Acne isn't just a teenage phase in life. Many of us still experience hormonal breakouts for a variety of reasons. Fortunately, our naturopath Melanie Ruckley is on hand to outline the common causes of hormonal acne, alongside a bunch of holistic treatments we can all benefit from.
Hormonal breakouts are frustrating! So why do they occur, and what is the most effective hormonal acne treatment?
What is hormonal acne?
Before you tackle hormonal blemishes, it's essential to understand the underlying causes and how they differ for everyone. Hormonal breakouts can be caused by anything from stress to poor gut health. An effective way to avoid hormonal breakouts is by using toxin-free and nourishing topical products to calm and clear your skin. However, you'll also need to identify any internal imbalances that may be contributing to the problem. Working alongside our resident Nourished Life Naturopath, Melanie Ruckley, we'll help break down your breakouts.
Can stress cause the skin to break out?
The short answer is yes. When your body is under increased pressure, if you're feeling exhausted or worried, or you're simply a high achiever, stress can impact your natural hormone levels from functioning optimally. Which, in turn, can directly impact the quality and appearance of your skin.
One of our first recommendations for acne-prone skin is the Zilch herbal supplement and the Welleco Super Elixir Alkalising Greens. Both are fantastic daily supplements packed with alkalising greens and cold-pressed bio-live ingredients that the body can easily recognise. It also contains a unique blend of 4 probiotics to support gut health which is one of the keys to clear skin.
A common cause of hormonal breakouts is hormonal imbalance. This is particularly prevalent for women during certain stages of their menstrual cycle when hormones are fluctuating wildly. Women may also notice that acne breakouts often start between two to seven days before your period. This is due to a drop in oestrogen levels and a rise in progesterone levels, which in turn causes an increased production of facial oils. If your symptoms worsen around menstruation or you often experience difficult or erratic periods, you can benefit from the balancing herb Chaste Tree (you can ask your naturopath about this).
Our Naturopath Ruckley recommends addressing any stress with alternative products if you take the oral contraceptive pill. Some great ingredients to look out for are Evening Primrose Oil and Zinc. The Ethical Nutrients Hi-Strength Evening Primrose Oil offers comprehensive support that can support mood swings and energy levels.
(Always read the label and use only as directed. If symptoms persist, consult your healthcare practitioner. For use by adults only. Vitamin supplements should not replace a healthy diet.)
Lymphatic congestion-related acne
Your skin is the largest organ in your body and one of your primary lines of defence. Protect it by ensuring your lymphatic and digestive system flows well to rid your body of toxic buildup. A dry body brush can assist with supporting lymphatic functions by removing dry skin cells and improving circulation. Brush the groin, above the belly button, below the ribs, underarms, above the collarbone and under the jawline to stimulate blood flow and improve the overall health of your skin. Learn more about why you should be dry body brushing for your general health.
Poor gut function and blemishes
Eating a diet high in processed foods and refined sugars can lead to poor gut function, which can negatively impact your skin, as your body struggles to deal with high levels of sugar (fructose) in your diet. Sugar elimination is crucial for your body to efficiently get rid of waste. Naturopath Ruckley recommends starting the elimination process by cutting down on sugars and ensuring that you are eating quality proteins with each meal or snack. This will help to balance your blood sugar levels!
Having a high-quality protein powder on hand can help to avoid reaching for those sugary snacks! The Amazonia Raw Protein Isolate is an ideal way to enhance your gut functioning by fuelling your body with live digestive enzymes and high levels of BCAA. This delicious Cocoa Coconut powder is vegan and filled with natural prebiotics.
The Beauty Chef Inner Beauty Glow powder uses a unique fermentation process to provide nutrients to your body for clear skin from the inside. This delicious powder includes both prebiotics and probiotics to encourage the growth of good gut bacteria, which are known to assist the skin and help treat breakouts.
