When it comes to beating breakouts and maintaining a clear complexion, what we put in our bodies is number one. This is especially true for hormonal acne. While food can be an incredible healing tool for acne, sometimes food just doesn’t cut it. Thanks to our modern, industrialized food system, our soil isn’t what it used to be. It’s lacking in vitamins, minerals, and overall nutrition value. This is where supplements come in. In this article, we’re tackling the best supplements for hormonal acne and clear skin.
What Causes Hormonal Breakouts?
You may have guessed: hormonal imbalances are the cause of hormonal breakouts. The root of your hormonal imbalance is where you need to start when healing your acne.
The phrase “hormonal imbalance” is a little confusing. Here’s why. Hormonal fluctuations, or hormone imbalances (say estrogen is higher this week and lower the next) is normal throughout a woman’s cycle. But when those balances are consistent and causing abnormal acne vulgaris and painful cystic acne—something’s gotta change. Before we dive into the top supplements for hormonal acne, let’s talk about the causes of hormonal acne.
- Estrogen imbalances: if you break out before your period bad like clockwork, it can be estrogen-related. Healthy estrogen levels are needed to keep androgen levels stable-levels too high or too low for a long period of time can result in acne breakouts.
- Androgen imbalances: acne happens when androgen levels (think testosterone levels) are elevated thanks to adrenal fatigue, burnout, blood sugar imbalance, and stress.
- Poor lymphatic drainage: your lymphatic system is a major detox system. Poor flow to your pelvis and progesterone levels suffer, resulting in hormonal imbalances and acne.
- Liver stagnation: unfortunately, the majority of women suffer from liver stagnation. We are constantly bombarded by endogenous chemicals that mimic hormones. Because your liver is responsible for detoxing excess hormones, if it is not supported with the proper vitamins and minerals, detoxification can suffer.
- Emotional stress, burnout, and adrenal fatigue: at the root of hormonal acne is almost always the nervous system and HPA axis dysregulation. When this happens, hormones go haywire.
We can combat all of these causes by supplementing with vitamins, minerals, herbs, and adaptogens. Let’s dive into the best.
The Best Supplements for Hormonal Acne
Herbs and Adaptogens
Herbs and adaptogens have been used since ancient times to help heal disease at the root. The same is true for acne. As you’ve learned, the root of severe acne and an acne breakout is hormonal imbalance, most likely due to chronic stressors. The herbs and adaptogens we will discuss today can tamp down stress, balance hormones, and clear skin.
Many of these hormonal supplements work to support liver detoxification of excess hormones. If you are on hormonal birth control, you are exposing your body to excess hormones (think estrogen dominance), which can be one of the reasons for your lack of hormone balance and acne.
Leading up to onset menstruation, hormone levels start to drop, and hormonal acne is likely to show up. You can support your liver with hepatic herbs like burdock root to maintain hormonal balance and clear skin and the week before you bleed.
When you bleed, you want to have blood-building, mineral-rich, and iron-rich herbs at your disposal. Nettles checks all these categories and more. Not only will this nutrient-rich, nourishing herb help combat acne (it’s amazing for skin!), but it will also help tamp down stress. As an adaptogen, nettles makes you more resilient to emotional and environmental stressors. It’s one of our favorite herbs for combating chronic fatigue and nourishing the adrenals. If you want to heal at the root, consider sipping on a nettles infusion for thirty days.
Dandelion is an incredible wild weed that helps with liver function and detoxification. If your hormonal acne is related to liver stagnation, dandelion root may be your favorite support.
I recommend drinking it as tea. It has a nice roasted and bitter taste making it an excellent alternative to coffee. Caffeine may be making your hormone levels, stress, and skin worse. If you are looking for a morning coffee alternative, drinking dandelion tea with breakfast is a wonderful option.
Yellow dock is often prescribed by herbalists to treat acne. It has potent anti-inflammatory properties, is a blood purifier and cleanser, and helps improve colon and liver function. When our liver and colon are clear and functioning well, we have clear skin.
Oregon Grape Root
People who struggle with adult acne can find relief with Oregon grape root. It is used to help with a number of skin conditions in addition to acne, like eczema and psoriasis. As a liver cleansing herb, it can be especially helpful for people struggling with liver stagnation.
Ashwagandha is a potent adaptogen that can help make you more resilient to stress and relieve anxiety and nervousness. Oftentimes, the root of hormonal acne is stress and anxiety. Ashwagandha can help calm the nervous system and tamp down unnecessary cortisol release. You can find ashwagandha in our Beauty Collagen Complex.
Reishi is an amazing mushroom for healing the nervous system. If you experience hormonal acne, re-regulating your nervous system is critical for healing. Once your internal body calms, your outer body will show it. You can find reishi in our Organic Immunity Greens.
Turmeric and Ginger
Following ovulation, progesterone production gets a huge boost (hopefully). You can support optimal progesterone levels to help with acne with warming spices like turmeric and ginger. You can find turmeric and ginger in our Organic Immunity Greens.
We need trace minerals! And the sad truth is that many of us lack these essential building blocks and natural acne treatment. Skin health relies on the minerals below.
Zinc is a trace mineral that the body needs for almost 100 percent of enzymes to carry out vital chemical reactions. That means it’s necessary for healing damaged tissues, the creation of DNA, the growth of cells, and supporting healthy skin and immunity. It’s also important for synthesis of hormones and regulating insulin, two things that are necessary for healing hormonal breakouts. Most of us are deficient in zinc, and studies show that low levels of zinc is associated with higher risk for acne. Supplement with zinc daily to promote clear skin. You can find zinc in our Beauty Collagen Complex.
Low levels of blood selenium have been documented in people with acne. One study found that a combination of selenium and vitamin E lead to improvements in those with acne. Even more, research shows that selenium can improve acne related to hormone imbalance. You can supplement with selenium or eat 1 brazil nut a day!
Vitamin D is actually a hormone, not a vitamin. And when vitamin D levels are low (which most everyone’s are), there is a greater risk for hormonal imbalance and a hormonal breakout. Research shows that vitamin D deficiency is more frequent in patients with acne. Make sure you are getting 15-20 minutes of sun exposure every day. When it is harder in the winter, supplement with vitamin D.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Acne is a rare condition in societies with higher consumption of omega 3 fatty acids compared to omega 6 fatty acids. To make sure your ratio is good, supplement with omega 3 fatty acids. It will help with inflammation, hormone balance, and skin dewiness. You can supplement omega 3 with a really good fish oil supplement or another omega 3 supplement derived from seeds.
You may have read about DIM supplements for acne.DIM or Diindolylmethaneis made in the body from a chemical called indole-3-carbinol, which is found in cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower, cabbage, Brussel sprouts, and broccoli. Cruciferous vegetables are known to stimulate detoxifying enzymes in the gut and liver, and regulate estrogen and androgen. Some potential benefits of taking a DIM supplement include helping with acne along the chin and jaw, preventing estrogen cancers, and mitigating estrogen dominance.
I hope this article helped you understand why supplements are sometimes necessary for beating hormonal breakouts. What supplements are you interested in starting with? You can get all of them and more beneficial nutrients in our Superfood Supplements.