Have you ever heard the saying "Beauty Comes from Within"?
The truth: So do hormonal breakouts.
After trying diet after diet, it can seem like an endless merry-go-round just to find an acne solution. If one diet manages to stop the acne storm, it's only a temporary fix. The moment you get off track, the breakouts come back with a vengeance! How do I know?
It happened to me.
I was about to go to my niece's wedding in Italy. As in Rome, Leaning Tower of Pisa, and the home of every decedent food known to man! Beyond excited, my inner (and outer) foodie couldn't help but think about all of the once-in-a-lifetime foods that I was going to devour.
Pizza, cappuccinos, crispy bruschetta, and the best gelato you have ever had...I literally had a list of everything I wanted to eat. Usually following a clean diet at home, I had given myself permission to go a little crazy. A little fun in Italy meant that I would be super strict with my food once I got home.
The problem? After six consecutive months of healthy, beautiful, and glowing skin (all thanks to my diet), my hard work disappeared! Seeing the first few pimples show up on my jawline after the first week, I was mortified! It was like all of my hard work went down the drain.
That is when I realized I needed to do some serious research about hormonal acne and find out everything I could to combat it. So here is a crash course on hormonal acne, the trigger foods, and the all-natural remedy that saved my skin!
The Science Behind Hormonal Breakouts
For 16 years of my life, hormonal acne was a constant battle. After living with problem skin, I realized that food played a huge part in my hormonal acne story.
Here is a short explanation of how it works.
When certain trigger foods are consumed, they send signals to our glands to create hormones (like stress hormones or sex hormones). If there is an excess of these hormones produced, they signal the oil glands in our skin to start creating sebum (oil).
The bad news: Bacteria love sebum, and together, they create the painful and frustrating acne cycle we have all come to hate.
The good news: All-natural skincare can help eliminate the bad bacteria and save your skin from the acne cycle (but more on that later!). Here are four foods to avoid if you're dealing with hormonal acne! You're welcome in advance!
As much as you love the cheesy goodness piled on top of a pizza or your weekly milk-filled Starbucks frapp, dairy is a major no-no.
Dairy includes staple products like milk, cheese, butter, and yogurt.
Here are two reasons you should think about throwing them away today!
- Cow's milk negatively impacts our bodies by increasing the insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1). IGF-1 plays an essential role in tissue growth and development. In other words, the body starts producing more cells, which can lead to more oil on the skin's surface that can block pores.
- The hormones fed to cows can disrupt the normal functioning of our bodies. These hormones help stimulate increased milk production when injected into a cow. When we drink milk, our endocrine system identifies these hormones and responds with an overproduction of oil.
And if that wasn't bad enough, skimmed milk is worse than regular milk. Why?
Sugar and whey protein are added to skimmed milk for creaminess and taste. These additions can most definitely cause inflammation in our body and skin. So, now that I've scared you from ever using dairy products again, there are surprising ways around it!
- Milk- can be substituted for almond milk (my fav), hazelnut milk, cashew milk, and coconut milk.
- Butter- can be substituted for olive oil and coconut oil.
- Cheese- much more difficult to substitute, cheese can be replaced by cashew cheese, pesto, or zucchini spread.
- Ice Cream- can easily be substituted with coconut cream, almond milk, or cashew milk. If you want to make it at home, you can find recipes online for ice cream made out of bananas, peanut butter, and dark chocolate (highly recommended).
Oh, refined carbs! Who doesn't like a hot bread bowl with fresh-made pasta! Just thinking about it makes me hungry.
Refined carbs are generally separated into two groups:
- Refined grains
Refined grains are foods that were once rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber, but overprocessing has stripped them of their nutrients. For this reason, refined carbs are sometimes called "empty calories." Another fact is that they are also high on the glycemic index. This means that they cause a rapid spike in glucose once they are consumed. This spike can lead to our old friend IGF-1 and the same acne cycle mentioned above starts all over.
Here are a few examples of refined carbs with very little nutritional value.
- White bread
- Breakfast cereals
- White rice
- White potatoes
- Salad dressings
My advice is to stick to the carbs that will provide you with an abundance of nutrients. While that might seem like a lot to handle, have no fear, there are still some good carbs on the list. The good carbs include:
- Sweet potatoes (which I'm obsessed with!)
- Whole grain bread
- Brown or wild rice
Chipotle + Brown Rice= Perfection! Watch out for your cheese intake though!
