Hormonal Acne: Health From Within (Part 3)

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Recently, I’ve been sharing my story, regarding hormonal acne. I’ve broken it down, into parts, because healing acne doesn’t just come from one area - it’s a process, that takes healing (and time), in multiple areas. Today, I’m discussing healing acne from within - the primary and secondary foods we feed ourselves, and why each is essential.

** Please note: I am not a medical professional, and am not recommending, or promoting any specific lifestyle, or diet. These opinions are my own. I follow the idea of bio-individuality, which means that everybody and every BODY is different. What works for me, might not work for you.


Healing from within is critical in managing your acne; it deals with the food we feed our bodies, as well as the thoughts we feed them. They both are essential.

Primary Foods

In a previous post, I discussed the importance of self-care, and focusing on Primary Foods. The Institute for Integrative Nutrition describes nutrition as a secondary source of energy (secondary food). Primary foods, nonfood sources of nourishment, are what really fuels us. These nurture us on a deeper level. The more we fuel ourselves with these primary foods, the less we begin to depend on secondary food. At the same time, the more we fill ourselves with secondary food, the less space we give ourselves for primary food. These primary foods include: Career, Relationships, Physical Activity and Spirituality.

Now, I’m sure you’re thinking, “How does something like my career affect my acne?” But the matter of the fact is that it does; each aspect of your mental health is JUST as essential in keeping your hormones balanced. Stress causes raised levels of cortisol, which can cause excess oil production, which then results in acne.

Last late-summer (when my acne flared up again), I was applying for a promotion at my job, and was really stressed about it. I was in countless, online interviews that (looking back on them now) were blown WAY out of proportion. It was during this time, my face started to flare up. I stressed myself out, and didn’t have an elimination plan for all of that cortisol.


My Q-Life “Essentials” - helping us find balance.

My Q-Life “Essentials” - helping us find balance.

Speaking of cortisol, circulation (and the flushing of it) is essential to glowing, gorgeous skin. This means that moving your body, as well as getting it on, is just as important for your face, as they are for your body.

The best way to give yourself a stress hormone detox is by having a burst of sweaty exercise, or even a really good orgasm!

** Check out My Q-Life’s “Essentials”, which, when met, can cause true balance, in the body.

Pathways of Elimination

Our skin is our biggest organ of elimination, working with the liver, lymphatic system, and large intestine. These organs all act as one unit. What you put into your body – the food you eat, the products you use on your skin and hair, the cleaning substances you handle – must be eliminated properly, if not, then these chemicals that mimic estrogen will stay in your body circulating around. If all of your elimination organs are not working optimally, then your skin will suffer. The leftover, circulating toxins will show up on your face as acne. A buildup of toxins will cause hormonal imbalance. The excess hormones (estrogen and testosterone) will also be prevented from leaving the body properly and cause you to have all the hormonal symptoms – from acne to PMS (Foods to Avoid If You Get Hormonal Acne).

So, how do we rid our bodies of these toxins, so they don’t have an effect on our skin (or other areas)? We focus on each organ of elimination.

Liver: Consume foods that naturally help the liver detoxify. These include: good-quality protein (amino acids supplementation if you’re vegan), glutathione (broccoli, spinach, apples), selenium (poultry, oats, brazil nuts) and cilantro!

Large Intestine: Consume plenty of fiber, which works to clear out your large intestine. Barley, nuts, lentils, beans, apples, etc. are great options!

Lymphatic System: Find ways, each day, to gently-massage your lymph, so the fluid can be pushed through your lymph nodes. Use a rebounder (small trampoline), wear underwear with a cotton liner, minimize use of shapewear, etc.)

Skin: Take trips to steam rooms, or saunas, or think about a hot yoga sesh. When taking a shower, alternate between warm and very cold water, to expand and contract skin cells. Exfoliate a few times a week.


Liver Health

I purchased the book, “Liver Rescue” by Anthony William (Medical Medium). His take on acne is that it is caused by strep, which has been fueled by antibiotic-use, which has a severe effect on the liver. The more weakened our immune systems get, the harder it is to drain our lymphatic system, so it turns to the skin. Thus, healing our livers is essential in healing our acne; (I’ll get to this later).


