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Stumped With My Hormonal Acne

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#1 brennaj

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Posted 08 December 2013 - 11:53 PM

My acne story :

 

YEAH. this is long as everything, but please read it all. I have a complicated story, but I need someone's insight.

 

Basically, I have had really mild acne since I hit puberty, which is pretty natural, and which I expected to get rid of when I became older. Well, as I have gotten older (I am a 19 year old white female, living in the US), my acne has only gotten worse.

 

I started getting pimples around my hairline, sometimes on my cheeks and chin about a year ago when I started working nights and going to school full time in the morning. I knew it was related to stress and sleep patterns, but I could not change it.

 

The products I was using were the same I had used ever since I started washing my face, clean & clear morning burst and a light moisturizer. I started using benzamycin when I was about 16, which my doctor prescribed after I complained about my minor pimples (First mistake I made, IMO). The mild acne seemed to get kind of under control, but at the same time, I still had break outs, and my skin was always ridiculously dry and red. 

 

Back to about a year ago, 2 years after using benzamycin religiously every day. 

 

I decided to stop using the prescription cream cold turkey at the beginning of 2013, because my acne was starting to get even worse from all the stress, and the the hating of my job, my school, and my town (I hated my town with a burning passion). My acne didn't seem to get worse after using it, but it stayed pretty bad.

 

Now let's get to the weird part.

 

I finally quit my job of working nights to move to Italy for the summer, where I basically stopped washing my face as much (sometimes using a crappy walmart version of Proactiv), partied on the weekends, drank a tiny bit (glass of wine every once in a while), had a crazy sleep schedule, and worked a ton at my internship. But I was freaking as happy as I could be, and only stressed a bit as I was constantly speaking my second language which I hadn't perfected. My acne started clearing up like there was no tomorrow (odd?). My diet hadn't changed, except that I was eating seasonal, fresh fruits and veg, a ton of white bread and pasta, parmeggiano reggiano, and a butt load of the most DELISH olive oil I have ever had. I went to the adriatic sea quite a bit and rode my bike to my job every morning, took a lot of walks with friends, danced at every party (italians party hardcore), and basically lived like an Italian queen--and had zero pimples. WTF?

 

Then paradise was ripped from under me in mid August of this year. And everything went to hell. and fell into the deepest, bitterest depression I have ever had the displeasure of having.

 

A week after I got back, I started getting little tiny red bumps all over my face. I'm just like "ok, well, at least they are pretty easily covered by makeup!" So I pile a bunch of crap on my forehead and still look like a hottie when I returned to school. I will add that I started going to the same hick community college again, in the same horrible small town with small minded hillbillies, and this time, I was jobless and living again at my parents'. The acne just started getting worse, so I stopped wearing makeup, thinking it was the cause. Nope. More acne. This time, not only was it on my forehead, but it spread to my cheeks. No, no, not small bumps, big fatties that wouldn't pop even if you tried prodding it with a needle. And if they did pop, they bled. Yes, yes, you don't have to tell me that is bad.. however, I had never had acne, so I thought it was healthy to purge my skin of the demonic puss that plagued my pores.

 

So I started doing a 2.5 BP face wash twice a day with a toner and moisturizer with BP. Well, that never got rid of my acne, if anything, it made my skin dry and nasty and really freaking red. So after a couple weeks of that crap, I was done.

 

"Let's go back to nature!" I said. How naive of me! I started with honey washes (not organic and raw because I was an acne novice) and sea salt masks and olive oil. HELLZNAW. My acne just multiplied exponentially. Bah. I was stumped... a month after Italy, and I had full fledged pizza face. I then started getting all paranoid... started searching the web for every darned home remedy for acne. I started taking supplements.. borage seed oil, fish oil, zinc, magnesium, vit A, vit B complex, vit E. "Ah, this is sure to do the trick. I am just low on vitamins fatty acids, is all! oh ho ho!" I happily took pills every freaking meal time as directed, every day, for months. During this time, I was educating myself 4 hours a day on acne. Knowledge is power! They say. Well I looked at thelovevitamin.com and thought, well she cured her acne with sunshine, exercise, and happiness. Hard to do in late autumn... Then, acneeinstein.com. He's all scientific! No dairy, lots of antioxidants, no high GI foods! Gut is connected to skin! BWAHRAHAHARR. That was when I started looking into the diet side of things. First no sugar, sugar is bad, then no dairy, dairy is bad, then, only raw mostly green, then paleo diet, ACV MIRACLE CURE, then FAST EVERY TWO WEEKS. I think these people want us to starve to death and not enjoy a normal life. With all this researching, I started looking at skinacea.com, then acne.org forums, and blah blah blah. So many remedies, so little time. I mean, I am going to move to Chicago in January! Can I please have clear skin by then?

