One of the skin care questions I receive most is, “what is the best hormonal acne treatment?” and "how do i prevent adult acne?" My answer is maca.
It’s the age-old problem that women have struggled with since puberty, one that I myself have battled for many years, adult acne and hormonal acne. The truth is, there’s no topical cure for hormonal acne because hormonal acne is caused by an internal imbalance. There are many topical acne treatments or home remedies for acne you can use to lessen, heal and help prevent hormonal breakouts but the ultimate solution is to bring balance to your hormones. Many women use hormonal birth control methods as a hormonal acne treatment but it’s doesn’t always work, can make acne worse, or you may just not want to take hormones. There’s a better way, in my opinion the best adult acne treatment, maca…. Read on!
What, when and where is hormonal acne?
Most regular acne is caused by bacteria and inflammation or an over-production of sebum. Sometimes, although it seems counterintuitive, oily skin can be a product of dry skin. Dry skin may start to over-produce sebum in an effort to balance itself. Excessive touching of the face, dirty pillowcases and cell phones or environmental pollutants may be causes of acne.
Hormonal acne is different in that it is caused by an imbalance of hormones which is something women are very sensitive to. The hormone testosterone is present in both males and females but when women’s bodies produce too much testosterone, it’s often purged through our skin where it creates cystic acne. Even worse, when excess testosterone is present in the bloodstream, it causes an overproduction of sebum(the natural oil in our skin), which in too much supply, causes pimples.
- Hormonal acne tends to be deep, cystic, painful and inflamed. It may be sensitive to the touch even when you are going about your regular skin care routine and can leave scars or dark spots for quite some time.
- Hormonal acne usually appears around the jaw line, chin and lower mouth area. Check out our skin map to figure out if your adult acne is hormonal.
- Hormonal acne tends to show up at predicable times during your menstrual cycle, coinciding with the hormonal phases, usually around the time of your period and/or ovulation.
My fight with adult hormonal acne
Hormonal acne can feel horrendous, heartbreaking, embarrassing and frustrating. It feels hopeless and out of our control. I went on a form of hormonal birth control at the age of 16 and have battled adult acne ever since... not realizing fully that my birth control played a role. I was on the pill nearly non-stop from the then until the age of 32 when I planned a pregnancy, at which point my acne got even worse with the flood of pregnancy hormones. Oh my, the pregnancy acne was awful; at a time when I felt great and happy and hopeful, I also had to deal with such an embarassing skin issue. After I finished breastfeeding my daughter, I decided to try Yaz, which was supposed to be a really beneficial hormonal acne treatment. It was, for the first time in a long time, my skin was very clear and I wasn’t getting those breakouts twice a month. Despite the stellar skin results, I felt off and decided I wanted to go hormone-free. I ditched all hormonal birth control and took a chance taking Maca root daily in addition to my best acne treatments which are natural and topical. One month in, my skin was clear! I’m now 8 months on maca powder and am really amazed. I still get an occasional breakout(I'm guilty of touching my face a lot!) but not the painful cystic acne I would get around the time of my period or ovulation. Praise the lord! - no wait, praise the maca! I should also mention that I follow a plant-based diet which I feel really has a positive impact on my skin health.
What is maca root and how is it the best hormonal acne treatment?
Maca is a high altitude plant that grows in the Peruvian Andes. The root of the plant has been prized for thousands of years for it’s ability to increase stamina, energy and fertility. It’s most closely related to mustard, turnip and cabbage.
This raw nutritional powerhouse…
- contains 13%-16% protein,
- 8.5% fiber,
- 19 essential amino acids,
- vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, C and D,
- minerals iron, magnesium, copper, zinc, sodium, potassium, calcium, several glucosinolates,
- 20 free fatty acids
- unique compounds called macaenes and macamides. (1)
Maca is considered to be very beneficial for hormonal balancing due to it’s high content of amino acids, which are the building blocks of hormones. Because maca is a food and not an herb or drug, it has no known side effects and is easy for the body to process and absorb. You should not use maca if you are taking hormones, as it could actually exacerbate acne.
“Because of its content of alkaloids, glucosinolates, flavonoids and phytohormones, doctors consider Maca to be a natural stimulant of the hypothalamus and pituitary which in turn stimulate the endocrine glands like the thyroid, pancreas, adrenals, ovaries and testes, to produce hormones needed to maintain the homeostasis of the human body.”(1)
Using natural acne treatments such as maca, can take longer to see results than using conventional methods but may give you longer lasting results since natural methods are centered around solving the root of the problem in a holistic manner. Conventional methods such as drugs and topical treatments only disquise the symptoms. Always use organic raw maca for the very best results. I’ve had amazing results with a trustworthy brand of maca powder called The Maca Team. They provide a wealth of knowledge about maca on their website, covering every possible benefit. They also have different types of maca powder in convenient capsule form depending on what your goals are and a guide to help you choose what’s right for you.
More ways to naturally balance your hormones and prevent acne
- Excess testosterone can be produced by the ovaries due to high blood sugar or poor diet. Regulate your blood sugar by eating a balanced diet and avoiding refined, empty, carbohydrates. Avoid foods that cause inflammation in the body. Foods like sugar, dairy and meat create an acidic environment which welcome bacteria, disease, and acne. Eat a mostly plant-based diet full of leafy greens!
- Drink your water! Constantly flush your body of toxins and keep your organs(including your skin and ovaries!) functioning optimally with as much water as possible.
- Hormones are actually stored in body fat, so when you exercise and break down those fat cells, your releasing that excess hormone into your body which has to be purged. Now, I would not ever recommend skimping on exercise for fear of unleashing stored hormones, but it’s ok to take a break around the time of your period or when you would typically get a hormonal breakout, as not to exacerbate an already sensitive time. Regular exercise however, is amazing for your skin health. Sweat out the toxins and bacteria, and get you’re your blood pumping oxygen to your skin for a beautiful glow. A healthy, vibrant body is the best defense against hormonal acne.
Other surprising ways to prevent acne
- Change your pillowcases daily. I flip my pillow after one use and change it after I've used both sides. Sweat, saliva and dead skin cells rub off on your pillowcases and you don't want to lay your face in that over and over.
- Clean your cell phone with rubbing alcohol frequently. Holding a dirty, oily phone to your face is sure to break you out. Think about all the things you touch throughout the day before you use your touchpad and then place it against your face. Yikes!
- Get some houseplants! Especially if you live in a city or high-pollution area. Plants emit oxygen, good clean air that will displace some of the of air pollution in your home or office. Put a plant on your nightstand!
- Get some regular wheatgrass shots in your system. Wheatgrass is packed with antioxidants and nutrients that detoxify the body. It also contains enzymes that repair and regenerate damaged skin tissue.
Although topical acne treatments don't solve the main root of hormonal acne, some of the best acne products are thoughtfully-formulated and natural, which can do wonders to quickly heal blemishes without drying or inflaming, already friable skin. Check out some of the Argan Republic acne treatments, such as the Remedy spot treatment serum or Manuka Nectar Beauty Balm. We love maca so much, we actually use it as an ingredient in our Coconut Water & Kale Facial. Maca root is a superfood packed with vitamins and plant sterols, this mineral-rich powder also can enhance the firmness of skin and improve skin luster.
If you struggle with adult acne, you are not alone! Have you tried maca for your hormonal acne? tell us about your results! Remember, you're not alone, many people suffer from hormonal acne and adult acne.
Argan Republic cannot be held responsible for any actions made, implied or expressed by anyone as a result of this guidance.
The above statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. They are in no way intended to heal, prevent or treat any illness. Please consult your doctor if you are seeking medical advice.
References: (1) themacateam.com