Why is your skin breaking out...STILL?! Adult Acne is a B*tch.

Hey ladies so this is part of my Clear Skin series which means if some questions are left unanswered, they can probably be found in another post in the series or they are coming...or you should drop a comment and let me know I have more explains to do!!


Setup.

Our skin’s appearance is closely tied to our identity. How we identify with ourselves & our confidence. You know this.  

Similarly are our habits. Our food, our sleep habits, etc are very personal to us & any suggestion that they may be causing our problems can feel like an attack.   I’ve learned that letting go of this egotistical feeling allows for positive changes to flow into my life. So proceed with an open mind 🧠.

 Little Background.

I survived...ADULT ACNE. *Screams* 

After never having a pimple {basically} for the entirety of my teen years, the big 2 0 🎉 summoned all hell to break loose on my face.  

I hadn’t changed my diet, skincare routine or makeup mind you... 

So needless to say I was completely taken off guard and your girl, who has overcome an eating disorder, healed from a chronic illness & beat clinical depression & anxiety a few times felt depressed in a new, kind of helpless way. It was my face—everyday. A mess. 

I’m sure if you suffer or have suffered from adult acne you understand when I say it just felt down right cruel. We are conditioned to believe that acne stops for good after our teen years—wrong.  

PERSPECTIVE. 

But, *perspective shifting* everything happens for a reason and now I get to share what I learned with you!! 🤗 

What I Learned.  

If you know anything about me, you know that if there is a problem, especially in regards to health, I WILL get to the bottom of it. I owe everything that I have been able to overcome to that inner will. So I’m this case, I went all out Sherlock Holmes into the world of skin health. I read blog after blog, research article after research article {which by the way are few & far between because little research has been done on acne in general} and made alterations accordingly. 

I went to my beloved Christi Mendoza LA.c, the amazing Dr. Zagone, and a couple Western dermatologists. They all had different takes but here is what skin health comes down to:  

These 4 things.

Though everyone has their own genetic makeup and plausible presdispostions to acne, these are the main culprits behind most adult acne with a combination of them being very common.

1) DIET  

Lone behold, diet actually does play a huge role in skin health...but not just in regards to the food alone.

When I say diet I am referring to both:

1) the actual food

2) the digestion & absorption of that food.

The reason behind that has more to do with digestion & gut health than simply the food itself which is a distinction that is rarely made.  

Reason #2 was especially true in my case for someone who had eaten clean for years. If you were to look at my diet during the skin fiasco you would have probably scratched your head! Kale 🥬 was my homegirl... 

But my issue wasn’t with the food itself, it was with my digestive system’s ability to properly digest the food. I knew this because I have a digestive disorder>>Gastroparesis which more or less will always make me more apt to have weak digestion.

If you over eat often or eat food that “sticks” {dairy, red meat, refined sugar, processed junk} your gut will literally be thinking “WTF are you doing to me>>> let’s get that funk out” and sometimes it comes out through the skin 💁🏽‍♀️ 

Note: Chinese medicine is big on this idea and they are one if the longest standing forms of effective medicine protocols. Just sayin.  

BUT, if you ask you MD about whether your diet is affecting your skin, 9/10 they will say no. There’s simply not much robust research being done on that topic therefore it’s written off more or less. 

2) SLEEP & LIFESTYLE

This probably had a big impact on the intense change my skin had during college.

In high school I was a bit obsessed with my bedtime {control issues back then}. There was never a night I didnt get 8-9 hours of quality sleep.  

Enter college and I loosened up a bit {which I’m happy about}...or a lot in terms of bedtime. I probably averaged about 6 hours most nights during that horrid skin time. Coincidence? I think not. 

In short, our bodies rely on sleep to repair & recharge. That’s not just a cute saying or idea. It’s literaly physiology 😅.  

Our bodies repair our skin while we sleep, creates hormones we need for proper internal balance, and depriving your body of that is like doing a full load of laundry with the most limited amount of degerent possible.

>>>Your clothes will survive, but they will be a little crusty. You won’t notice it right away either! The scent of the detergent prevents you from thinking they are dirty! It’s not until months of washing your stuff like that do you notice a rough, or slightly grimmy feel. 

