How I Healed My Adult Acne
If you’ve ever dealt with acne, you know it’s nothing short of frustrating. From spending $$ on products that don’t work to trying treatments that do nothing, it’s hard not to feel defeated in the process. My own personal fight with acne came later in life. As I entered my early 20s, I thought I had escaped the wrath of prepubescent blemishes, but unfortunately, learned first hand there IS such thing as “adult acne”.
It was 2015 and I was engaged at the time. I had my wedding planned for the next Spring, and suddenly found myself faced with with the harsh reality that wedding planning was now not the only challenge of the year. I did what anyone would do, I started researching products and treatments that I could try, in hopes that it would all subside before I walked down the aisle.
Over the following couple of years the acne only got worse. It started as always having a blemish here and there, to having irritated cystic acne all the time. There was nothing I tried that would calm it, and definitely nothing I did got rid of it. As many of you know that are struggling or have struggled with a similar journey, it’s filled with ups and downs. Some days you think you see the light at the end of the tunnel, where other times you feel as though there is no end at sight. At this point, I needed outside reinforcements.
So I booked an appointment with a Dermatologist. They ended up prescribing me with an antibiotic and sprinolactone, which (the antibiotic) unfortunately gave me an esophageal ulcer, leaving me unable to eat for a week. I was that .0001% that ended up being allergic to the medication, and having one of the tiny side effects listed in small print on the back of the bottle. Needless to say, I was unable to finish the treatment and found myself right back at square one.
Around this time I had also started to develop GI issues and it had been recommended to cut gluten and dairy out of my diet. I was in the very beginning stages of educating myself on a healthier, wholistic lifestyle, but had also read about how diet changes could greatly affect your skin. So I tried it with my fingers crossed and an unwavering hope that this would be the answer I was looking for. While I did see a positive change in my skin, it didn’t 100% eliminate the issues I had. Side note: this entire time I was on some sort of birth control. First, I was on the pill and then switched to an IUD a couple years in. Around 2019 I decided to go back on the pill. My acne seemed more “manageable” this way vs being on an IUD, and I was tired of going in circles trying to “fix” it. What I didn’t know at the time was that the birth control was just masking the internal hormonal imbalances that were causing the acne to beginning with.
I spent the next couple years on the pill with the relief that it kept my acne at bay, but I still knew that personally, I eventually wanted off the pill. I wanted to face this issue the natural way. Fast forward to June 2021. While I had already made the dietary changes that I needed to, the flashbacks of my experience years prior still left me terrified that the acne would return.
**Enter Alissa Vitti**: functional nutrition and hormone expert and author of Woman Code and In the Flo. She has spread so much awareness about women’s health and how you can tackle hormonal issues through diet, supplementation, and lifestyle changes. Her books were recommended to me by my best friend and have truly changed my perspective and given me the confidence and knowledge to take control of my health. June 2021 I officially came off birth control, and am happy to report that I have not seen the return of my cystic acne since.
Supplementation is another topic that she addresses, and adding in the following have been extremely beneficial in my journey to heal my acne. I am not giving medical advice, just sharing what has worked for me! **Of course, consult your physician before adding any supplementation.**
Source: Alissa Vitti “In the Flo”
A lack of magnesium causes skin inflammation. Taking magnesium with calcium combined in supplement form can lower the amount of C-reactive proteins in your body which cause this inflammation. Calcium is part of our tissue matrix – bones, cells, and skin – and very important for skin cell renewal.
Getting your omega-3 fatty acids in fish or flax oil will give you almost instant results. Clearer, softer, smoother skin as well as stronger hair and nails – you can see it happen in days. They have a big picture, whole body effect, as well as results in the short term. I also advise supplementation. It is hard to overstate the importance of omega-3 fatty acids when it comes to skin health.
Zinc deficiency is a very common issue for many women. When we are deficient in zinc our pores become easily irritated by bacteria and show redness. A large-scale scientific study concluded that zinc supplementation is very effective even when compared to commonly prescribed antibiotics. I also recommend having a little bit of grass-fed liver every week as part of a meal or as a snack. It’s full of copper and vitamin A. The copper will balance out the zinc in your body and the vitamin A is what your liver needs to detoxify from excess hormones. A well-functioning liver boosts your absorption of all vitamins and minerals and prevents deficiencies from developing in the first place.
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.
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 and premenstrual acne. B6 prevents skin inflammation and overproduction of sebum (the oil your skin produces that can create acne issues).
Now lets talk Skincare. While I do believe what you eat can make the most impact, having the support of great skincare and treatments is just as important! Once I was less active blemishes, the focus was healing and maintaining. I had uneven skin tone, a LOT of acne scars, and of course, redness. I currently go to Luxury Skin Scottsdale for all my facial treatments. Kayla and Jess are incredibly knowledgable and curated a personalized treatment plan for me and my skin needs. It’s paid off, because my skin feels AND looks amazing! I also have an entire blog post that shares my current skincare routine that you can read HERE.
It’s not fun to be told to eat healthier, and it’s way easier to take a magic pill or pay for a magic treatment that makes all your problems go away, but I promised to be honest about my journey. The body is a complex system(s), and being intentional about the foods I eat and what I put in my body has made a significant difference in it’s ability to stay “balanced”. For more on this, I recommend reading the books I listed above, as Alissa Vitti provides a step by step process to help you heal and balance on your own.
The last 5 years has been a huge learning curve. I didn’t heal my acne over night and most certainly do not view this battle as over. But I’ve learned that knowledge is power and have found that taking the time to educate myself has, above all, made the most impact on my health.