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Is Acne a Hormonal Issue?

Updated: Feb 29

Last night my 12-year-old asked me if acne was a requirement for puberty. That got me thinking about how misconstrued our thoughts are on how the body works. If something isn’t working, it must be hormones, or it may be a pill deficiency? (I hope you know I am kidding!).

Sad but true: Girls are prescribed birth control for acne all the time. What the heck?


So, let me break it to you. Acne is not a hormonal problem, it is a detoxification problem, it is a lifestyle issue that affects how the hormones are cleared. What is showing on our skin is a mere reflection of inner imbalance.


I always go by the belief that our body is the most perfect machine ever created. It knows its job and will always attempt to go back to equilibrium. Our job is to give its proper fuel. We are the ones messing it up all the time. I feel people worry more about the fuel they put on their cars than on themselves.


The skin is a detoxifying organ along with the liver, the kidneys, the digestive system and the lungs. The liver is a major player here. If the liver is overwhelmed, it will reflect on your skin. If you have a poor diet, the microbiome in your gut will not be happy and it will reflect on your face.


Therefore if you ask me what you should do for acne, or pretty much anything skin related, I will ask you to tell me what do you eat, if you poop, how many hours do you sleep and how stressed out you are. (Yes, teenagers get stressed out too, moms!)


Dairy and processed foods are big culprit in teenage acne epidemics. And so is junk food. Shocker, I know, and I have just laid out your typical American teenager menu. A bowl of sugary cereal with milk for breakfast and a bunch of crap at school. If they are lucky, they will have home cooked meals for dinner, just saying…. Add the real hormonal changes, peer pressure, getting good grades to be accepted to a good college pressure, “I have no clue what I want from life…” pressure, first love, first heartbreak and you earn yourself a face full of zits.


So what can we do about it? Before rubbing your face with lotions and potions, it is better to start by giving your liver some TLC and investigating what is going on in the gut. If gut is out of whack, you bet it will impact how the body is dealing with hormones. If the liver is congested, it will show on your face.


Back to the “is acne a hormonal problem” question, hormonal changes in puberty are not a cause for acne (or for PMS for that matter!), a congested liver and an unhealthy gut are. The hormones become a problem when they cannot be cleared by the liver or by the gut and recirculate unattended in the body. You can think of hormones as chemical messengers sent by the endocrine glands to control and coordinate activities throughout the body. Once that message gets delivered, its job is done, it is free to leave the premises. If they don’t leave (get cleared out) they can cause trouble. But we don’t want to simply kill the messenger, right? That is what giving birth control to a girl to fix her acne does. It does not fix the issue, just masquerades it.


Bottom line - if you want beautiful clean skin, clean up the diet first. Eat stuff that will make your liver happy like bitter greens (arugula, cilantro, dandelion), eat some radish, artichokes. Drink peppermint tea. Avoid dairy, junk food, things that come in a box. Eating well is not rocket science, it is actually almost too simple. Whole-foods are the things you find on the periphery of the grocery store. Stuff that grows and needs to be refrigerated. This is what wholefoods mean, not processed, nothing added, no need to read labels. Stuff you would pick up in a farm, hunt or gather!


Once the basics are done then you can think of some supplements. But remember, we can’t supplement ourselves out of metabolic chaos. Gotta do the basics first. Always.

You will not get any head way if you eat poorly and shove some liver supplements down your throat and astringent on your face. Sometimes I sound like a broken record and I hear my kids quoting me: “did you sleep well? Poop? Drank enough filtered water avoid sugar and eat your veggies? Not nearly as sexy as taking birth control pills, but surely the way to go.

Here is what I do for my family for liver support * on top of foods, sleep and some “Zen” time:


1. Liver Nutrients like NAC, taurine, TMG,good products are Seeking Heath Liver Nutrients and Pure Encapsulations liver and Gi detox, and Quicksilver Scientific bitters to stimulate the production of bile.

2. Calcium D Glucarate (if gut is compromised)

3. Cod Liver Oil (if you get good quality, it does not taste as bad as it sounds)

4. Probiotics, my favorites are Soil Based Probiotics and Saccharomyces Boullardii

5. Liposomal Vitamin C

6. Liposomal Glutathione


While working on cleaning up the diet and helping with the microbes on your gut, you can give some love to the microbes on your skin with some probiotics, as well.


Got this recipe from Dr. Ben Lynch: In a spray bottle, add 4 capsules of Seeking Health Probiota HistaminX to 2 ozs filtered water. Spray on clean, affected areas. Let it dry. Do 2x daily. Keep the bottle in the fridge. Replace contents every 3 days.


* Remember I am not a doctor and this is not medical advice. Talk to your practitioner about supplements that are good for you. The choices you make will depend on your body.


Fundamentals first. Supplements are a far second.


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