You probably know by now that hormonal imbalance is the #1 factor for acne formation and that balancing your androgen hormones (male sex hormones) will almost certainly result in elimination of acne.
However, most people don’t believe that hormonal imbalance can easily be regulated with diet and lifestyle changes and rely on prescription drugs, antibiotics or hormonal therapy to deal with their breakouts instead.
Here is how high levels of androgens lead to acne. Excess Androgen levels (including testosterone) leads to excess sebum production by the skin which can cause clogging of the skin’s sebaceous glans, leading to the formation of acne and bacteria overgrowth. This explains why the most common treatments for acne aim to lower the sebum production of the skin (Retinoids) or to balance the hormones responsible for the sebum overproduction (contraceptives, Spironolactone).
However, there are many natural ways to balance our hormones trough diet, lifestyle and supplements.
The biggest hormone disturber in our diet is refined sugar. Consuming high levels of sugar, processed foods and simple carbs leads to a spike in insulin levels which triggers the ovaries to produce excess testosterone and other androgens, causing an over production of sebum and ultimately acne formation. Sugar is also the most inflammatory food, as well as, it disturbed the body’s natural anti-inflammatory mechanisms.
Eating fresh, whole foods cooked from scratch and rich in healthy fats, fresh vegetables and foods high in fiber will ensure healthy hormone levels, less inflammation, and elimination of acne.
Also, hydration is extremely important for hormonal balance, as well as, adequate sleep and lowering chronic stress levels.
Along with diet and positive lifestyle changes here are the best supplements showing amazing results in clearing acne.
1. DIM - Diindolylmethane (DIM for short) is found in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, Brussel sprouts, and cauliflower, to name a few. DIM has an amazing array of benefits to the body like helping balance hormones and reducing your risk of various types of cancer, DIM also provides antioxidant activity to prevent damage from free radicals in the body, supports weight loss, enhances energy, boosts mood, improves memory, supports strong bones and healthy joints, reduces PMS symptoms, helps balance estrogen dominance, improves cardiovascular health, increases healthy muscle development, and improves prostate health in men. It is hard to get enough diindolylmethane from our diet so supplementing can be extremely beneficial and it shows amazing results amongst acne prone people.
2. Spearmint tea has demonstrated amazing anti-acne properties mostly related to its androgen balancing abilities. Spearmint tea contains compounds that exhibit potent anti-androgenic effect as well as antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits for the body. Drinking one cup 2 times a day will have a significant impact on your hormone balance and skin health. Make sure you are buying 100% pure Spearmint tea as most Mint teas on the market are in fact blends of different species of the Mint family even if the label says Spearmint tea.
3. Omega 3 / fish oil – the body needs a sufficient amount of healthy fats to function properly, keep inflammation down and maintain a hormonal equilibrium. Omega 3 is one of the most important free fatty acids for the body and the skin. The Alpha Linolenic Acid in Omega 3 is an essential fatty acid which means that the human body cannot synthesize it and it has to be obtain from food. However, Omega 3 has 2 other fatty acids called eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and research suggests that they are what actually makes Omega 3 such a powerful anti-inflammatory. Research has also proved that Omega 3 has potent anti-androgen effect which together with its anti-inflammatory properties makes Omega 3 the perfect supplement for acne prone skin.
Look for Cod Liver oil as this type of oil is also a potent source of Vitamin A and Vitamin D, both extremely beneficial for skin health and acne. The total amount of EPA and DHA is also important when choosing your supplement, combined quantity of EPA and DHA should be close to or above 1000ml for best results.
4. Zinc - Zinc is one of the most effective acne healing minerals and many studies have proven that zinc deficiency contributes to acne in a major way. Zinc is vital for wound healing, inflammation control, metabolism of testosterone and vitamin A, it also improves ovarian function and increases progesterone production. Progesterone is a natural androgen blocker so increasing progesterone levels alone has been shown to improve acne in women.
5. MSM – This is by far the ultimate supplement partly because it is actually food, not a supplement. MSM stands for methylsulfonylmethane, which is the oxidized form of dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) - an organic sulfur compound formed from lignan. This organic sulfur occurs naturally in some green vegetables and other foods as well as in milk, in many animals and in the human body. Sulfur is the 4th most abundant mineral in the human body and it is very important for many different bodily functions. It is hard to get enough sulfur form our food sources so supplementing with MSM is a very good idea especially if you have skin problems.
Most common uses of MSM are: chronic joint pain (osteoarthritis, joint inflammation, rheumatoid arthritis), leaky gut syndrome and autoimmune disorders, osteoporosis and susceptibility to bone fractures, yeast infections, constipation, ulcers, upset stomach, indigestion, PMS symptoms (cramps, headaches, water retention, indigestion), hair loss, skin problems, body detox, decrease of inflammation. Most importantly however, if this wasn’t impressive enough, MSM is bringing oxygen to the cells carrying away the toxins and, as we know, no disease can survive in an oxygen rich environment.
Sulfur works wonders for the skin and hair improving skin tone, clarity, and texture. In addition, sulfur is necessary for the formation of collagen synthesis, the protein found in connective tissue, it is also present in keratin, which is necessary for the maintenance of the skin, hair, and nails, helping give strength, shape, and hardness to these protein tissues. Its detoxifying and anti-inflammatory abilities have been proven to help with acne management.
Look for MSM crystals made in North America (never buy MSM made in China as this is not 100% pure), the crystals are by far the purest form of organic sulfur as all other forms have other chemical additives.