So now after all of my research, I have this ridiculous skin care regimen:

 

ON MAH FACE:

ORGANIC RAW honey wash in the morning, followed by ACV toner with lemon juice and filtered water, Cinnamon nutmeg and ORGANIC RAW honey mask every afternoon, tea tree oil, lavender oil, and jojoba oil for moisturizer/cleanser at night, topical probiotics to keep my "facial flora and fauna" all balanced and junk before bed. Sometimes if I wear foundation (which is rare, even though I get stares without it) I will switch to a stronger natural cleanser than honey, such as MyChelle Dermaceuticals white cranberry face wash. 

 

IN MAH BELLY:

PILLS ALL DA PILLS. I started taking triphala in the morning and night, taking cod liver oil, probiotics, ACV internally, vitamins, A, B, E, then zinc, magnesium, etc. I do this every day, without fail. I drink a ton of water.... like 2 gallons a day, maybe more.

 

Then I stopped eating sugar, and then started limiting my sugar intake, and even limiting how much fruit I eat (I start feeling bad after I satisfy a craving for a banana--am I developing an eating disorder from acne? WTFRICK?) I don't eat dairy, and I try to eat one fish a week, because meat is expensive. I am trying to limit my salt intake, but it's hard when you have to eat all these veggies. I don't eat bread. I don't eat cereal anymore--my love.

 

I eat carrots, kale, swiss chard, apples, prunes, celery, cucumbers, barley, japonica black rice, brown rice, rice milk, almonds, seeds, fish, quinoa, onion, garlic, oats, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, spinach, lentils, and on occasion, when I'm feeling a bit on the wild side, I will eat dried pineapple to help my insatiable sweet tooth, and maybe even a whole grain pita pocket....etc etc etc. my family thinks I am a nut, BTW. 

 

Activities:

Yoga, ballet, HIIT workouts sometimes, and walking. I exercise 5-6 times a week

 

Relaxation and stress:

Prayer, and lots of it. Then journaling. And lots of sleep. I average about 8-9 hours a night. CUZ IM UNEMPLOYED HEH. 

 

Hygiene:

I try to wash my pillowcase every day, and my sheets every week. I wash my hair every 2 to 3 days with an overpriced natural shampoo I got from a hippy health foods store. and then you saw my skincare routine. Pretty holisticallly standard. 

 

HA lost some weight guys! More skinny than ever! POSITIVES MAN!

 

Oh, and I have I told you a wonderful wonderful tidbit? I still have acne. Yeah. I think today I counted 23 pimples on my cheeks, chin, and jawline. Not to mention the wonderful hyper pigmentation. Most of the pimples are on my right side, whereas a month ago, it was concentrated on my left.

 

I'm starting to think this is a bigger problem than just diet and skincare and hygiene. I am now looking at the more serious things. Liver probs, thyroid probs, estrogen dominance, and possibly androgen dominance. 

 

I bought a couple days ago Estroblock on Amazon. I am going to start taking Burdock root. If these don't work in the next few months.... I will have to break down and go to the dreaded dermatologist. I don't want to have to take birth control....and accutane...I already am extremely depressed--haven't felt any happiness since Italy.

With my acne, my self esteem... it's basically nonexistent. I used to go out with my friends, love talking to people. Lately, I have become quite introverted. I rarely want to leave my room. 

 

I cry every time I look in the mirror. This isn't me. I want my beautiful confident me to show. 

 

I am tired of people telling me that my skin is the elephant in the room. I have gotten comments from "oh wow, is that a horrible an allergic reaction?" to boys telling me, "you would be so beautiful without acne" to little cousins not wanting to kiss me because my "face looks weird and lumpy." Yeah. One thing I have learned from this is that people are cruel. And also, I love the acne community. You guys really understand. 

 

 

If anyone has insight on my hormonal acne. Please help. I am so desperate. I am taking money out of my college funds to pay for all of these supplements and organic foods. 

 

These pictures shown are successive.

 

The one of my confident babe face is me a month in italy with NO ZITS.

 

 Attached File  Photo on 7-18-13 at 3.04 PM.jpg   74.71K   71 downloads

 

The other was taken 2 months after Italy

 

Attached File  DSCN3623.JPG   21.85K   66 downloads

 

And the other was taken two weeks ago.

 

Attached File  Foto del 12-1-13 alle 3.21 PM.jpg   63.68K   69 downloads

 

 



#2 LydiaKrow

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Posted 09 December 2013 - 01:04 AM

Hi Brenna!

 

I read your story with interest.  I'm sorry you are so frustrated... I can certainly understand.  You are a beautiful girl, and dealing with this so long is wearing you down, I'm sure.  I am an Esthetician, and I want to offer some advice based on my experience with other clients.  You may or may not have tried some of these things, but I figure I'll give it a shot.

