I’ve been getting a ton of questions lately about skin – more specifically, about how I healed my hormonal acne that I dealt with for the better part of the past year.
Let’s keep in mind that acne can be caused by a huge array of things (mine happened to be from hormone imbalance), and though I’m no skin expert, I’m going to share what has worked for me after lots of trial and error in hopes that it could help someone else in a similar situation.
It’s also important to note that our skin is a direct reflection of what’s going on inside our bodies, so it’s crucial to heal the root of the problem internally, in addition to using pure, non-toxic products topically to boost healing from the outside. Everything we put on our skin is absorbed into our bloodstream, so pure topical products are an absolute must.
Quick backstory: I was on The Pill (as a form of birth control) from age 15 to 29 without ever taking a break – yikes. As I got older I became more aware/conscious of toxins I was ingesting, and started replacing them with non-toxic alternatives one-by-one. One of the only things that I couldn’t quite figure out how to replace was The Pill – for reproductive purposes only – we’re just not focused on expanding our family yet, and to me it seemed like the most effective way to keep that within our control.
I would cringe at the thought of taking my pill every morning, knowing that I was willingly ingesting synthetic hormones and toxins on a daily basis. Not to mention I had been hearing so many horror stories from friends about The Pill causing growths on their organs, irrational thoughts/behaviors, and other terrifying things like that.
I talked with my friend Emily (she’s a holistic nutritionist specializing in fertility + weight loss), who explained the concept of F.A.M. (Fertility Awareness Method) to me and I was instantly on board. (Plus, I was baffled that I hadn’t learned about it sooner – these types of things really need to be taught in school.) No toxins, no side effects, and an opportunity to be more in tune with my body – where’s the downside?
I excitedly jumped on the F.A.M. bandwagon and never looked back. And shortly after that, I found the downside – the feeling that I had totally lost control of my emotions, strong PMS symptoms, and a bad case of hormonal acne as my body worked overtime to detox from being on The Pill for half my life. These downsides of course have nothing to do with F.A.M., but because my hormone levels were completely out of whack as my body tried to adjust.
As for my skin, it felt like it belonged to someone else – I had to completely relearn how to care for it, and I knew the healing in the long-term had to happen from the inside out (everything needs to be healed from the source of the problem, after all).
In the short-term, however, I was constantly looking for non-toxic stuff that I could slather on my face to decrease the big, painful red bumps that were popping up whenever they damn-well felt like it (which was all the freakin’ time).
I know in the grand scheme of things skin issues are at the bottom of the list in terms of importance (I was more concerned about what was happening inside my body), but having those deep-rooted, cystic pimples constantly bubbling to the surface hurt both on a physical and emotional (i.e. self-confidence) level.
There was no amount of concealer in the world that could cover them up, either. Not to mention, I’m such a picker (I know, it’s bad – save me from myself!) – so I was constantly squeezing and poking them, frantically trying to get them to go away faster – which lead to lots of fun dark spots and scars (some of which are still healing).
Anyway, after trying SO. MANY. THINGS. topically (while I simultaneously tried a whole slew of things internally to get my hormones in check) I finally found a super-simple routine that really works for me. As I mentioned a few times, it’s all about getting the root of the problem resolved (which I’ll address next week in Part 2 of this post), but having some trusty, clean products on standby for external healing is essential in my opinion.
All of the products mentioned below are non-toxic and plant-based. It’s always best to keep everything in, around, or on your body as close to nature as possible to ensure you’re not increasing your toxic load and causing unnecessary disruption to your internal systems.
1. HD Clear Cleanser:
I use this cleanser on my face every night before I go to bed, it’s made with pure essential oils and plant extracts and I love tingly, clean feeling I get from it. Melaleuca (Tea Tree), Eucalyptus, Geranium, Litsea Berry, and Ho Wood essential oils cleanse and purify skin, active Licorice Root extract provides sebum regulation and oil control, and White Willow Bark extract promotes healthy cell renewal. A blend of Black Cumin Seed, Chaulmoogra, Magnolia, and Manuka helps reduce breakouts (hallelujah!), and specialized algae extract (which is rich in amino acids) soothes and calms the skin. It pretty much rules.
