How to naturally treat adult acne with an anti-inflammatory lifestyle
Dear eyeam fam, my name is Roxy; I'm an integrated nutritional health and manifesting coach. My healing journey began when out of nowhere, I developed hormonal acne. My healing transformation started in May 2022 when I decided everything in my life needed to change.
From acne flares up to clearer skin
It began when I started to notice I was getting spottier than usual. At that time - I was barely eating, over-exercising, highly stressed and filling my body with external toxins (literally everything that creates hormonal imbalance). I couldn't understand why one spot after the other kept appearing (around my chin and jaw) and why I was retaining weight more than usual.
Fortunately, I grew up in the health and wellness space - my mum is a naturopath, cosmetic scientist and pharmacist (and my business partner) who taught me from a very young age how to look after myself, how to minimise exposure to toxins and lead a healthy life, which I only ever listened to for the use of looking good over feeling good.
Like most people, I was not perfect (if you watch my TikToks, you know my journey already; if you don't, you can watch my explanation here) and did things to myself that did not serve any purpose in my life. I had been a party girl for almost a decade and thought maybe that was it, so in August, I decided to stop drinking and smoking socially. At that same time, I was also fixing a decade-long problem with food and my body image.
Before embarking on this transformative wellness journey, I was hosting manifesting workshops and helping clients heal through rituals and practices, which I, too, practised (obviously, I needed more). Still, I couldn't let go of the old ideas, beliefs or expectations I had about myself.
This healing stuff is hard! If it were easy, everyone would do it.
I wanted to apply everything I was teaching, but it was only until last year (when I truly started healing) that I knew I had to recover fully without the BS or conditions I set myself. I considered the trajectory of my life and how my purpose is to help people. But how can I help people if I can't even help myself? From that day on, I decided to start living fully.
It took me around 7 or 8 months to fix my metabolism to the point where I could eat without it affecting my weight. Having food freedom and not worrying about food or its calories is SO freeing; I never thought that was possible. Yes, I did have to gain weight (I was surprised how little it was, which goes to show we are made for eating!) and most importantly, I let go of the outcome and just let it be. I knew I needed to gain weight to get my metabolism working again to live a happy life.
At my worst - I didn't touch carbs; they were the number one enemy that should have been avoided at all costs (thanks to fad diets saying carbs = weight gain). Little did I know by doing this, I starved my gut of the good bacteria it needed to stay healthy. So whenever I would eat them, I would get bloated, and it caused significant hormonal imbalances + inflammation inside my body. I thought I was different to everyone else and couldn't eat the same as they did; otherwise, I would be fat.
As a by-product of my previous lifestyle, I developed many allergies (because of the load of inflammation from stress, foods I haven't had in ages and my party-girl days) and hormonal acne (when we deprive ourselves of food, this can cause hormonal imbalance), which felt like the end of all ends. That's how eyeam was born.
My skin started getting worse from August- October. I had been on the pill for 8 years, and a light bulb moment appeared, ahh! Maybe that's it! I finally found the solution, or so I thought. I decided to come off of it, and oh boy, when it rains, it POURS. I had cystic, painful acne all over my face; I had been the biggest I had been in a long time (but all my bloating/ water retention went down after coming off the pill), which I didn't mind because my body needed that to fix my metabolism, and I came to terms with that through many (and I mean MANY) self-development practices, affirmations.
That didn't negate the feeling. I felt so isolated, hopeless and alone in my head and felt like no matter what I did, nothing worked. Constantly using acids and actives (which we love in moderation, not every day!) I was recommended to return to birth control or try the popular medications -Spironolactone or Accutane. Intuitively, I knew this wouldn't solve the problem, only suppress it. I didn't want another band aid to put over my symptoms that would never heal if I did that; I wanted to get to the root cause.
Let the mess be the driver. The universe loves to aid you in the most unexpected ways - divine synchronicity led me to enrol in my nutrition and health coaching course to learn how to help others through mind, body and spirit. I had met up with a friend I hadn't seen in ages, and she said she was doing this course and that I should try it, not knowing it would propel me into my healing journey. I changed my prevention plan and treated my symptoms as a whole rather than individually; they were all connected. I changed my lifestyle, surrounded myself with a great support system, implemented the right supplements and set up my own personal healing toolbox that led me to here, eyeam. I focused on my mental health, stress and sleep (yep, these all affect your hormones) and created my own healing toolbox.
The eyeam healing toolbox:
- Minimise stress + Regulate my nervous system daily.
- Use appropriate supplementation internally and topically.
- Eat an anti-inflammatory diet (without restriction).
- Surround myself with the support I needed.
Our Bio-Hack page was designed to guide you whenever you're feeling lost, hopeless, curious or need some inspiration to venture on your healing journey.
Here are my favourite lifestyle tips that helped with my hormonal acne:
1. Mindfulness and Stress Management
There is no health without mental health. The fundamental cause of acne and hormone imbalances is stress and inflammation. eyeam was born out of a shared desire to heal through the power of affirmation ritual (which helped me overcome my hormonal acne). Hormones and neurotransmitters (nerves) make up the mind-body connection, and we can activate this through positive affirmations. You'll see that your whole life will transform by cultivating a healing mindset through this practice. That's why i paired each product with a tailored affirmation to help each of you build that mind-body-spirit-skin connection.
As a holistic health practitioner, I learnt the importance of our stress hormone (cortisol) and how it can affect hormonal acne. My two staples to lower cortisol are:
1. Breathe properly (because most of us don't)
2: Establish a self-care routine (morning and evening).
To read my morning self-care routine and wellness wind-down tips, click here.
