Dr. Zenovia is a firm believer that combatting hormonal acne must be done from a 360 holistic and comprehensive perspective. Your acne’s triggers may include your diet, hormonal fluctuations, stress, excess oil production, or certain medications. In order to find effective solutions for long-term skin health, it is necessary to target your specific type of acne with the help of a board-certified dermatologist. That being said, here are some of Dr. Zenovia’s general tips to help clear your skin.
10 Tips to Clear Hormonal Acne From the Inside Out
- Track Your Menstrual Cycle: If you menstruate and notice your acne usually flares up around that time of the month, use an app like Clue or Daisy to track your cycle. By charting when your breakouts appear, you can determine if your breakouts are linked to hormonal fluctuations.
- Try Cutting Out Dairy: A hyperglycemic diet (high sugar diet) has been linked to acne. Since milk has a high sugar content, consumption of excess sugar can cause inflammation leading to skin breakouts and/or irritation. Further, a diet high in sugar has been linked to increased production of IGF-1, insulin-like growth factor-1. An increased level of IGF-1 can increase sebum production- leading to acne flare-ups. To find out if dairy is affecting your skin’s health, try eliminating all foods in your diet containing dairy for a month. Watching how your skin reacts to this diet change will give you a good indication of your skin’s reaction to dairy. Other dietary changes to aid in the process of rebalancing hormones include maintaining a low sugar and low inflammatory diet.
- Eat a Healthy, Low-Inflammatory Diet: Sugar and animal products cause generalized inflammation in your body- inflammation is a major pathophysiologic aspect of acne. This inflammatory process adds to the work our bodies must do to repair the cellular stress we experience both endogenously and exogenously. The goal is to give our cells and body the best platform to function effectively, without stress and inflammation. Therefore, implementing a low glycemic-index diet and eating low inflammatory foods including more vegetables, fruits, and plant-based proteins can have a significant impact on our skin and overall health. Along with diet, drinking plenty of water, and staying hydrated throughout the day is imperative for overall skin health as well.
- Practice Good Sleep Hygiene: Our skin works to repair itself while we sleep. Getting 7-9 hours of quality sleep every night can directly improve the appearance of your skin. To improve your sleep hygiene, try to go to bed at the same time each night. Removing electronic devices that emit blue light a few hours before going to sleep will also help improve your sleep quality.
- Try to Relax & Reduce Stress: Stress has been shown to contribute to acne development. The hormones released while stressed can increase sebum production and inflammation. Stress can also slow down the skin’s repair process. Regularly practicing relaxation and stress-reducing techniques can improve acne over time. Yoga, meditation, exercise, and deep breathing exercises are great ways to reduce cortisol levels.
- Maintain an Acne-Fighting Skincare Routine: Sticking to an acne-fighting skincare routine will help remove excess oil and clear clogged pores. Dr. Zenovia's Acne Solutions System is a three-step system specifically curated to treat blemishes, balance sebum production, and help reduce the appearance of acne scarring while keeping the skin calm. Dr. Zenovia’s products are the only dermatologist-developed topical, over the counter skincare products on the market scientifically formulated to address hormonal acne. Additionally, Dr. Zenovia’s products contain the first-ever, medical-grade technology clinically formulated to help address the appearance of hormonally impacted skin. The REG-ulate360 Complex™ includes a unique Phytoestrogen component to help balance hormonal fluctuations at the skin level. By regulating hormonal fluctuations at the skin level, you experience fewer acne flare-ups.
- Wear Sunscreen Daily: Applying sunscreen daily is a must for all skin types. With acne-prone skin, you want to look for a formula that is non-comedogenic (meaning it won’t clog your pores). Dr. Zenovia’s Vitamin C Brightening Moisturizer SPF 30 contains transparent nano zinc-oxide mineral protection from harmful UVA/UVB rays and free radical protection.
- Clean Your Pillowcases, Towels, & Phone: Washing your bedding at least once a week, changing your towels regularly, and cleaning your phone’s surface with antibacterial wipes will help prevent bacteria from building up and affecting your skin. Remember to clean any other items that come in contact with your skin such as headphones. Keeping your hands off your face is important for acne prevention as well.
- Talk to your Doctor About Birth Control or Prescription Treatments: Hormonal birth control pills containing anti-androgenic progestins are best for treating acne compared to birth control pills with androgenic progestins. Dr. Zenovia recommends the drospirenone-containing combined contraceptives to her patients, like YAZ. To see an improvement in acne, it may take up to 2-3 months on the pill. This is because hormones need time to regulate and normalize in our system. A trial of spironolactone (not a contraceptive) can also help with hormonal breakouts. This medication helps stabilize the androgen influence at the follicle level. However, if you want the combined benefit of contraception (pregnancy prevention), menstrual cycle regulation, and acne control then the birth control pill may be right for you. Both topical and oral medications can help control hormonal breakouts. Having an evaluation from an acne specialist is important, especially if you have cysts or acne scars.
- Schedule a Consultation with a Board-Certified Dermatologist: If you are unsure of your acne’s causes, a board-certified dermatologist will be able to help evaluate your skin’s issues and determine a correct treatment plan. Dr. Zenovia reminds her patients that while you will grow out of your acne, scarring can last a lifetime. The goal is to treat acne before scars form.
Note from Dr. Zenovia: Always remember, our skin is a visible indicator of internal body functions. Acne is best treated with a comprehensive approach which includes a healthy diet and lifestyle, in-office skin treatments, prescription or over the counter topical products, and medication. It is therefore important to consult a board-certified dermatologist if you’re interested in clearing your skin.