 

Firstly, from what you describe, it sounds like you have inflammatory acne that doesn't necessarily come to a head so you can pop it, but creates hard, red, tender papules all over your face.    Inflammation makes it worse, so does stress and poor diet.   You have a very clean diet and lifestyle, but it's not going away because I think your daily routine is very harsh for your skin.  You need to focus on soothing treatments designed to calm your skin.  Hormonal acne with inflammation is very difficult to treat, and what you are doing is loading your skin up with more stuff to inflame it!  Cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon juice..... wow!!   Then on the other hand... honey?  That is not going to clean your skin, and that's what you need. 

 

Think of your skin in terms of a three step process.... CLEANSE - NOURISH - PROTECT.

 

With each step, choose things that will be calming and reduce inflammation.  You also want humectants, or things that bind water to your face, because this will help reduce inflammation.   So, what you want should look something like this:

 

Cleanser... mild, creamy cleanser than rinses cleanly.  If it has soothers, even better.  Things like glycerin, allantoin, sea whip, hyaluronic acid, azulene, licorice... all good soothers and water binders. 

 

Treatment... hold off on using any exfoliants or even Benzoyl Peroxide for now.  You want to soothe and heal your skin, so if you can find a lightweight gel that has any of the above mentioned ingredients, that would be great.  You want to reduce redness and inflammation.  Aloe can help here, too, but ideally you want something with more than just aloe. 

 

Protection... you mentioned that you use jojoba oil, which is fine (it closely mimics sebum) but by itself it will not create a seal that will protect your sensitive and challenged skin.  You need to wear a ZINC-ONLY emollient SPF during the day (do not buy the kind with chemical sunblock ingredients, they will inflame your skin more) and at night you need a lightweight, greaseless moisturizer to help your skin heal.  Oil-free or jojoba oil based if possible. 

 

Dump everything else, including the tea tree and lavender oil... avoid all essential oils on your face, or anything with fragrance.  Please do not use topical probiotics, that is total rubbish.  There is no flora and fauna on your face! 

 

Now, the way you clean your face is very important, as well.  You want to be careful, gentle, and not do anything to physically exfoliate it

 

(1) Wash your hands

(2) Wet your hands, then your face

(3) Use the cleanser to very gently clean your skin, starting with your eyes first, then the rest of your face and neck.

(4) Rinse the cleanser off, do NOT use a washcloth for this, just splash the water.

(5) Pat dry gently with a fresh washcloth.  (Keep a stack handy and use one per wash)

 

You can do your nourishing and protection steps after that.  You should be clean, but not tight-skinned.  If you get a soothing serum product to nourish with, that should help calm redness. 

 

In the morning, if you feel greasy, repeat the CLEANSE-NOURISH-PROTECT.  This time use SPF to protect your skin.  Try your best to stay out of cold weather and direct UV light, if possible.  Try to keep your skin at an even temperature - not too cold, not too hot.

 

It will take you a few weeks or a month to see changes, but if successful you will see your skin first calm down, and then the major lesions start to recede.  After a few weeks, when your skin is stronger, you can introduce a 2.5% Benzoyl Peroxide (use according to manufacturers instructions... don't think, "more is better" because less is actually better!) to control bacteria and oil production.  Do this right before the NOURISH and PROTECT steps.  BPO needs to be applied on dry, cleansed skin. 

 

I hope this helps.  I have had good luck with this sort of progressive care with my acne clients.  Good luck.  :)

 

- Lydia

 

 



#3 Green Gables

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Posted 09 December 2013 - 01:37 AM

If I was going to reduce your Italy trip to bullet points, this is what I gathered

 

- Sunshine

- Ocean

- Slightly better fatty acid ratio in your diet

- Somewhat less processed foods

- Daily exercise outdoors

- Reduced stress

 

Anything I'm missing?

 

I would not take Estroblock. For most women, more estrogen helps acne. You are skinny. Less fat = less estrogen storage. Yes, skinny people can be estrogen dominant, but unless you have some confirmed evidence that you actually are, I always assume that skinny with acne tends toward androgen issues. Since estrogen does all sorts of beneficial things for the skin, such as increasing skin hydration and counteracting androgens...in most cases blocking estrogen will only make the problem worse. 


Edited by Green Gables, 09 December 2013 - 01:39 AM.


#4 brennaj

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Posted 09 December 2013 - 03:43 PM

Hi Brenna!

 

I read your story with interest.  I'm sorry you are so frustrated... I can certainly understand.  You are a beautiful girl, and dealing with this so long is wearing you down, I'm sure.  I am an Esthetician, and I want to offer some advice based on my experience with other clients.  You may or may not have tried some of these things, but I figure I'll give it a shot.

 

Firstly, from what you describe, it sounds like you have inflammatory acne that doesn't necessarily come to a head so you can pop it, but creates hard, red, tender papules all over your face.    Inflammation makes it worse, so does stress and poor diet.   You have a very clean diet and lifestyle, but it's not going away because I think your daily routine is very harsh for your skin.  You need to focus on soothing treatments designed to calm your skin.  Hormonal acne with inflammation is very difficult to treat, and what you are doing is loading your skin up with more stuff to inflame it!  Cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon juice..... wow!!   Then on the other hand... honey?  That is not going to clean your skin, and that's what you need. 