2. HD Clear Spot Treatment:
This is the absolute best spot treatment I’ve ever used (you can also smooth a thin layer over larger areas of skin on the face + body, if needed). It’s made with Black Cumin Seed Oil, Ho Wood, Melaleuca, Litsea Berry, Eucalyptus, and Geranium essential oils, which are used not only for their well-known skin soothing benefits, but also also because they’re soluble through lipids in the skin, allowing for perfect absorption and effectiveness.
You know when you can feel one of those painful, deep pimples forming under your skin? I’ve layered this on those spots at night and woke up with them totally gone. For acne that’s already formed – this is amazing for killing bacteria, speeding up recovery, and nourishing the skin. It’s also clear, so you can easily wear it in public without anyone noticing.
3. Correct-X Ointment:
Before I was aware that the toxins (like petrochemicals) in our cosmetic and cleaning products caused so many health problems – hormone imbalance included – I was obsessed with Aquaphor. I couldn’t find anything else that would heal cuts or scrapes at such a fast pace. I used it on my face all the time (for the aforementioned picking) – and then I realized it’s petroleum-based and I was totally eff-ing with my body by using it.
Enter Correct-X – it has almost the exact same consistency as Aquaphor, but it’s entirely non-toxic and is made with (surprise!) pure essential oils. Frankincense, Helichrysum, Melaleuca, Cedarwood, and Lavender essential oils (all known to help assist in soothing skin irritations) form the base of Correct-X. This multi-purpose, all-natural ointment helps soothe skin and keep it clean while recovering from distress – I’ve actually been able to wipe scabs/dead skin right off my face without a trace after consistently applying this. Correct-X provides a moisture barrier that helps protect while simultaneously soothing and hydrating the skin. It’s petroleum-free, preservative-free, absorbs quickly and is non-irritating. I love applying this while I’m lounging around the house, and also before I go to bed so it can work its magic overnight.
Don’t get sick of essential oils just yet – I’ve got one more for ya. His name is Frank, and he is the man. While Frankincense oil is good for a crazy-long list of things – it’s especially great for promoting skin repair and cellular regeneration – and it also helps with balancing hormones. This is what I reach for when I want to clear up post-acne scarring – it really speeds up my recovery time a lot, and I know it’s going to work on my behalf internally as it gets absorbed into my skin too. I layer this on morning and night after moisturizing to ensure I’m repairing my scars around the clock.
5. Bentonite Clay
This has become my go-to face mask, it’s made out of volcanic ash and is packed-to the brim with minerals (plus, it’s insanely inexpensive). Since it has a negative charge, it actually binds to and removes toxins from your skin (you can also take it internally to cleanse toxins and heavy metals from your body). I mix it up with some ACV, and also add in a little dash of Chlorella sometimes for an extra healing boost. It’s great for exfoliation, unclogging pores, evening skin tone, encouraging cellular regeneration, clearing up breakouts, and so much more. I use it about once a week – I’d use it more, but my skin is prone to drying out – and it makes my skin so much smoother, softer and clearer.
6. Cold Water
For some reason I was under the impression that I should put a really hot compress on breakouts to encourage the impurities to be drawn towards the surface. So, at the beginning of this whole journey, I was doing that 2x per day and then washing my face with hot water – I thought I was expanding my pores and letting out all of the bad stuff. Over time I realized this was doing nothing but causing dryness, irritation, throwing off my skin’s sebum production, and leaving my pores huge. It was a disaster. Now I wash my face with lukewarm water and finish off with splashes of ice cold water and it’s been a game-changer. I also make my shower ice cold for about a minute before I get out (I know this sounds crazy, but it makes you feel awesome). This encourages lymphatic drainage, detoxification, pore contraction, circulation, and stress reduction – and it leaves my face looking smooth and glowy.
Okay, so there they are – my (external/topical) clear skin must-haves. I know that I’ve mentioned this before, but it’s also important to remember that I’ve made a conscious effort to remove all toxic products from my life – this included swapping out almost all of my cosmetics and household products, which has also made a huge positive impact on my health.
The majority of the products we use on our bodies and in our homes are filled with nasties that disrupt our endocrine system (which is responsible for our hormones) – so that piece is absolutely crucial if you’re going to start down this path.
Next week I’ll be back with Part 2 of this series, where I’ll address what’s worked for me internally in terms of treating the root of the problem – stay tuned!
Questions about essential oils? Drop me a line via the “Let’s Connect” button at the bottom of this page.
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