Anyone who's been nervous before a big test, a job interview, or even a wedding is well aware of how hormones can affect your skin. The big moment is approaching, and you look in the mirror to find a giant pimple that has decided to set up camp on your forehead! You can go months, or even years, without seeing a breakout. But when a hormone surge is triggered, you can almost bet a breakout is sure to follow. Here's the bad news: you can't stop your hormones. The good news is that the right skin care will give you the tools you need to handle hormonal acne, no matter the cause. Here's a complete road map to take your acne-prone skin from your teens to your 50s, and beyond.
Teen skin + acne
The hormonal change teenagers encounter is a well-known one, but it doesn't make treating the acne that results from it any easier. One of the toughest hurdles teenage acne sufferers have to overcome is turning their daily skin care routine into a habit. Remember: acne is a disease – there is no cure! Knowing which products will help keep your breakouts under control is a lifelong asset. It's essential to keep the routine simple, and use just a few over-the-counter (OTC) products formulated with maximum strength acne-fighting ingredients. Your teen skin care routine:
- Remove: Now is the time to get in the habit of taking every last bit of makeup off. Start with an oil-free makeup remover that dissolves all traces of makeup without stinging your eyes.
- Cleanse:Reach for an acne cleanser formulated with 2% salicylic acid to remove surface bacteria without over-drying skin.
- Tone:It's a misconception that an alcohol-based toner is what's needed to dry out acne-prone skin. In fact, stripping skin of moisture has the opposite effect, forcing it into oil production overdrive. Use an alcohol-free acne toner that eliminates excess oil while keeping moisture in balance.
- Spot Treat: To zero-in on breakouts, apply a maximum strength benzoyl peroxide lotion to the affected area once a day. Teenage skin that only experiences occasional acne breakouts can use a starter kit for their skin type throughout steps 1-3, and use Breakout Control to spot treat the occasional blemish.
Pregnancy + acne
The hormones a woman's body faces during pregnancy can mean chaos for their skin. Combined with the extreme dryness that some women face when pregnant, skin that was once balanced can become dehydrated and breakout-prone. Here is a routine that will help battle both*. Your pregnancy skin care routine:
- Cleanse:Choose a foaming, oil-based cleanser or rich, creamy cleanser that will remove the day's dirt and makeup, without robbing your skin of much-needed moisture.
- Balance:Restore your skin's pH, and help it better absorb active ingredients in the steps to follow by misting a hydrating toner across your face.
- Restore:Replenish hydration and get relief from dryness with a facial moisturizer packed with ingredients that smooth and soothe.
- Treat:Whether you can feel a breakout coming on, or you have a spot that popped up unexpectedly, a sulfur-rich mask that contains lactic acid will penetrate pores to remove excess oil and treat acne breakouts, while it also help skin heal. Once a week, apply a thin layer over the affected area, and let dry for 15 minutes to start seeing results. If your doctor wants you to avoid products that contain acid, choose a benzoyl peroxide spot treatment product to zap out those blemishes.
Anti-aging + acne
Aging skin has its own set of concerns. A thinning dermis and slowed oil production can lead to the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, the skin's natural cell turnover process becomes sluggish, and sun damage from over the years has contributed to the appearance of dark spots. But in addition to all of that, hormonal fluctuations caused by menopause can have you looking for acne solutions too! While it might seem like acne products have no place in an anti-aging skin care routine, here's a routine that fights fine lines and breakouts 24/7! Your anti-aging acne routine:
- Cleanse: Use a foaming, oil-based cleanser to melt away makeup and cleanse impurities without stripping skin of valuable moisture.
- Tone:Restore balance and revitalize with an anti-aging peptide-packed toner.
- Target:Reach for a serum that replenishes your skin's natural microflora – an environment of probiotics meant to protect skin from skin-aging irritation, keeping it strong and healthy.
- Treat:Spot treat individual blemishes with a benzoyl peroxide lotion that hydrates as it eliminates bacteria.
- Moisturize:Rehydrate with a light moisturizer that contains stabilized hydrogen peroxide to kill the pesky p. acnes bacteria causing your breakouts.
- At Night:Anti-agers aren't one-size-fits-all. In addition to their wrinkle-fighting ingredients, many contain rich moisturizers to combat the dryness that aging skin often faces. Those same moisturizers can leave Combination or Oily skin a shiny mess. Try Oil Control Sleepwear for an overnight anti-ager that not only smoothes the appearance of lines and wrinkles, but also helps control oil production while you sleep!
Monthly hormonal fluctuations + acne
One of the more bittersweet hormonal acne types is the breakout with a schedule. It's smooth sailing throughout the month, but like clockwork you can count on a blemish (or 5) to pop up and throw your skin out of whack. You might not be able to stop it, but this kind of hormonal acne has a silver lining. If you know when and where you typically breakout each month, you can make a plan to control the damage before it starts. Your monthly breakouts routine:
- Cleanse:Choose the right cleanser for your skin type to remove makeup and impurities during the weeks when your skin is behaving. When it's not, switch to an acne cleanser with salicylic acid to remove surface bacteria so pores stay clear and acne pimples can heal.
- Tone:Restore your skin's balance with a toner formulated for your skin type when your acne is under control, but switch to an acne toner for the days when you need more help eliminating excess oil and preventing new breakouts.
- Anticipate: A few days before you know a breakout is coming on, prep your known "breakout zone" with a sulfur and lactic acid acne mask. Apply it for 15 minutes a few nights in a row before your anticipated breakout.
- Treat:If breakouts start, fight back with a maximum strength benzoyl peroxide lotion that will target your problem pores.
No matter what's causing your hormonal acne, here are a few things to jot down so your breakout-busting game is always spot-on.
4 acne rules to remember:
- Use the best, skip the rest.OTC acne products will contain ingredients proven to target, treat, and prevent acne – like salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, and sulfur. Look for a Drug Facts box on the packaging that indicates it contains these FDA-approved ingredients, and stay away from artificial dyes and "fragrance" that serve no purpose in a skin care formula – they can only make your acne symptoms worse!
- Always go pro.Want to pop a pimple? Don't even think about doing it yourself, or reaching for a blemish extractor! Put your skin in the hands of an experienced skin care professional trained to treat acne prone skin, and perform extractions, without causing irritation, damage, or further breakouts.
- Don't cherry pick.This is a point we like to reiterate no matter what kind of skin concerns you have, but with acne products in particular, it's so important to stick to one skincare line. Bioelements products for acne are formulated with maximum strength active ingredients buffered down with soothers that allow skin to heal. Mixing and matching cleansers, toners, and spot treatments from different lines can overwhelm your skin with aggressive acne ingredients, and cause more irritation.
- SPF is crucial.Contrary to popular myth, getting a tan doesn't help clear breakouts. It triggers an injury response that ultimately causes your skin to produce even MORE oil and, as a result, acne. Not only that, but acne-fighting ingredients can increase sun sensitivity, making SPF an essential step in your morning skin care routine, no matter how old you are!
* You should always work with your doctor to make sure you are using the products that are right for your pregnancy.