If you’ve ever struggled with acne, you’ll know that it comes with a feeling of hopelessness like no other.
Looking at yourself in the mirror is hard enough, let alone the despair you feel when others look you. There’s a feeling of injustice when others can wolf down just about any food they want without any repercussions. And if you hear just one more piece of unsolicited advice you’ll likely scream, and why: because you’ve tried everything.
And love, I will tell you this: I get it.
Despite not having evidence of my own struggles with acne, I will tell you that I grappled for years with acne, from my teenage years right through to my 20’s. I’ve worked with a ton of women who’ve struggled with acne both privately and in my hormone membership program, Sexy Lady Balls. This is one topic that I haven’t covered much in my weekly videos, so I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to do so, which is why I present you with:
How to treat hormonal acne.
Because my love, there is hope.
Let’s start with most common ways acne is treated today.
The birth control pill: One of the most common brands used for the skin has been Yasmin and Diane-35. Let’s begin with Yasmin…
In 2011, the FDA entered into a reappraisal of Bayer’s and all drospirenone-containing oral contraceptives. Five research studies were released that showed a 50-75% percent increased risk of causing blood clots in comparison with pills containing other progestins. Two studies released by Bayer in the years prior had claimed the drugs held no higher risk than other birth control pills on the market. Bayer, the manufacturer behind Yasmin, settled nearly 10,000 lawsuits of women who had taken Yasmin. The company is currently providing each woman who has suffered with injuries from blood clots with hundreds of thousands of dollars in compensation!
Even Diane-35 and other birth control on the market releases synthetic progestins which can cause hair loss, may increase anxiety and depression, and can even increase the risk of breast cancer. There is also acknowledgement that depression is the most common reason for discontinuation of use, and there are pilot studies to prove it! I see it first hand in private practice, most notably, in those who begin contraception (hormonal IUD, progestin-only, or combined).
Acne medications: Americans spend more than $2 billion at the dermatologist trying to drive their zits away. Take Accutane for example, (aka Isotretinoin)…
Extremely dry skin is one of the most common effects of the drug, but since it became FDA-approved to treat acne in 1982, it has also been linked to inflammatory bowel disease, depression, and increased rates of suicide. While studies have not proven that isotretinoin causes these conditions, they remain among the risks of taking the medication.
Topical: One of the most common is Proactiv. Proactiv is a 3-step skincare routine based on the active ingredients benzoyl peroxide, glycolic acid (an alpha hydroxy acid), hyaluronic acid and salicylic acid. The major ingredient (a 2.5% concentration of benzoyl peroxide) is in steps 1 and 3 of the Proactiv Solution regimen, and steps 1 and 2 of the Proactiv+ regimen.
A few small clinical trials have shown Proactiv or similar products to be effective at reducing the number of acne lesions by an average 47%, reducing red/inflamed skin by an average 10%, with 85.6% of people noticing at least mild overall improvements. It should be noted, however, that these studies have been sponsored by Proactiv’s manufacturer, and therefore may contain bias.
Clinical trials have shown at least 50% of people have some type of adverse reaction. These are mainly dryness, skin infections and infestations, and nasopharyngitis (swelling of the nasal passage and back of the throat). A few people in trials have also experienced burning at the application site, influenza, sinusitis, and gastroenteritis.
So what’s the solution?
In my opinion as a practitioner, it comes down to approaching acne holistically. And while this post includes a facial recipe, in no way am I saying that this mask will cure your acne.
We live in a society filled with instant gratification and individuals approaching their health symptomatically. It’s why you may hear people say, “That natural shit don’t work.” Reality is, you need to treat the root cause.
But is acne hormonally related?
In one part yes, but if you’re expecting for one supplement formula to be your answer, you will be sorely disappointed. One of the biggest places I start in practice is with testing. It’s why if anyone ever works with me privately I require a three, six or nine month commitment because I want to know that you’re willing to do the work. It didn’t take you a day to get here and it certainly won’t take you a day to get out of it. This isn’t to say that it’ll take you years, most people like Kayla (below) see improvements in as little as a month!
Alternatively, when people choose to work with me by joining my hormone membership program, Sexy Lady Balls (which is a 3-month commitment to join, for the same reasons!), one of the tests I suggest is the stool test (GI Map) that gets shipped out to you within a week of ordering.
In practice I test versus guess, and I need to understand which opportunistic bacteria or viruses are high. Do you have any potential autoimmune triggers? Do you have any parasitic infections? Which phase of your liver is under performing?
All these questions matter.
The main question I receive is: “How long will it take until I feel better?”
My answer: It all depends on your case and your level of commitment.
What worked for Kayla, your cousin or your co-worker’s sister, will not necessarily be your answer. We are all biochemically unique and need to be treated as such.
Once that’s established a proper, targeted supplement protocol can be developed.
But if you’re still looking for some basic guidelines, here are some that can definitely help you out:
- Remove dairy, gluten and refined sugar. Food allergies and intolerances play a major role in skin health.
- Replace all those starchy carbs (breads, pasta and rice) with vegetables. Green ones especially help to fuel the liver meridian, and we have to keep that organ happy given it’s responsible for over 560 functions in the body!
- I actually do eat meat, but I also consider my diet a plant-based one where meat is only used as a condiment. I also advocate lots of fats ranging from butter to coconut oil.
- Manage your stress levels. Easier said than done, right? But the most common reason why I feel the women I see are so darn reactive is because they’re not getting enough sleep.Netflix, Facebook and Instagram are not forms of self-care! If staying up is your ONLY ‘me-time’, then chances are you suck at asking for help. I don’t care if you feel you can do it better than your partner, you need to ask for help (and not demand it).
Mindset work is a HUGE part of my work with women, frankly I feel it comes before nutrition, and definitely before supplementation. If you’ve got a shitty mindset and your lifestyle choices range from zero sleep and guzzling vino to cope, then you will always struggle at staying on the bandwagon.
- If you want to add supplements, start with a probiotic and take two capsules at breakfast. Take a 1/2 tsp of psyllium in between breakfast and lunch and yes, lots and lots of water, because if you’re constipated, you can’t expect to have glowing skin when you’re continually reabsorbing all those toxins.
Now without further adieu, let’s get to that face mask shall we?
- 1 tbsp matcha green tea powder
- 1 tbsp raw honey
- 1 tbsp baking soda
- Juice from 1/2 lemon
- *Melted coconut oil
- Begin by moisturizing the face with coconut oil. I suggest that you do this because it will help to prevent from the matcha face mask from making your face green. But don't worry, I've clearly tried this on my skin and by washing your face thoroughly, your skin will not only NOT be green, but it'll feel more vibrant than ever.
- Meanwhile, combine all ingredients and apply to face.
- Wash your face thoroughly after 15 minutes.