Tips for Battling Hormonal Acne
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As a reminder, I’m not a dermatologist - I am just sharing what worked for me! Make sure you see your derm regularly for things like this, in addition to check for skin cancer. I see Dr. Kendra Rorrie. My esthetician is Amanda at Eleven Wellness.
I’ve been actively discussing skincare for about a year and a half now, but the past 6 months have shifted a little bit and have been more acne focused. I’ve always had “good” skin. The first time I went to the dermatologist, it was for a staph infection, not acne. In fact, I didn’t really have skin issues until I got on the pill, but there wasn’t really another option for me, because writhing in pain and vomiting every period wasn’t a good way to leave class every “time of the month”. I finally got it under control and got the occasional “you’re about to start your period” pimple, but not much else. About 5 years ago I had a bad bought of acne. I literally tried everything and then finally went to the derm. It was chalked up to stress induced hormonal acne- I had just moved, had a new job, andddd a new boyfriend. It was a lot! I was prescribed Spirnalactone (oral), Sulfacetamide Sodium Topical Suspension Lotion, and Tretinoin Cream, did it for about 3 months, and that kicked it! Yay me! Here I am again, 4 years later, to the month (March!) and I’m in the same predicament.
I’ve vaguely eluded to the fact that this has been a stressful year. I think that’s why I started seeing the issue in March? I started testing some skin care things and actually got it slightly under control around June, but it came back with a vengeance and I finally went to the dermatologist. She prescribed me exactlyyyy what I was on 4 years ago. I don’t know want to jump the gun or anything, BUT I saw my esthetician about a month later and 1) the meds weren’t working like I remembered them working and 2) she actually thought they weren’t hormonal breakouts…but just really really deep and clogged pores. More on that on another day (hint: it was diet related) anddd as I told you here, I have cut out coconut oil of my skincare and beauty routine (I’ll share my skincare routine + what I cut out in the next couple of weeks. The post I already published was more about makeup without coconut oil.) ; BUT, I do want to share some hormonal acne tips!
Before I do that, I wanted to share the WHY behind my outfit. I picked it because 1) y’all loooved it when I shared it on instastories and 2) because acne can literally make you want to hide (hence the camo). At my face’s worse this year, I would literally avoid showing my face - whether it be in public or on instagram. It was/is horrible.
Again, I’m not a doctor - these are just things that helped me. Also everything except for 1 thing that I mention (and clarify this below) is cruelty-free and on the non-toxic end of the spectrum. I try and use 1s or 2s as rated by EWG.
Gentle Cleansing and Scrubbing - With any acne really, but especially the cystic hormonal acne, it’s painful, even when washing your face. Make sure you’re using a gentle solution that isn’t to stripping or irritating. I use One Love Organics Vitamin B Oil in the morning and night. At night I also double cleanse withe One Love Organics Easy Does It Foaming Face Wash. I also use their gentle sponge charcoal heart. It’s good to exfoliate, but it’s especially helpful since the Retinol treatment I’m using makes my face peel. Exfoliation can also help prevent against future breakouts!
Tone - I initially talked to you about what’s a toner and why you should use it here, but this summer, I shared my obsession with Primally Pure Everything Spray. It drastically helped my breakouts, plus it can be used for lots of other things! I actually shared pictures of my acne with you here. You can get Everything Spray for 10% off w/code ELLESPANN.
Serums and Oils - I try and use my dermatologist treatment every other day at the very least, so I haven’t used these as much lately, but I still get them in! If I’m not using the Sulfacetamide Sodium Topical Suspension Lotion, I use Juice Beauty Antioxidant Serum or Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum. These help brighten your skin, but also aid in scarring, which is pretty much all over my chin. I’ll see when I go back to my esthetician in October, but I’m pretty sure I’m suffering from hyperpigmentation. As far as nightly oils go, i had been using Herbivore Botanicals Lapis Oil and I do think it helped, but it had fractionated coconut oil in it, which as I mentioned above, I have stopped using products containing it. If I’m not using Tretinoin, I reach for my Osea Hyaluronic Sea Serum followed by Biossance Squalane Oil. The Tratinoin is so drying, sometimes I go 2 nights without using it, to try and give my skin a break. The Squalane Oil is so hydrating and wonderful! If you aren’t sure of what Squalane is and what it can do for you, click here.
Moisturize - I’ve been avoiding creamy moisturizers that might contribute to clogged pores. My go to has been Biossance Squalane + Probiotic Gel Moisturizer. It’s light and gets the job done. This is the only thing i use with my dermatologist recommended items. as to try and mix the least, but still soften my skin.
Mask - Y’all know I love to mask! Herbivore Blue Tansy Mask is pretty much made for breakouts - I found that one very calming and it reduced redness. I also love the One Love Organics Charcoal Mask - charcoal detoxes, but this mask is super gentle and just makes my skin feel amazing! Something that’s kind of weird that I started using was Hibiclens. I have no idea if it’s cruelty free or where it ranks on the toxic scale, but I did have to use it when I had a staph infection! My friend Amanda from Glitter and Spice blog said she uses it as spot treatment or as a full on mask, because it aids in her breakouts, which makes total sense considering it’s literally a medical cleanser! Another mask that is supposed to be really good for breakouts is Osea Red Aglea Mask! I haven’t had a chance to try it yet though.
Sleep- What’s your sleep schedule look like? I know, I know, but often time mine sucks. When you sleep it’s actually beneficial for your skin! Try and prioritize your rest, so you can reap all the benefits of a well rested body.
Exercise - Are you moving your body? I can’t say I was making an effort to do that (again), until recently. Sweating is good for you and your skin! It can also reduce stress levels, which of course means less hormonal breakouts. I’ve been incorporating more yoga as of late and I not only feel good, but so does my skin.
See your Dermatologist - Don’t be like me and just see if it will go away on its own, especially if it’s affecting your confidence. I know it affected mine. I also recommend having a medical esthetician - mine has helped me SO much and has given insight into things my dermatologist didn’t.
Food - What are you eating? Diet can go hand in hand with breakouts. I’ll touch more on this tomorrow, but make sure to get all of your fiber and just eat in moderation. Too much of anything can be bad. Another thing you might try is taking a probiotic. Check with your doctor first, but probiotics can help with skincare, in addition to gut health! To learn more about probiotics, click here.
Anyway, I hope this has helped you even in some little way! Acne truly sucks and hormonal acne takes what seems like forever to heal. It’s hard, because so many people suffer from acne and it’s often private. You don’t see models or advertising with it for the most part, so it’s pretty destructive and isolating. I hope you feel beautiful today and not alone!! XOXO
Side note - I started back up with Spirnalactone (oral), Sulfacetamide Sodium Topical Suspension Lotion, and Tretinoin Cream in mid July. My 3 month marker will be mid-October. We’ll see where I am then! I for sure don’t want to be on tretinoin forever. Once I get cleared up (hopefully!), I want to try out Biossance’s SQUALANE + PHYTO-RETINOL SERUM. It’s supposed to have the same benefits as a retinol, but without the harshness, as it is plant based. Momma’s out there, that means you can use it while pregnant!
Do y’all have any tips or tricks for battling hormonal acne? Let me know below!! Not sure I thought I’d be dealing with this much acne at 27, but hey. That’s life!
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