I wanted to use this opportunity to share with you my candid skin story on female hormone acne and how the journey has inspired me to launch this venture.
My skin story and how I cure hormonal acne naturally
From the ages of 13-19, I was hit hard by severe, cystic acne coupled with an extreme case of hirsutism that completely hindered my social life, affected my confidence and forced me into an isolated shell that is far far from who I am naturally.
I still feel today that if I hadn’t been plagued with the debilitating skin disease, there are so many opportunities I would have gone after, and my life would be a different tale for the better. I remember being extremely self conscious of my skin to the point of always wanting to crawl into bed and just sleep my life away. Every time I stared in the mirror, I would just cringe, cry and wish I was never born.
It was very difficult for me to maintain conversations with people without being paranoid about what thoughts ran through their head. I also hated going out during the daytime or being outside during bright and sunny days which I felt was very unforgiving to every flaw and crevice on my face. This deeply affected me because naturally I love the outdoors. I was teased in school, always known as the girl with the really bad skin and usually stayed to myself covering my journals with thoughts of depression. I have to admit, although I have come along way from the pubescent days, it created a lot of emotional complexes that I still fight today.
When I finally had the opportunity to wear makeup, since my parents were very adamant that young girls didn’t need makeup, I would not want to leave my apartment without piling on the cover up. I felt abnormal, my skin and my appearance constantly ran through my mind.
I envied those with clear skin who I felt could just exist without having to think about their face, have normal conversations without the anxiety that the other person or persons were judging their appearance or could just walk outside their house barefaced.
Even as I write this it pains me so much to reflect on those experiences because so many of youthful years were spent being extremely depressed and lonely. I was miserable and I tried everything I could to remedy the situation but the more I tried, the worse it seemed to become.
I went as far as enrolling in Esthetician classes while a high school student to gain deeper knowledge about my skin and why it acted the way it did. I saw several dermatologists and doctors and the first resort was to put me on a commercial drug.
I was placed on different medications: birth control for female hormonal regulation, antibiotics, benzoyl peroxide and a slew of other drugs. I visited a plethora of med spas and plastic surgeons for peels, microdermabrasion and lasers. I have spent thousands on all kinds of skin care creams and procedures and none of those things were successful in the long term treating my female hormonal acne.
In my late teens, I picked up a book by Paula Begoun, “Don’t go to the Cosmetic Counter Without Me” and I credit the author with educating me on cosmetic ingredients and how the products we are using to treat our skin could be the very culprit or accelerator of our skin condition.
I began studying cosmetic ingredients extensively and the more I learned the more frustrated I became. I realized that the beauty industry is filled with unethical companies selling products labeled as non-comedogenic and non-acnegenic when in fact their products are filled with pore clogging ingredients that worsen the condition.
These products varied from low priced drugstore items to high end, expensive skin care lines. Even more frightening is the fact that many commercial cosmetic products are filled with controversial toxins that are suspected to penetrate into the bloodstream and possibly create health problems after prolonged use.
I was 21 when I finally decided to get off birth control. I started reading scientific studies relating to women’s health and studying herbal remedies extensively. I began to see skin care and beauty from a holistic perspective. From the books I read, I realized that my symptoms of female hormonal acne and hirsutism was due to excess male hormones. The overproduction of androgens in women leads to hormonal imbalance that triggers the onset of many health problems, it is also one of the major indications of PCOS.
I had a hormone blood test conducted and the results showed that I had higher than the normal levels of testosterone. Seeing the results was actually a huge sigh of relief for me, because it confirmed everything I’d suspected. I began to focus my research on natural ways to control androgen levels and get my system in balance.
Beauty starts from the inside- what you put in shows
Once I understood the synergy between my health and the condition of my skin, I realized that beauty really starts from the inside and I had to be very careful about what I put into my body.
I adopted a plant based diet that consists of mostly leafy greens, whole grains, lean meats, healthy proteins and little to no processed and junk foods. It took some trial and error of different diets, skin care regimen and fitness regimen. The big lesson that I acquired from the journey and the biggest takeaway I hope to pass on is to focus on the process and not the results. In other words lose the fad diets and focus on creating a lifestyle.
In this day and age of instant gratification, this is a difficult pill to swallow, but it is reality. It is much easier to see long term results if the focus is on developing a healthy regimen versus trying to see results quick. Throughout my experience I focused on learning and understanding. I made sure to listen to my body very closely noting what worked and what did not. Natural remedies unlike drugs usually target the cause of the problem versus masking symptoms, therefore it takes time to see results.
So what has worked for me to cure my female hormonal acne?
I am proud to say that I never went on Accutane, the only known cure for acne but not without its side effects. I was too scared of the long term effect on my health, and after hearing from others who had taken the drug, I knew it wasn’t for me. My focus was on finding a way to fight my hormonal acne naturally. After years of researching on herbal remedies, I knew there were alternative options. I believed that once I resolved the cause of the imbalance, my skin problems will follow.
