During the week I was cleansing my face and I noticed two spots on my chin. It got me thinking that these were the first spots that I’ve noticed in a while. I used to stress over getting spots, because as you can see in the pictures below, I had full on acne a few months ago. I’ve had a few lovely ladies ask me how I managed to clear up my skin, so I thought it would be worth writing about it. However, I’m not a specialist, so I can only speak from my own experience. I won’t be going into too much detail on the different types of acne, as what worked for me, may not work for you. However, it may to shed some light on why you may have developed it and be a useful guide to treat it.
Where you develop spots on your face may be an indicator to the root cause of the issue. If you haven’t gathered by now, I’m a firm believer in getting to the root cause of any health issue, rather than simply treating the symptoms. The image above illustrates what is known as face mapping, which can be useful to find the root cause of the acne. I can 100% say that mine was down to hormonal imbalances caused by stress and not looking after my body. When cortisol and adrenaline are chronically released due to the stress response, it can cause hormonal imbalances. This stimulates an increased release of androgens – the ‘male’ hormones ie. Testosterone, DHEA etc. Androgens typically stimulate excessive oil production, which can cause acne. Chronic stress and harmful chemicals in the environment can also contribute to this imbalance as they cause higher than normal ranges of oestrogens.
Typically, a doctor will do a blood test to investigate hormone levels. I had this work up done, but believe it or not, the tests came back within ‘normal’ range. If you looked at my face, it was clear that they were not ‘normal’. I’ve always had oily skin, but my skin had never looked that bad – even throughout my teenage years. The only way to describe it was that my skin was ‘angry’. I was prescribed a short term antibiotic topical treatment and a longer term Retina A cream, but that only made matters worse. It became dry, inflamed and extremely painful. My confidence and self-esteem were completely knocked as I rarely wear make up, so going out in public was extremely upsetting. It was also an anxiety trigger for me, as I was so afraid that people were staring at my bright red, acne covered chin.So, what can you do about oily skin? With oily skin, it seems logical to dry the skin out, but that’s actually the opposite to what you should do. You need to hydrate the skin, as the body produces excessive oil to counteract the dehydration. Many ‘acne’ treatment products, like sudocreme, can actually contribute to this dehydration. Acne out by Biofresh is a much better alternative, so in the bin with the Sudo. I noticed an increase in the amount of spots I had when I used foaming cleansers that were tailored for oily, acne prone skin. I swapped these harch cleansers out for cream cleansers that soothe the skin.
What else did I change? I switched my moisturisers from the typical ‘oily skin’ moisturisers to ones that contain hyaluronic acid, like La Roche Posay’s ‘Hydraphase’ and Niveas ‘Urban detox’ night cream (not sponsored, so no discount code unfortunately huns). I continued to use the Retina A cream (prescribed by a doctor) as this is a product backed by scientific evidence. Retina A or retinoids are ‘pro-vitamin A’ as they are precursors to produce vitamin A. There are a range of skin care products that have this included in them, available in different concentrations. It’s expensive, but it works. The trick I found was to wait an hour after cleansing my face and then apply the cream. It’s less drying that way, meaning you won’t experience that fab flakey skin that can come with harsh acne treatments (pictured below).
The underlying cause to my acne was obviously hormonal, as I lost my period (new post will be released on the weekend). Again, it didn’t just appear out of nowhere. I wasn’t looking after my mental health and I wasn’t getting sufficient sleep. Stressing over having spots can make it worse, so try to remember that we all get them as nobody is perfect! Diet can play a huge role for some people and there is some interesting emerging research on the Gut-Skin connection, that I may do a post on at a later date when I look into it further. My advice is to look into addressing a possible root cause – be it lack of sleep, nutrient deficiencies, stress, hormonal and so on. I will do another post on what supplements can help to combat nutrient deficiences that can cause skin breakouts. If you have any questions about skin, hormones or anything else, don’t hesitate to ask!