Tag Archive | acne scars

Hirsutism AND Acne….The Double-Headed Dragon


Woman with hirsutism AND acne! Courtesy of blueridgeobgyn.wordpress.com

After talking to my endocrinologist a couple of months ago, I receive the official diagnosis that I did NOT have acne though I suspected I had it for years.

She took one look at my skin and clearly saw hirsutism but nothing along the lines of acne-influence.

Not having acne doesn’t stop my skin from feeling and looking like shit occasionally, even when my hirsutism is not getting on my nerves that much.

But when you have to deal with BOTH, I bet that can be one of the biggest, most unattractive pains in the ass ever!

Typical hirsutism, the type that is generated from abnormal hormonal behavior and typical acne, are both generated from an abnormal growth in hormones, particularly in androgens.

Now, having idiopathic hirsutism and acne is probably the worse.

You have to control the hair growth as well as the acne.

I know when I got laser hair removal done, my hair was removed and my skin cleared up wonderfully. All the blemishes I had from ingrowns and ingrown hair pimples (ya know, the type of ingrown that has pus in it? EEWW!) all cleared up!

Infected ingrown hair with pus in it! Sorry to gross anyone out!! Courtesy of wisegeek.com

There is no official medication for idiopathic hirsutism other than anti-androgen medications like spironolactone. For acne, which is a more widely known disorder, you have countless types creams, lotions and medications that will ease the appearance of the zits from forming. I mean, just Google “acne treatment” or acne cures” and you will get loads of hits on variety of different products.

I recommend trying Acne Control by Forces of Nature, the only USDA certified acne treatment. I used their Scar Control for my hirsutism scars and my skin seemed to be clearing up, but it did take more than a month to notice a slight difference.

So it may be helpful to get the acne treatments first before removing the hair.

The ideal solution for idiopathic hirsutism is an estrogen-based birth control, an anti-androgen, and a long-term treatment regimen of laser hair removal…maybe a long-term supply of Vaniqa too!

For acne, it would likely the same since acne is almost always hormonal.

Since laser hair removal clears up your skin not just the hair, you would want to get the acne under control some. Also, getting a laser zapped on an opened pimple or any fresh-cut, regardless how small it is, is dangerous and hurts like a BITCH! Trust me!

So that’s why I say to treat the acne or at least get it under some type of control before tackling the hirsutism issue.

Also, you may have to consider the fact that acne (skin rejuvenation) and hair reduction might be a different type of laser. That will be something else to look into (and afford!)

If you don’t have the cash for laser therapy, consider a chemical peel to tackle your acne and acne scars. I would recommend going to a professional for this, even though there are plenty of at-home chemical peels you can try.

I wrote a while back about acne masks and some DIY recipes for acne masks. I think an aspirin mask will work best because aspirin has salicylic acid in it and it may prove helpful for people with acne trying to reduce their scars.

Click here to go to that post about the aspirin mask and other DIY masks for acne.

So there you go; some tips for dealing with the hirsutism/acne double-headed dragon. Of course, my advice does not belittle that of discussing official options with a medical professional first. But these are some tips for you to try during your hirsutism and acne journey.

Thanks!

Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation and DIY treatments


Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (PIH) and hirsutism are often related. Because of the constant tweezing, shaving, razor bumps, and waxing, it is likely that your skin will scar up from the extra melanin that works to heal broken skin…thus creating dark spots.

Honestly, many days my PIH bothers me more than the hair. The main reason I am considering laser hair removal again is because I know the dark marks will disappear.

If you click on the link above, the NIH will explain what PIH is, why its worse in darker skinned folks and multiple treatment options.

These treatments include:

  1. sun screen (crucial)
  2. chemical peels
  3. soy
  4. licorice extract
  5. various types of alpha hydroxy acids

I knew about chemical peels, but soy and licorice were something new to me! The more I looked into correcting my PIH the cheap way, I noticed that I kept coming across microdermabrasion. Microdermabrasion (MDB) is a method of exfoliating dead skin layers to remove and improve worn skin aliments, including PIH. Caution should be taken in doing MDB because it may cause more harm than good if you exfoliate too hard.

Neutrogena and Olay have at-home devices to do MDB which both cost less than $30 and have great reviews. I personally may consider the Olay device.

