How to find out if your acne trigger is hormonal?

If you are looking to understand hormonal acne at its cause, read our hormonal blog that specifies when hormones cause acne

If you have read my other blog posts or are part of our email thread, I often speak to clients who have acne relapses. My advice is to find the trigger with an acne journal. Write down what you eat, what your beauty regime was that day, and what products you use. When you have a break out go back and see if there is any consistency in routine or change in your behavior.

Are hormones your acne trigger?

This method incorporates knowing what hormones are released in your body at different times of the month. Below we will address what hormone imbalance looks like with ways to balance them out. However, it’s about learning to listen to your body and understanding how your body responds to your hormones. This requires time and information.

Hormonal acne could be triggered by dominating or decreasing hormones throughout the month. Hormones, if unbalanced, could cause acne or severe period pain, weight loss or weight gain, etc. These hormones are testosterone, progestin, and estrogen. This is specifically relevant to women, relating to their cycle and the hormones they have circulating monthly.

Seed cycling (relating to progestin and estrogen) involves incorporating seeds that are high in vitamins, acids, and fats to help balance your hormones at specific times of the month. 

Understanding that hormones assist your moods, weight, skin, and movement of your organs show the importance of keeping them balanced.

Over the past year, I did my best to explore all options to find out why I battle to put on weight, why my period was delayed and why I felt tired. After a lot of research and speaking to the correct people. The answer was my hormones. I have an imbalance of Testosterone and Estrogen. Once I started incorporating more protein and healthier foods, exercise, and Flaxseed. My body felt less tired, my period was regular. These two things should not be taken lightly. Fatigued and irregular periods and not a natural way the body functions and should be addressed. 

Hormones and food

Our bodies are made to speak to us. Understanding what your body is saying is important. In no particular order:

  1. Testosterone

This hormone is found in women and men. For women who suffer from recurring hormonal acne, testosterone is the cause. Testosterone over activates your oil glands and when oil pushes out of your pores, it collects dead skin cells and dirt which forms a pimple. 

Keeping your skin clean and bacteria-free is important when assisting your breakout. Using acidic exfoliant and benzoyl peroxide is important when dealing with excessive oil as it removes all debris and old oil that clogs your pores.

Getting a blood test with your doctor could help you see if you have testosterone dominance. 

Signs that testosterone is unbalanced

  • acne
  • irregular periods
  • abnormal facial hair

Testosterone is not helped by seed cycling. Balancing out testosterone levels is a lifestyle choice. 

  • Eat healthy diet
  • Get enough sleep
  • Create a stress-free environment
  • Regular Exercise

The above are healthy habits that should be incorporated weekly, better yet daily. Incorporate one lifestyle change at a time. 

Seed Cycling and How it works

2. Estrogen

Flaxseed is a loved and well-known seed as it’s an adapter. It helps to balance out your natural estrogen hormones as flaxseed is estrogen itself. It is a miracle seed that moves along your body and gives you what you need and can easily be added to your daily diet.

Unbalanced estrogen: 

  • Weight loss
  • Insomnia or bad sleeping patterns
  • Irregular or no periods 
  • Brittle or dull hair

They call the above side effect due to estrogen dominance. When your body produces too much and becomes ‘dirty’ estrogen. Flaxseed being an adapter cleans and balances out the natural hormone in your body. 

Correct seed aligned estrogen:

  • Pumpkin Seeds & Flaxseed

How to do it? Take two mixed tablespoons of flaxseed and pumpkin seeds from the day you start menstruating for 14 days until you move to phase two in your cycle.

  1. Progesterone

The super hormone. It’s the hormone known to assist with anxiety, brain trauma, sleep and brain fuel.

Unbalanced progesterone:

  • Acne
  • Irritability
  • Migraines  
  • Anxiety

The seeds aligned with Progesterone:

  • Sunflower seeds & Sesame seeds

After 14 days (from when you menstruated) to the next 14 days phase of your cycle, add two tablespoons of sunflower and sesame seeds. This will help balance out your hormones and calm down any side effects you may feel from having an unbalanced hormone.

Why do all three hormones play a part in acne?

The imbalance of hormones allows a hormone to control parts of our body, where it shouldn’t. Each hormone serves a purpose in our bodies. When a hormone isn’t functioning well, it leaves room for another hormone to take charge. It is important to help balance out your dominant hormones or increase a hormone where needed. Unless you go for blood tests, you won’t know which is the dominant one. 

Hormonal dominance is when a hormone is functioning out of its space. It can cause an imbalance in your moods, stress, menstrual cycle, and brain activity – your alertness and informational flow.

This is not a quick fix. As you may have seen from our other blogs. We believe in living a balanced lifestyle and creating good sustainable habits. Seed cycling, adding proteins, and nutrition can assist in balancing your hormones but it needs time. Months need to go into this, with tracking how you are feeling from month to month. 

If you would like to find out more, talk to your doctor or dietician. Blood tests are a great way to see what your hormones are saying. 

If you are on Isotretinoin medication, check in with your doctor. We know some vitamins are discouraged when on it.

How to incorporate seeds into your diet

  1. Scrambled Eggs: If you don’t mind your eggs being brown from the flaxseed this is an easy way to incorporate your seeds for a quick breakfast. I include pesto to balance out the flavours.
  1. Smoothies: Breakfast berry smoothies are my favourite. Berries, chia seeds, coconut cream, collagen powder, and oats.
  1. Soups: Add your two tablespoons of the correct seeds. depending on where your cycle it, to your soup of choice.
  1. Pasta for lunch: Add seeds, spices, and avo with lemon to the pasta of your choice for lunch.

Keep working towards creating a healthy and balanced lifestyle.

Your friend in the beauty industry,

Kristin Swanepoel


Seed Cycling

Hormones and Flaxseed

Testosterone in women

Seed Cycling

Progestrian and the brain

Low Progesterone

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