Foods To Avoid

Remember when I discuss “bio-individuality” at the beginning of this post? This section has a lot to do with that. While each food affects each person differently, there definitely are certain foods that aren’t great for hormonal acne:

Dairy: Dairy products are notorious for creating sluggish lymphatic systems, as well as including synthetic hormones. It’s a huge inflammatory agent, creating leaky gut.

Caffeine: Coffee, black and green teas can strip us of our B Vitamins, Magnesium, and Zinc (just like hormonal birth control), which disrupts our skin’s immune response.

Peanuts: Many people are allergic to peanuts, and this can have effects on the skin, as well.

Soy: the phytoestrogens in soy can create estrogen overload in the body.

Canola, Safflower, Sunflower, Vegetable Oils: these cooking oils have more omega-6 than omega-3 and produces inflammation.

Gluten: Gluten (similar to dairy) can create inflammation in the body, causing leaky gut.

Am I telling you to eliminate all of these foods from your diet? Not exactly. However, if you suffer from hormonal acne, and DO consume these on a frequent basis, I’d absolutely consider taking them out of your diet, for a while. It’s amazing the havoc certain foods can have on our bodies.

Elimination Diet

And speaking of elimination, sometimes the only way in figuring out which certain foods affect us, negatively, is to go without them, for a period of time, and then gradually incorporate them back in (one at a time). It only lasts 5–6 weeks and may alleviate symptoms like bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation and nausea.

Once you have successfully identified a food your body can't tolerate well, you can remove it from your diet to prevent any uncomfortable symptoms in the future.


Supplements

Supplements are a tricky topic, for a few different reasons: 1. There literally are thousands of them and 2. They all work differently, for everyone. Do I believe supplements help acne? Yes. Do I believe we should focus on getting them from our food, primarily? Absolutely!

Magnesium. Magnesium is an important nutrient for fighting inflammation (acne is inflammatory). Calcium is part of the body’s tissue matrix—comprising bones, cells, and skin—and is important for skin cell renewal. Taking magnesium with calcium combined in supplement form can reduce inflammation and acne.

Omega-3s. Getting enough omega-3 fatty acids from fish or flax oil can improve skin significantly. . With fish oil, many women see clearer, softer, smoother skin (as well as stronger hair and nails)in just a few days.

Zinc. Zinc deficiency is a common issue for many women. When we’re deficient in zinc, our pores become easily irritated by bacteria and show redness. Research has shown that zinc supplementation can be  very effective in easing acne even when compared to commonly prescribed antibiotics.

Probiotics. We need probiotics for a healthy gut. A common symptom of a damaged and depleted microbiome is acne and other skin issues like rosacea. It’s particularly important with hormonal acne as your microbiome assists your body in processing and eliminating excess estrogen. If you’ve been on the pill or antibiotics for any length of time, probiotics could be key to getting your skin back on track.

B Vitamins. Your skin needs B-vitamins to regenerate and renew as they provide the energy all of your cells need for fuel. Taking a good B-complex every day that includes a high level of B6 will target hormonal or premenstrual acne. B6 prevents skin inflammation and overproduction of sebum (the oil your skin produces that can create acne issues). (Banish Hormonal Acne…)


My Experience

Good, non-processed food.

Good, non-processed food.

Now, again, please keep the idea of “bio-individuality” in mind here; I’m just sharing MY experiences, as a reminder of how important trial and error is.

TRUTH: Eating wholesome, non-processed foods is one of the best things you can do for your body (and your skin). And by “non-processed”, I mean NON-PROCESSED. Apples, spinach, blueberries, celery, coconut, squash, sweet potatoes, etc. The best way you can heal your body is by feeding it fruits and veggies.

I have been “gluten and dairy free” for years, and that did make me feel fantastic, however, I was eating a large amount of processed “gluten and dairy free” foods. These were continuing to cause inflammation in my body.