- Legumes (chickpeas and kidney beans)
- Whole-grain foods (oats or barley)
- Fruits (apples, oranges, or bananas in moderation)
After every dinner, I had to have a high-sugar dessert to wash down my solid food. The problem was that I was consuming sugar EVERY DAY!
Sugar is one of the biggest foods to avoid if you're dealing with hormonal acne because of its effect on insulin levels. As discussed above, insulin spikes lead to excess cell growth and oil production on the skin. It also has oxidative properties that are associated with many cardiovascular diseases.
Can something this good, be this bad?! The answer? Absolutely!
Here is a breakdown without the sugar coating (see what I did there?).
The almost 2 trillion dollar food industry has kept us stacked with products that our digestive system can't handle. Why? Food has evolved quicker than our bodies. The challenges, reactions, and abnormal side effects of our digestive system can usually lead back to the modified, overly processed foods we eat.
Food full of artificial sweeteners presents one of the greatest challenges for our bodies. It simply cannot digest it properly or use it as energy.
So what is the bodies' response to this problem? It kicks the artificial sweetener out through urination and excessive sweat which can cause inflammation and clogged pores that lead to acne.
Sugar doesn't sound very appealing now, does it?
Here are some of the main foods that you should consider removing: ice cream, cakes, candy, soft drinks, and flavored yogurts.
Will this be an easy process as you push sweets out of your diet?
I even struggle from time to time, but the trade-off is so much sweeter! To have clear, glowing skin and to slow down on foods that aren't good for your body anyway is what I call a win-win.
Here is a little advice to keep you on track!
Get rid of the super sugary things that you have in your secret stash at home. Why? When you start craving them, you won't have them around to eat!
If the cravings last for a long time, have a dark chocolate bar at home (85% and higher). Dark chocolate can act as an anti-inflammatory agent, and increase your blood circulation, which will deliver more oxygen to your skin. Always pay attention to your skin, however. If inflammation, redness, excess oil, or breakouts occur, leave that chocolate at the door!
Switch to water or the occasional sparkling flavored water. Increased water consumption is very important for a healthy complexion, and flavored water can give your taste buds the little bit of flavor it has been craving.
Does this include stepping away from alcoholic drinks, too?
Drinks like mojitos, margaritas, cocktails, and other alcohol-infused beverages are full of sugar. Your best bet is to exchange all of the fancy drinks for red wine, which is the most skin-friendly alcoholic drink out there.
Another option is to look for cleaner alternatives like margaritas made from agave over simple syrup. Natural fruit juices over those with added sugar are also an excellent choice.
Little tweaks like this have helped me keep my skin clear no matter the circumstances.
While technically not a food group, fast food is a mixture of all the foods previously mentioned. Fast food is loaded with weird fillers, cheap oils, and highly inflammatory sugars that can lead to hormonal acne.
While this may be discouraging and seem like a lot of foods to avoid, a well-rounded diet is crucial to your hormonal acne journey!
By slowly eliminating these foods from your diet, you can see what your trigger foods are and tweak your diet accordingly.
Defeating Hormonal Acne For Good
For over two years, I started eliminating the foods above from my diet. Dairy, sugar, and refined carbs- I got rid of it all. And while my shelves did look like an aisle from Whole Foods, I was able to see my specific triggers. No more blind breakouts for me! I knew exactly which foods were the issue.
This first step in my clear skin journey was essential in helping manage and regulate my hormones. The next step was finding something that would help the damage that had already occurred on my face. While I limited my trigger foods, my skin still looked like sandpaper. That is when I did my research to find the nutrients that would help my skin look and feel radiant.
I ditched the traditional acne cleansers and started experimenting. I started seeing that the best ingredients for clear skin were often left out of traditional acne products. I soon realized that an effective skincare product needs good nutrition to boost good bacteria and start healing inflammation. It also needs to eliminate the bad bacteria, gently exfoliate, and balance excess oil.
For this reason, Averr Aglow was born! Our all-natural products penetrate the skin for lasting results and never compromise to do it. You never have to worry about harmful chemicals or synthetic fragrances. Eating the right foods for your skin is the first step to success. The second step is using all-natural skincare that delivers! Our Clear Skin Kit is the perfect restart for skin in need. Infused with ingredients like French pink clay, volcanic ash, saw palmetto, and rosewater, this kit will take your face to the next level!
Radiant, glowing skin is not as far as you think! Cheers on your journey!