But until then, I developed a DIY MDB recipe that seems to work great. Baking soda seems to be the top MDB ingredient for DIY MDB, according to the internet. So I used that with some other ingredients:

  1. Baking Soda
  2. water
  3. Lemon juice
  4. jojoba oil
  5. Glycerin
  6. Organic Soy Powder

I used Soy and baking soda the most. Sorry I didn’t write down the measurements, but I definitely used those two the most. It came out looking very creamy, not so much pasty like a lot of the baking soda ingredients online:

My DIY microdermabrasion cream. I simply mixed all the ingredients together, and in a circular fashion, put it all over my face and neck. I allowed it to sit for several minutes (almost an hour!) and then I rinsed in the shower.

I actually put it on twice and the first time, my skin did look bright! I liked it so much I did it another time, and am actually still wearing the cream on my face while I type this blog!

But this is a good method to DIY MDB if you cannot afford salon prices according to my extensive internet research.

I will admit: the salon is the best way to go because it will likely deliver the results you want faster. For us hirsute girls, again, the best way to get rid of the PIH is to get rid of the hair.

But this DIY method is a way to try and clear up your PIH just as effectively, but a little slower. Like anything else, it will probably take some time to peel the skin layers back and reveal your true skin tone. And is a good alternative if you (like myself) cannot always afford salon prices! As I stated before, you can also consider at-home chemical peels and always use your sun screen!

I did come across a wonderful salon website in Charlotte, NC that shows very great before and after photos of clients with PIH from acne, razor bumps and hirsutism. It gives you an idea that there is hope!

Seriously, click on this link! The results are great!

So in closing, here is a list of things to manage your PIH:

  1. Wear sun screen at all times! Typically, a broad spectrum brand! Even in winter! Dark folks need it too, especially for conditions like PIH! It is imperative! I cannot stress this one enough. As a black woman, I assumed my people and other darker pigmented ethnicities simply did not need it because we are already naturally darker than our European counterparts. But the UV rays from the Sun can still damage our skin, making our PIH potentially worse.
  2. Exfoliate with a MDB scheme. Any good facial scrub directly made for MDB should do the trick but just remember the results will not happen over night, even using a device like the ones sold by Neutrogena and Olay.
  3. Consider chemical peels! It is one of the best ways to remove damaged skin layers as well as raise ingrown hairs for hirsute folks. I would advise you at least talk to a dermatologist or a medical spa before attempting this one on your own.
  4. Consider Soy! I have seen soy in Vitamin Shoppe. Apparently, it shows promise with PIH conditions. The only issue I have with this is that many people are allergic to soy. If not, consider some soy supplements or in your beauty regimen. Notice I used it in my DIY MDB mix.
  5. Consider Mequinol, a Hydroquinone alternative. Because Hydroquinone is believed to be in connection with  carcinogens, I did not list it, but Mequinol is a good alternative, as both are very promising in reducing PIH. I believe you can get this as a prescription.
  6. Consider other treatment options listed here.
  7. If you can afford it, and need a quick method, just get laser surgery. This is the fastest way to clear up your skin! Try to go during a sale the salon is having. They almost always give package deals.

So as you can see, there is a lot of hope for folks with PIH and there are options without having to run to the salon, spending hundreds on methods that you can probably do at home.

Thanks!

 

Makeup Tips for Acne-prone and Hirsute skin


So I know alot of people with hirsutism have to deal with ingrown hairs and scars from tweezing and shaving for so many years.

The skin is sensitive in general and that type of abuse, regardless how gentle you are, will eventually cause some skin irritation.

The closest thing I can compare the ingrown scars and such is acne. I actually suffer from mild adult myself but most of my facial scars are from ingrown hairs.

My skin on my face is very weird. I have a very dry neck, oily forehead (don’t laugh!), dry nose, and oily cheeks. The majority of my pimples are on my cheeks and jaw but the majority of my scars are on my neck!

And because very often hirsutism is associated with other hormonal issues (PCOS, diabetes, adrenal disorders, etc.) acne is not that surprising as a tag-a-long!

Acne is caused by build up in the sebum. Sweat, oil, dust, anything can trigger acne horrors!

So basically, the less oily the product, the better it is for your skin.

With that being said, here are some tips for picking out makeups for your sensitive skin, primarily foundations:

MAKEUP TIPS FOR ACNE AND HIRSUTE SKIN

1. Chat with a dermatologist to see if you even have acne or what your skin condition is (dry, oily, moderate)

2. Avoid most oil based makeup like liquid foundations. And if you absolutely have to wear oil makeup, wash it off first thing when you get home! I would wear oil based foundation during my 12 hours shifts at a previous job and developed the worse blackheads of my life!