 

Think of your skin in terms of a three step process.... CLEANSE - NOURISH - PROTECT.

 

With each step, choose things that will be calming and reduce inflammation.  You also want humectants, or things that bind water to your face, because this will help reduce inflammation.   So, what you want should look something like this:

 

Cleanser... mild, creamy cleanser than rinses cleanly.  If it has soothers, even better.  Things like glycerin, allantoin, sea whip, hyaluronic acid, azulene, licorice... all good soothers and water binders. 

 

Treatment... hold off on using any exfoliants or even Benzoyl Peroxide for now.  You want to soothe and heal your skin, so if you can find a lightweight gel that has any of the above mentioned ingredients, that would be great.  You want to reduce redness and inflammation.  Aloe can help here, too, but ideally you want something with more than just aloe. 

 

Protection... you mentioned that you use jojoba oil, which is fine (it closely mimics sebum) but by itself it will not create a seal that will protect your sensitive and challenged skin.  You need to wear a ZINC-ONLY emollient SPF during the day (do not buy the kind with chemical sunblock ingredients, they will inflame your skin more) and at night you need a lightweight, greaseless moisturizer to help your skin heal.  Oil-free or jojoba oil based if possible. 

 

Dump everything else, including the tea tree and lavender oil... avoid all essential oils on your face, or anything with fragrance.  Please do not use topical probiotics, that is total rubbish.  There is no flora and fauna on your face! 

 

Now, the way you clean your face is very important, as well.  You want to be careful, gentle, and not do anything to physically exfoliate it

 

(1) Wash your hands

(2) Wet your hands, then your face

(3) Use the cleanser to very gently clean your skin, starting with your eyes first, then the rest of your face and neck.

(4) Rinse the cleanser off, do NOT use a washcloth for this, just splash the water.

(5) Pat dry gently with a fresh washcloth.  (Keep a stack handy and use one per wash)

 

You can do your nourishing and protection steps after that.  You should be clean, but not tight-skinned.  If you get a soothing serum product to nourish with, that should help calm redness. 

 

In the morning, if you feel greasy, repeat the CLEANSE-NOURISH-PROTECT.  This time use SPF to protect your skin.  Try your best to stay out of cold weather and direct UV light, if possible.  Try to keep your skin at an even temperature - not too cold, not too hot.

 

It will take you a few weeks or a month to see changes, but if successful you will see your skin first calm down, and then the major lesions start to recede.  After a few weeks, when your skin is stronger, you can introduce a 2.5% Benzoyl Peroxide (use according to manufacturers instructions... don't think, "more is better" because less is actually better!) to control bacteria and oil production.  Do this right before the NOURISH and PROTECT steps.  BPO needs to be applied on dry, cleansed skin. 

 

I hope this helps.  I have had good luck with this sort of progressive care with my acne clients.  Good luck.  smile.png

 

- Lydia

Thank you so much for your insight. I thought I could be treating my face too harshly, but I was sure that natural ingredients and oils would be good for my skin. Curse those hippy health food store people taking full advantage of my insecurities and ignorance! What brand of facial wash would you recommend? Are there any inexpensive brands out there? For moisturizer, my sister has neutrogena oil free SPF moisturizer. would that be sufficient? I also have a natural sunscreen... but I didn't use it BECAUSE i never go out.... lol what valuable advice! So many people have tried to give me advice on acne... and I just thought I had to do everything. Thanks a lot. Really!



#5 brennaj

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Posted 09 December 2013 - 04:06 PM

If I was going to reduce your Italy trip to bullet points, this is what I gathered

 

- Sunshine

- Ocean

- Slightly better fatty acid ratio in your diet

- Somewhat less processed foods

- Daily exercise outdoors

- Reduced stress

 

Anything I'm missing?

 

I would not take Estroblock. For most women, more estrogen helps acne. You are skinny. Less fat = less estrogen storage. Yes, skinny people can be estrogen dominant, but unless you have some confirmed evidence that you actually are, I always assume that skinny with acne tends toward androgen issues. Since estrogen does all sorts of beneficial things for the skin, such as increasing skin hydration and counteracting androgens...in most cases blocking estrogen will only make the problem worse. 

 

HA! It would be nice to be in the sun and sea again! I wish :) I noted all those things to, but for the moment, they are out of reach -_-

 

I think I will take a real hormone test just to be sure, but I thought I had symptoms of estrogen dominance..

