Friday, May 15, 2020

How I Treat My Hormonal Acne

If you have followed me for a long time you know I have struggled with acne. I never had acne in high school and I sure did take that for granted. My skin started to get really bad around my junior/senior year of undergrad. It was initially very bad on my back which, living in Florida isn't that easy to hide. It was embarrassing and significantly affected my self-esteem and confidence. Soon, pimples started to pop up all over my jaw line and cheek area. Some were cystic and so painful. I tried everything BUT in reality I wasn't taking proper care of my skin. I was in my early 20's and didn't know a lot or even believe in the importance of washing your face everyday before bed. Crazy right? Since I made the commitment to my skin last year (2019) I have taken my makeup off every single night and at the bare minimum washed and moisturized my skin. I personally believe combined with hormones and my lack of proper care of my skin led to the terrible skin problems I had for years. In the last year I have started working with an amazing medical esthetician in Naples, Brittany Napier and she has helped me so much! I run my skincare products by her and any makeup I use or new products I buy. She does my monthly Hydrafacial, dermaplanning, and microneedling. She is literally an ANGEL and so knowledgeable with years of experience. 

Before I got pregnant I finally found products that helped clear up my skin. You can read that post here. I included before and after photos. However, once I got pregnant an after I gave birth I tried the same products and they did not work on my skin any longer. It was devastating to figure that out. After that I tried Tula products which I thought were helping but they really weren't. 

Finally in mid-2019 I decided enough was enough. A friend of mine recommended I go see a PA here in town that does BBL Laser treatments and Microneedling. I had three BBL treatments, one Microneedling session and a retinol peel. At the 3rd BBL, Dana told me that my skin was not showing the improvement she had hoped for and she thought it was time for me to go see a Dermatologist. She recommended someone I could see locally and I made an appointment to see her. Before leaving her office I bought a prescription Retinol mix she sells. She was the first person to EVER mention Retinol to me. If you don't know Retinol or Retin A was originally used to treat acne with amazing side benefits of anti-aging. 

At my visit with the Dermatologist we discussed what I did and didn't want to do for treatments. We went over all the products I was using on my skin including makeup. She told me what I should and shouldn't be using for my acne prone skin. She told me NO products with oil in them. I made sure all my makeup was non-comedogenic and stopped using pretty much all the Tula products I had previously been using. She said we could try birth control but I didn't want to go down that route. We decided to start me on Doryx. It was a low dose and I made sure to be consistent with my probiotics and skincare. I am not an advocate for antibiotics. I believe (based on my college education and research I have done) that antibiotics should be the last option for many types of illness. If they can be avoided they should be. However, the antibiotics in conjunction with prescription Retinol usage (3-4 days week), medical grade skincare products and monthly Hydrafacials have cleared my skin up. It took at least 6 months to get to where my skin is now and I was on the antibiotics for almost four months. I was very scared that once I was off the medication the acne would come back. My Dermatologist told me it was possible and if it did we would look at another option called Spironolactone. Luckily since stopping the antibiotics my skin has continued to get better and better. 

I'm going to go over my current skincare routine and I hope it helps some of you that may be struggling. I suggest going to your dermatologist and making sure they listen to you and what you do and don't want. Kristen, my dermatologist is an angel and I love her. Find a good one you trust and you'll be able to work out a solution for you. Ask them what products you should be using. Many dermatologists sell Skinceuticals at their office and will recommend that brand. I highly recommend them as well. The price tag is high but they are worth every penny.  

Morning Routine 

Face Wash: I alternate face washes. I have a few I cycle through depending on how dry my skin is that day. I love Skinceuticals LHA Cleanser, Beauty Bio's Balance Cleanser and Vanicream Unscented Gentle Facial Cleanser

Serums: Drunk Elephant C Firma and Skinceuticals Discoloration Defense (the discoloration defense is insanely amazing. I cannot live without it.)

Moisturizer: Drunk Elephant Protini 

Evening Routine 

Face Wash: I take off my makeup with Burt's Bees makeup wipes and I splash some with hazel toner on them. Then wash with Beauty Bio's Balance Cleanser or Vanicream Unscented Gentle Facial Cleanser

Next, I use my at home microneedling tool from Beauty Bio the GloPro. I use it about 2-3 times a week. This device makes small injuries and holes in your skin that allows your products to sink in 200% more. It has made a HUGE difference in the tone and texture of my skin especially used with retinol.

Above is my before and after picture from when I started using the Glo Pro. The picture on the left is from September 2019 and the photo on the right is from Nov 2019. I notice a HUGE difference in the discoloration in my cheek area. 

Serums: Prescripton retinol (Tretinion) or Fabior. I alternate between the two. 

Night Moisturizer: Summer Friday's Jet Lag Mask

Eye Cream: same as the morning 

On top of ALL the skincare products and antibiotics I started drinking celery juice 5 days a week. I cut out dairy. I maybe have cheese on a salad once or twice a week. I stopped eating Yazzo bars in the evening as well. I don't think these two things cured my acne but I think it helped in addition to everything else I was doing. I already eat a low sugar diet but sugar is a HUGE problem for those with acne prone skin and really for your overall health. I highly recommend making sure your diet is healthy including high intake of fruits and vegetables and low intake of complex carbs like pasta, bread and minimal candy.

I also started drinking spearmint tea. Spearmint has the highest anti-inflammatory properties out of all the mints. I found many studies that showed the effectiveness of drinking spearmint tea. Here is an excerpt "in a 2015 study by the American Academy of Dermatology, two cups or organic spearmint tea ingested daily reduced inflammatory acne lesions by 25% after one month and by 51% after three months. When compared with 100 milligrams of prescription minocycline." I drink one cup in the morning at work and one before I go to bed at night. I also started washing my pillow cases more. I only sleep on one side of the pillow case for one night. The next night I switch it over and after that I wash the pillowcase. 

I'm not going to lie it took a lot to get my skin to where it is now. I had to be diligent and above all patient. My goal was to be able to go out in public without any makeup and feel comfortable and I have achieved that. My hard work has definitely paid off. I do still get pimples, especially the week before my period. I titled this post "How I TREAT my hormonal acne" because I think it's important to be realistic. I know I have a big genetic component for why I have hormonal acne and that part is only going to go away as I age. However, there are many treatments you can do to keep the acne under control.

Here are a few before and afters for you.

Above photos taken in June 2019 before BBL, microneedling, antibiotics and new skincare routine.
It is semi-hard to see in this photo but my face was FULL of clogged pores that would show up and be there for months and months before coming to a head. I had never had a facial in my life at this point. I now get them monthly.

The above photos were taken in January 2020 after I had been off antibiotics for about a month.

I hope this information helpful; and if you have any questions I would love to chat with you. Shoot me and email to:

Thanks for reading!

xo, Alina

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