You don’t need to be going through puberty to experience hormonal acne. As adults (both male and female) it can feel extremely upsetting when you have an outbreak of acne, leading to social anxiety, isolation and in some case, depression. I hope this piece gives some insight into and options for a non pharmacological treatment approach to resolve hormonal acne.
HORMONAL ACNE SYMPTOMS
One of the main symptoms of hormonal acne is an overproduction of oil. This oil contributes to a lot of acne related issues like pimples, whiteheads, blackheads, and just an overall shiny appearance.
THE MAIN CAUSES OF EXCESS SEBUM
There are 2 main causes of excess oil production:
- Toxicity in the body
- Excess hormones (specifically androgens)
Signs of excess toxins in the body manifest as:
- Frequent allergies
- Food intolerances
- Sluggish elimination pathways (digestion, liver, kidneys)
The causes of toxicity most often include:
- Poor diet (low quality/ too much junk food)
- Chemicals in the environment
- Low quality sleep
- Lack of exercise
- Poor lymph drainage
Excess hormones and hormone imbalances can be caused by:
- Emotional stress
- Physical stress
- Xenoestrogens in the environment (plastics like Tupperware)
- Hormone therapy (the pill)
- Genetic predisposition
- Consuming foods with excess hormones (non-organic meats and dairy)
For acne sufferers, these root causes can contribute to other types of illnesses like:
- Chronic fatigue
- Elevated cortisol levels (high stress)
- PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome)
- Blood sugar imbalances
- Insulin resistance
It is always a good idea to visit your GP for discussion about your acne and to request blood tests to check hormone levels, blood sugars and to rule out any other underlying condition that may be contributing towards hormone imbalance.
NON PHARMACOLOGICAL WAYS TO BALANCE HORMONES FOR CLEAR SKIN
1. Find ways to reduce stress, such as:
- keep active, running, walking, yoga
- enjoy a massage or reflexology session
- find a relaxation or meditation class
- take up a hobby you enjoy, that absorbs your mind
- make time for fun!
Whenever you’re stressed, your body pumps out more cortisol. More cortisol in your system increases androgens (male sex hormone) and can lead to a hormone imbalance. These activities will also help you to get a good nights sleep.
2.Sugar fluctuations from eating processed/junk food can create sugar spikes which creates stress on the body. Try to eat low GI (glycemic Index) foods. This means less potatoes, white flour products, and rice and more sweet potatoes, greens and grains.
3.Essential fatty acids reduce inflammation, balance hormones, and reduce androgens. Consider including these into your diet:
- Evening primrose oil
- Flax oil
- Borage oil
- High quality fish and fish oils, especially fermented cod liver oil
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Coconut oil
- Nuts and seeds
4. Perhaps consider seeing a Nutritionist for testing levels of vitamins and minerals to ensure you are not deficient, particularly in: Vit A, C, B, chromium, magnesium or zinc.
5. Visit a registered Medical Herbalist for a herbal prescription to include, a nervin for stress, support for the liver and hormone support.
ESSENTIAL OILS FOR TREATING EXISTING HORMONAL ACNE
Here are some ideas on home made remedies to help treat existing acne:
Skin Balancing Toner
- 1oz spritzer bottle
- 2tb raw apple cider vinegar
- 10 drops Eucalyptus radiata
- 10 drops Lavender
Shake well before each use and spritz onto a clean cotton ball. Apply to acne prone areas morning and night after cleansing the skin
Sebum Balancing Recipe
- 2TB carrier oil
- 1oz dropper bottle
- 20 drops Carrot Seed
- 10 drops German Chamomile
- 3 drops Myrrh
- 10 drops Geranium
- 7 drops Roman Chamomile
- 5 drops Yarrow
The essential oils in this blend reduce inflammation and discoloration, promote healing, and begin correcting and balancing sebum production.
To use – on freshly cleansed skin, apply 3-5 drops of healing serum to the face, concentrating on effected areas. Allow the serum to soak in for 5 minutes and them dab away any excess. Repeat this routine every morning for two weeks.