

A professionally designed detoxification plan can be a powerful way to hit the reset button for your hormones. It’s important to work with a professional when attempting to detox your liver. Some plans promote very low-calorie diets that starve the body of the nutrients needed to optimize the detoxification process. (7)

It May Be Time to Work With a Practitioner

Working with a hormonal practitioner or medical professional to get to the root cause of your specific hormonal acne is key because the root cause will be different for everyone.

Working with a practitioner will guide you down the right path of balancing your hormones in a healthy way. Treatment for a hormonal imbalance is determined by the cause. 

There are various natural ways to balance your hormones through nutritional supplements, modifying your diet, and even yoga has shown to aid with the symptoms of hormone imbalance for some. Hormones are in charge of important essential functions. When hormones are out of balance, the effects can be life-altering and critical to address. (8

Takeaway 

Though hormonal acne is triggered by a variety of different reasons and can differ from person to person, being educated and proactive can help in taking charge of your skin health and your health in general. Hormonal acne can be triggered as a result of typical hormonal changes but it can also be an indicator of a hormonal imbalance. 

There are multiple ways to combat hormonal acne safely and naturally. From modifying your diet, reducing stress through lifestyle changes, and ensuring all cosmetic and hygiene products are safe and won’t add to clogging your pores or disrupting your endocrine system, there are many options available to empower yourself and achieve your long term health goals. 

 Danielle Gronich | @danielle.the.acne.guru

Sources:

Source 1: How to Prevent Acne: 14 Tips to Manage Pimples https://www.healthline.com/health/acne/how-to-prevent-pimples#10

Source 2: Everything You Should Know About Hormonal Imbalance https://www.healthline.com/health/hormonal-imbalance#diagnosis

Source 3: Can you treat acne with a hormonal acne diet? https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/hormonal-acne-diet#other-options

Source 4: Top 7 Foods That Can Cause Acne https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/foods-that-cause-acne#TOC_TITLE_HDR_8

Source 5: Four nutrients to help your hormone imbalance - and two foods to avoid https://wexnermedical.osu.edu/blog/four-nutrients-to-help-your-hormone-imbalance

Source 6: The Chemicals to Avoid in Your Shampoo and Body Wash https://www.healthline.com/health-news/the-chemicals-to-avoid-in-your-shampoo-and-body-wash#What-products-should-you-choose

Source 7: 7 Ways to Improve the Health of Your Liver https://www.healthline.com/health/liver-detox-home-remedy#bottom-line

Source 8: Everything You Should Know About Hormonal Imbalance https://www.healthline.com/health/hormonal-imbalance#treatment

CEO of CLEARSTEM Skincare
By: Danielle Gronich

Danielle Gronich, known as The Acne Guru™ is the formulator and CEO of CLEARSTEM Skincare, a non-toxic skincare line that uses premium ingredients to correct acne, acne scars, DNA damage, and melasma. Danielle studied cellular biology and genetics throughout her education and has had a passion for solving acne

Danielle Gronich, known as The Acne Guru™ is the formulator and CEO of CLEARSTEM Skincare, a non-toxic skincare line that uses premium ingredients to correct acne, acne scars, DNA damage, and melasma. Danielle studied cellular biology and genetics throughout her education and has had a passion for solving acne