If you’re struggling with hormonal adult acne, you might feel like your dermatologist duped you—after all, we’re always told that acne will clear up by itself by the end of our teenage years, and by the time we graduate high school, our skin will be glowing and zit-free, right? Unfortunately, this is not always the case, and more women deal with adult acne than you might think.
If you’re frustrated by adult acne, just know that you’re definitely not alone. Today, about 50% of women actually experience acne at some point after their high school years are behind them, and 35% of women have adult acne even in their thirties. And that number continues to rise. Dermatologists have several theories about what’s behind this rise—and if you’ve ever noticed that your chin and jawline seem to break out around a certain point in your menstrual cycle, you might already have a clue as to why this is occurring.
When a woman experiences recurring breakouts of cystic acne on her chin and jawline, it’s generally because hormones are behind her skin woes. But why are our hormones getting so out of whack? Stress is a major factor—when your cortisol levels are skyrocketing every day because of the pressures of our modern, fast-paced lifestyles, it can disrupt your usual cycle and lead to breakouts. Our diets could also be one of the culprits. Refined sugar, dairy, and high glycemic foods can all be linked to acne.
When hormonal acne makes another appearance in your mid-twenties or thirties, it could also be a result of coming off hormonal birth control. Many women go on birth control as teenagers to control their acne, and it can be quite effective—but if you never tackle the root cause before coming off the pill, it can simply come back when you stop taking it. The added stress of adult life and a diet high in processed foods and refined sugar can easily exacerbate the problem.
Is there a secret weapon out there that could help you heal a nutrient deficiency, ease your stress levels, help your hormones get back into balance, and stop your hormonal acne in its tracks? Magnesium might be just what you’re looking for. About three quarters of us don’t eat enough magnesium, and when we’re stressed, it actually depletes our levels—so while we should be eating extra to compensate, we’re not getting enough in the first place.
Magnesium is also essential for hormonal health for a number of other reasons. It soothes the nervous system by regulating cortisol, it helps your blood sugar stay level, it aids sleep, and it also plays a role in the production of progesterone, estrogen, and testosterone. Basically, if you’re not getting enough magnesium, it could easily set off hormonal adult acne.
How can you tell if you are deficient in magnesium? Unfortunately, testing is not super accurate, but you could always try tracking your meals for a few days to see if you’re getting enough. Alternatively, you could simply try taking a supplement for a couple weeks to see how you feel. Not all magnesium supplements are created equal—some can have a laxative effect, so be careful choosing one! Pick a supplement formulated with magnesium glycinate or bisglycinate—they’re typically the most absorbable, they’re easier on the digestive system, and they also have a calming effect on the GABA receptors in your brain, which can help you sleep. Not sure if you want to supplement? You could also try drinking mineral water or adding trace mineral drops to your water—it typically contains magnesium.
When it comes to tackling hormonal adult acne, supplementing with magnesium is just one tool in the toolbox. Eating magnesium rich foods is just as important. Try incorporating nuts and seeds like pumpkin seeds, almonds, peanuts, and cashews. Whole wheat toast with peanut butter is another simply delicious snack with plenty of magnesium. Cooked spinach, avocado, edamame, and black beans are also good sources. And if you have a bit of a sweet tooth, reach for some dark chocolate. Overall, eating a balanced, whole foods, plant based diet without dairy can work wonders for hormonal acne. Just go easy on the pasta and dates to avoid those blood sugar spikes and crashes! And the importance of getting enough sleep cannot be overstated. When you’re not well rested, you’re going to be more susceptible to stress, which will only serve to keep your hormones out of balance.
Hormonal adult acne can be frustrating, but clearing up your skin is definitely not a lost cause. With a few dietary tweaks, a better sleep schedule, and a little help from magnesium, your skin will be looking better in no time.
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