How I Healed My Hormonal Acne

Hormonal Acne

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Skin is the largest organ in the human body and has the profound ability to communicate to us what is happening within. Nothing taught me this more than when I struggled with a flare up of hormonal acne. I’ve always had acne-prone skin and struggled with it most of my life. It wasn’t until late July 2020 that I started to deal with horribly painful and deep cystic acne, triggered by my hormones. At the time, I felt like it would never go away, and that my skin would never be the same. Luckily, today I am here to share with you the things that DID work to help heal my skin from hormonal acne.

Disclaimer: There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to healing acne! I believe everyone’s skin is completely different and what worked for me might not work for everyone! The point of this post is to give hope to those who feel hopeless. Because I felt hopeless. Now I’m here on the other side and I can tell you…it WILL get better.

What Caused My Hormonal Acne

Hormonal Acne

Having acne-prone skin is something I’ve dealt with since middle school. As an adult I still dealt with the occasional breakout and overall was un-happy with my skin. This is likely a huge reason why I fell in love with wearing makeup. My skincare routine consisted of Neutrogena Makeup Cleansing wipes, Philosophy Purity cleanser, and tea tree oil as a spot treatment. At this time, I had no idea how to use serums, wasn’t using sunscreen, and all of my products had endocrine disrupting ingredients. To top it off, I was no stranger to trying new products and experimenting with acne-healing hacks. I would try countless different skincare masks, products and techniques; all recommended by YouTubers and Bloggers of course.

The Catalyst to Hormonal Acne

One night I stumbled upon a Tik-Tok, which led me to explore further on YouTube, all about oil-cleansing. This led me to frequently slathering my face in castor oil and massaging all of the ‘oil-plugs’ out of my pores for up to ten minutes. I was hooked and it was such a satisfying, immediate result, routine. Around this time is when I really started to see my skin change; and not for the better.

I immediately stopped using oil on my face, but things only continued to get worse. What started out as multiple small breakouts quickly spread into deep, large, and painful cystic acne. I was officially in panic mode so I tried almost anything and everything. I drank tons of water, cut out dairy, cut out gluten, cut out sugar, stopped washing my face as often, tried new skincare. You name it, I did it. SPOILER ALERT! I’m pretty sure this all made things way worse.

The Emotional Impact of Hormonal Acne

Dealing with such an intense and huge skin change was incredibly hard to process emotionally. I was so sad, and truly had a hard time even looking in the mirror. It was such a tough, sensitive, and isolating time in my life. Looking back on old instagram stories and pictures makes me emotional because that girl was struggling. I felt so embarrassed and ashamed of my skin. At the time I was living at my parents’ house and I would rarely even leave my room without putting foundation on.

I was trying to be consistently active on Social Media but showing my raw face was hard. I would choose to use filters and I would photoshop any huge breakouts that were impossible to hide with makeup. For me, this was the best option because it was either show up ‘filtered’ or not show up at all. I tried my best to be gentle with myself and not think worse of myself for using filters and photoshop. I never hid it, and would occasionally share an unfiltered picture on my Instagram stories because it only lasted 24 hours. It went against every feeling in my body to share those pictures but I think in the end it helped my journey.

How I Healed My Hormonal Acne

Beauty Counter

My first step to healing was in September of 2020. During my attempt to find a new skincare routine, I hesitantly decided to try Beauty Counter. My cousin had recently become a consultant for them and they had a ‘Acne Skin’ skincare kit. I was very nervous to try new products but I liked that my whole routine would be from the same company and that they had non-toxic ingredients. I started using a gentle cleanser, a toner, an acne treatment serum and a moisturizer.

Along with having a consistent skincare routine that was curated specifically for acne prone skin, I began routinely doing LED therapy with my LightStim for Acne. My esthetician had taught me about LED therapy and that blue light is used to destroy acne-causing bacteria while red light helps to soothe and calm your skin. It felt a tad silly at first; the idea that holding a light over my face would help heal this horrendous skin condition. However, let me tell you….this thing WORKS!

I started to use it whenever I was sitting watching TV for five minutes over each section of my face that was breaking out. I still use it to this day, two years later, whenever I have a breakout. By the next morning, the breakout is noticeably flatter to the skin and less red. Within two days or so, it’s gone. I affectionately call it my ‘magic wand’.

Getting Professional Help

One of the best decisions I made during this time was to reach out to Avery Geary Wellness. (Who one of my best friends, Kristina, had introduced me to.) Avery is a Functional Nutritionist Practitioner who has a more focused specialty in hormones and was accepting clients to work with one on one. Right off the bat, Avery’s sweet and caring demeanor was exactly what I needed in order to open up with what I was really struggling with. I could tell that she truly cared and genuinely wanted to know what was going on. We only had one, two hour session together but Avery continued to check up on me periodically to see how I was doing. We covered so many different areas of life from diet, to stress levels, to product ingredients.

How Stress and the Gut Affect Our Hormones

Working with Avery taught me how 90% of our immune system is in our gut! Knowing this led to doing further research into how our hormones can be disrupted by so many different environmental and situational circumstances. I genuinely believe that one of the biggest contributing factors to my hormonal acne was stress. Stress from so many different things happening all at once.

The world-wide felt anxiety over a virus that led to huge changes in our daily lives. The political and social un-rest and the media’s response. The self-imposed pressure of not being where I wanted to be in life by this age. The stress of living in my child-hood home while trying to find myself as a woman and an independent adult. The reality of caring for my Grandmother, who was like a second mom, while she slowly dwindled away as her Dementia progressed.

