7-day hormonal acne diet plan: Best diet plan for clear skin. Find your acne triggers and learn how to eat when you suffer from hormonal acne.
Are you confused about how to eat when you suffer from acne? Does it seem like everything could cause an acne breakout? Are you wondering why your hormones are so out of balance?
Most teenagers suffer from hormonal acne, but today more and more adults suffer from adult acne. This is mostly caused by the western diet that is rich in simple carbs, fat, and sugar, a diet that also causes weight gain and obesity.
Therefore, it is important to bring your body back to a balanced diet that fuels you and balances your hormones and insulin levels. I believe that many health issues are a result of our eating habits and to turn this statement around: The right nutrition can heal many health issues.
In the picture below you can see how I went from a crazy acne outbreak to healing skin. The first image (upper left) was when I tested differin gel and did not pay attention to my diet.
The next image (upper right) shows my skin when I stopped using differin gel for couple of weeks. The wrong skincare can cause more damage, but I do believe the inflammation stems from my inside in the first place.
When I went on a basic skin care regime with no actives, but focused on my diet, my skin cleared within 4 days to the image on the lower right. From there I did not get any new outbreaks and the red marks started to fade.
I am almost 30 and I walk around like a teenager with painful pimples! I know the struggle. Today, I would like to introduce you to the best diet (according to science, but also my experience) for hormonal acne that will heal your gut and balance your hormones naturally.
There are many acne diets out there that tell you to cut out dairy, but an anti inflammatory diet for acne goes way deeper. Today, I enjoy clear skin and I hope you find this post and all the tips and tools helpful.
You won’t always have to eat according to this hormonal acne diet plan, but it is a good start to clear up your skin. With time you will find what triggers your hormonal acne which will guide you toward creating the meal plan that suits your needs.
In the list below you will find foods that are good for your acne and foods that are not. There are two effects that can happen with certain foods causing acne: They irritate your gut or spike insulin levels.
Most of the foods that are bad for acne cause inflammation in your gut. If your gut is imbalanced, the stomach lining inflamed, your body cannot absorb important nutrients. Inflammation will trigger a hormone imbalance causing more acne.
The reason this hormonal acne diet plan avoids so many foods is to restore the gut lining and heal inflammation which in turn will heal your skin and other symptoms that might occur due to an inflamed gut. Also note that low-level inflammation can play a role in other Western diseases.
Therefore, anything that can help fight inflammation is important in preventing and even treating these diseases. Some irritants are sugar, dairy, animal fat, and gluten. These problematic foods are left out of this hormonal acne diet plan.
Foods that cause quick insulin rises have been commonly documented to cause acne issues. This expands beyond bagels and includes refined grains, white flour, and other acne-causing foods high on the glycemic index.
Even if you’re not a diabetic, your diet affects your blood sugar levels. Some foods break down quickly requiring your body to release more insulin to use up that fuel (in the form of glucose).
Scientists have found that more insulin means more acne. In fact, researchers from Colorado State University found a diet that leads to elevated insulin levels is involved in the production of acne. (Source)
“By far the biggest contributor to oily skin is hormones, including androgens like testosterone and DHT, and also insulin and IGF-1. These all stimulate the receptors in your sebaceous glands, which signals them to create more sebum. However you do NOT need to reduce all these hormones. It is best to focus on reducing insulin and IGF-1.” (Source)
Foods to avoid that raise insulin: milk, white bread, white rice, fast food, prepackaged foods, sugar… If you follow this hormonal acne diet plan below you automatically avoid any of these. If you are not sure about the GI level of your food, you can do a quick Google search.
Sugar also spikes insulin levels—and more insulin means more acne. So the more you can lower your sugar intake, the clearer your skin will be.
What foods help with hormonal acne?
Probiotics and fermented foods
Fermented foods and probiotics will add beneficial microorganisms to your gut, the “good” bacteria, helping with digestion. Healthy gut flora and digestion will result in better skin, too.
Here are some plant based probiotics to include in your diet: sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, and pickles. You can also take supplements for a while to re-balance your gut flora. I suggest taking probiotics from one week to one month. Here are probiotics that also contain Turmeric which is anti-inflammatory and great for acne.
Omega 3: Seeds and Nuts
While too much omega 6 can irritate your gut, omega 3 fatty acid has anti-inflammatory effects. Therefore, you should increase the foods with omega 3 fatty acids and reduce the omega 6 intake. While omega 6 fatty acids are healthy on a balanced diet, they do have an inflammatory effect when consumed too much.
Omega 6 is highly concentrated in oils. So cutting out oils while increasing your healthy fat intake with whole foods like nuts, seeds, and leafy greens (spinach) wil re-balance your omega-3 : omega-6 ratio.
I would stay away from getting your omega-3 from fish. You would have to eat wild caught salmon 2-3 times per week, but 1 serving of fish per week increases the risk of type 2 diabetes by increasing blood sugar levels by 5%. Also fish is very contaminated with toxins and you can watch this video for more info.
This hormonal acne diet plan has a great omega 6 to 3 (which should be 4:1) ratio so you don’t need supplements, but if you would rather take them, stay away from fish oil and take algae capsules instead.