I recently realized that my favorite dairy-free, oat milk (Oatly), contained canola oil, called “Rapeseed Oil” on the carton. Before making this realization, I was consuming Oatly on a daily basis, and contributing to the continuous inflammation in my body. See? Just because something is “healthy”, “dairy-free”, “vegan”, “whatever”, doesn’t mean it’s HEALTHY, or NATURAL!

The same goes for meats. I don’t go by any labels, when it comes to meat. Sometimes I eat it, sometimes I don’t. What I HAVE tried to make a very conscious effort about, recently, is consuming ORGANIC, HIGH-QUALITY MEAT. Again, the helps with the amount of inflammation in the body, and I’ve noticed a difference in my skin.

Now, let’s talk about healthy foods that don’t always react well in your body: For me, they’re bananas. Bananas are wonderful for your liver; they help soothe the intestinal tract, are anti-yeast, antibacterial and anti-fungal. Bananas are wonderful, yet for me, they can contribute to my acne. This is only a conclusion I have come to from my own trial and error. Do I still eat them? On occasion, but I remain cautious now, knowing what I know.

TRUTH: The more supplements you take, won’t necessarily help your acne go away. For months, I spent hundreds and hundreds of dollars on supplements, and couldn’t figure out which ones were helping, and which ones weren’t doing a bit of good. Trust me. Supplement, primarily, from healthy foods, and focus on the “essentials”, when it comes to supplements - the ones shared earlier, in this post.

TRUTH: Stress is everywhere, and can wreak havoc on your body! For me, it’s all about not letting it get to me. Remembering to breathe, practice gratitude and not take anything too seriously has helped, significantly.

TRUTH: Celery juice has made my skin clearer, but by no means am I suggesting everyone drop everything they’re doing, and buy their grocery store out of organic celery. Celery juice is supposed to heal the liver, due to the celery’s sodium cluster, breaking down pathogens’ cell membranes, and eventually destroying them. Whether you decide to start your morning with celery juice, or not, I would recommend a solid hydration morning routine. Warm lemon water, water, in general. Hydration, first thing in the morning, is a great way to kickstart your liver!


Acne is frustrating, and there are so many different recommendations out there. Before you try one, or get frustrated when something isn’t working, take a look at your Primary and Secondary Foods, and reach out. Remember, you’re never alone!

xoxo,

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Self-Care Guide

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Hello, love!

 Chances are, if you’re anything like me, you’ve had your fair-share of curveballs thrown your way! I learned the hard way that when we let life’s stressors take advantage of us, we become not great versions of ourselves (think mind, body & spirit). My Q-Life was created as a reminder that we won’t ever have life figured out, completely, but to remember that there are better strategies to use, and better company to keep while attempting to do so!

 As a token of my absolute appreciation of you being here, I have put together a “Self-Care Guide” as a way to strengthen our mind, body & spirit in the best ways possible, especially during those times our lives feel the most confusing.

 Like what you see? Want to dig deeper, and become your best self? Let’s chat about an option that will bring the most fulfillment to your life!


If this post helps you with nothing more, I want to instill the reminder that true, meaningful, deep, pure health doesn’t just come from what we put on or in our bodies; it doesn’t just come from sweating and elevating our heart-rate; but it also comes from the thoughts we have, the language we use and the relationships we surround ourselves with. True health is a divine combination of that - strengthening our mind, body and spirit.


Primary Foods

 I want you to think back to when you were a kid. Do you remember those nights you were out playing with your friends?

Your mom would yell, “Time to come in and eat”!

And you’d beg her to let you stay out longer, because you weren’t hungry yet. When you finally got to the table, you gobbled a few bites of food and asked to be excused, so you could go back out and play. At the end of the day, you returned home, exhausted and satisfied. You quickly fell asleep, without thinking about food, or stress.

 Now, I’m sure you’re thinking, “Yeah, I do remember that. But good luck getting me to return to that way of thinking; I was a kid then!”