I had worked so hard in multiple areas of my life to grow and challenge myself. Slowly, one by one, all of those things began to go away and were replaced by virtual meetings, social media, and face-time dates. My diet had been very low carb and high fat for two years before this. I completely wrecked my gut by removing complete groups of food and then reintroducing them all at once and in surplus. All of this combined resulted in imbalance in my gut and in my hormones.

Beginning to See the Light at The End of The Tunnel

Heal Hormonal Acne

When the immense amount of stress I was enduring was combined with using products with endocrine disrupting ingredients, constantly changing my diet, loosing 50 pounds and then quickly gaining it back plus more, it’s no wonder my skin started to freak out. I wasn’t caring for my body, mind, or soul BENEATH my skin and my outer shell was no longer concealing the struggle.

Slowly but surely, the more I learned, things started to improve. First, I found better ingredient skincare products that I loved and found worked. Also, I started to be more gentle with myself and the way I spoke to myself (although I still really struggle with this and am working on it.) I stopped trying to change my diet so drastically and I paid more attention to all the ways my environment was impacting my body.

Discovering My Current Favorite Skincare Line

Avery was the one who introduced me to my current favorite skincare line CLEARSTEM. The best part was she wasn’t pushing me to try new products or routines but she was helping educate me on how whole body wellness works. When she sent me to the CLEARSTEM website she only wanted me to explore what their website had to offer. There was so much helpful information and most importantly they created a pore-clogging ingredient list. I was able to use this list to cross-reference every product I was using on my skin to make sure none of the ingredients were contributing to my hormonal acne. (And thank God! because some of the Beauty Counter products I was using had pore-clogging ingredients!)

In October of 2020 I decided to order a few products from CLEARSTEM because I was at a point where I felt like it couldn’t hurt. My first order was for the Clearity Serum [to hydrate, encourage collagen production, and help balance hormones], and Cellrenew Serum [to brighten, unclog pores, remove dead skin and reduce excess oil]. I really solidified and felt confident in my skincare routine and made sure all of my products were free from pore-clogging ingredients and non-toxic.

Finding my Anti-Acne + Anti-Aging Skincare Routine

I started using a very gentle cleanser by Dose of Colors called Triple Dose Cleanser and a moisturizer from WISHFUL called Honey Balm Niacinamide Moisturizer. These are all products that I still use daily because they have continued to work! I’ve also added multiple other products from CLEARSTEM to my collection because I’ve found so much success. I have their Vitamin Scrub, Pregame Face Mask, Bounceback No Botox Serum, Brighteyes Eye Gel, You Are Sunshine SPF 50, and Sunnyside Brush On Mineral Sunscreen.

I love that anything I order from their website is guaranteed to be anti-aging, anti-acne, and free of toxic and pore clogging ingredients. I’ve since developed a relationship with the company and they offered me a discount code for anyone who used my code: ALY. I used Avery’s code back in the day to get 15% off which was so helpful! Now I can share the love with anyone reading this who wants to try out a CLEARSTEM product and get a discount.

Healing Acne Scars and Pigmentation

In November of 2020 I started to see a noticeable difference in my skin and wasn’t experiencing as many active breakouts. As my skin began to heal, and touching it became less painful, I started going back to getting monthly facials. This was something I was doing before but stopped, at first due to businesses being shut down, but then because of the pain and shame of having someone else touch my face. Not only did getting a facial every month help me externally, by gently caring for my skin as it healed, but it helped me internally as well. I have developed the sweetest friendship with my esthetician Allison and we basically have a therapy/catch-up time the entire appointment. For an enneagram two like myself, taking the time and spending money on something that is solely for the betterment of myself has been invaluable.

Having a professional by my side to help me through the healing process has been such a God-send. Allison at No Filter Beauty uses all clean, non-toxic products as well. She carefully and expertly extracts anything that is ready to be cleared away and follows up with a chemical peel. Getting regular chemical peels done by a professional has allowed any acne-scars and pigmentation left behind from hormonal acne to DRASTICALLY fade and go away.

If You Are Struggling With Hormonal Acne

I decided to include all of this in my post about how I healed my hormonal acne because I deeply and intimately want to connect with anyone out there who is struggling themselves. Vividly, I remember how awful I felt and how desperately I wanted things to be different. I hope that this post can help you. Even if it just makes you feel less alone in your struggle.

In the most basic and succinct way this is my advice for healing your hormonal acne. Stay well hydrated, make sure you’re sleeping enough, slowly start to incorporate non-toxic skincare, cross reference all product ingredients (skincare, makeup, lotions, shampoo/conditioners) with this list to make sure there aren’t hidden pore-cloggers, try LED therapy, and most !!!importantly!!! be gentle with yourself.

Nothing productive or positive will come from speaking negatively about yourself (to yourself or anyone else). Do whatever you need to do to survive this hard time; whether that be wear makeup daily, photoshop your selfies, wear lash extensions to pull the attention away from your skin. I’ve been there and I’ve done it all. It’s okay. The day will come that you feel comfortable enough in your skin to be bare-faced, filter and photoshop free, for all the world to see. You feeling comfortable and confident is what matters the most.

Feel free to leave a comment down below, send me an email, or DM me on Instagram if you have any questions or follow ups to this post! I’m here to listen. If you’re reading this it means you made it through a BEAST of a post. It wasn’t easy to write but it feels good to have this journey documented and in one place for reference. Until next time!

xoxo

Aly

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1 Comment

  1. This was incredible , I lived through this entire process with you. Your passion to heal physically and mentally is so inspiring. Thank you for being so open and raw with this post.

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