Then you wonder what the heck is going on as if all of a sudden your washer has turned on you. No, you just haven’t been giving the washer what it needs to actually do it’s job.  

Same goes for your body & its ability to repair the skin.

Low quality sleep = Low quality skin. 

So keep in mind, sleep is underrated in our society but especially in the paradigm of college and young adulthood.  Period. In our world of needing to get one million things done within 24 hours each day, we have overridden logic {that our bodies rely on sleep} and have created this cognitive dissonance to match our toxic habits. 

3) LIVER TOXICITY/ HORMONES

When many people think of the liver, they primarily think of alcohol. And I get it>> unless you refresh yourself of physiology every now & again it’s easy to forget that the liver filters everything. Blood, hormones, all the things.  

Western MDs will most often say that skin issues are rarely a liver problem because “livers do a good job at filtering” because that what they learned in med school. But the fact is, today we have more toxins in our life involuntarily than literally ever before.  

Pesticides in our foods, chemicals in our favorite lip sticks, plastics from our Tupperware, GURL the list goes on. Our liver has to deal with all of that and sometimes, it’s too much.  

As for hormones—that’s a whole separate post but I will say that hormones, like sleep are insanely underrated despite them being the literal chemical messages for everything in our body.    

So if your hormones are out of wack {think estrogen dominance, PCOS, etc} which is far from usual, your body reacts. 💁🏽‍♀️ A tell tale sign of hormonal imbalance is often jawline + chin acne.  

4) IMPROPER SKINCARE  

I listed this last just because I know that for the majority of you, you have some sort of skin care routine that you follow & acne is rarely an issue of not washing your face enough. 

Still,?it is very possible that you have built “lazy” skincare habits like falling alseep with makeup on or not fully washing your face in the AM after sleeping that is causing your pores to get clogged and acne to arise.  *FIX THIS NOW*

There is also the possibility that you are simply using the wrong skincare for your skin! Some people are lucky 🍀 and can really use anything on their skin without it getting angry...most of us have finiky skin that favors certain products over others.  

ME: a glorious combination of all 1-3. 

My skin started breaking out for a combination of reasons:  

  • My hormones were out of wack after stopping a natural, hormonal supplement that was only taken temporarily to induce my period.

  • I was dealing with terrible anxiety & stress {from a bad breakup + work stress} coupled with those excess hormones.

  • My gut health was weak due to that stress & my gastroparesis that is in remission but never really goes away. {chronic illness gals where you atttt?!! 🥳😂}

Combining all three of those things nonetheless resulted in a very angry eruption 🌋 on my face that at the time seemed like the end of the world as I knew it.  

The Solution. 

Once I was able to determine that it was a combination of all 3 of these things, I made alterations which helped a little bit not enough in my case. So, after a couple months of debate, I brought in the big guns.  

I will say that my choice to go with this extreme option was, well...extreme but worth it for me given I already tried everything else. 

I have seen so many ladies I know deal with acne as adults only to find out they still eat conventional dairy, sleep erratically, having digestive issues that go unchecked or are on birth control/coming off birth control. In those cases, the move would be to work on that stuff first. Then bring in the big guns if necessary—because it’s serious stuff that definitely has risks. 

Anywho, just know that adult acne is unfortunately but fortunately fairly common these days. I say fortunately just because it helps to know you are not alone.  

Also, please know that your feelings of impatience, annoyance, & frustration over your face are valid. There is nothing vain in wanting to look & feel your best & I can say from experience that when I don’t, I don’t act, speak or engage with the world 🌎 the same—despite my ability to be “positive during hard times.” 

Reflection.

I think that the most important thing to take away from this post is the idea that skin issues are complex & understanding what is causing your issues is step numero uno in healing. Don’t rush out and buy a new set of skincare without ruling out that it’s not an internal issue. 

So what do you think? Can you assess your habits and think of what may be causing your issues? What have you tried/what hasn’t worked? Be honest with yourself. Is your sleep a mess? Are you dairy intolerant yet still drink milk? Theses things make a difference!!

I’d love to hear your experiences in the comments + share them for other readers to learn from, ya know?  

Thank you for reading babes!! If this was informative or helpful in any way, please pass it along. No woman of any age deserves to live in a state insecurity. 

      As always, I hope this serves to Fuel Your Fire

 

-Morning Dove 🕊