Another fantastic product for gut health is The Love Your Gut Powder which is designed to sweep the harmful bacterial and toxins from the gut (while keeping the good bacteria), helping to create an unburdened digestive system that more readily absorbs stores nutrients and hydration for clearer skin.
Step by Step skincare routine for acne-prone skin!
1. Cleanse with an oil balancing cleanser
Juniper Skincare Oil Balancing Cleanser is ideal for dehydrated and acne-prone skin. Made with Aloe Vera, Witch Hazel and Vitamin E, this cleanser helps to purify and clarify the skin without causing irritation. It's perfect for anyone with problematic skin as it may help balance dry skin and oily T-zones.
Weleda have recently introduced their Weleda Blemished Skin Purifying Gel Cleanser, which is specifically made for acne-prone skin, and this is attracting a lot of great reviews in-store.
2. Tone with a purifying toner
The Juniper Skincare Oil Purifying Treatment Toner is an ideal way to refresh your complexion throughout the day. It can help to mattify oily skin while balancing its natural pH levels, and this toner is also very hydrating, so it won't leave your skin feeling tight or dry.
I use The Beauty Chef Skin Refiner in place of a toner for balancing oil and keeping blemishes under control. It contains natural AHA's to remove dead skin cells and unblock pores. It also has lactic acid that helps to hydrate the skin, so for those days of the month where the skin is more oily, you can use this and skip your moisturiser altogether.
3. Gently exfoliate with a purifying facial exfoliant
The Pollen Botanicals Honey & Sugar Exfoliator has been specifically created to help manage monthly blemishes. It's a gentle, non-abrasive formula that is ideal for all skin types. Use up to three times a week by massaging a generous amount onto your skin.
4. Lightly moisturise with an oil balancing lotion
To finish off your skincare routine, our Naturopath recommends the Juniper Skincare Oil Balancing Lotion. This is a light moisturiser that balances the skin's natural oils to leave silk, matte complexion. It's filled with nourishing Camellia Oil and Vitamin E.
The daily moisturiser partner to the Weleda Blemished Skin Purifying Gel Cleanser is this Weleda Blemished Skin Refining Lotion. This contains Sage, Lavender Thyme and Witch Hazel which are all anti-acne herbs traditionally used to help improve blood circulation, control excess oil and keep pores clean.
For overnight hydration and blemish control, pure Jojoba Oil may be perfect for blemish-prone skin! It is the only oil that actually mimics the sebum in our own skin, so it actually helps control the excess oils that lead to breakouts.
Natural breakout treatments
Necessity Zit Stik
The Necessity Zit Stik is a 100% natural, anti-acne, anti-bacterial stick that you can apply directly to blemishes.
Mukti Clarity Balm
The Mukti Clarity Balm uses the benefits of Witch Hazel, Kakadu Plum and Organic Aloe to purify the skin by reducing excess oil build-up. Pat a little of this clear gel over the blemish area to help kill the bacteria and promote the healing of blemishes.
Weleda Blemished Skin S.O.S Spot Treatment
The Weleda Blemished Skin S.O.S Spot Treatment contains antibacterial willow extract, which fights impurities and begins to work on angry blemishes and pimples, reducing redness and relieving pressure. Feel calm, feel clear, feel relief for your skin.
Kiwiherb Skin Clear Gel
The Kiwiherb Skin Clear Gel uses a combination of antioxidants and antibacterial ingredients. It is gentle on the skin and made using a natural formulation of New Zealand native herbs. To use, apply to the affected area 2-3 times daily.
Celsus Bio-Intelligence Scar Cream
The Celsus Bio-Intelligence Scar Cream is excellent for helping to hydrate and smooth the appearance of scarring caused by hormonal acne by using 22 active ingredients. To use, massage into scarred areas 2-3 times daily.
(This article is written for general information only. If symptoms persist, please consult your health care professional. With all vitamins and supplements, always read the label and use only as directed. For a supportive and focused approach to wellness, you can contact our Naturopath anytime for personal advice and book a detailed Skype consultation.)