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Hormonal Acne Suggestions

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Hello everyone,

I thought I'd post on here because I would like to take about my hormonal acne struggles and some suggestions that may help all of you who suffer from it.

I am a 31-year-old woman living in a dry, arid climate.  I had been on the pill since 18 with one break for about 8 months where I did have more break-outs.  Other than that, I've always had really good skin.  I never had body acne and I had the occasional break-outs on my face.  I had multiple people comment on how good my skin always looked even though I am so pale.  I only had to wear a tinted moisturizer and never had to buy concealer.  I have been very meticulous about taking care of my skin since I was a teenager.

In October, I stopped taking the pill.  My husband and I are considering getting pregnant, and I wanted to be off the pill well before we tried.  I didn't consult my OBGYN, which was probably a big mistake, but it is very difficult to get in to see her, so I just decided to stop.

At first everything was fine.  My skin actually looked even better.  And then everything hit in January.  I started getting AWFUL cramps before my period.  I actually could not go on a ski trip because I woke up the night before we were supposed to leave with debilitating cramps.  I actually thought I could be having a miscarriage.  My skin started breaking out shortly after.  I ended up getting terrible cystic breakouts on my jawline and chin.  These pimples actually hurt without me even touching them.  I felt so embarrassed and helpless.  

To make matters worse, I actually have OCD (am diagnosed and don't just say I have it), so my desire to pick my face was high.  It actually became an obsession.  My husband tried to stop me, but the massive urge would kick in and I couldn't stop myself.  

In February, I made an appointment to see the best dermatologist in town, but I couldn't get in until late May, so I tried everything in my power to help the acne until I could see her. Here are some things that I believe lessened my acne.

Before listing them, I must say I am highly active and sweat a lot on a daily basis.  I always make sure to remove my makeup (if I am wearing any) with the grapefruit Burt's Bees Wipes.  I also wash my face twice daily, no exceptions.  I would never consider sleeping with make-up on, even when I didn't have acne.  No matter how much I've had to drink or how late I come home, I always wash my face.

I also try to eat little dairy and curb my sugar intake.  This is difficult as I have a sweet tooth, but I know it's what' best.  I try to eat clean and only drink a few times a week as I know alcohol is also bad for skin.  I quit drinking coffee and now drink warm lemon water first thing in the morning followed by green tea and lots of water.  I do not drink soda or sugary drinks.      

Michael Todd's Acne Regiment: I really like this regiment because it isn't tested on animals and has many natural ingredients, something that is important to me.  I use the detox face wash twice a day, charcoal facial scrub at night, and the lemon toner in the day/blue green algae toner at night.  I also use the charcoal facial mask a few times a week.  I don't use the carrot serum, not because it didn't work, but because it's too expensive.  I do love this line and think I will continue using it.

Clarisonic Mia 2: I have been using this since 2012 and really like the acne brush heads.  They are expensive, but I think my cleansing routine is better with it.

Alba Oil Free Moisturize: I really like this moisturizer for night.  It's oil free, not tested on animals and has a pleasant smell.

Oil Free SPF Moisturizers: I have several I like including Aveeno Positively Radiant SPF 30, Neutrogena SPF 30, and higher oil-free moisturizers for hikes and extended times outside. I live in a high elevation, so it's imperative I wear a high SPF.  

Neutrogena SkinClearing Complexion Perfector: My friend, who is a dermatologist, gave this to me in a sample pack, and I really like it.  It has decent coverage and seems to help break-outs.  It isn't as thick as other foundations I've used for acne.

Clinique Acne Solutions Liquid Liquid Moisturizer  and concealer: These are pricey but seem to work.  Both have salisylic acid in them and good coverage.

Yogi Skin Detox:  I like this because it tastes good, and I do believe my skin is made better by it.  I usually drink a cup of it a day along with my morning green tea.    

Zinc Picolinate: This is highly absorbable and helps with skin cell regrowth.  I take one or two a day.     

My dermatologist visit about a month ago left me reeling as she basically berated me for not wanting to go on Accutane.  I have many friends who have been on that, and I know it does work, but it has a ton of side-effects, PLUS how can I think about trying for a pregnancy when I'm taking it?  Although my visit was not a positive one, she did prescribe spironlactone, an oral medication, and Clindamycin Phosphate, a very expensive topical medication.  I am still waiting to see real results, but I do think my skin has improved.  I haven't noticed any negative side-effects with the spironlactone except maybe being a bit more tired.  The funny thing about Clindamycin is that I orally took it back in February for a terrible ear infection, and it cleared up my acne for weeks.  My skin looked AMAZING.  I wish I could just take that, but it's an antibiotic one shouldn't be on more than they have to.  

I am going to continue experimenting with vitamins and other "natural" remedies in addition to what I've already described.  This post looks interesting.  I need to have a cleaner diet, but I think I'm doing OK (not amazing, not bad) in that arena.

I hope this post helps anyone suffering from hormonal acne as adults.  It's one of the most frustrating things ever, but I think there are definitely ways to treat it.  

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