When we feel or see a spot, the overwhelming instinct is to attack it –but, ‘Squeezing deep, cystic lumps and pustules may only spread the condition,’ says Sharon McGlinchey, holistic facialist and founder of MV Skincare. ‘It’s important to calm and strengthen the skin, not stimulate it, which is what many products containing retinol or hydroxyl acids can do.’
McGlinchey says, ‘My approach with hormonal breakouts is to balance sebum and reduce inflammation – and avoid exfoliation, as this is another form of stimulation with the potential to spread bacteria. Instead, I recommend using a gentle, yet deep-cleaning, mineral-rich clay mask – both as a spot treatment on the affected area, up to three times a day, and as a full-face mask twice in the week before your period.
Don’t let a clay mask dry on the skin as this will strip it of natural sebum, and the skin will only overcompensate and produce more oil. To keep the clay moist, either mix in a few drops of jojoba oil, or “mist” the mask while it’s on the skin.
I’ve found working with a naturopath helps enormously, too. Educating women on how to balance hormones with a slight change in diet, using fewer stimulating products, and understanding the link between adrenal overload – that is, stress – and its impact on the skin is also essential,’ she says.
When it comes to diet, nutritional therapist and holistic make-up artist, Sjaniël Turrell, says, ‘Consider the essential vitamin and mineral count with every mouthful of food you consume. Cut out inflammatory foods – hydrogenated, refined, processed and carbonated foods and drinks – and drink lots of filtered water or herbal tea (nettle and fennel are great for cleansing from within), plus eat “healthy fats”, such as avocado, each day.’