A lot have things have changed in WSS land lately. We’ve added the podcast into the mix. Blog content has changed a smidge. And to be honest, I’ve been debating what I would be posting moving forward. But today’s post, I had to write. Despite whatever my brand becomes, I knew that this was something I needed years ago when I started on my hormonal acne journey.
I’ve tried it all: Flo Living Supplements, Intermittent Fasting, Kelly Leveque’s fasting approach*, testing my hormones*, going clean. . . SO. MANY. THINGS. But today I want to give you the TWO things I would focus on. If I could take it all back and start fresh, I’d pick these two. They are the two that I find still impact my skin today. Like when I decide to be lazy or ignore either rule, my skin REVOLTS.
So if you’re over trying all the things to heal your skin, you don’t have the money to try every facial under the planet, or you just want to see something CHANGE, I’ve got you. Let me tell you exactly how I’d start my hormonal acne journey if I could all over again.
The Acne Face Map
Let’s just start here. Because I thought at the beginning of my journey I understood the face map. And I kind of did. It’s how I figured out I had hormonal acne the 1st time I went off birth control. The 2nd time I went off the map told me a few things but not the one that is a regular driving force for my skin: my digestion.
The map itself can be confusing depending on which one you use. Like this pimple kind of fits in the hormonal section but it’s in the middle of my cheek and the map is vague so I DONT KNOW WHY I’M BREAKING OUT kind of confusing. Ya know?
So let me break it down in a way that I’ve found works for my face. If you’re got a breakout in the middle of where you’d pop your contour to the bottom of you eye region, it’s digestion. Anything below that JLo bronze to under your chin: hormonal acne.
GUT HEALTH IS EVERYTHING
Birth control + anti-biotics. Those two regularly prescribed things are what took me down the rabbit hole. Except I never found Alice or Wonderland. However, I did find Seed synbiotics and the team + their product are amazing! I’ve been obsessed for almost 2 years for a good reason. Their synbiotic (a probiotic + prebiotic combo) is life. Plus, their stuff actually survives the treacherous trip to your gut.
It’s not your fault you don’t know about gut health. WTF tells you about gut health as a kid. There’s some new diet or fad that hits the streets every few years that is the wonder drug for everyone. This year we hate sugar, now we hate fat, oh wait, we’re supposed to be hating carbs today. When in the land of all the dietary chaos, would you have time to learn about gut health?
Our gut biomes are consistently taxed by the American diet which is packed with loads of hidden sugars and inflammatory foods. And when our gut isn’t living its best life, it can leak letting oh so lovely things into our bodies like bacteria. We end up with inflammation causing us pain, bloating and other fun stuff. So we reach for the pain meds that can also compromise our gut and we’re back on the merry go round. What a fun cycle, right? (PS. You can learn more about an anti-inflammatory diet here.)
Acne is typically a symptom of something else going on in the body. And those pesky pimples trying to ruin your JLo contour goals, might just be telling you that it’s time to change your eating habits and heal your gut.
You probably need an elimination diet
So how do you heal your gut so you can quickly get on with life and past your hormonal acne journey? My recommendation: an elimination diet. Now there are things that just don’t bode well for most of us: sugar, dairy & gluten cause struggles for lots of people. But there are other things that your body might not love that you have NO idea about. I recently decided to test the waters with a food I removed from my diet several years back during my vegan phase: ground beef.
I’m incredibly picky about meat quality. We stick with meat either from Grass Roots Coop (save $30 on your first order) or Butcherbox* in my house. To paraphrase Dr. Gundry in The Plant Pardox: you are what they ate. When we eat meat, we are also consuming what they consumed, for better or worse. So if you’re cutting out all the things (corn, wheat, soy) and they are still eating it, then you’re not fully removing it from your diet. Plus, the quality of pasture raised meat is SO much better. The taste difference is incredible.
Anyways, I added ground beef back in to give it a whirl. My mother, a nurse, is half convinced I’m anemic bc I haven’t eaten beef in years so this was a happy day for her. But also, I’ve been taking iron for over a year now and I can tell a major difference. My favorite way to get it in daily is via Ritual.
But back to the beef. The first day I had it, no issues. No skin breakouts. All things fine. A week later when I had ground beef in several meals, I was blessed with Lucinda the cheek monster telling me that my gut had THINGS TO SAY.
There are a million elimination diets on the market. A lot of them are pricey but are very helpful if you need accountability or meals plans. The Clean Program is one that is highly rated by several doctors. Otherwise, you always have the option to eliminate several foods for 30 days and test one at a time. If you have absolutely no clue where to start, I’d highly recommend trying EverlyWell’s Food Sensitivity Test.
CLEAN BEAUTY HELPS BUT IT’S NOT ENOUGH
If you’ve been creeping the blog up until finding this post, you might be super shocked to read this part. Believe me. I WANTED clean beauty to save me. I wanted to go green, be clean and be an advocate of the cause. Truthfully, I imagine in time and with the development of clean beauty, plus someone who truly knows their shit, you could climb this particular mountain. For me, however, I was tired of fighting a losing battle and spending loads of money on stuff that didn’t work.
There’s also the fact that not all clean beauty is the same. A lot of what many consider “clean” is still rocking fragrance and other ingredients that may potentially be messing with your skin.
A PROPER SKINCARE ROUTINE IS, ALSO, EVERYTHING
If you only have the mental energy to focus on two things, focus on your gut and your skincare. BUT make sure you find the right skincare routine for you and not just one that is meant for acne prone skin. The thing about hormonal acne is that it isn’t like acne. In reality, you could be dry as a desert and if you’re doing an acne routine, you’re probably only going to have more acne because it’s not what your skin needs.
If you want to know my current skincare routine, be sure to subscribe to the newsletter. I’ll be sharing it on the blog in a few weeks. But if you want to know my 5 game changing products from my hormonal acne journey, you can get those here.
Wherever you’re at in your hormonal acne journey, I hope today’s post helped you. I truly know how much it sucks to hate your skin. But I promise there are ways to take charge of it without birth control and without spending a small fortunes on supplements & facials. If I can do it, so can you!
If you have any tips for things you wish you’d known when you started your journey, we’d love to know! Leave them in the comments below. And until next time. Xoxo, Savvy
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