Our nervous system is made up of two categories. Our parasympathetic (rest response) and sympathetic (fight or flight); read more about our stress hormones here. In the history of evolution, this worked great for us when we lived among wild animals or in war. Our minds would let our hormones know it was time to run for our life! All the blood would rush to our arms and legs so that we were ready to bolt. But now, a stressful email can do the same exact thing.
How do you manage that? Shift your mindset:
Expand your emotional vocabulary and practice mindfulness activities like:
- breathing exercises
- humming - Yes, humming helps stimulate your parasympathetic nervous system.
Alongside these mindful practices, supplementation is a powerful tool to combine. This is where Hormone Check Drops were born. The primary concept is to help cultivate a positive mindset through potent plant extracts. Our star ingredient, TIMUT PEPPER, is a clinically proven and innovative new ingredient that boosts the brain-skin axis, enhancing cognitive performance, elevating mood levels, and reducing mental fatigue.
Another star ingredient is Agnus Castus, found in our Hormone Check Drops, which supports the balance of estrogen, testosterone and prolactin levels (hormones). To read about our powerful plant ingredients, click on each product here.
2. Check your household and cosmetic ingredients
That's right, everything is connected! Certain chemicals in cosmetics, household cleaning products and body care toiletries can disrupt our endocrine system (aka hormones). Two nasties, in particular, are Bisphenol A and phthalates, which can disrupt your hormones. eyeam's ingredients have been carefully curated to deliver concentrated plant extracts to protect your hormones without compromising results.
3. Work on Your Sleep Hygiene
Level up your health with rest! 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep is the sweet spot of hormonal equilibrium. If we get under 7 hours, our immune system is weakened, our ability to process emotions destabilises, and our hunger hormones elevate. That's when we tend to reach for the sugary snacks. A healthy wind-down routine (read mine here) and supplementation (coming soon 😉) can help create excellent sleep hygiene.
4. Schedule Lower-Impact Workouts
I used to do 4x HIIT workouts a week and ran 45 mins x2 a week… which ALWAYS came from a place of "'I need to lose weight quick and fast". Your hormones hate this, especially if you already have a high-stress job or home environment. Opt-in for more strength training, Pilates or walking. If you are desperate for that adrenaline rush, which I am, add a HIIT workout on the weekend or once a week. Always listen to your body and it's needs.
5. Eat a Diet Rich in ALL Food Groups
Whilst probiotic-rich foods such as kimchi and anti-inflammatory leafy greens like kale are naturally great for the body, it’s important to eat a balanced diet that includes all other food groups too.
But don’t dairy products make acne worse? Sure, for some people. However, the relationship between dairy and acne is complex and varies entirely from person to person.
What’s even more of an issue is an imbalance in your blood sugar levels. So unless you have an allergy, get all those food groups in. I had cut carbs out of my diet for years because of the idea that it was "bad" for you, and that led to so many hormonal, gut and skin problems. Cutting food groups out can increase stress and mess up your metabolism long-term (trust me, I know).
Think eat the rainbow, putting a variety of colours on your plate to maximise your intake of nutrients. Let food be thy medicine, but do what feels right. It's essential to feed your soul, too! Food tastes better when you enjoy it, don't deprive your body of what it needs to thrive.
6. Avoid Drinking Coffee First Thing (or Skipping Breakfast)
For years, I always drank coffee on an empty stomach, thinking I was being so clever to skip breakfast to do intermittent fasting, which our hormones HATE. Caffeine can spike your cortisol (stress hormone) and not to mention be harsh on your stomach (remember, the gut and brain are significantly linked), so if you're already feeling stressed, this is the worst thing you can do.
Most studies on intermittent fasting are done by men, for men.
A protein-packed, nutrient-dense breakfast (sign up to our newsletter to receive lots of free yummy recipes!) is the key to supporting our lovely female hormones—all day long. Optimal ingredients and timing (eating within 60-90 minutes of waking and aiming to eat at the same time everyday) help balance hormones like cortisol and insulin. This is important because we want steady energy and focus throughout the day.
7. Try an Anti-Inflammatory Lifestyle
I am a HUGE fan of this way of living. I practice an anti-inflammatory lifestyle, which helped reduce my acne and gut issues enormously.
It just makes sense that an anti-inflammatory lifestyle would help with skin inflammation, right?
But how does it work, exactly?
Well, without getting too scientific, this lifestyle helps calm overactive sebaceous glands and excessive oil production in the skin. It also involves eating a much more balanced diet containing vitamin D-rich foods, ideal for good skin health.
But you don’t need a vitamin D deficiency to have adult acne. And an anti-inflammatory lifestyle can help whatever your skin type - and whether you’ve got a history of acne or not.
My anti-inflammatory lifestyle found me when I needed deep healing. I was in the thick of my hormonal acne, fixing my relationship with my food and, most importantly, with myself. Nothing is more liberating than having complete and utter food freedom. Before implementing this anti-inflammatory lifestyle, I had to address any underlying issues with food and repair my metabolism. Watch my story here.
Inflammation can be caused by diet (food sensitivities, allergens and chemicals) and environmental factors like stress, lifestyle and environmental toxins. But it's important not to restrict, the stress of that can cause the same amount of inflammation, too.
Remember, what works for others might not work for you. It's all bio-individual. Embarking on this lifestyle doesn't mean you're set in stone only to have anti-inflammatory foods or practice self-care every single day. It's about finding what suits you and always prioritising yourself.
From eating a diet rich in all things good for your body and soul ♥️ to curing dry skin and fading acne scars, we cover it all in eyeam’s newsletter. Sign up today to download your free anti-inflammatory guide + recipe e-book!
Lots of Love - Roxy