What has worked for me is basically a combination of maintaining a healthy diet, regular detox protocol, supplements, staying active and a simple skincare regimen.
Every morning, first thing I do after waking up is drink water with lemon and cucumber. Your body has been working all night long to clean and rid itself of waste, drinking this water helps to flush the waster out. I am a firm believer that our skin problems starts in the gut and a good detox or cleanse should be a precursor to any treatment. I also love a green smoothie in the morning for breakfast. A simple way to help your system detox itself.
My diet for female hormonal acne:
My goal is to eat a balanced diet rich in greens, live and nutritious foods. I spread out my meals 6 times a day and aim for 300-350 calories per meal.
My current supplement regimen for female hormonal acne:
Updated regimen as of 11/3/2016- I change up my regimen every several months to give my body a break from any one supplement.
So far I am loving this regimen and my skin is the healthiest it is has ever been. After years of trial and error, I believe I have found a combination that works for me. Everyone is different and it may take time to find a beauty and lifestyle regimen that works for you. Consistency and patience is also key, I know we live in a fast paced world and crave instant results, however it doesn’t often work that way. Natural methods take time. Your body needs time to correct the imbalances and return to a normal state.
My skincare regimen for female hormonal acne
The first thing I did was scan through all my beauty products for comedogenic and acnegenic ingredients. If you’ve got acne prone skin, you pretty much have to become an ingredient detective. Unfortunately we cannot rely on beauty companies to have the best interest of our skin.
My current skin regimen is fairly simple. I cleanse morning and night with Dove beauty bar (non scented kind for sensitive skin), use a witch hazel toner and moisturize with Derma-e Evenly Radiant Serum and Night Moisturizer.
UPDATE: I have been using Kojie Sans Skin Lightening Soap every other day in conjunction with Dove beauty bar and I have been amazed at the results.
To make sure I have gotten all the makeup off, I use an oil cleanse prior to washing my face by applying 100% organic argan oil or raw shea butter all over my face, followed with a steamy hot towel. This gives my skin a deep cleanse. The science behind this is that oil attracts oil and pull dirt to the surface. You can find the list of oils that work best for oily, acne prone skin HERE. I also exfoliate 3-4 times a week by making a honey and sugar scrub or using a loofah.
For moisturizer, I’ve been alternating every few months between Andalou Organics Facial Concentrate and Derma E Evenly Radiant Brightening Serum. The Andalou facial concentrate is a light fast absorbing oil based serum that is acne prone friendly and extremely nourishing to the skin. Don’t let the fact that it is oil based scare you. Contrary to popular belief, oily and acne prone skin need moisture as much as any other skin types.
When you use harsh treatments that deprive your skin of its own natural oils or avoid moisturizing, you could actually be encouraging your skin to produce more oil. I apply the oil immediately after cleansing to damp face and it leaves my face glowing. Interestingly since I started using the concentrate, I’ve noticed a huge reduction in how oily my skin gets throughout the day.The Derma E brightening serum is extremely powerful and helps to fade dark spots from acne scars.
Skin Care regimen
- Apply a mixture of Shea butter and Abolene all over my face to remove makeup
- Wash with kojic acid soap and using a loofah I gently scrub my face to exfoliate and remove dead skin cells. I do this 3-4 times a week. Oilier and thicker skin need more frequent exfoliation. If you have sensitive skin, you may want to stick to 1-2x a week.
- Apply a tea tree oil and lemon balm to any blemish
- Moisturize with Andalou Organics Glow Concentrate Serum
- Weekly treatment:
- Once a week I try a do a steam treatment. Fill a bowl with hot water and add a few drops of tea tree oil, then hold my face over it with a towel over my head.
- Follow with a facial mask for oily skin.
- Apply toner
- And Derma E evenly radiant serum followed by Andalou organics Glow serum
For my body, I rotate between 100% all natural shea butter and coconut oil. I loofah 2x a week to prevent back breakouts.
Oftentimes when I complain about skin blemishes, I will get a comment that the issue is only cosmetic and there are worse problems in the world. I have to say I do agree to an extent, yes it is a cosmetic issue, however dealing with skin blemishes can be an emotionally crippling struggle that can affect our social lives.
If you are currently battling female hormonal acne, it is important to know that you are not alone. Acne is a very common ailment so most people can relate. Being candid about your experience with friends and family can be extremely healing. One of the biggest mistakes I made earlier on was keeping all my feelings inside and not expressing it to those who could have motivated and supported me. Having a strong support system is crucial to your emotional health.
Acne is also not the end of the world. How silly it is to let something like a skin blemish hold you back from living and enjoying your life. What I’ve realized is that at the end of the day no matter what your skin looks like, if you treat others with love and respect, the people that matter will come to appreciate and love you for who you are. So stop staring in the mirror or stressing and go enjoy your life. Not only does stress and worry worsen the situation but you only live once!
How about you? How has female hormonal acne affected your life?