The Secret to Abolishing Stubborn Acne and Getting Flawless, Radiant Skin
Acne is not caused by improper skincare or lack of hygiene; it’s caused by internal imbalances, and more often-than-not hormones are to blame. If you want radiant, clear skin for life, the first things you need to do is ditch the harsh chemical products, because they perpetuate acne by agitating the skin and ruining its protective barrier. The next thing you need to do, is recognize the role that hormones play in acne and identify imbalances. And finally, follow the simple 4-step plan (laid out below) for reversing hormone imbalances.
Acne Causing Hormones
Acne is frequently caused by an imbalance between the nearly 40 different types of estrogens. Recent discoveries show that 5-10 of these critical estrogens are very harmful to the body. If you have too much of these powerful estrogen metabolites (e.g. 4OH-estrone and 16alpha-O), and not enough of the good, weaker natural estrogens (e.g. estriol, 2OH-estrone), then estrogen dominance and acne can occur. Low progesterone levels can also trigger acne because progesterone is required to keep estrogen levels in check.
Testosterone and DHT
Testosterone and its byproduct Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) are often thought of as male-only hormones, however both genders produce them, and an excess of either of these two hormones can trigger acne. Testosterone and DHT stimulate the sebaceous glands, which causes your skin to produce more sebum (oil) and your pores to become clogged. DHT is a far greater acne trigger than testosterone however, partially because testosterone helps to reduce inflammation, and DHT increases it.[i]
As the name suggests, sex-hormone-binding-globulin, or SHBG, is a hormone that binds to and eliminates excess sex hormones from the body. Low SHBG can trigger acne because without enough of it, the levels of acne-causing hormones such as estrogen, testosterone and DHT can climb too high. The birth control pill increases SHBG levels, which is why it helps reduce acne in certain individuals. However, the pill is far from the ideal solution, because there are many risks associated with it and side-effects (such as testosterone deficiency and loss of libido), can linger for years after stopping it.
Insulin is the blood-sugar balancing hormone, and it pushes sugar into your cells for energy. When insulin is high it causes a massive increase in the production of pore-clogging sebum. Insulin also increases the release of proinflammatory cytokine proteins, and the added inflammation puts fuel on the acne fire.[ii] The insulin-cortisol connection explains why stress is a major acne trigger: stress causes cortisol levels to rise, and blood sugar levels increase as a result. Your body then releases insulin to reduce the blood sugar, and excess sebum is produced in the process.
Although not a hormone, TOR (target of rapamycin) is a major acne trigger that needs to be addressed. The powerful signaling TOR is an enzyme that drives cellular aging and many serious chronic diseases.[iii] TOR exerts a signal telling cells to grow, causes abnormal rapid growth of tissues, and increases IGF (insulin-growth-factor) and other powerful hormones that lead to acne. [iv] High TOR levels not only increases acne causing androgens, it also amplifies androgen-driven (mTORC1) signaling of sebaceous follicles, which leads to sebum-clogged pores.
The good news is that all these acne triggers can be reversed by following just 4 steps:
Step #1: Identify Hormone Imbalances
Work alongside a naturopath or an expert in natural hormone balance and have them use a combination of urine, blood and saliva tests to identify hormone imbalances (make sure they include all the above hormones). Be aware that most conventional doctors use a blood test to assess estrogen, but the test only measures estrone, estradiol, and estriol levels and ignores the rest of the estrogens. A urine collection test on the other hand, measures all the important metabolites, and thereby provides a much more comprehensive and accurate picture of your estrogen health.
Step #2: Consume a Wholefoods, Plant-Based Diet
The most important modification you can make if you want radiant, acne-free skin, is to cut out animal products. Meat, eggs and dairy contain extremely high levels of the amino acid leucine, and leucine increases the TOR enzyme. Animal products also increase inflammation (which makes acne appear red and swollen), and they are loaded with the harmful types of estrogens that trigger estrogen dominance. Conversely, vegetarianism increases acne-reducing SHBG levels, and decreases insulin and harmful estrogens.[v] [vi] Vastly reducing or eliminating processed, packaged foods is also recommended, because they negatively affect blood sugar (causing insulin levels to soar), and can worsen estrogen dominance.
Step #3: Balance Hormones With Supplements
Diet alone is not typically enough to correct hormone imbalances but combining dietary modifications with supplements can produce a powerful synergistic healing effect. Estro Block, Estro Block Pro, and DHT Block are proprietary blended formulations with clinically effective ingredients for balancing hormones. Which one you choose will depend on your body weight, as well as the severity and type of hormone imbalance you have. All of these products have the benefit of supporting proper SHBG which will attach to the excess androgens and allow DHT to return to its normal level in the skin. Also worth noting, if you’re dead set against giving up animal products, using Estro Block can help negate the negative consequences by reducing TOR and harmful estrogen levels.
Step #4: Detoxify Your Liver
The liver plays an integral role in hormone balance. Because we live in such a highly toxic world, tend to consume less-than-perfect diets, and everything we breath, ingest and absorb needs to be processed by the liver, it is easy for the liver to become overwhelmed. Detoxifying your liver will help to reverse acne by increasing its ability to process and eliminate excess hormones. It will also help to eliminate inflammation-causing toxins from your body; and enhance the absorption of nutrients that are essential for skin health. Eliminating alcohol and animal products, staying hydrated with 8+ glasses of water daily, and consuming a glass of warm lemon water every morning, will help promote gentle detoxification. For further support, consider adding a liver cleansing supplement such as Liv D-Tox.
*For a free hormonal acne quiz, and more information on the above mentioned supplements: http://estroblock.com/