4 things your acne is really trying to tell you


If you’re like me you have, or still are, struggled with acne in your lifestyle. Typically it is when you are hitting puberty and your hormones are doing all sorts of crazy things. But it can still happen in adulthood, and usually for the same reasons. It amazes me that so many people just think acne is a part of life. They just cover it up with some make-up or hide from the world until it is gone. Truth is, if you have a breakout of some sort, it is likely that your body is trying to tell you something! If something is “going on” within our body that shouldn’t be, our body typically responds with trying to raise red flags for us. Maybe you have a headache, that usually means maybe you are dehydrated, or need extra sleep. If you’re dizzy that could mean low blood sugar or dehydration. Same goes for a breakout, it usually means something is going on within your body that shouldn’t be and you need to start re-evaluating some things. I am still just learning this myself, so the added research here is also going to benefit me as well. So let’s chat 4 things your acne is really trying to tell you!

What is a breakout

Acne is a chronic, inflammatory skin condition that causes spots and pimples, especially on the face, shoulders, back, neck, chest, and upper arms. It can range from a simple blackhead to a severe case of cystic acne, all of which are no fun to deal with. Interestingly enough, pimples are actually a bacterial issue on the skins surface that can be caused from outside sources, or things found on our hands/pillow cases/ towels etc. Mayo clinic shares the symptoms of acne include:

• Whiteheads (closed plugged pores)

• Blackheads (open plugged pores)

• Small red, tender bumps (papules)

• Pimples (pustules), which are papules with pus at their tips

• Large, solid, painful lumps beneath the surface of the skin (nodules)

• Painful, pus-filled lumps beneath the surface of the skin (cystic lesions)

acne mapping

Common causes of Acne

As I said earlier, it typically comes and goes during puberty, but can return into your adult life if you do not take a look at certain lifestyle changes. Researchers have been studying exactly what causes acee in different areas of the face/body and different causes of it. According to Healthline, this is what it means:

• Hairline: products causing blocked pores

• Cheeks: dirty pillow cases/cell phone

• Jawline: hormonal imbalance or gut issues

• Forehead/Nose (T-zone): stress, fatigue, dirt on hands

That breakdown is a general guideline that researchers have established, but it might not be true for everyone. As I always say, everyones body is going to be different. A few more common causes of acne include genetics, anxiety, hot/humid climates, make-up and obviously…picking and squeeze pimples.

Lifestyle changes for acne

Now that we have covered the general issue of acne and where it might be coming from, let’s dive deeper into the 4 things your acne could be trying to tell you and how to get rid of acne once and for all.

Change your diet:

9 times out of 10 there is something in your diet that your body is not agreeing with, if you are having a flare up. If you find yourself having a lot of random breakouts, try keeping a food log and see what could be the trigger food causing your body to react to “tell you” it doesn’t like it. This goes hand in hand with general gut health. If your body is inflamed from eating foods that you are intolerant to, your gut will be the first to react. You might get bloated, gassy, uncomfortable and even have some constipation/diarrhea (check out my blog here on bloating and gut health) and that is a general response your body has to inflammatory foods. If that doesn’t trigger you to take a look inside your diet and you keep consuming the foods, after awhile the body will try to find other ways to tell you. That could be you getting sick, tired, lethargic or even cause acne. That inflammation caused by something in your diet (like maybe these oils) is going to cause general internal stress, and stress causes acne. After researching, and seeing for myself, typically diary is the number one culprit. From there it could be soy, gluten, or excess sugar, and then further on it is going to get more specific! So the first thing your acne might be telling you is that trigger foods are causing inflammation you need to take notice of!


Ever had a really intense presentation or interview coming up, and the morning of you wake up with a dang pimple?! I have, and it sucks, and it’s annoying and no one ever wants that to happen to them! So, relax. Stress is a huge culprit of acne breakouts and it is one of the hardest things to change within our lifestyle. Why? Because we don’t choose to be stressed and we feel like we have no control over it…but we do. Not only that, but excess stress for a long period of time can lead to hormone imbalances, like high cortisol levels, leading to weight gain. Find something to decrease your stress; it could be reading, writing, breathing, drawing…anything! Along with the relaxation and stress-less lifestyle change, comes the sleep portion. Lack of sleep is going to cause a lot of hormonal imbalances, and therefore internal inflammation and therefore…yes, breakouts. So make sure you are getting enough sleep, decreasing your stress and finding ways to just unwind and PLAY in your day!

Wash your face:

Seems simple, yet a lot of people forget this part. If you are someone who gets up and doesn’t shower right away, make sure you are still washing your face! So much bacteria could be on your skin from your pillow case or your hands, and you don’t want that staying on your skin! You also want to make sure you wash your makeup off before bed, and also wash your face after a workout. All of these things can cause “plugged” pores and therefore lead to blackheads/pimples. You also want to make sure you are washing your face with a cleanser that is not causing you more problems. Seems simple, but as we know chemicals in body care/makeup/face wash can cause hormone imbalances because of endocrine disrupters. Well, if we are washing our face with chemicals that could be damaging our hormones (since our skin is the biggest organ in our body and is also the most porous, everything gets in) and damaged hormones can cause breakouts, which we will cover next.

“Out of whack” hormones:

Last, but definitely not least, hormones. If hormones are to blame when we got through the crappy puberty stage, they can definitely still be blamed later in life! Acne could be caused by an imbalance in your estrogen/progesterone (higher estrogen) which can typically be caused by your mensural cycles, but doesn’t HAVE to be. You could also have an androgen issue with testosterone leading to acne because the skin has an androgen receptor, and if the extra hormone has no where else to go, it plugs in there! Things like adrenal fatigue and unstable blood sugar can also cause acne. The thing here is that whenever ANY hormone is out of balance, the body has to work extra hard to deal with the imbalance. This in turn causes internal stress and then the vicious inflammation cycle begins again. So again, make sure you are getting your hormones tested regularly to make sure you are balanced and everything is fully functioning! Check out my hormone balancing blog here for more information!

Foods to get rid of acne

This title might be a little deceiving because a food isn’t actually going to just get rid of your acne (unless of course it is causing it, then banishing the food could help). What I mean here is that there are some foods that are going to help balance your hormones, heal your gut and keep your body healthy; and healthy also mean shaving clear skin and incredible energy!

• Dark leafy greens

• Fresh fruit

• Fermented foods

• Blueberries

• Fatty fish

• Nuts

Notice..healthy fats are your friend! They are going to help balance the hormones and keep blood sugar levels low. Make sure you stay away from processed foods, refined sugars, and bleached foods like white rice and white flour.

I am not a doctor, and I cannot diagnose the problems you are having. I am simply here to educate you on what your body could be doing and how to recognize it. Please make sure you consult your doctor to get hormone tests done, because they are the basis of all body function and overall health!

Was this helpful? Are you experiencing acne that could be because of one of the above lifestyle choices?

Haley Rowe September 15, 2018