I see a lot of facial clients who come to me to help them clear up their adult acne. They all exclaim that “They had great skin growing up! What did they do to deserve bad skin now?” While I can’t speak to their potential karmic debts, I can speak to the fact that adult acne happens sometimes and it’s actually not as uncommon as you might think!
What causes adult acne?
Adult acne can often be attributed to hormonal changes (going off birth control, heading into menopause, having a baby, etc). There are a LOT of things from 30+ that affect our hormones and when this happens, our skin often the first organ to complain. And thus the breakouts begin.
Why do hormones affect our skin and cause acne?
Some people assume that high estrogen causes acne, but in truth, it allows DHT to increase. DHT is an androgenic hormone that causes acne and oily skin in women especially. Having excessively high estrogen reduces progesterone which is in charge of keeping DHT “in check”. When it’s not in check, it can go a little crazy (my words, not science).
Are there other reasons for adult acne?
There sure are! Did you ever used to break out when you were young and the sales clerk at Walgreens would point out that you just needed to drink more water and quit eating candy? No? Well they used to give me unsolicited advice about my acne all the time (p.s. NO ONE WANTS YOUR UNSOLICITED ADVICE ABOUT THEIR ACNE!)
While I didn’t want their advice, it wasn’t exactly bad advice. Over-indulging in sweets (even fruits), alcohol and dairy help to feed bacteria and yeast in our body which can quite literally feed the bacteria in our faces. Cutting these out for 1 solid month and replacing them with more veggies, lemon water, and healthy grains can be all it takes to reset your body and get your skin back on track.
Side note– if you work in a gym or restaurant or a job where you sweat a lot or are exposed to oils in the air, you will likely see a spike in blemishes. I guess you could call them “on the job hazards.”
How do I get rid of my adult acne?
Acne is unfortunately not always “easy” to get rid of and it is more complex that simply “getting facials regularly” or “changing your diet”. Every person is different and your path to clear skin might include trial and error of a few different things before you find exactly what works for you.
Here are 3 different categories of recommendations to help you rid yourself of acne:
In this particular article I’ll be focusing on Supplements and Herbs which are a small addition you can make to your current routine that can be a total game-changer!
Supplements and Herbs
If you’re struggling with adult acne and you haven’t been to a naturopath or an acupuncturist, please do yourself a favor and go see one. Preferably one who specializes in treating female hormonal imbalances.
I am not a medical professional, but I have worked with many clients who have struggled with acne and here are a handful of supplements that have been researched and shown to assist in clearing up acne or the aftermath of acne:
-Zinc Monomethionine is the most well-absorbed supplement form of zinc. It is a anti-inflammatory agent and an antioxidant that has been used for years to help treat acne.
-Vitex Chasteberry Stimulates and normalizes the pituitary gland which regulates the balance of estrogen and progesterone in the body. This can help with those who suffer from acne as they go off of birth control or as they are about to get their period. This is MORE likely to decrease estrogen and help the type of acne that is due to “estrogen dominance”. If this isn’t what you are suffering from, taking this supplement could make things worse.
-Fermented Cod Liver Oil is a great alternative to taking Omega 3’s to help with acne. It is an incredible source of fat-soluble vitamins like A and D which are proven to help with acne symptoms (not the root cause though).
-Maca is a Peruvian tuber that has been linked to increase sex drive and re-balancing of hormones (especially if they are way out of whack).
-Vitamin E can help to heal the scarring associated with acne. As we age, our skin cells do not turnover at the rate they did when we were younger. When you get a pimple and pop it, the skin produces excess collagen at the site which leads to more scarring. Vitamin E promotes tissue repair and neutralizes free radicals. While taking this orally can help, applying it to your face (via the products you use) will lead to more noticeable changes more quickly.
Ultimately, working with a specialist (again, preferably a naturopath) will give you a better idea about whether or not your acne is due to a hormonal imbalance and depending on what this imbalance is, a specialist will be able to direct you to the most effective supplements or herbs to assist and re-balance your body.
Stay tuned for our next post where we’ll talk about foods that you can avoid and/or incorporate into your routine to help kick your acne to the curb.