 

- Thin hair that seems to fall out excessively

- Mood swings, mostly from okay feeling to super depressed in a matter of minutes

- cold hands and feet

- Tender breasts 

- PMS (extremely--extremely irritable, then a week before my period I get chin break outs)

- Back pain and swelling some months during period

- muscle softness (despite my body strength exercise)

- bloating

 

I don't know if I have the obvious signs of androgen excess:

 

- no weight gain (I am losing weight)

- no facial hair 

- (as far as I know) no PCOS

 

Of course this is not a substitute to a regular hormone test, but I get an overwhelming amount of checks on the estrogen excess and progesterone deficiency.

http://www.johnleemd...ormonetest.html

 

If in fact I were to have an androgen dominance, what natural supplements would you think do the trick? I hear spearmint tea and saw palmetto are good. I don't really have good insurance... or a job, so I am trying to keep costs low. Thanks for your reply. 



#6 WishClean

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Posted 09 December 2013 - 09:10 PM

It's very confusing trying to self-diagnose because symptoms tend to overlap, especially low progesterone and high estrogen symptoms. Some of the symptoms you listed could also be attributed to a vitamin D deficiency. Unexplained weight loss usually occurs due to elevated androgens, btw. If I were you I would get tested for PCOS. The symptoms for PCOS vary, that's why you should have an ultrasound that actually measures the cysts on your ovaries, rather than just testing for PCOS hormonally. 

Track your acne breakouts and see if they happen more often during or before your period, and /or mid-cycle. That might give you an indication as to whether your breakouts are hormonal. The ones close to your hairline might not be hormonal, they could be a reaction to your shampoo, especially if your hair touches that part of your face a lot. To me, it looks like some type of reaction...perhaps purging? I got that type of dense acne when I used milk thistle...it caused a powerful reaction to my skin. Maybe you should stop taking all those supplements and start with one at a time to see if that helps. If your liver is unable to flush out excess toxins (including excess hormones) through normal pathways (e.g. when you go to the bathroom or when you sweat), then they get pushed out through the pores of your skin. So, by overloading your liver with a ton of supplements, you could actually be making the situation worse. 

Diet-wise, you should avoid dried fruit. 

Face-wise, you are doing too much! Let your skin breathe. Don't wash with harsh tap water, try using a water filter or spring/ deionized water - that's the first thing you should look at when you are trying to improve the PH of your skin.

Check your detergent too....that might be aggravating your acne. To me, it looks like a reaction to something more than hormonal, but I'm not entirely sure.

Finally, as you probably realized, depression makes everything so much worse. Vitamin D deficiency and depression go hand in hand in some cases, that's why I suspect you might be deficient. 

 

Btw, I found out who my real friends are after getting bad acne, so it can be a blessing just as much as it can be a curse. I isolated myself from everyone for a few months and it actually made me more depressed. I focused my energy on work and finding a natural treatment plan for myself, and now I can function again in the real world. People who really like you will not care at all if you have acne....plus, you look like Cheryl Cole in the last pic, how great is that? :)


Edited by WishClean, 09 December 2013 - 09:16 PM.


#7 brennaj

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Posted 10 December 2013 - 12:58 PM

Finally, as you probably realized, depression makes everything so much worse. Vitamin D deficiency and depression go hand in hand in some cases, that's why I suspect you might be deficient. 

 

Btw, I found out who my real friends are after getting bad acne, so it can be a blessing just as much as it can be a curse. I isolated myself from everyone for a few months and it actually made me more depressed. I focused my energy on work and finding a natural treatment plan for myself, and now I can function again in the real world. People who really like you will not care at all if you have acne....plus, you look like Cheryl Cole in the last pic, how great is that? smile.png

Should I get a blood test for vitamin D deficiency, too? I think I am going to pull out all the stops and get a blood test, a urine test, and have the doctor check my thyroid.... if that is possible. Whew this is getting expensive. 

 

Also, what you said about a reaction. I feel that that is plausible. I have just now switched shampoos and body wash (although I don't really have any body acne... a few on my shoulders but that is it) But I have found that my face burns a lot in the winter, especially when I am in a hot room, and my acne seems to throb and sometimes itch... don't know really how to explain it. Funny how skin reacts to the seasons. My skin is definitely a spring/summer lover. 

 

I definitely have found through this who my friends are and how much they care. It's just frustrating to to have repulsive looking nasties on my face :) and thanks for the compliment!

 



#8 WishClean

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Posted 10 December 2013 - 05:35 PM

I wish dermatologists could identify correctly what type of acne each person has, that would make things a lot easier. I have seen a LOT of hormonal acne photos, and yours might not necessarily be hormonal. Have you looked up leaky gut/ candida and high histamines? Did some supplements/ foods make your skin worse? It looks like the reaction I got when I tried milk thistle, so maybe something you are taking is detoxing your liver too rapidly and your body is unable to get rid of all the toxins the proper way. 

I get reactions from things that trigger a histamine reaction....so for me, it could be anything from body lotions & shampoos (sulfates/SLS) to tomatoes. I tested my IgG and IgE for food allergies and intolerances, which might be something you can try too. 

