Ok ladies, this one is for you – let’s talk hormonal acne. Specifically my newly discovered natural hormonal acne protocol. #yesplease
I’ve struggled with blemishes and breakouts all through my twenties and into my early thirties (very early thanks!). 😢
Now I’m not talking extreme acne here, but I constantly had breakouts and my skin was never clear. Despite eating clean, lots of water, wearing minimal makeup and a mostly natural skin care routine. It was SO frustrating.
So what was I doing wrong?
Well nothing deliberate, but the root of all my skin issues has been from my HORMONES and also related to my gut health (which of course relates to hormone health, so you can see the vicious cycle here!).
Mostly my hormonal imbalance is from PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome), but your hormones may be out of whack for other reasons. You can know your acne is hormonal if it shows up on your chin and jaw area, or you breakout around that time of month.
Here’s the good news. In just the past few months, I finally feel like I’ve figured out the perfect hormonal acne supplement and skin care protocol … and my skin is PROOF. I can’t ever remember it being this clear and glowing except maybe in my first-day-of-grade-six photo.
I wish I had a ‘before’ photo but strangely I seem to avoid photos when my skin was not looking great OR I covered it up with concealer! But this is me with no make-up taken last week.
I wouldn’t say my skin is “flawless” but, it’s definitely been having some “flawless moments” and it’s been clear 80% of the time. When I do get some mild breakouts just before my cycle, I have the skincare tricks to get it under control – fast (post coming soon!).
This exact protocol might not work for you in the same way it’s worked for me.
It’s literally just my own personal experience through researching and testing things out. It’s really going to depend on your hormonal profile right now, and of course as with any supplement, it’s best to check with your naturopath or holistic doctor / GP to make sure it’s ok for you.
But if you are having hormonal acne or even just breakouts, then I do believe this protocol or parts of it are going to be a good starting point. Hopefully you also see some progress for yourself, and I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments too.
Natural Hormonal Acne Protocol
00 Nutrition first
Let’s go back to the basics and remember that supplements can only supplement. They don’t replace a poor diet, so we need to make sure that your nutrition is in check first before looking at this natural hormonal acne protocol.
Very simply, for clear skin, you want your food to do two things in your body –
- Reduce chronic inflammation – this causes everything in your skin from acne to psoriasis to rosacea and premature ageing.
- Support detoxification – sluggish detoxification affects your hormonal balance which obviously is not good for your skin either.
I’m not going to go into great detail on diet here, but our 24 day program is perfect if you want to know exactly what to do; but otherwise here’s my personal nutrition cheat sheet for healthy, glowing skin:
- Eat lots of fresh produce – fruits and veggies are ESSENTIAL for glowing skin as they are packed with antioxidants and also fibre for a healthy gut. Think plant based first. A green smoothie is a super easy way to boost your intake.
- Cut out or at least reduce your dairy consumption – it promotes IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor 1) which is not great for acne. Basically IGF-1 is bad for acne because it is an insulin, causing the sebaceous glands to over-stimulate and produce more sebum blocking pores.
- Reduce high-glycemic carbohydrates and refined sugars – again not great for your skin as it causes more production of insulin and IGF-1.
- Ditch the gluten – not only can it be high in carbohydrates (see point above), but it can also cause gut issues and inflammation in the body; both not good for your skin health.
- Watch your fat intake – focus on good quality plant-based fats like nuts, seeds, coconut oil, flaxseed oil, olive oil etc… saturated and trans-fats are also linked to acne.
- Reduce coffee and drink plenty of water – H20 is just a given right?! For me, I always find my skin is clearer when I don’t drink coffee – less cortisol / inflammatory response and better gut health.
So L-lysine is my secret weapon for skin health. I’ve been wanting shout about this supplement from the roof for months now, but I also wanted to make sure it was *really* working, and not just a coincidence.
I came across L-lysine on one of my random-google-research-wanders, but there is pretty limited information about it in relation to skin health. However, I’ve read quite a lot of anecdotal reports about it working wonders for acne and skin health – so lucky for you, I’m always happy to play guinea pig! 😉
Lysine is an essential amino acid that your body doesn’t produce itself, you have to get it from food – namely via animal proteins, soy, eggs and even pumpkin seeds. However, since we cook a lot of those foods, and the heat can reduce the level of lysine, it’s also possible to still be deficient in it (although not highly common). Plus if you have gut health issues, your nutrient absorption can also be impaired.
Elevated DHT and testosterone in women leads to excess oil production, which of course is not a good thing for acne. Lysine actually blocks the excess DHT (that turns into testosterone), so this is a major win for those chin blemishes and women with PCOS.
