Oh hey cocokind fam, I’m Jess from Wholly Healed! I’m a Certified Eating Psychology Coach specializing in Functional Endocrinology and Nutritional Therapy. You may have seen me over on Instagram talking about women’s health, hormones, periods, and other fun things! Since hormones are my jam, you BEST BELIEVE Birth Control and acne are a major part of that as well. Not only because of my job, but also because I too battled severe acne for a large part of my life, and still live with sensitive acne prone skin. So trust me, I GET IT. I’ve had mental wars with my reflection, said no to social events, and picked until I cried. Acne is as much a mental battle as it is a physical battle (if not, more) and I want you to know you are NOT alone.
At 16, I was prescribed one of the most common “solutions” for hormonal acne, the Birth Control Pill. While I was convinced it was the magic solution I wanted, reality sunk in. I started experiencing negative side effects from it fairly quickly: my anxiety hit an all time high, I developed insomnia, I spotted randomly throughout the month, I gained weight, and my moods were all over the place. Three years later, I went off the pill and THAT is when things got real. What used to be hormonal breakouts on my chin turned into acne all over the bottom two thirds of my face: starting at the temples down to my jawline and even my neck. I didn’t know what to do. While I expected my skin to improve once I went off the pill, I now know it’s not that simple.
Now, after completing my health education, I know steps I could have taken to support my body in this transition to make it easier on myself and my skin. I want to share them with you!
It is important to note that this is my own story – and everyone should make their own decisions. However, for those of you who may be going through something similar (I know Priscilla has talked about how she recently went off Birth Control), I wanted to share three steps I would’ve done differently in my transition off the Birth Control Pill:
1) Start healing BEFORE the pill.
The pill is known to alter our gut flora (the good bacteria in our gut), put extra stress on our liver, and cause multiple nutrient deficiencies (a lot of which are directly linked to acne!). To better support my body as I transitioned off the pill, I would have focused on bolstering certain nutrients beforehand.
-Eat fermented foods, or take a probiotic
-Support your liver with leafy greens, lemon, green tea, and B vitamin rich foods
-Supplement or consume foods rich in B vitamins, zinc, and magnesium.
As I mentioned above, the pill puts a heavy burden on the liver. BUT, our liver is a key player in detoxing those synthetic hormones post-pill! So, when we transition off the pill, our liver is in a compromised state while ALSO having to carry an excess hormonal load, so it needs lots of extra love! To do so, I recommend an abundance of cruciferous veggies, bitter herbs, broccoli sprouts, dandelion root tea, H2O, and lemon, all of which help bind old hormones and render them useless in the body. It’s also important to remember the importance of daily bathroom visits, so everything gets excreted properly! The liver sorts the trash, and the gut takes it out: a perfect detox duo!
2) Prepare mentally
I didn’t initially break out when I stopped the pill. It took about three months for my acne to worsen. While this is common, since it depends on the rate at which your body responds to the hormonal shift, as well as the amount of time you were on the pill. I was on it for a few years, so it took my body a few months to get back to its hormonal baseline. But if you’ve been on it longer, it might take a little longer to detox. THAT’S OKAY. It just makes it all the more important to enact step one and two to ensure an easier transition. Even when enacting a healing protocol, it is still normal for your skin to have some sort of adjustment period. THAT’S OKAY TOO. You are not alone, it does NOT make you less than. Learning to prepare mentally and practice positive mirror talk would have saved me many nights of isolation and tears had I given myself the foresight to do so. Not to mention preventing the obsessive skin stress that can actually make acne worse!
3) Don’t ignore underlying hormonal imbalances
Before I went on the pill, I had irregular periods every few months that were light and spotty coupled with intense mood swings and cravings. While I assumed these symptoms would be “fixed on the pill”, that’s not the hard truth: if we experience underlying hormone imbalances before the pill, they will likely be waiting for us when we get off the pill. When I was on the pill I couldn’t use my body as feedback because it was covering up my hormones with synthetic ones. I ended up having to heal from Hypothyroidism and Hypothalamic Amenorrhea post pill, all of which I had the beginnings of BEFORE I started Birth Control, without the knowledge to notice! Once I started to address those hormone imbalances and the lifestyle habits that contributed to them-like not managing stress, sleeping irregularly, and a lack of nutrient dense foods- my skin started to improve.
Our bodies are incredible and they like to tell us what’s going on! The pill can silence that voice, making it hard for us to recognize and heal underlying imbalances (many of which are the root cause of acne in the first place!).
Ultimately, however, the decision to be on or off the pill should be yours — based on what you fell comfortable with (and after receiving counsel from your doctors and perhaps even functional doctors). This is only my story!
I hope my very own experience can help your journey with acne and skincare. All in all, arm yourself with nutrient-rich foods, self-acceptance, your cocokind TURMERIC Stick, and patience and kindness towards yourself. You can do this! Your body is trying to heal, we just have to provide it the tools and support to do so!
Follow me on Instagram here!