I, like a lot of others, have less-than-perfect skin. For the past 11 years of my life I have been plagued with acne- in particular, hormonal acne. I’ve battled with it since I was a teenager, even more so since taking the contraceptive pill. At the grand age of 24 it seems to be worse than ever. Here’s my experience so far…
The beginning of my battle with hormonal acne
As soon as I started puberty at 13 my face started breaking out. I suffered with really irregular periods and crazy mood swings. I went to the doctor and their first reaction was to put me on birth control. Yes, at the age of 13. I accepted it because I didn’t know any better. Please do your own research and learn how bad synthetic hormones are for your body. I wholeheartedly believe that taking the pill is the reason that I’m still struggling with acne and other health problems to this day.
I was on the combined pill from the age of 13 up until I was around 16. There was never a time my skin as completely clear but the pill kept the worst of my acne away during those three years. Then I started breaking out again. I tried a different kind of pill and It didn’t work, so I changed pills multiple times after that. I also got hundreds of different topical creams, face washes and antibiotics but nothing ever helped for more than a couple of weeks.
Coming off the pill
At the age of 20 my doctor switched me to the Yasmin pill to see if it made any difference. It didn’t. My acne got worse and I began throwing up all the time because it was far too harsh for my body. I decided that hormonal birth control was doing me more harm than good so I stopped taking it altogether. Within the first few weeks my skin completely cleared up and I thought my battle was finally over.
I went 10 weeks without a period but when it finally did come my skin went crazy. I’d only ever experienced those little red bumps but now I had huge, painful cysts all around my cheeks and jawline. I also started getting CRAZY depression for the whole week right before my period. Depression to the point that I wanted to take my own life. Every month the same thing still happens and it totally shatters my confidence. During the worst of my acne, there were times that I cried in front of the mirror because of how ugly I felt.
Treating hormonal acne holistically
Shortly after my 21st birthday I decided that healthy eating and exercising would be the ultimate cure to my skin troubles. When that failed and I was still breaking out a few months later, I started experimenting with all kinds of things:
-eating gluten free
-eating dairy free
-drinking green juices
-eating high fat
-reducing/increasing soy products
-eating high carb
-eating low carb/no sugar
-drinking bone broth
-all kinds of teas
-not using any chemical products on my face
Acne is your body telling you something is wrong
The only thing that made a noticeable difference in my skin repeatedly was eating an extremely basic diet. This diet consisted of nothing but chicken and vegetables. Obviously, that was neither healthy nor maintainable. I went to my doctor again, had multiple blood tests done for all kinds of things and they all came back “normal”. The doctor made me feel like I was crazy. She told me the way I felt was just part of life, and that I should just accept it.
Hormonal acne coupled with debilitating fatigue and blood sugar issues is normal in your mid-twenties despite an extremely healthy lifestyle….
She tried to give me more antibiotics. I refused and told her I wanted to find out what was actually causing my acne instead of just masking the symptoms. All she did was laugh and said, “Acne wouldn’t be a global problem if we knew that.” I knew I’d never get the help I needed from GPs so I gave up on them completely. I believe acne is your body’s way of telling you that something isn’t right and obviously they don’t agree with that.
I used to be insecure with my skin just because of how it looked. All I wanted was to have clear skin and not feel the need to cover it up with make-up. Now, I realise there’s more to life than looks. I’d never look down on anyone just because of some marks on their face. But knowing that there’s something wrong inside of my body and not being able to fix it is what upsets me the most. It’s so frustrating and I feel that I’ve failed at taking control of my health. But I won’t give up.
My acne now…
This is the current state of my skin, 5 days post-period break out. Believe it or not, this was a good month. It makes me cringe to look at it. I did only break out on one side of my face this time though so I guess that’s a plus.
Last week I started working with a Chinese herbal doctor and we’re trying to find a good mix of herbs to help me. I’ve also been taking Vitex for a few weeks now. Vitex is a plant-based supplement that helps your body balance out its hormones itself. It’s helped a lot with my PMS symptoms but so far hasn’t made a huge difference to my hormonal acne. Apparently it takes 3 months to work properly, so stay tuned over the next few months.
If I ever crack this case I’ll let you know…