How to Heal Your Adult Acne

Does your adult acne feel like a constant battle? Has traditional medicine (dermatologists or gynecologists) dismissed you because your struggles can’t be “diagnosed?"

You want to feel confident in social situations again, without layers of makeup, fake convos or small talk.

If you could get clear skin, maybe you’d finally feel confident. Maybe you’d stop spending $50 a month on acne treatments or products that you don’t really need. Maybe you’d save time researching the latest acne trends online. Maybe you’d stop scrolling through your Instagram comparing yourself to women who have clear skin.

You’re motivated, you’re really trying! It’s not for lack of effort but there’s just something missing.

How to Heal Your Adult Acne

For women, hormone imbalance is often the mysterious root cause of issues we face as women (adult acne, holding onto weight, PMS, chronic “fight or flight” feelings, sleep and digestion problems).

These things are all too common for women but that doesn’t mean they’re normal. 

If you’re swimming upstream, hustling to get clear skin, I want you to consider a new way to work WITH your female hormone cycle instead of against it.

These tips can be incorporated into your routine as a way to start focusing your skin on the inside and the outside. This is the best way to achieve optimal hormone balance and therefore glowing skin.

Tip #1: Naturally crowd out processed foods by adding in delicious, whole food.

This is THE number one thing any woman can do for her hormones! While it may seem like you’re eating “clean” (think: granola, yogurts, cereals, protein bars), a lot of us mindlessly eat processed foods without even realizing it. I was, and it drastically decreased my hormonal acne and energy problems.

Are you eating “health foods” that come in a wrapper? Even if it’s once a day, this can add up and send blood sugar on a rollercoaster!

It may feel overwhelming to remove everything at once. I’d recommend starting by adding in foods with one ingredient, like fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, nuts, local grass-fed protein, and whole grains. Think: your same granola, but 3/4 the amount with a fresh scoop of organic berries. Yum!

Your hormones will start to come into alignment when you try this out.

Tip #2: Find a tribe.

If “woo woo” stuff makes you cringe like it used to for me, you might be rolling your eyes right now. How does having friends having anything to do with hormone balancing?

If you’re anything like I was, you’re confident that you got this. On. Your. Own. And, you probably do! 

The truth is, you can eat all the kale and ground flax seed and green smoothies in the world, but food is secondary to the power of life food (think: relationships, career, sleep).

Community has a powerful influence on our health. When you’re feeling isolated and alone, do you binge or eat mindlessly? Community and tribe can help with that. 

Find someone you can talk about your health with in a setting where you’re not judged for imperfection but rather celebrated for your progress!

Tip #3: Manage your stress.

Cortisol drives other hormones crazy! Make sure you’re getting adequate sleep, relaxing and taking time for you every day. I always underestimated the power of this one and this is still the hardest one for me to practice.

When I get extra stressed, I see it come through in my skin via extra red pimples and longer recovery time.

Try meditation, yoga, exercise and journaling to manage your stress. What activities did you use to love as a child? Consider adding that to your day, too.

Tip #4: Track your cycle.

Tracking your cycle in a journal or an app like Flo Living will help you determine what type of hormone imbalance you’re dealing with. It could be estrogen dominance, an imbalance of estrogen to progesterone, or high testosterone driving your acne. Acne can also come from a combination of these issues.

Once you realize what time of month your acne worsens, you’ll be able to take a more targeted approach! My best general recommendations are lots of cruciferous veggies (think leafy greens and broccoli) which help detox “bad” estrogen, lots of water, decreasing sugar, and eating an anti-inflammatory diet.

Acne can also signal candida, leaky gut or a food sensitivity, so it’s good to have those ruled out with the help of an integrative health specialist or hormone testing.

Tip #5: Treat the skin.

Treating skin from the outside is important, too!

Cystic acne doesn’t have a head since the pore clog is deeper in the skin, so utilizing ice a couple times a day with light pressure will bring down inflammation. For pimples that are either at the surface of skin or close to it, don’t pick! Any picking will actually push down part of the bacteria and it will come back in the same spot days or months later! You can use a gentle warm compress to pull the pimple up to the top of the skin, then treat it will a spot treatment that contains willow bark or salicylic acid to shed skin cells gently and naturally while killing bacteria.

In general, a skin care regimen that is effective but doesn’t send skin into more oil production and inflammation is key. Try a gentle cleanser and aloe-based toner to balance the pH of skin, a serum to help turn over skin cells (my preference is salicylic acid), an aloe-based hydrator and a moisturizing SPF.

Tell me in the comments: what’s your favorite tip for clearing acne?