I would definitely recommend checking your vitamin D levels as well as your hormones (saliva testing is more reliable for hormones than blood testing - I did blood twice and it didn't show much, yet I get hormonal acne the same time each month). Right now I'm taking inositol for hormonal acne and following a low histamine diet. But I had to  do a lot of trial and error before I found this combo, so you need to see what works for you. In my case, I get different types of acne...I even had folliculitis at some point, so I have to treat each cause differently to keep it under control. Finding an understanding doctor or naturopath is the first step. 



#9 ewwpimples1

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Posted 10 December 2013 - 07:08 PM

I would go to a dermatologist. If you were clear in August and most of your life and now all of a sudden have acne, it could be some type of infection or something. I know most people hate going to the dermatologist, but find a good one who actually listens, and it's not too bad! Good luck!



#10 jlcampi

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Posted 10 December 2013 - 08:41 PM

If I was going to reduce your Italy trip to bullet points, this is what I gathered

 

- Sunshine

- Ocean

- Slightly better fatty acid ratio in your diet

- Somewhat less processed foods

- Daily exercise outdoors

- Reduced stress

 

Anything I'm missing?

 

I would not take Estroblock. For most women, more estrogen helps acne. You are skinny. Less fat = less estrogen storage. Yes, skinny people can be estrogen dominant, but unless you have some confirmed evidence that you actually are, I always assume that skinny with acne tends toward androgen issues. Since estrogen does all sorts of beneficial things for the skin, such as increasing skin hydration and counteracting androgens...in most cases blocking estrogen will only make the problem worse. 

 

You are absolutely correct on the estrogen issue.  A big part of what we are unable to do here is gather a complete history and exam.  A knowledgeable physician will already have clues as to  what's going on before you say a thing.

 

As women age they can will generally either be:

 

Estrogen deficient; or 

Estrogen dominant (progesterone deficient).

 

The time when the deficiency or excess occurs is very important in understanding what's going on hormonally.

 

Women with narrow hips and small breasts in their youth have lower levels of estrogen.  These women will generally have a higher probability of hirsutism.

 

Women with wider hips and large breast in their youth have proportionally higher levels of estrogen than progesterone and are more likely to experience estrogen dominance later in life.

 

What makes this a bit more complicated is that a woman that had high levels of estrogen in her youth can be deficient in midlife and beyond.  This causes breast ptosis (sagging) among other problems.  So, It extremely important to also understand when the symptoms occur.  For example, a women with estrogen dominance that has tender swollen breasts all month is a different scenario than only during the last half (luteal phase) of her cycle when progesterone peaks and should be neutralizing the side effects of excess estradiol.

 

90% of the testosterone (metabolized from DHEA) you produce is from the adrenal system.  The balance is from the ovaries.  

 

DHEA is released from the Adrenals at the same time as cortisol.  

 

Obviously something happened right after your trip.  Were you on vacation in Italy?  If so, then most people are relaxed and experience a period of low stress.  

 

Looking at your first photo, it looks like you may have a mild cortisol deficiency.  If you can back to high stress situation and your adrenals couldn't keep up, then you may have overproduced DHEA that converted to testosterone.  

 

If this is the case and you are cortisol deficient, then dexamethasone may help.  It will replace cortisol and decrease androgen production.



#11 tracy521

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Posted 11 December 2013 - 11:45 AM

heck yeah i second the dermatologist's for sure and you could get your hormones tested while you there even though most times they dont seem to find an issues with them. if i were you though i would hit the derm get some antibiotics and ask about trying spiro and then i would get some sort of topical to use to help clear that all out. i did the whole diet thing and tried this supplement and that supplement for a long time and it did nothing so now i eat and drink what i want and have been fine. no sense being food deprived on top of everything else. good luck to you!



#12 heitea

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Posted 11 December 2013 - 01:41 PM

Wow! I honestly feel like I could have written this-- besides going to Italy. haha.

 

First of all, you are so incredibly beautiful!! In all the pictures!

I wish I could comment on every single thing you wrote in this post because it has ALL happened to me. Including the eating whatever, not washing face much, but being ridiculously happy-- and having clear skin. Then I found thelovevitamin and tried the holistic route...where I was still ridiculously happy...and I thought that washing my face with Manuka honey and only putting aloe on my face afterwards was giving me clear skin. I also thought that my 20 minutes of sunlight and smiling and reading all the time was giving me clear skin. Nope, it was being ridiculously happy because it was summertime and I had a different perspective on life...lol Then it all went to poop, and I ended up depressed and hey! all the acne came back. This was about 2 years ago.

 

I have taken every single pill that you've taken. The worst my skin has EVER been was trying to be "paleo" and taking borage seed oil, flaxseed oil, saw palmetto, and zinc. My skin was covered in cysts...covered. No end in sight type-- with no head. My jawline...tiny cysts in every pore. Oh man, it was terrible. Then I started taking Burdock root. AHHHH. Omg. 16 cysts in one day...on July 4. I was so freaked out. All I could do was cry.