 Here’s another scenario for you:

 Think back to the first few months of a relationship. Those butterfly feelings you experienced, every time you got together. Your first date, first kiss, the first time you made love. Those times with your lover made you feel high; infatuated with their presence, and the connection you shared. Everything in the world, including food, become secondary.

 Now, let’s shift gears. Think back to a time you were depressed, stressed, experiencing not-so-great self-worth. During these times, you were absolutely hungry for those euphoric feelings felt as a kid, or with your lover. With hopes of feeling that way again, you would eat to find some sort of satisfaction, except when those feelings were attained, it drove you to eat more.

 The Institute for Integrative Nutrition describes nutrition as a secondary source of energy (secondary food). Primary foods, nonfood sources of nourishment, are what really fuels us. These nurture us on a deeper level. The more we fuel ourselves with these primary foods, the less we begin to depend on secondary food. At the same time, the more we fill ourselves with secondary food, the less space we give ourselves for primary food. That make sense? These primary foods include:

Career, Relationships, Physical Activity and Spirituality

How’s your primary foods list looking? Is there something you can do to bring more love into one of these areas?

 In my opinion, primary foods are where proper self-care really begins. Sure, you can take a bubble bath twice a week, for an hour; but that bubble bath isn’t going to do squat if you don’t feel valued in your relationship and at your job. Instead, take action to start creating a life of self-care!

 What does a life of self-care look like? I’ve created a list of ideas to slowly begin incorporating into your life. The trick here is starting out small, and then gradually increasing what you do, and how often. Instead of using these tips as ‘luxuries’, incorporating them into your life when you’re too stressed to function, create your life of self-care, turning these into every-day essentials.

 Slow Down More

 In today’s day and age, everyone is on the go, and letting their slew of social media followers know all about it. The crazy amount of tech-related tools now allows us to simplify tasks, and accomplish things quicker than ever; and yet time seems way too short and flies by before our eyes. These are a couple of exercises used to help you slow down, focus on the important things and enjoy your life a little bit more.

·      Cut personal internet use by half – What would you do if you didn’t spend every night scrolling through Facebook, on your phone? Give it a try. Start by cutting back just 10 minutes, and seeing how you feel.

·      Eat slower – Did you know that we need to chew our food around eight times before our saliva starts to secrete and help us digest our food? Did you know that gas, bloating and upset stomach can sometimes just be caused by eating too quickly? Start to chew your food slower and be more mindful of what you’re eating.

·      Make time for yourself – When did you last spend some quality time with yourself? Reading a good book, watching a movie, trying a new recipe or going to yoga? (also: see ‘meditation’ below)

·      Remember your goals and aspirations – Every day, take the opportunity to think about your goals and aspirations. Celebrate the accomplishments you’ve already achieved, and use that to drive you to achieve new ones. Try doing this about five minutes after getting out of bed.

·      Give yourself more time – Is your schedule always booked? Do you feel as if you’re constantly running from place to place? Just as you typically schedule events in your phone, take the time to schedule events for yourself! 30 min. of ‘me time’.

Positive Mindset

Let go of:

Comparing yourself to others – We’ve all done it; it’s easy to do, especially when everyone’s Instagram makes their life look ideal. However, comparing yourself to someone else is like discarding everything you have going for you. Instead of comparing, try admiring. “I like this person because….” vs. “I wish I was more like this person because…”

Negative self-talk – There is no critic worse than our own self, yet what good is that negative talk doing? The next time you catch yourself saying, or thinking, something negative, switch that into a positive, even if it doesn’t feel right. Then, say that positive out loud! Positive affirmations, baby!

Resisting change – This is what My Q-Life is ALL about; embracing those changes in our lives! Remember, if you want different results, you need to do something different. Changes don’t need to be all-or-nothing! Make the changes small and slow – baby steps.  

Make space for:

Surrounding yourself with like-minded, uplifting people – You know how they say you are the sum of the five people you spend the most time with? This is all about that! Spend time with the people who vibrate positive energy, get you inspired and keep you connected to what’s important. They’ll help you believe in your best self, as well!

