Raise your hand if you are far from your teens but still suffer from 17-year-old breakouts? The truth is, it’s not as uncommon as it sounds. 20, 30, even 40-year-olds are still suffering from bumpy, red, irritated skin and cystic acne. If you’re one of them, strap in! It’s time to break down the most common causes of your skin woes and how to get them under control.
Cause: Hormonal Ups and Downs
For most of us women, we might experience a bit of irritation or break-out prone skin depending on the time of the month. Hormones cue our bodies to produce excess oil. Oil, stress, poor diet, dead skin build-up create the perfect storm. For women with irregular cycles and hormonal imbalances, you’ll see breakouts and cystic acne around your chin and jawline throughout the month.
Solution: Focus on Food
Hormone-related issues can be quite daunting to tackle. The best place to start – and possibly the most effective – is what you eat. What you choose to eat (or avoid!) can dramatically affect your hormone levels. High glycemic foods, anything processed that contains refined sugar, spike insulin and alters how you metabolize estrogen as well as rise cortisol (your stress hormone). These fluctuating hormones don’t do your skin any favors. To start, try experimenting with limiting or cutting out dairy and sugar.
That leaves us to what we should be eating. Our skin craves the vitamins and minerals found in dark leafy greens – think kale, spinach, swiss chard, and watercress. Vitamin A will help regulate your skin’s oil production while quercetin helps reduce cell activity and reduce inflammation. Another essential for good skin and balanced hormones: essential fatty acids (EFA’s) like flaxseed, olive oil, and wild-caught salmon. The more the merrier as they repair your protective skin barrier and provide anti-inflammatory activity.
Cause: Don’t Be Harsh
Any time we deal with a breakout, our first reaction is to either scrub it off or practically burn it off. Both should be avoided (especially if you suffer frequent breakouts). Harsh solutions only further irritate the skin and exacerbate breakouts. What about the products you use? Poorly matched products and ingredients can also cause added breakouts. So, how can we organize our routine?
Solution: Friendly Ingredients & a Good Routine
An effective skincare routine is only as good as the order you apply it. How you layer your products will give you optimal effectiveness. Start with a gentle cleanser. Our favorites include Tata Harper’s Clarifying Cleanser and True Botanicals Clear Nourishing Cleanser. Next, toner. Toners that include AHA’s (alpha hydroxy acid) help clear away any residual dead skin cells, dirt, and oil and prepare the skin for the next product. Once a week you can use a stronger, chemical exfoliation – a 5% formula of AHA’s or BHA’s can help with texture, scars, and hyperpigmentation. Start small and work your way up – a cult favorite is the T.L.C. Babyfacial. Now that you’re squeaky clean, it’s time to layer your “nutrient-dense” serums. Anti-pollution serums, peptide serums, and Vitamin C serums are just a few. Last but not least, seal it in with oil-based serums such as Vitner’s Daughter Botanical Serum or a moisturizer/sunscreen hybrid (depending on the time of day).
Cause: Not Enough “Friends”
How many of us forget to take our probiotics? Let alone have probiotics? Our lives are busy and remembering to take a supplement first thing in the a.m. is not always on the top of our list. But let’s talk about why good bacteria really is a priority for good skin (and overall health). Our gut and its flora are involved in every aspect of our bodies – healthy, balanced hormones, nutrient absorption, having a good mood, cardiovascular health, and, of course, skin health. With a lack of good bacteria, you are unable to fully nurture your intestinal microbiome – allowing bad bacteria to overpopulate and wreak havoc. But is it just probiotics that help our out the good bacteria?
Solution: Probiotics & Fermentation
Not all probiotics come in pill form. As mentioned earlier, a diet full of fruits and vegetables is not only nutrient-rich, it’s probiotic-rich! Plant fiber nourishes and strengthens good bacteria. Fermented foods like miso, sauerkraut, and kimchi also act as probiotics and grow your population of beneficial bacteria. The more whole foods you eat, the stronger your good bacteria become. Avoid foods that cause inflammation in your gut and destroy your microbiome. Gluten, sugar, and highly processed food are some of the biggest culprits!
Probiotics and prebiotics have increased in popularity. Unfortunately, this can cause confusion when trying to find the right one for you. Three things to look for are strain, species, and number. My personal favorite is Seed – it contains over 24 different strains totaling 53 billion good bacteria catering to every part of my body. The key to probiotics is to take them regularly because they don’t live very long after you’ve taken them. If need be, set an alarm or keep them close by.
“I Think I Need More Help”
Skin issues don’t tend to go away overnight, and at times, more help is needed. Izzy’s Wellness is happy to offer the perfect reboot to the most common (and most persistent) skin dilemmas via The Healthy Beauty Project.
We truly believe that healthy skin starts with a healthy gut. By means of healing, strengthening, and maintaining a healthy gut, you will experience a complete overhaul in your skin and wellness. Visit HBP for more information.