May 7, 2012

Treating Adult/ Hormonal Acne

It's funny that I'm dealing with acne, pimple, zit, whatevever you want to call it in my 30s.  I had few pimples here and there during my teens, but it seems like my acne has gotten worse in the last couple of years.  I tried using different products, and it seemed like it would go away then come back about a month later, leave some scars, and go away.  So I've come to terms with the fact that it was hormonal/ menstrual related acne, since it was coming and going on a monthly basis.  I started taking mental notes about when the acne got worse and when it went away.  I've noticed that the acne, whiteheads started emerging about two weeks before my anticipated period.  And after that it'd clear up but still leaving scars.

I always thought there's no way to control or prevent this unless I took drugs- either birth control pills (which I can't take due to a scare awhile back) or antibiotics (which I refuse to take). 
So below are some products I've been using for the last two months in a strategic manner and it's been much more controllable.  I also did some research on hormonal acne, and things made much morse sense.  So if you are suffering from hormonal acne like me, hope this information helps.
And also, this is something that's been working for me.  You may have to try out some different products to find what works for you.  I think the number one thing for you to try is try to find what your patterns are and what you think may be causing the acne- oil, make-up, hygiene, allergies, etc...

My post will address hormonal/pre-menstral acne... Just a FYI: I have Combination Dry Skin with cystic type acne when it flairs on my cheeks. (bleh~)

Some information about hormonal acne....

Phase 1:  14 days Prior to your Menstral Cycle

I thought I start with the time when your hormones start to fluctuate and when you start to see the pimples appearing.  14 days prior to your menstral cycle, this is when you ovulate and your estrogen levels peak.  The hormonal fluctuations causes your skin to become more oily than usual.  This is what's causing the acne.
I think this is the most important stage to treat because you may have a chance to pre-treat and keep those acne at bay.

Products I use during this time: Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Stress Control and/or Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Stress Control Power-Scrub, Skinceuticals Blemish and Age Defense Serum, Philosophy Microdelivery Peel.

When I wash my face at night, I remove my makeup with my Shiseido Perfect Oil, then use my clarisonic with Philosophy Facewash to gently remove any other traces of makeup. Then I use the Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Stress Control or Power-Scrub.  This doesn't remove makeup, so I use it as a quick mask like after I wash my face.  It's creamy and leaves a slightly minty feel to your face.  This product is great because eventhough it has salicylic acid, it has other ingredients to counter that and not dry out your face.  Then I put few drops of Skinceuticals Blemish and Age Defense Serum and pat it into my face and finish off with a moisturizing cream for sensitive skin. 

In the morning, I wash my face with the Neutrogena Acne Stress Control and apply First Aid Beauty 5 in 1 Moisturizer with SPF 30.

Also during the week, I will use the Philosophy Microdelivery Peel to give myself a light chemical peel to renew my skin and make sure oil won't get trapped underneath my dead skin cells.  When I do the peel, I skip the Skinceutical Blemish and Age Defense Serum as my face can be sensitive.

(You might think this is a lot of products or overwashing your face, but I made sure that this didn't dry out my face or irritated it.)

Phase 2: 7 days Prior to your Menstral Cycle

This is when when your estrogen level plummets and progesterone surge.  When your progesterone goes up, it also tends to close up your pores, giving no room for your skin to breathe. Your skin is at it's oiliest and you are more prone to acne flaring up.  Also due to the progesterone levels, the oil can build up beneath the surface, which can cause your acne to appear more cystic (the kind you can't squeeze!).

Products I use during this time: Tanda Zap, Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Stress Control and/or Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Stress Control Power-Scrub, Skinceuticals Blemish and Age Defense Serum.

My skincare regimen remains the same as Phase 1 except for the peel.  Instead, I may use a mud mask to dry up the extra oil during the week, but I do the same thing as Phase 1.   I also always carry around a Tanda Zap, which is a blue light acne treatment.  It is battery operated and the blue light destroys acne-causing bacteria and also opens the pores to expose the bacteria and kills the bacteria trapped underneath.  This works best when you feel the pimple emerging.  I use this right away, which is why I carry it with me in my purse.  This is quite tiny.  But you do need to replace the battery quite often.  This way you don't have pimple scars, and you are ensuring to kill the bacteria underneath. Ever since I got this, I don't ever use pimple creams or feel the need to pop any pimples which can cause long-term scarring.

Phase 3: Week of your Menstral Cycle

Your hormonal levels are at their lowest.  Your skin may appear dull and your acne is disappearing.  Your skin may need extra TLC (Tender Lovin' and Care) during this time.  You won't have to worry too much about the acne, but the aftermath of it. So perhaps something that can lighten your scars or dark spots.

Products I use during this time: Philosophy Microdelivery Peel, Hydrating Masks, First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream.
During this phase I return to my regular skin regimen, and will do the microdelivery peel once a week, and concentrate on really nourishing my skin.  I'll also try to hydrate my skin with hydrating masks such as Dr. Jaart Hydrogel mask, or masks from The Face Shop.  Then I'll follow up with a serum and First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream to really help hydrate.  This should help your skin look less dull.

Phase 4: Week after your Menstral Cycle

Your body is getting ready to ovulate again and your estrogen levels are beginning to rise.  Your skin is less dull and your acnes are starting to clear up.  You need to maintain and get your skin to prevent the break outs again.  This is probably the best time for your skin.  You look more radiant, your skin is looking acne free and may have few spots still healing.  But you must prep your skin for that week ahead.

Products I use during this time: Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Stress Control and/or Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Stress Control Power-Scrub, Skinceuticals Blemish and Age Defense Serum, Philosophy Microdelivery Peel.

I'm back to using the same products used during Phase 1.  Because you are getting back to preventing your skin from break out.  Gotta keep those pores clean!!!

As I mentioned before this is what I found to work for me.  Of course there are a lot of trial and errors but I think it's worth it once you find that correct formula that works for you.  And these are products I've used.  You don't have to use the exact ones I have used, or you may even find other brands that do the same thing.  Hope the explanation of your menstral cycle helps.  After I understood what my body was going through each week and what the hormones were doing to my face acne, I was able to control it a lot better.  I'm on the second month of this regimen and I had no cystic type acne on my cheeks.  Only 2 pimples this month. Yay!

If your acne isn't from hormonal, you may want to start investigating if any other factors may be causing it.  Here are some common problems:

-Not changing your towels often enough or your towels may not be drying fast enough in the atmosphere and may have a lot of bacterias. (also I always use separate facial towels from hands and body)
-Not changing your pillow cases.  You are putting your head on this thing and rubbing it with your face everyday.  I try to keep my hair product free and change pillow cases every week.
-Touching your face a lot.  Your hands are full of germs.  Keep anti-bacterial near your desk and use it frequently and don't touch your face!

I hope this was helpful and feel free to ask any questions!  Also it's easier for me to respond on my facebook page, so please feel free to ask or message me here.  Miloberry Blog Facebook

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