Updated: Aug 8, 2019
Question - What do you recommend for teenage hormonal acne? I’ve heard Vitamin B3 can be helpful?
Answer - The majority of skin issues (acne, eczema, psoriasis) are linked to an overloaded liver. Basically, toxins cannot be processed by the liver fast enough so they circulate in the blood stream and with nowhere else to go, they seep out via the skin.
Because there is such a huge increase of hormones during the teenage years, the body can’t quite keep up and can often take a while to find it’s rhythm. Along with the rise in hormone levels teenagers are often exposed to emotional stressors related to school and social pressures, they may also start to take advantage of their new found independence and introduce foods that aren’t doing them any favours (anyone else remember those after school takeaways?) All of these changes can put extra strain on the liver, leading to toxic build up and eventually stagnation.
Vitamin B3 can help to reduce inflammation but I’m afraid it won’t do much if the toxic load on the liver isn’t reduced.
Unfortunately conventional treatments that are often recommended for severe acne like antibiotics and isotretinoin (roaccutane) can put added strain on the liver, increasing its workload even further.
Here are my tips for treating acne safely, naturally and effectively.
- Eliminate dairy and processed meats. Dairy cows are treated with artificial hormones that affect their milk supply, this goes for all non-organic meat. Excessive consumption of these products can cause further disruption to our own hormones and even further toxic build up in the liver.
- Detox. Encourage the bodies elimination channels to move toxins out of the body. Dry body brushing, infrared saunas, beginning the day with a glass of filtered water with a freshly squeezed lemon all help to encourage detoxification through the skin, lymph, kidneys, bowel.
- Reduce Inflammation. This is where vitamin B3 may help, also look at turmeric, fresh chilli, and pine bark supplements. Avoid foods that cause inflammation like red meat, refined carbohydrates, fried foods, sugar, caffeine and alcohol.
- Manage stress levels. We underestimate how much stress young people are under. There is so much pressure to perform at school and in other extracurricular activities, not to mention social pressures, trying to figure out what you want to do with your life and whether you're going to get good enough grades to do whatever that is. All of this while dealing with raging hormones and doing your best to figure out who you are and your place in the world!
Parents, talk to your kids about their struggles, create a safe space for them to process their emotions and express whatever is there. Encourage open and vulnerable communication, this may seem a bit out there but think about the energetic connection between angry, hot, red, inflamed skin. Could it be that there is internal anger or frustration that doesn't feel like it can be expressed? Teenage acne is seen more commonly seen in boys than girls, could this be a reflection of the internal struggle boys face as they become men and are told it is no longer okay for them to express their emotions? No longer okay to cry or be vulnerable? Is it the suppression of these emotions that is causing them to 'seep out' via the skin?
Obviously not science, but something to perhaps consider.
Liver : Arctium lappa, Berberis aquifolium, Galium aperine all help to encourage liver detoxification.
Stress : Adaptogens Glycyrrhiza glabra, Siberian ginseng, Rhodiola rosea, Panax ginseng, Withania somnifera all increase the bodies ability to adapt to stress.
Balance Hormones : Serenoa repens, Vitex agnus-castus, Peonia lactiflora reduce and balance testosterone levels in the body.
Vitamins A and E, selenium, and carotenoids.
So there you have it, my tips for the natural treatment of hormonal acne. It's important to note that natural protocols like the ones mentioned above are not quick fix solutions. Natural medicine aims at treating the root cause of an illness and not just masking the symptoms. This means that it may (not always) take longer than conventional treatments to show signs of improvement. Don't be disheartened if things don't start improving drastically over night, this is a longterm solution that will be well worth the wait.
I would love to know your thoughts! Have you had any success treating acne? What has worked for you longterm? Share your thoughts below!