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Your Best Life: Acne & Your Menstrual Cycle

For some women, hormonal acne pops up every month. In this week's "Your Best Life," a hormone expert talks about getting clear skin naturally.

TEMPLE, Texas — Acne. It's embarrassing, painful and something many of us thought we'd outgrow after our teen years. But for some women, hormonal acne pops up each month like clockwork. 

In this week's "Your Best Life," I spoke with women's hormone expert Alisa Vitti about what's really going on and how we can get clearer skin naturally.

Alisa Vitti is a functional nutrition and women's hormone expert, whose books Womancode and In The Flo have helped millions of women get their cycles in check. She said acne is a key complaint for many women, but it's really biofeedback from your body telling you somethings out of balance.

"What we want to do is go to the root causes and not fall into the seductive trap of spot treating symptoms, right?" Vitti explained.

Instead of reaching for a chemical treatment or pimple cream, Vitti suggested starting by taking note of when you usually get breakouts during your cycle. 

"If you're having that acne during ovulation, that's indicative that your body is not processing that estrogen surge really well, right? You're overwhelmed by your estrogen and it's going to show up on the level of the skin because skin is your largest organ of elimination," she said. 

"If you have the issue in the luteal phase, where you start to see lots of acne, not just on the jawline, but also on other parts of the face, again, this is just another example that imbalance ratio between estrogen and progesterone," she added.

Vitti said if you break out all the time, the cause could be inflammation. If your pimples pop up when you're stressed, it could be high cortisol, she said. But her recipe for clear skin in all these cases starts with the foods you eat. 

For ovulatory breakouts, add more cruciferous veggies to your diet-- like broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage. If your period causes pimples to pop up, reach for progesterone boosting foods like beans, kale and pumpkin. If you break out all the time, load up on inflammation-fighting foods and ones high in omega-3's like salmon and egg yolks. And if your zits come around when stress kicks in, focus on balancing your blood sugar and limiting actual sugar.

"What can we do with food and supplementation is help your body break down and get out that excess estrogen that's in your system that's wreaking havoc," she said. "And one of the symptoms, or the pieces of biofeedback that your body is telling you, is your acne. That's really when your body starts to rebalance itself, and it will take care of your symptoms for you."

Finally, Vitti said what you eat is just as important as what you don't eat. She suggests steering clear of dairy, canola and vegetable oils, caffeine and gluten. 

She also suggests five key supplements for clear skin: magnesium, Omega-3s, Zinc, Probiotics and B Vitamins. 

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