Gratitude – Suffering from the phrase “I don’t have”? Instead of focusing on what you don’t have, focus on what you do have, today! Write down the things you’re grateful for, each day, and re-read them, at the end of the night.

Reflection – Take the time to reflect and release the thoughts and emotions you’re feeling. Get back to a natural state of your mind and body.  

Healthy Home

You know the phrase, “you are what you eat”? Well, that saying stands true for the state of our environment, as well. How does your house add up? Here are a couple of things to keep tabs on, at home.

 Cleaning products – Begin switching to more natural alternatives. Hint: anything with the words, “DANGER! or HAZARD!” aren’t natural. Just as we shop for healthy foods, use the same tactics when shopping for cleaning products. Shorter is always better; make sure you can pronounce most of the ingredients; plant-based is good. Sometimes, you are even able to make your own cleaning products at-home (think baking soda and vinegar)!

 A couple of additional ways to create a healthy home environment:

·      Grow plants indoors

·      Switch to energy saving light bulbs

·      Recycle trash

·      Buy recycled goods

·      Open windows and allow fresh air to filter your house

Meditation

Meditation is beautiful because there literally is no wrong way to do it! My recommendation? Schedule 15-30 minutes for yourself, each day, away from all distractions. Find a comfy place to sit, and start breathing. All meditation is different, yet I enjoy the idea of allowing the thoughts that come into your mind to stay there; show them love, and see why they’re in your head, in the first place. Instead of quickly trying to push them away, bring whatever your brain thinks of in, and see where it goes. Sometimes, we can learn a lot about ourselves, just by sitting in silence!

 After a while, start practicing in other places/times – at your desk, before a meeting, after exercise, at bedtime! Using meditation as a calming focal point during your day.

Breathing

I like putting this directly under meditation because the two go hand-in-hand! It’s amazing how much better I feel when I take ten seconds to breath, deeply, during a stressful situation. I wanted to share a couple of my favorite breathing techniques to try, to find your own state of calm.

4-7-8 Exercise

I love how simple this exercise is, and the relaxation it allows.

·      Exhale all of the old air out (feel free to be as loud as possible here)

·      Close your mouth and inhale, through your nose, as you mentally count to four

·      Hold your breath for a count of seven

·      Exhale, through your mouth, to a count of eight

·      Now, inhale again, and repeat the cycle a few more times

 If you have trouble holding your breath, speed up the exercise, but keep with the 4:7:8 ratio. This exercise works as a natural stress-reliever, a tranquilizer of sorts. Do it when you’re feeling anxious, upset or worried.

Abdominal Breathing

This technique reminds me of my flute-playing days – breathing from the diaphragm!

Place one hand on your chest, and the other on your belly. Take a deep breath, through your nose, ensuring the diaphragm inflates with enough air to stretch the lungs. I like to describe this as ‘belly breathing’. As you deep in, your belly inflates, as well. Take these deep, slow breaths for ten minutes.

This breathing works best for my fellow woodwind players (lol), as well as for stressful events. I always like to point out that trying a new breathing exercise, especially while stressed, might be difficult to control, at first. Practice makes perfect, love!

Sama Vritti “Equal Breathing”

This might be a familiar breathing exercise for my fellow-yogis! To start, inhale for a count of four, then exhale for a count of four. Make sure that all of this is done through the nose, which can add some natural resistance. As you continue using this method, see if you can work your way up to six or eight seconds (from four).

This is a great practice for yoga, as well as at bedtime, since it’s similar to counting sheep! Whenever you’re needing help getting away from racing thoughts, this exercise is for you! 


Stress is not what happens to us. It’s our response to what happens. And response is something we can choose, at any moment.
— Maureen Killoran

How are you feeling about managing your stress and creating total alignment, within your body? Remember, as with anything, it’s a process. Start slow, and know that any movement toward a life of self-care is a step in the right direction!

I love sharing this quote with clients I work with. Evaluate your life, and the stressors in it. What’s in your control? What’s not? Remember, we are always in control of how we handle our lives. Create a life of self-care, and that will be the best choice!

xoxo,

 

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