I even have all the same [hormonal] symptoms that you do, and I honestly thought that I had estrogen dominance, as well. I don't have excess hair, but I have excess acne, dangit! That's a sign of a problem! Well, I started taking Beyaz in August...and my skin has been improving ever since. I know you don't want to go on a birth control, but it has seriously helped me. I feel weird about altering my hormones, but sometimes that's what you gotta do. I actually just started 25mg of Spironolactone about 20 days ago, too. I tried doing it "naturally" with all the supplements, but it didn't work. I'll include a before and after picture...the "Before" is after it started getting better. It was a lot worse than this picture, and you can't see the tiny cysts ALL along my jawline and my neck in the before, either. It's not perfect, but a definite improvement.



 


Edited by heitea, 11 December 2013 - 01:44 PM.


#13 SendMeAngels

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Posted 11 December 2013 - 02:25 PM

I've been where you are. I've done every strange diet imaginable (and nearly starved from some of them), and I've developed rigid washing and cleaning rituals. And like you, I've tried my fair share of supplements. But for some people (me included), those things don't work. My acne didn't respond to any of my "healthy" life changes, and I found that I spent more money and stressed so much more when I did them. And whenever I added a new product to my regimen, my skin exploded with angry red pimples. So I decided to stop worrying about it, eat normally, wash normally, and take a simple multivitamin. And my acne didn't get worse, if anything, it improved. I think that when we overload our faces and bodies with products (even healthy ones) we can really do some damage to our skin. And not everyone's skin reacts well to certain products. For example, I break out terribly on probiotics of any kind. 

 

If I were you, I would consider using a more simple regimen. Many people (myself included) have good results using CeraVe AM and PM moisturizers, and the Dove Beauty Bar for washing. That's it.  For some people, diet may play a role in acne, but for others it does not. And in my opinion, your type of acne likely isn't caused by the foods you are eating. If I were to guess, I would say you either had a hormonal imbalance, or are like me and simply have lousy luck. In any case, you may consider seeing a dermatologist AND endocrinologist. You have options like Spironolactone (which works wonders for many women with hormonal acne) and Isotretinoin, which is what I am currently using.



#14 JennaBean

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Posted 11 December 2013 - 03:02 PM

You should check into Spironolactone. The pattern of your acne looks 100% hormonal

#15 jlcampi

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Posted 11 December 2013 - 07:35 PM

You should check into Spironolactone. The pattern of your acne looks 100% hormonal

All acne is hormonal.


Wow! I honestly feel like I could have written this-- besides going to Italy. haha.

 

First of all, you are so incredibly beautiful!! In all the pictures!

I wish I could comment on every single thing you wrote in this post because it has ALL happened to me. Including the eating whatever, not washing face much, but being ridiculously happy-- and having clear skin. Then I found thelovevitamin and tried the holistic route...where I was still ridiculously happy...and I thought that washing my face with Manuka honey and only putting aloe on my face afterwards was giving me clear skin. I also thought that my 20 minutes of sunlight and smiling and reading all the time was giving me clear skin. Nope, it was being ridiculously happy because it was summertime and I had a different perspective on life...lol Then it all went to poop, and I ended up depressed and hey! all the acne came back. This was about 2 years ago.

 

I have taken every single pill that you've taken. The worst my skin has EVER been was trying to be "paleo" and taking borage seed oil, flaxseed oil, saw palmetto, and zinc. My skin was covered in cysts...covered. No end in sight type-- with no head. My jawline...tiny cysts in every pore. Oh man, it was terrible. Then I started taking Burdock root. AHHHH. Omg. 16 cysts in one day...on July 4. I was so freaked out. All I could do was cry.


I even have all the same [hormonal] symptoms that you do, and I honestly thought that I had estrogen dominance, as well. I don't have excess hair, but I have excess acne, dangit! That's a sign of a problem! Well, I started taking Beyaz in August...and my skin has been improving ever since. I know you don't want to go on a birth control, but it has seriously helped me. I feel weird about altering my hormones, but sometimes that's what you gotta do. I actually just started 25mg of Spironolactone about 20 days ago, too. I tried doing it "naturally" with all the supplements, but it didn't work. I'll include a before and after picture...the "Before" is after it started getting better. It was a lot worse than this picture, and you can't see the tiny cysts ALL along my jawline and my neck in the before, either. It's not perfect, but a definite improvement.

 



 

Have you had your thyroid levels checked?

 

It looks like you have the "Sign of Hertoghe" as well as suborbital edema.

 

Translation.  

The sign of hertoghe is the loss of the outer 1/3 of the eyebrow.  Suborbital edema is swelling of the lower eyelids.  It's actually myxedema or waste products that accumulate causing swelling.  Both point to hypothyroidism.  The symptoms of hypothyroidism are always exaggerated in the morning.



