You’d think by the time you reach middle age, you could look forward to being pimple-free. Hate to dash that dream, but hormonal acne may be about to rock your world.
It’s no secret women brace for breakouts around the time they are menstruating. But what’s less known is that acne can also come from other hormonal changes. That includes starting birth control, getting pregnant, and beginning menopause.
Similar to our teen years of puberty, adult acne relates to fluctuations in hormones. Surges of androgenes, namely progesterone and testosterone, can make acne worse. Not to mention the emotional baggage of dealing with a ‘teenage’ skin condition as a grown woman!
Well, if you find yourself with less than flawless skin, you are far from alone. A 2008 study found about 50 percent of woman (yes, you heard that right) between the ages 20 and 29 and 25 percent of women between ages 40 and 49 are battling blemishes.
Hormonal acne typically presents as: acne on the checks and jawline, blackheads, whiteheads and/or cysts, extra oily skin, or reddened and inflamed skin.
Now, not every woman will experience this. Dermatologists find people who were acne-prone in their teens and twenties seem to be more predisposed.
Skincare for hormonal acne is likely tied to poor diet, as well
So what’s a gal to do? Actually pretty much the same things you did when you were young — with one exception. Try to do a little less, believe it or not. Experts believe lots of high-priced creams and cleansers do more harm than good because they clog pores.
Also, hormonal acne may make the skin more sensitive, so many women find skincare relief by staying away from super harsh products that strip or dry the skin and do little else. When it comes to treatments, stick with targeted ingredients.
Look for a lotion with 2 percent salicylic acid. It is non-irritating and easy to find. Other options include: benzoyl peroxide, Differin Gel (I’ve tried this one, don’t be shocked if you see a big uptick in breakouts at first. The Differin brings everything to the surface. That will resolve once your skin gets used to it), Azelaic acid, and beta hydroxy acid. It comes down to personal preference.
If all that seems a bit extra, some holistic health practitioners suggest diet can help ease the acne. Controlling blood sugar spikes is a start. A current trend is to limiting foods with a high GI (glycemic index), like soda, white bread, candy, sugary cereals, and ice cream, all of which cause dramatic fluctuations in blood sugar which can exacerbate acne.
So, ease up on the sugary foods and opt for things with anti-inflammatory properties like, omega-3 fat sources found in fatty fish as well as chia seeds.
Or you could do nothing, and embrace the angst of feeling like a teenager again.