Lysine is also essential for the synthesis of collagen – and us ladies know that the more collagen, the less wrinkles and more youthful our skin looks!
It reduces inflammation in the gut, which is great as hormone imbalance generally contributes to poor gut health and vice versa. It also apparently helps with absorption of zinc, calcium and iron.
Whatever the case, and I wish I had more research to share with you – but it’s worked amazingly well for me personally.
02 Liquid Chlorophyll
This makes me think back to high school science class. Remember how chlorophyll in plants was responsible for the absorption of light in the process of photosynthesis? Well it’s good for us too!
I heard about this one anecdotally years ago – but I never drank it daily. I’ve been drinking most days now and it’s definitely helped with my skin health. If I miss a day or two, my face is always a bit puffy and lack lustre in the morning.
A little digging around, and it turns out that chlorophyll helps to speed up wound healing and also supports your body’s phase II detoxification pathway. It’s also antimicrobial too apparently, so helps to tame that acne bacteria from the inside out.
Chlorophyll is a rich source of vitamins including Vitamins A, C, E and K, as well as antioxidants and minerals such as Magnesium, Iron and Calcium. Of course you can get your chlorophyll from leafy greens every day, but I like to make sure I have an easy option on hand. Plus I love the spearmint flavour!
Zinc is important for your skin because it helps with Vitamin A (or retinol) absorption. Vitamin A inhibits sebaceous gland activity and it promotes cell turnover in the skin, so is effective in preventing the formation of comedones the are the cause of most forms of acne.
But zinc is not just helping out Vitamin A. It holds its own by improving healing and is anti-inflammatory. In fact, there is research that shows that supplementing zinc is just as effective as an antibiotic.
Zinc supplementation is sufficient without also supplementing Vitamin A, so don’t feel like you need to do both here. (Note: the zinc in the photo does have some vitamin A added as well, but I don’t normally get this brand – I prefer the one linked to above from Thorne Research, it was just out of stock when I last ordered).
You shouldn’t take high doses of zinc for more than a few months at a time though, but it’s a good one to include when you are first starting out on your healthy skin journey!
04 Juice Plus
The clinical research proves how they increase your skin’s microcirculation by 39% (microcirculation is important for nutrient delivery to the dermis of the skin).
Further to that, skin hydration increased by 9%, skin thickness increased by 6% and skin density by 16% after taking the capsules for just 12 weeks.
Go the Premium capsules with the fruit, veggie and berry blends because you want ALL the antioxidant support you can get – SO necessary for glowing skin (plus all the other great benefits you get from fruit and veg).
Trust me, these are essential AF to support your skin, hair and nail health.
05 Maca Harmony
Ok this one I’ve very deliberately separated from the main protocol because although it’s natural, it’s quite a potent adaptogen and is something you should look at with guidance from your healthcare professional.
It’s very important to understand that not all maca products are the same quality or source, so you must use this specific brand please –
“ … there are many varieties of maca and you’ll be surprised to discover that most off-the-shelf, standard maca work best for men. In fact, there are 13 different types of maca. Each has a different color, DNA, and active ingredient amounts. Most important, each type of maca does something different. For example, one type of maca affects fertility in men… but a different type affects fertility in women.”
I know some women who have said that maca was not good for them, and I think that is just because they haven’t tried the right one! Maca Harmony is backed up by clinical research (you know I love that).
For me personally, I’ve had the best results for my hormones with this Maca Harmony. In fact, this is the second time I’ve used it with great success – the first time was when I was first diagnosed with PCOS and was having amazingly fun hot flashes and night sweats. A few weeks on the Maca Harmony, and it improved so much and was gone after a few months.
I just started it again a few months ago, and it’s been just as successful in balancing my hormones out – the results of which I’m seeing in my skin and with my monthly cycle (but we’ll leave that TMI for another post ok?!)
The other great thing about the Maca Harmony product, is that you can reach out to their medical team to get support on how to take it best for you
In short, I swear by this for hormone balancing and menstrual support. If you have hormone issues or turn into a bloated, blemished monster once a month (!!!) then please look into this product.
OK so that’s it for the supplement side of my natural hormonal acne protocol! As I said, this is what has worked exceptionally well for me personally and I truly hope these supplements or some of them help you too.
Go check out part 2 that covers the exact skin care routine and products I’ve been using alongside this supplement protocol.
If you have any questions, please comment or feel free to email me and I’ll help you out as best I can 🙂
p.s. A few of my girlfriends asked me to pick my top two from this – hands down the Juice Plus capsules (because SO many other benefits too) and the L-Lysine (especially if you have high testosterone levels / chin or jaw breakouts).