#16 heitea

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Posted 11 December 2013 - 07:37 PM

Have you had your thyroid levels checked?

 

It looks like you have the "Sign of Hertoghe" as well as suborbital edema.

 

Translation.  

The sign of hertoghe is the loss of the outer 1/3 of the eyebrow.  Suborbital edema is swelling of the lower eyelids.  It's actually myxedema or waste products that accumulate causing swelling.  Both point to hypothyroidism.  The symptoms of hypothyroidism are always exaggerated in the morning.

Holy shit! Ouch...I had literally just woken up. Didn't know I looked like I had health issues. -_- or that's just how my face is....? I still have my eyebrows... But thanks for the concern... Also, those symptoms are for people who have ADVANCED hypothyroidism. And, um. I'm 23...there hasn't been time for that.

 

Translation: Pretty douchey of you to be diagnosing me based on my facial features.


Edited by heitea, 11 December 2013 - 08:06 PM.


#17 jlcampi

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Posted 11 December 2013 - 09:36 PM

Have you had your thyroid levels checked?
 
It looks like you have the "Sign of Hertoghe" as well as suborbital edema.
 
Translation.  
The sign of hertoghe is the loss of the outer 1/3 of the eyebrow.  Suborbital edema is swelling of the lower eyelids.  It's actually myxedema or waste products that accumulate causing swelling.  Both point to hypothyroidism.  The symptoms of hypothyroidism are always exaggerated in the morning.

Holy shit! Ouch...I had literally just woken up. Didn't know I looked like I had health issues. -_- or that's just how my face is....? I still have my eyebrows... But thanks for the concern... Also, those symptoms are for people who have ADVANCED hypothyroidism. And, um. I'm 23...there hasn't been time for that.
 
Translation: Pretty douchey of you to be diagnosing me based on my facial features.

How sweet of you. You have a hormonal disorder-acne. You are posting photos in the hormonal forum, I take the time to reply with a legitimate, thoughtful comment based on clinical features of hypothyroidism and somehow I am the douchbag???

The two symptoms I mentioned are not indicative of advanced disease but can signal mild hormone deficits. Correcting thyroid function can also increase several other hormones as well, including those related to acne.

Not sure why you think there isn't time for hypothyroidism but you think there is time estrogen dominance? Please explain that.

Blood tests are used to confirm a clinical diagnosis and catch gross excess and deficiencies. Your physician should have seen a number of clues to what hormonal imbalances exist by looking at noting more than your face and silhouette. A history and complete exam should fill in the bulk of the details.

So no, it's not douchey of me to pass along my thoughts on your possible hormonal imbalances by looking at nothing more than facial features.

#18 heitea

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Posted 11 December 2013 - 10:00 PM

deleted


Edited by heitea, 11 December 2013 - 10:08 PM.


#19 Green Gables

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Posted 11 December 2013 - 10:02 PM

Have you had your thyroid levels checked?

 

It looks like you have the "Sign of Hertoghe" as well as suborbital edema.

 

Translation.  

The sign of hertoghe is the loss of the outer 1/3 of the eyebrow.  Suborbital edema is swelling of the lower eyelids.  It's actually myxedema or waste products that accumulate causing swelling.  Both point to hypothyroidism.  The symptoms of hypothyroidism are always exaggerated in the morning.

Holy shit! Ouch...I had literally just woken up. Didn't know I looked like I had health issues. -_- or that's just how my face is....? I still have my eyebrows... But thanks for the concern... Also, those symptoms are for people who have ADVANCED hypothyroidism. And, um. I'm 23...there hasn't been time for that.

 

Translation: Pretty douchey of you to be diagnosing me based on my facial features.

 

 

You can have thyroid problems, at any stage, at any age. 



#20 heitea

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Posted 11 December 2013 - 10:11 PM

 

Have you had your thyroid levels checked?

 

It looks like you have the "Sign of Hertoghe" as well as suborbital edema.

 

Translation.  

The sign of hertoghe is the loss of the outer 1/3 of the eyebrow.  Suborbital edema is swelling of the lower eyelids.  It's actually myxedema or waste products that accumulate causing swelling.  Both point to hypothyroidism.  The symptoms of hypothyroidism are always exaggerated in the morning.

Holy shit! Ouch...I had literally just woken up. Didn't know I looked like I had health issues. -_- or that's just how my face is....? I still have my eyebrows... But thanks for the concern... Also, those symptoms are for people who have ADVANCED hypothyroidism. And, um. I'm 23...there hasn't been time for that.

 

Translation: Pretty douchey of you to be diagnosing me based on my facial features.

 

 

You can have thyroid problems, at any stage, at any age. 

Thank you. You're right. Maybe I'll get it checked out. But to jlcampi...I had allergies in the morning. This does not equal hypothyroidism. And how could he/she tell that OP had cortisol deficiency from her first photo? lol It's just silly...






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