Allie here! One of my biggest skin challenges, and one that I know many of you share, is dealing with acne-prone skin. I’ve had acne since my early teens and now as a skincare therapist, I know the link to looking at what’s going on inside is just as important as what we apply outside.
The five things I’ve done to treat my hormonal acne? Read on…
Eliminating trigger foods
For me, dairy and high glycemic index foods are two key culprits for acne to appear. Dairy affects us on a hormonal levels and often contains testosterone precursors and other steroids that increase oil flow on the skin which triggers cells to rapidly reproduce around surrounding hair follicles. And yep, you guessed it, the formation of pimples. Other foods that trigger acne flares for me: sugar, soy, wheat/gluten, vegetable-based oils. I can’t stress enough that everyone is different and I’m only talking from my personal experience. I’ve also been tested extensively (as I’ll mention below).
Embodying a toxin-free lifestyle
I’ve noticed a remarkable difference in my skin and a lesser frequency of acne breakouts since embracing a toxic-free as possible lifestyle. A few things that have worked for me include:
Dry body brushing before having a shower to help stimulate my lymphatic system and releasing toxins from my system
Drinking plenty of water - a minimum of 2L a day
Avoiding xeno-oestrogens (known to mimic and disrupt our natural oestrogen). These are often found in BPA, plastics, and preservatives. I’ll use glassware instead of plastic to store food
Switching my deodorant to a natural one
Using mineral makeup. Some of my favourite brands are taste, Jane Iredale and Glo Minerals Making sure to replace sponges and clean makeup brushes regularly to avoid spread of bacteria is one of the easiest ways to avoid an acne breakout.
Nourishing my skin using natural, small batch, handcrafted skincare
Just as important to what I’m putting in my body is what I’m putting on my skin. In the morning I cleanse with a warm bamboo facial towel to remove dirt and excess oil and then use a light moisturiser like Eminence Organic Skincare's Stone Crop Gel Was. At night, I use Stone Crop Cleansing Oil (yes, an oil cleanser!) to break down excess oil, soften and lift congestion. This is also a great cleanser for breaking down and removing makeup and grime from the day. I remove with a bamboo facial towel and follow with a second cleanse with Eminence Organic's Clear Skin Probiotic Cleanser and leave it on as I shower to activate - it is a great antibacterial and anti-inflammatory product.
If I’m experiencing any break outs I’ll dab the Clear Skin Target Treatment ‘The Spot Stick’ on any and then once a week use a mask. I alternate between a few depending on seasons and how my skin is overall. For example, if my skin is feeling inflamed or I think a break out is starting to happen I’ll use Clear Skin Masque.
Seeking support from other modalities
I’m a big believer in seeking support from allied modalities for treatment of my acne and wellbeing. Just as I make sure to eat well, move and keep myself as healthy as I can, I have found a few extra additions from Kinesiology and Acupuncture in particular, has given my acne a whole new level of treatment.
Kinesiology has been a way for me understand what strengthens and weakens my body and eat according to what I need to maintain wellbeing. Similarly, acupuncture and naturopathy have been helpful to understand my skin and reactions to certain foods.
Food is medicine
I’m a big advocate for caring for your gut with bone broths (to protect, restore and strengthen the gut lining), prebiotic foods like stewed apples to help feed the good bacteria in our gut and probiotics to replenish and restore the good bacteria in our guts.
Similarly, I look for extra zinc in foods like sunflower and pumpkin seeds for healthy skin and cell renewal and repair. Good fats (ghee, salmon, avocado) are essential as are liver supporting foods like cauliflower, broccoli, and bok choy.