I was 21 when I first got acne. 21!
I had survived puberty, gotten through my awkward teenage years and was even able to buy a glass of wine before I started struggling with what was (I thought) was only the bane of preteens everywhere. I was wrong.
So what was causing this sudden outbreak?
I did everything I thought I was supposed to do. I bought a new face wash. I tried new creams. I washed my face incessantly. What I soon learned, however, was that it wasn’t an outside job—the work I needed to do was internal. Acne can actually be a huge indicator that something is going on inside of you, whether it’s a physical health condition, poor diet, a mental health issue or something else. For me, it was hypothyroidism, and once I sought treatment for that, my adult acne cleared up right away.
Here are some other surprising things your acne could be trying to tell you:
Like I said, sometimes, getting rid of acne is an inside job. Avoid eating too many sweets (don’t cut them out—just limit them!) or drinking too much soda. Eat lots of fruits and leafy green vegetables, especially those packed with vitamin C and beta-carotene, which is an anti-inflammatory. For me personally, I’ve found that cutting out gluten and dairy has been a lifesaver for my skin.
A dermatologist, yes, but also your regular doctor. Personally, I went to an endocrinologist! I learned that hypothyroidism was the cause for me, but acne is also commonly linked to polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Check with your doctor, and together, you can figure it out.
We all know stress can cause acne! (Think of all those brides who have perfect skin, but wake up on their wedding day with a not-so-cute pimple.) Stressed or not, our bodies regularly release a compound called cortisol to regulate our immune and digestive systems and daily mood. That said, when we’re stressed, cortisol starts to work against us and the result is often acne.
So many things can throw our hormones off, from PMS and pregnancy to doing something as simple as stopping or changing birth control pills. Every month, progesterone in our bodies produces something called “sebum,” which can lead to cystic acne on the chin, neck and back. Hormones are a normal part of human living and usually don’t cause any reason for concern, but if you find yourself prone to cystic acne, it may be a good indication that your hormones need a little TLC.
To your health!