Sista, I feel your pain when it comes acne. Been there, done that and from time to time, still got that – acne. (sigh) You feeling me? As part of this months LIVE membership call, I dived real deep into the dark and gloomy depths of hormones, acne and skin issues that seem to arrive unannounced. Acne can be relentless but the most difficult facet to treating acne is to get a hold on is the why. Getting to the bottom of your skin woes certainly isn’t something that stops with the skin itself. Acne is a sure sign your hormones are unhappy and your gut health needs some TLC and that all starts from within. Lotions and potions, come what may can only do so much with the root cause of the issue within. To help you work out what the heck is going on, I wanted to share some of the key talking points that I shared to our little girl gang – aka The Wellness Collective Membership (you’re totally invited too).
Consider the timing.
It’s important to stop at work out when your acne shows up. Here are the most common times;
During high stress
But of course there are cycles within cycles and we need to be mindful how that affects our skin too!
Consider this – is your acne worse at the period time, ovulation time or pre-period perhaps? All are clues into your internal landscape. That matters too!
So whilst the timing is your greatest clue, it’s then important to consider the hormones that are at play, more than likely at the centre of your skin woes.
It’s very normal to break out during our teenage years and the main factor in hormone changes as a young woman (or man) may be testosterone. Researchers believe that when young girls go through puberty the body temporarily enters a state of Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) or at least something very similar to it. For around 80% of us, this is just a phase and we transition through this relatively quickly (at least in the scheme of things). This is all due to an increase of the hormone testosterone at this time. I’ve written about testosterone before right here if you’re interested.
The main reason this occurs is that testosterone stimulates the sebum producing glands. Sebum is important as it plays a role of protecting the skin and the natural oils, however over production leads to unwanted acne and breakouts.
But it doesn’t simply stop with testosterone. All our sex hormones work in symphony for best hormone balance. Oestrogen and progesterone may also be at the centre of your skin troubles, at least inadvertently. Through peak times of change – i.e. puberty, pregnancy and menopause we see a shift in our major sex hormones which can cause the skin to become more oily.
This means you might find acne show up for the first time at 35. (don’t shoot the messenger but this is around the time we begin the transition into peri-menopause)
At the core of your acne, chances are there is some kind of internal or external stress that is driving your crazy hormone bus. Stress upsets your natural gut function, imbalances your hormones and drives your adrenals crazy. During times of peak stress, cortisol (one of your main stress hormones) is triggered and released by the adrenals leading to an increase in sebum production. At the same time, increased cortisol leads to increase inflammation and for those who are genetically predisposed, this may cause acne and skin irritations.
Chronic stress will increase the severity of conditions like acne, eczema, rosacea, vitiligo & urticaria.
Your thyroid and acne.
Your thyroid is one of your most underestimated glands. Every single cell in your body requires it to work properly which means that the symptoms of an unhappy thyroid are wide and varied. But your thyroid regulation may influence your skin and its appearance, meaning that your thyroid may be at the centre of your skins appearance.
Find your skin, especially on your face sweaty, blushing and warm? Your thyroid’s activity may be in overdrive. If you’re finding your skin dry and course with a lack of ability to perspire, it may be a symptom of low thyroid function.
What’s more, because the thyroid aids in the regulation of oestrogen, and excess oestrogen can be the culprit towards bad skin (due to it’s influence on progesterone), it can be yet another piece of the puzzle. Most commonly when this is the case, the skin will flare up pre-period or possibly around ovulation. Your symptoms will always give you clues!
Your skin is your largest organ.
Whilst your skin may be an excellent barrier between your internal and external world, it’s not a sealed wrapper. Your skin will absorb up to 80% of what you put on it topically, directly absorbed into your blood stream.
Your skin is like a slip stream into your endocrine system.
Of course there can be many contributing factors to hormone imbalance but one very simple variable is what you apply to your skin. Conventional personal hygiene and body products contain a tonne of chemicals which are known endocrine disruptors, meaning they can influence the natural path of your very own hormones. Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDC’s) are directly associated with issues including;
+ fertility troubles or infertility
+ cancers including breast cancer and cancers of the reproductive organs
+ thyroid illness
+ other hormone issues like PCOS or Endometriosis.
Such chemicals have been reported by governing body’s to be of significant concern to public health.
And whilst your topical lotions may be your current (and sometimes only) treatment for your skin, they are most likely focused on treating the symptom and not the root cause of your issues. In the long term, this may actually worsen the problem if left untreated.
If this isn’t enough for your poor ears to hear, these same products may disrupt more than the hormones directly, upsetting the body’s natural microbiota – that is the constellation of healthy and vital bacteria that live in us and on us. Topical products if they are laden with chemicals may put our bacteria out of balance – nobody wants an angry microbiota! Over time this can make the problem worsen as the natural ph of the skin is compromised and the ability to overcome and fight the contributing and unwanted bacteria is compromised.
There’s one simple fix. Consider switching your current regime for simple products that won’t disrupt your microbiota or your hormones.
Whilst switching your body products alone won’t solve all of your skin issues, it is one very easy change you can make to take a step in the right direction. There are hundreds of hormone friendly brands on the market which are beautiful and most of all, they perform, meaning you’re not left having to compromise on quality or efficacy.
Whilst there can be so many influences of acne, PCOS, poor diet, stress and more, it’s important that you first work out what’s at the root of the issue. One things for sure, your genes are at the very centre of any symptom and once upon a time, we generally accepted that this was our destiny. Whilst it’s true, our genes do dictate, they are not the final decider. That is, we are so fortunate to have discovered the world of epigenetics and how our surroundings play a role in influencing how our genes behave. Just because you have nasty symptoms today, it doesn’t have to remain this way for your entire life. It’s all about influencing your body to work in the right way.
Keen to keep the conversation going and dig into some more fixes? You can come over and join us in the Wellness Collective Membership where you can watch the LIVE discussion all about acne this month. We dig in further and talk about some long term skin solutions that work. It doesn’t stop there, this month we also chat with Dr Anthony Youn, America’s wholistic plastic surgeon about skin, skin care and natural skin fixes and the icing on the cake, you’ll gain access to our private group where you can continue to get to the bottom of your health woes. It’s all part of the monthly membership – try it on $1 for 7 days to see what it’s all about! I’d love to see you in there!
Oh and see the beautiful watercolour image here – every month you also receive gorgeous artwork as part of the membership too. We’ve not only got your hormones covered but your screensaver too!