Olivia Wilde Shares How She Finally Got Rid Of Her Hormonal Acne — For Good

Photo by Charley Gallay / Getty

Olivia Wilde has the straight-shooting energy of a born rebel. She grew up listening to her parents, journalists Leslie and Andrew Cockburn, host dinner parties for such luminaries as Mick Jagger, before famously leaving home at age 19 to marry an Italian prince and live on a bus (really!). Now in her 30s with two young children, she's settled in Brooklyn with partner Jason Sudeikis—and now, she's channeling her energy toward creating positive change, from the campaign trail with her mother during her run for Virginia congress to petitioning the government for safer skin care standards.

"It's insane we're at this stage of research and development with products and we know what these harsh chemicals will do to our health, yet it's still so prevalent," she told mbg during a recent chat. She serves as the Chief Brand Activist for the rapidly growing nontoxic skincare brand True Botanicals (they just opened a San Francisco flagship). Wilde credits the brand for helping eliminate the hormonal acne that plagued her for years. "My chin was always a problem area," she said. "It was unpredictable, and I would really struggle with how to get rid of the scars after using really toxic stuff. My whole beauty routine became about problem-solving as opposed to the health of my skin." Wilde eventually revamped her entire beauty routine and diet, focusing on fighting inflammation at its inception rather than playing defense against surface level symptoms.

She tries to drink a lot of water ("I try," she said. "I tend to drink too much coffee, though") and is "thoughtful" about her meat and dairy consumption after a stint with veganism, which she stopped because she's pretty severely anemic. When talking to her, it becomes clear that Wilde is a collector of information—perhaps her journalist upbringing shining through. "I just consider myself kind of a constant student of all this stuff," she said. "I try to consume as much information as possible." She cites Hillary Peterson, the founder of True Botanicals, as one of the biggest forces of change in her purview. "Learning about things like nightshades causing inflammation, sugar causing inflammation, and all of that changed how conscious I am about what I consume," she said. "I also think it's important to listen to your own body. Like there's been this big movement against gluten, and I'm actually pretty tolerant of gluten—but for many people it can be pretty damaging to their skin and overall health."

The biggest change, though, came when she switched up and simplified her topical routine. "I use the True Botanicals hydrating cleanser, and then I use the Clear Face Oil, the Nutrient Mist, and that's about it in the morning," she said. She follows her skin care routine with meditation, which she says has been "totally transformative," crediting it for making her much less reactive.

"It gives you a five-second barrier between something happening and your reaction to it," she explained. "It helps me make better decisions, and it makes me more creative, because I reach into a wider pool of creative ideas." She doesn't think of meditation as a tool to clear her mind but rather to dive deeper into it. "It's about bringing consciousness to your mind," she said. "It's almost impossible to stop yourself from thinking."

She also relies on exercise to feel like her best self. "Any time I exercise, I am a better person throughout the day," she said. "There's a SoulCycle class in LA that is more like a motivational pump-up class with a workout." She laughed. "I leave almost too confident, almost overly confident." 

When she's in New York, she goes to Forward Space, which she calls "the SoulCycle of dance—it's dark and you feel like you went to a dance party and got a workout."

Whatever she's doing is working—she glows from the inside out, as she changes the world, one strongly held opinion at a time.

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