“In fact, scientific research shows that drinking green tea helps reduce inflammation in the skin, which is well known for causing acne and that is because the green tea’s powerful antioxidants are between 25 to 100 times more potent compared to Vitamin C. in addition to that, green tea is also great for reducing insulin levels (therefore reducing the amount of sebum your skin produces) and for fighting acne caused by hormonal imbalances.” (54health)
Green Tea is also a great weight loss tea. Just make sure you buy the organic green tea to avoid pesticides and include it daily in your hormonal acne diet plan.
Adaptogens are herbs used in ancient India. They can relax your body, balance hormones, and heal your body. You can add some adaptogens as a supplement in the form of pills or tea to boost your acne healing process. Here are some recommendations:
Turmeric is anti-inflammatory, which means it helps with any inflammation in your gut or body and therefore also heals your skin.
You should consume turmeric with black pepper to increase the bioavailability by 2000% (Study). You can easily season your food with some turmeric and black pepper, or grab turmeric supplements that already include the black pepper (like this one). I actually use turmeric and black pepper in this smoothie and you won’t even taste it.
Lots of Vegetables and Fruits
Eat lots of vegetables to reduce inflammation in your gut (6-10 servings per day), ensure an optimal intake of minerals and vitamins that help heal your skin and provide your body with energy and nutrients. Vegetables are lower in sugar than fruits so you should eat more of them.
Starchy fruits are higher in sugar and can spike your insulin levels. While eating a banana with oats or in a smoothie shouldn’t be too bad, make sure you reach for the berries and a citrus fruit like kiwi, orange, or pineapple more often. Apples are fine, too.
Important skin healing Vitamins and Minerals
Vitamins A, C, D, E, and K are important vitamins when it comes to healthy skin. Zinc, Selenium, and Collagen can also boost your skin health. With the meal plan provided you should get enough of all the vitamins and minerals from the food you eat, which is the best way to go.
Vitamin E: There are some foods and the supplements above that contain vitamin E. Evidence shows that acne sufferers often have a Vitamin E deficiency (check the study here). Great foods for vitamin E are: sunflower seeds, almonds (almond milk), and hazelnuts.
Antioxidants: High sebum production and oily skin can also be helped by consuming more antioxidants. You will find some of these in the hormonal acne diet plan below, or you can add a supplement to your diet (this one for example). I suggest eating a high antioxidant diet before taking supplements. Spices, green veggies, berries, and herbs are a great source of antioxidants.
Complex carbs take longer to break down than simple carbs and do not cause an insulin spike that messes with your hormones. Pick whole wheat pasta, brown rice, oats, potatoes, and sweet potatoes as your starch.
Complex, healthy starches provide energy and important calories to your diet. If you don’t eat enough calories you will actually cause more acne as your body could be inflamed.
Fiber is also good for your gut flora and digestion helping to reduce gut inflammation. More fiber will also help you stay full longer. Fiber rich foods are: lentils, almonds, chia and flax seeds, broccoli, black beans, berries and more.
Fiber also reduces the risk of colon cancer (source), breast cancer (source), diabetes (source), heart disease (source), obesity (source), and stroke (source). It helps control cholesterol (source) and blood sugar levels (source). Fiber binds toxins, lead, and mercury (source), which is mostly accumulated in animal fat
Hormonal Acne Diet Plan
This hormonal acne diet plan cuts out gluten, all animal fats, simple carbs and sugar, oils, and cacao as these are the common causes of acne. Of course they won’t all cause your acne, but it is a good start to detox your body and heal your acne, then introduce the food groups back into your diet.
I would eat a similar diet to this hormonal acne diet plan for 2-3 weeks to really see results in your skin. Then bring back gluten to your diet, but in moderation (and only whole wheat) and see how you react.
If you stay clear for 1 or 2 weeks you should be fine. Then bring back another food group to your diet like cocoa powder (without milk or sugar) or oils and see how you react.
Often times the amount you eat will determine if you break out or not. You might get by with one dairy free chocolate bar a week, for example.
Things you should always leave out of our diet are animal fat, simple carbs, sweets, and fast food as these will cause more damage to your health than just acne.
Breakfast: Power Oats Bowl
- 1 cup dry oats
- 1 T flax seed
- 1 T walnuts or almonds
- 1 cup berries (or other fruit)
- 1 cup soy or almond milk
I put my oats in the microwave for 1-2 minutes to get the seeds and oats to soak.
- 2 cups of your favorite fruit
- plant milk
- nuts and seeds
- fresh spinach
Mix everything in a powerful blender and ENJOY! Smoothies are a great way to get the healthy leafy greens into your diet. Find more smoothies here.
Leftovers from dinner the day before.
Acne Fighting Tea (Optional)
Make sure you drink a lot of water during the day to help heal your gut and moisturize your skin. I also like to make a special tea blend that helps fight acne that is available in the full meal plan PDF.
Dinner for the hormonal acne diet plan
Dinner 1: Detox Power Bowl
All other dinner recipes are found in the FULL meal plan. In it you’ll get 10 recipes, a nutrition overview, a meal plan overview, a shopping list, and more. Learn more about it here>>