Adulthood comes with its own unique set of challenges, but one that many women are unpleasantly surprised to encounter is hormonal acne.
Most commonly associated with puberty and adolescence, studies show that as many as 50% of women 20-29 and 25% of women 40-49 struggle with hormonal changes that result in acne break-outs. Adult hormonal acne can even behave differently than the pesky pimples of your youth.
The sheer volume of medications, products and treatment options available can be overwhelming. And stressing about your break-outs can make them even worse! The good news is that there are natural remedies and lifestyle changes known to contribute greatly to the improvement of hormonal acne. You can get tough on hormonal acne while staying kind to your skin.
Determining and Understanding Triggers
There are multiple factors that contribute to hormonal imbalances in our adult years, including anxiety, diet, menopause, pregnancy, menstrual cycles, and oral contraceptives.
Hormonal acne typically appears on the jawline, chin or lower cheek and may often be cystic. It can flare up prior to your menstrual cycle or during particularly stressful seasons of life and understanding triggers can be crucial to managing and eventually eliminating adult hormonal acne. Luckily, many have journeyed before you, and we've collected some of their findings below.
While experts have yet to reach any kind of agreement when it comes to diet and hormonal acne, research and countless personal testimonies have strengthened the theory that dietary choices contribute to the health of our skin and the balance of our hormones.
For example, dairy is widely accepted as an ingredient to be avoided, at least in the week or two leading up to your period. White bread, breakfast cereal, and potato chips are all on the “no-fly” list for their proven reputations of being inflammatory and triggering hormonal changes. By contrast, foods that are known to positively balance hormones include avocados, quinoa, salmon, eggs and any dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, broccoli or chard.
Coffee (GASP!) increases stress hormones which can have a negative impact on your skin. Antioxidants in red wine, on the other hand, are said to have positive effects on the skin.
Because stress can have a major effect on our bodies and our skin, mindful management of stress and anxiety are key steps in maintaining a healthy overall balance. Regular exercise, such as walking, pilates, and yoga can all reduce stress and anxiety. If you needed an excuse to spend some quality time with a bubble bath, here’s one: Relaxation practices like taking a warm bath, deep-breathing, or aromatherapy can have a soothing effect on mind, body, spirit - and skin!
When meeting a patient with hormonal acne, one of the first things a dermatologist will address is emotional stress levels. The link between the two is very real and very scientific. The skin and the brain both create stress hormones that lead to break-outs and inflammation. So, take it easy. It’s Doctor’s orders!
Natural Treatments and Products
You can find natural items such as tea tree oil, green tea, and licorice root at your local grocery store or online for fairly cheap. These are all anti-inflammatory and the last two are anti-androgens, meaning they block testosterone. Most treatment of hormonal acne involves lowering free testosterone, which is why many oral contraceptives do the trick. Recipes for healing masks using common household ingredients such as organic honey, apple cider vinegar, and essential oils exist in abundance because these all-natural remedies have a soothing and healing effect on inflamed skin.
Some of the best natural products specifically designed to target adult hormonal acne include:
Votary Rescue Blemish Oil
The natural oils in this Rescue Blemish Oil and salicylic acid partner to reduce inflammation, speed recovery time, and restore balance.
Pai Perfect Balance Blemish Serum
This Balance Blemish Serum regulates oil production with ingredients like zinc and Hyaluronic acid. PAI products are alcohol, fragrance, and paraben-free, they contain no skin irritants and are known to balance, tone and speed recovery.
Ranavat Botanics Eternal Reign Detoxifying Mask
This mask uses botanical ingredients including anti-bacterial organic powders and superfoods like Manuka Honey with an aim of hydrating, illuminating, and balancing skin.
For natural products on a budget, check out:
Shea Moisture’s African Black Soap Clarifying Mask
Specially formulated for acne-prone skin, this clarifying mask draws out dirt and impurities.
Thayers Organic Lavender Mint Witch Hazel Astringent With Aloe Vera
A classic, certified organic toner made of all-natural ingredients that work to tone, cleanse, and soothe troubled skin.
Acne shouldn’t get in the way of your best life, or even your best face forward. Once you have determined that hormonal acne is the cause, your best bet is to maintain an acne-treatment routine. Successful routines are often a combination of exercise, healthy diet, stress reduction and natural skin-care products.
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