Most of you know that I struggled with acne and persistent breakouts into my mid-twenties. My confidence was at an all-time low as I was constantly searching for “the cure.” It wasn’t until after I spent loads of money on ineffective skincare products and met my husband (a functional health doctor) that everything changed. I finally realized that what was going on internally was the key to healing what was happening externally. In this article, I’m sharing how I cured my hormonal acne by focusing on gut health. By the end of this read, you’ll understand the relationship between gut health and hormonal acne. You’ll walk away knowing how to get clear skin naturally and how to finally love the skin you’re in. Let’s get started.
Gut Health and Hormonal Acne
Did you know that your gut and skin communicate with one another on a cellular level? Because of this, your skin is one of the most vital indicators of your gut health and vice versa. When you start to notice problems with your skin, one of the first places you should analyze is your gut.
Research shows that people with skin issues have a higher incidence of GI diseases and IBS. If your digestive system and detox pathways are struggling, your skin is the next organ that tries to flush toxins out: enter breakouts and cystic acne. To get to the root of hormonal acne, it’s essential to understand the relationship between gut and hormones and what negatively impacts gut health.
What is the relationship between your gut and hormones?
Hormones like serotonin and GABA are largely produced in the gut. When gut health is off, serotonin and GABA (two necessary happy chemicals) production. Imbalanced levels of these happy neurotransmitters can lead to stress (think excess cortisol release) and a high-strung nervous system. Stress and an imbalanced nervous system are root causes of hormonal acne. It’s essential to get stress under control, and one of the ways is to heal the gut.
Stress isn’t just what happens when your boss yells at you, or you have too much on your plate. Stressors come at us from every angle—environmental and chemical included. This means that what you eat can trigger inflammation and stress responses in the body, impacting hormones and ultimately gut health and lining integrity.
What Negatively Impacts Gut Health?
Stress and anxiety can halt digestion and cause a build-up of toxins and excess hormones. But processed foods also play a huge role in gut health (or lack thereof). Dairy, gluten, and processed sugars are the main culprits of hormonal acne.
Conventional dairy products are loaded with artificial additives and hormones. Add hormones to your diet, and you should expect hormone imbalances.
Conventional gluten is also one of the most common culprits of food allergies and sensitivities. Even if you don’t have celiac disease, gluten can negatively impact your gut lining. When gut lining loses its integrity, chemicals and toxins can seep into your bloodstream and result in breakouts and acne.
Processed sugars wreak havoc on blood sugar levels. Blood sugar imbalance is one of the root causes of hormonal issues, including cystic acne. You must focus on keeping blood sugar stable to keep hormones happy and skin clear—more on how to do this in a minute.
Beyond our modern industrialized food system, some medications also damage the gut. Antibiotics are largely overprescribed and overused. Overuse of antibiotics messes with not only the bad gut bacteria but also the beneficial gut bacteria. When our microbiome/gut flora suffers, our skin will feel it.
Signs of Acne Caused By a Compromised Gut
According to Chinese Face Mapping, acne on the chin, jawline, and forehead are signs of hormonal acne and digestive issues. If you find that you are persistently breaking out in these areas, you must address gut and hormone health.
In addition to acne, you also struggle with these gut issues:
- Poor digestion
- Food sensitivities
- Mood issues
- Brain Fog
One of the hallmark signs of our clients who struggle with food sensitivities due to a compromised gut is fatigue. If you have trouble getting through the day without a cup of coffee or two, if you wake up after a full night’s sleep still exhausted, or if you constantly feel overwhelmed, addressing gut health is #1.
How I Cured My Hormonal Acne by Focusing on Gut Health
1- Prioritized Whole Foods
By prioritizing whole foods that supported optimal nourishment, I saw dramatic results in my skin health. Before meeting my husband, I was driving through McDonald’s at least once or twice a day. I had no idea the impact of food on the skin.
I began to focus on filling my plate with leafy greens, hydrating fruits, healthy fats, fiber, and protein. I realized that once I started including healthy fat in every meal (shout out to avocados and nuts), my blood sugar stabilized, my hormones were happy, and my skin complexion was radiant.
Check out our article on foods for hormone balance for more information.
For bonus gut healing, I recommend adding in a good quality collagen to help repair the gut lining. You can listen to our podcast episode 117: How Collagen Can Heal the Gut and Create a Glowing Complexion, here.
2 – Crowded Out Trigger Foods
Beyond avoiding gluten, corn, soy (which contains estrogen-mimicking chemicals), coffee, and conventional dairy, I also kept a food journal. I paid close attention to when I experienced certain skin issues or breakouts. I took note of what I ate the day before or the days before to help uncover more trigger foods beyond generic foods. Think of it as fine-tuning your skincare.
You can very well notice results in as little as three days when changing your diet. I recommend eliminating potential trigger foods for at least 2-4 weeks, though.
Check out our article on the 16 foods that cause acne here for an extensive list of trigger foods.
Not only is adequate water intake essential for proper digestion and elimination, it’s also necessary for a glowing complexion. If you want to properly digest food and nourish detox pathways, drinking at least half of your body weight in ounces of water per day is CRUCIAL.
Before I met Isaac, I was drinking 2 sprites and an Ocean Spray cranberry juice per day. Water was no friend of mine. It wasn’t until I began forcing myself to drink it that I realized how thirsty my skin was. My digestion improved, and my skin showed it.
Now, if you’re reading this and can relate to the hating water part, I’ve got good news. We formulated a delicious, electrolyte-rich powder that makes drinking water easy. Our Hydration Superfood Energy powder is a refreshing strawberry-kiwi flavor that replenishes on a cellular level. It also promotes healthy detoxification for a bright and beautiful complexion.
4- Set Up Stress Management Plan
At the root of hormonal acne and gut issues is stress. We learned that there are certain foods that stress us out and that dehydration can also stress us out. But beyond that, we live in 2022 and life is stressful. Relationships are stressful; family life, work-life, and all lives in between are stressful!
Making lifestyle changes that benefit your mental and emotional health will have profound impacts on your skin. I love to journal, meditate, dance, walk, and take essential oil baths to wind down my nervous system.
I use potent plant adaptogens to help fight stress and balance hormones like ashwagandha and Schisandra. Both are found in our delicious vanilla-honey Beauty Complex powder. This powder is so easily absorbed into the body for effective results. Beyond adaptogens, our Beauty Complex also contains beauty-boosting vitamins and clinically-proven collagen to 3-10x your beauty results. It is one of the top gut health supplements and the best collagen for acne!
I’ve found this to be a non-negotiable part of my skincare routine, and I hope it becomes one in yours.
Thank you for reading, and I hope you take away one actionable step you can do today to help your hormonal acne heal. Check out our Beauty Complex here and our Hydration Superfood Energy here. You can also download our Happy Hormones Guide to see if you’re making these 7 fixable mistakes that are causing your hormones to go haywire.
Check us out on Instagram for more education and tips on hormone health and loving the skin you’re in.