Understanding the Triggers of Hormonal Acne - So You Can Fix It!
What Triggers Hormonal Acne?
Hormonal acne is triggered by 6 factors that work together to produce those painful, cystic pimples that crush your confidence and feel somewhat grateful for masks. :) All of these factors are stressor to your hormonal system which will produce cystic acne around your mouth and jaw.
- Blood sugar instability
- Increased oil production
- Dairy and sugar
- Production of acne-causing bacteria called Propionibacterium acne.
Getting to the Root of the Cause
As you know, I think everything is related, so instead of detailing each of these issues, I thought it might be more interesting to talk about how these factors come together to produce an ecosystem in which acne can flourish.
There are literally zillions of topical products to treat acne, but the sad thing is that if you don’t address the cause of the acne- at the root- then you will be married to those expensive products for a very long time. If you address the underlying cause you can be free in a few months if you pair it with some behavior change.
Getting rid of hormonal acne requires that we understand the underlying causes of it. In the last blog, we talked high level about getting rid of hormonal acne naturally. Now, let’s dig in and get into how.
On the surface, you might think how do stress inflammation, blood sugar dairy, and sugar eating produce increased oil production and acne-causing bacteria? We have been long conditioned to look at every aspect of our health as symptoms to be managed. We have missed the opportunity to look at and understand how all of our habits, cycle characteristics, and habits form an ecosystem. That ecosystem is either supportive of better health, or detrimental.
This is actually good news because when we approach our health through the lens of an ecosystem as opposed to a series of symptoms to control or override, we don’t have to fix anything perfectly. If we can improve each area of the system, even incrementally, we can have a compounding effect on our cycles, fertility, and overall health.
The reality is that our bodies are highly sensitive to our environment and our hormones in the menstrual cycle will respond each month giving us powerful feedback about how much our body likes and dislikes how we are caring for it. In the case of hormonal acne, diet and stress can play a huge role.
I'm sure you have had this experience before. The worse you eat, the more susceptible you are to feel stressed, and vice versa, the more stressed you are the more likely you are to eat emotionally. When you are under a ton of stress, you are way more likely to sock away a ton of sugar and junk food. For me, that's going to include ice cream!
But What is the Deal with Dairy and Hormonal Acne?
Many peer-reviewed studies show that acne can be irritated by dairy. We are not exactly sure why. I suspect it is probably because of the sugar and mucus-forming properties and the artificial hormones dairy cows are inoculated with can affect their milk supply. Researchers suggest that those hormones may throw your hormones off balance when you consume milk products and trigger acne.
Others think growth hormones that are already in milk naturally aggravate acne no matter what.
A third theory is that milk products, when combined with the high levels of refined foods and processed sugars in the Western diet, disrupt insulin levels and make skin more prone to acne. The more sugar and dairy you consume, the more dysregulated your blood sugar becomes. Your body responds to these elevations by overproducing insulin which in turn causes you to increase your production of testosterone.
And yes, you got it. Testosterone is the source of increased sebum (or oil) production. See, testosterone is part of the group of male sex hormones called androgens. These androgens can trigger acne by over-stimulating oil glands and change the skin cells that line hair follicles, making them sticky and more likely to clog pores.
You might think the solution is just getting rid of all the oil with harsh cleansers or topicals, but this is problematic as well. You have these little glands in the pores of your skin that make an oil called “sebum.” It is really important for healthy skin because it carries dead skin cells from follicles to your skin’s surface.
When this process gets out of control, the follicles become clogged and pimples can emerge. Testosterone increases the production of sebum, making it a prime acne culprit.
The Testosterone, Stress and Diet Connection
Increased oil wouldn’t be such a big deal but the stress you have been experiencing (and associated adrenaline rush), sugar, and dairy products create inflammation. The inflammation causes your tissues and pores to swell trapping the oil and heat in your skin.
And now you suddenly don’t feel like going out or taking selfies.
Don’t fret, you can work on managing your stress, reducing sugar and dairy, and eating an anti-inflammatory diet, and you can add the Brazen PMS formula to your regime to help reduce overall inflammation, balance your blood sugar, reduce cravings, balance your hormones, reduce swelling, and your acne will get better. I mean A LOT better.
And the rest of your PMS symptoms will improve as well. Use the code Kirsten15 to save 15% off of your next order to try Brazen's PMS formula for hormonal acne. Check it out here.
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