DIM (Diindolylmethane) Supplement bottle

DIM: the Supplement You Should Try for Hormonal Acne

I know what you’re thinking – you’ve seen clickbait like this before. There are tons of products out there being touted as the cure for acne, and if you’re like me, you’ve tried about a million different ones, all with less than stellar results.

For those who have followed me on my blog for a while, you know that I have a long history with acne. I was on Accutane as a teenager, and even after that I still continued to battle acne into my early 20’s and beyond. I went on extreme diets to try to control my acne and make my skin perfect. I got to where my acne was manageable, but never achieved perfection.

About 6 months ago, now a 34-year-old woman, I started getting crazy breakouts again for what seemed like no reason. Like, 3-4 new pimples DAILY! (Not just regular ones either, the huge ones that take like 2 weeks to go away which then leave marks on your skin that take months to go away!) That’s when I started getting strict with my diet again to try to control them, and I wrote a post titled, “Would You Eat Salmon Every Day for Clear Skin?”

That post got a lot of likes, and even now still seems to be popular among my readers. (I think it might be my most-liked post.) I think this is a testament (NOT to how great a writer I am – I wish!) to how many people are dealing with the issue of acne and looking for a solution. When you’re desperate for a cure, you are constantly Googling things, and you get to the point where you’re willing to try anything.

Part of the problem with acne is that it’s so hard to nail down the reason WHY you have it – acne can be caused by food intolerances, hormones, sensitivity to skin or hair products, dirty pillowcases, excess oil… I knew that some of my issues were coming from food – sugar seemed to cause breakouts in me, as well as too many carbs, or overeating in general.

But it also dawned on me that I was primarily dealing with hormonal acne, which doesn’t always respond to dietary changes or topical treatments. I came to this conclusion for three reasons:

1. I consistently had large breakouts on my chin

2. I remembered when I was pregnant, that my acne virtually went away

3. Back on one of my extreme dieting phases, when I got so thin my period actually stopped, my acne also stopped (aka. no hormones, no acne)

Back in April, I was in one of my Googling phases, trying to see if anyone out there had solutions I hadn’t yet tried or thought of for hormonal acne. I came across a health and wellness blog, Living Minnaly, and read a post from 2019 where she talked about how she had successfully managed her hormonal acne (and she even included pictures of her before and after, which is always helpful for us skeptics.)

You can read her post to hear her full story, but in a nutshell, one of the supplements she describes as “magical” for acne was Diindolylmethane (DIM). I had never heard of it before. She recommended this brand, which also contained dong quai and chasteberry (Vitex), two herbs that I had heard of in the context of treating hormonal acne.

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When Healthy Eating Becomes Too “Healthy”

(TW for disordered eating)

I wanted to write a follow-up to my post about eating salmon every day for clear skin – I got a lot of “likes” on that post, so it seems like it’s a topic of interest, or at least intrigue, for many.

First of all, you may be wondering: how is my skin doing? Am I still eating salmon every day? 

The answers to those questions are that my skin is doing okay – it’s not perfect, mind you – and I am NOT eating salmon every day anymore. 

I was eating salmon daily for a while, and my skin really did improve (I was also limiting my sugar, gluten, and dairy, as those also seemed to be triggers for acne for me.) But even so, my skin still never fully achieved perfection. 

I have a friend who on Facebook is an advocate for fighting against disordered eating and fatphobia. Her posts have recently challenged me to think about my own relationship to food, and my own dieting habits. I realized that I was slowly getting stricter and stricter with my diet – I was eating salmon daily, but also cutting out multiple other foods. I was looking at food only in terms of “will this make me break out or not?” I began to be afraid to eat many foods, even small amounts of them. At the same time, sometimes I really craved eating some ice cream or a cookie! But I felt stuck in my rigid diet because I knew eating those things would make my skin break out. 

I had to be honest with myself and admit that this was unhealthy, and probably verging on disordered eating. And I’ve got a history of disordered eating (look up the term “orthorexia”), and I didn’t want to get to that place again. I wasn’t afraid of becoming fat or overweight, but I was terrified of having bad skin, of looking less than perfect. Acne-phobic? Imperfect-phobic?

I had also really wanted to clear my skin naturally – not using any sort of pills or topical medications or anything like that. I had hoped that eating the right foods (and not eating the wrong foods) would just balance my body out on its own. But instead, I think I set myself up to try to reach an impossible goal. I realized I was so preoccupied with what I was eating, and so scared of my skin breaking out, that it was affecting my life, and that I needed to make a change. 

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Would You Eat Salmon Every Day for Clear Skin?

***Check out my follow-up post (written 3 months later) here!***

I’ve had really bad acne in the past – it was so bad that when I was a teenager, I had to go on Accutane because nothing else would clear it up. I don’t think I have (or at least I didn’t keep) many pictures of myself during that time because I was so ashamed of the way I looked. Thank goodness smart phones were not a thing back then!

As an (almost) 34-year-old, one might assume that my days of dealing with acne are behind me. Not true! Unfortunately, I still deal with breakouts a lot. Normally it is a minor annoyance, a few here and there that most people probably wouldn’t notice all that much.

The past few weeks however, my skin just exploded! I was getting at least 3-4 pimples a day, and many of them were large inflamed ones. Everything I tried seemed futile. I cut out gluten, sugar and dairy from my diet (which often seems to help), I was using a skin-clearing mask nightly, I tried to make sure I was drinking plenty of water… but the breakouts kept coming in full force.

If you’ve ever had bad acne, you understand that feeling of fear, of feeling like your skin is not in your control anymore. You feel helpless, and it’s one of the worst feelings in the world. And if you’re like me, you also feel really ugly – I think due to my past struggles with acne, my skin condition really affects how I view myself – whether I feel good or bad, pretty or ugly…

I was desperate and didn’t know what else to do, so I turned to my trusty Clear Skin Prescription book by Nicholas Perricone. Maybe you’ve heard of the “Perricone diet?” Nicholas Perricone has written numberous books about anti-inflammatory diets that are supposed to be anti-aging and help you get clear, beautiful skin.

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