Oh my goodness. This will probably not be the most popular blog post ever, but I wanted to share anyway. You, patient readers, know my struggle with acne and how it wears me down. After doing almost everything a girl can do (apart from Accutane which I am not down with at this point), I figured it had to be some sort of hormonal imbalance. I’ve heard people say that typically when acne is around the jaw and chin area, it is hormones causing it. And its like, “Awesome, but I’m not 15.”
I thought about doing a hormone test thing from a place that does that sort of thing. They told me it would be an at home test, only costing around $100. I was interested, but thought I would see if there are any herbs/vitamins/foods/chants (kidding) out there that could help balance me out.
I stumbled across a blog that listed a regimen that this girl who also suffered from hormonal acne was on. What she was saying made sense, and she even said that before taking these herbs, she was extremely careful about what she ate and how frustrating it was when that didn’t always work (I hear ya, sister!!). While I do believe that sugar is not good for acne (and a world of other things), I would love the freedom of not feeling like my face is going to look like I have leprosy every time I eat a cookie.
It has been about a month now, and I see improvements. I take them faithfully, three times a day. My purse is like a medicine cabinet, and you can hear me coming before you see me, but I don’t care. I call them my “estrogen pills” to make people uncomfortable.
These are my new four favorite things and why:
- DIM– this is a compound found in cruciferous veggies like broccoli and brussel sprouts. It promotes, through the liver, healthy estrogen metabolism. To put it very simply, it helps with the production of “good” estrogen (2-hydroxy) and away from “bad” estrogen (16-hydroxy) which is the estrogen linked to breast cancer, infertility, ovarian cysts and, of course, hormonal acne. This won’t be found in just any drugstore. Look in a health food store or online. I got mine at Whole Foods, and it wasn’t cheap, but it’s worth it to me!
- Vitex (also called chasteberry)- this is an herb that works on your pituitary gland in helping regulate hormone production. This is used for women who have low progesterone. Side effects of low progesterone may be: irregular periods and acne. Women coming off of the pill often experience low progesterone. This is a great Q&A about vitex. I got this at a vitamin store (this is also not found in typical drugstores) and I take it six days on, one day off as instructed.
- Milk Thistle– supports healthy liver function. What does this have to do with hormonal acne? Well, the liver is where the bad estrogen will get detoxified and removed from the body. I found it at CVS (buy one get one free! Woohoo!). Don’t use if you have a ragweed allergy!
- Burdock Root– this helps cleanse the blood. I know! It sounds like witchcraft. It’s eaten as a veggie in Japan, it can be juiced, taken in a tincture or a pill. According to Paul Pitchford “(Burdock) is a vital cure-all for all conditions of excess and significantly clears the blood…”. This website claims that it is a favorite among herbalists in the treatment of acne. And the reviews on Amazon mention it being used for acne. Why hadn’t I ever heard of this until a month ago???
I was planning on giving this three months, and if it didn’t help, going to see a specialist. It’s been a month, and, unless it’s a fluke, I see an improvement. Hopefully with time it will even get better. Here are some pictures of me just starting out on the herbs with no make-up on and then me, after almost a month also with no make-up on.
I know this is probably boring for a lot of you, and most probably didn’t read all of this, but I hope it helps some of you who are feeling straight up out of whack. I am still taking antibiotics (for now) and using a retinoid, but maybe one day soon I can stop. And you know what? I even had ice-cream today.(But let’s not push it…)