3. Try to seek powdered foundations with as little ingredients (especially chemicals) as possible

4. Try mineral powder makeup products

5. Avoid heavily fragrance and dyed makeup

6. Besides jojoba oil, almost all other oils are not welcomed for acne.

7. Seek a line of products that also come with acne fighting cleansers. I never used Lorac, but it looks like it’s worth a look.

8. Dodge mineral oil and menthol

9. ALWAYS wear the make up moderately. Frankly this tip is for all women, acne-prone or not!

10. If possible, only wear makeup on your problem areas. Like, I only wear makeup on my neck and blend it in very well. I use L’Oreal’s True Match super blendable powder foundation and it works great! Doesn’t look clogging or caked on at all and it covers my problem areas very well.

11. Some other nice lines that I have used myself and really like include Mary Kay, Bare Escentials, and Clinique.

12. Lastly, here is a great website I found that list all kind of ingredients to watch out for when looking for makeup for problem skin. The website is for the Acne Treatment Center and it lists countless ingredients to dodge or avoid using too heavily. Looking at the list I know Coconut Oil, Lanolin and cocoa butter are all very heavy oils that can easily clog some acne prone skin. Check out that list here!

So definitely nip it in the bud and talk to a dermatologist to determine what may be wrong  with your skin, any medications and other things you may need to avoid altogether.

Thanks for reading and if you know of a good makeup line for acne, feel free to let me know!

Progress Thus Far!


So I have been doing my regimen faithfully for a couple of weeks now and the hair is growing much slower.

I cannot say it’s gone completely, and it probably never will be, but it is certainly way slower in growth.

No other changes yet. My moods are normal, but I have not gotten a period yet since starting birth control some months ago. But that may be an issue with my body regulating to birth control. I have not been on it in YEARS!

My hand epilator, made by Panasonic, helps tremendously cut down on my tweezing. It’s the Panasonic Wet/Dry epliator that you can use on wet or dry skin. Even though it’s advertised for the body I use it for my face. I typically wax my body hairs. It is not completely painless, I will admit, but it gets the job done very well!Image
I will probably stick to waxing my body hair, especially my bikini line and abdomen. That epilator on tender hairs like that I simply cannot tough it out!

My next step is to find a chemical peel to remove these scars from my face and bikini line. I have heard from a few online chats that salicylic acid peels work good for scars that got some years on them. I have been using a fading night cream with glycolic acid in it on my bikini every night and it seems to be drying up the scars, but I cannot tell if they are fading just yet.

For my own personal calculation knowing how old many of my scars are, I think I will start with a salicylic peel at 20%.

Yes I will post before and afters like always! I will be purchasing the acid sometime this coming week so be on the look out for that.

Thanks for reading!

DIY blemish removing tonic for ingrown hair and acne scars


Hello All!

So after buying my glycolic acid toner for my dark spots on my face and bikini line after YEARS of shaving and tweezing and ingrowns and mild acne, I decided to delve a little more into glycolic and salicylic acid and found out both are derived from natural extracts…as I suspected!

Glycolic acid is derived from sugar cane and salicylic acid is from tree bark, willow tree bark to be precise.

I make my own soaps and body washes and just happened to get a shipment of willow tree bark in the mail and a bell went off in my head!

Instead of spending $30-$50 bucks in ULTA (as much as I love them) on acids, just make my own tonic! I almost wanted to say DUH to myself!!!!

The more acidic the extract the better for scar removal because it essentially dries the skin layers up, including the damaged ones, to allow healthy cells to grow clearer skin. Almost what chemical acidic peels do.

The only problem is it dries your skin out making you feel and look like a damn slab of dusty sand paper!

And my skin does just that! Dries out very easily with acid tonics.

So I decided to mix my own acid toner, while incorporating some moisturizing agents in it too.

These are the ingredients I used and why:

  1. Lemon Juice (50%) – well known natural treatment for blemishes and it’s worked for me in the past
  2. Willow Tree Bark (30%) – where salicylic acid comes from, used in commercial chemical peels and products for blemishes
  3. Water – (10%)
  4. Tea Tree oil (1%) – great antioxidant and antiseptic
  5. Hempseed Oil (3%) – anti inflammatory, great for dry skin, does smell kinda funky but I like it!
  6. Jojoba Oil (2%) – Heavy in Vitamin E
  7. Vegetable Glycerin (1%) – excellent at retaining moisture
  8. White Vinegar/Apple Cider Vinegar (1%) – natural ingredient to reduce blemishes
  9. Lavender Oil (1%) – it just smells pretty and I read on several blogs on the internet that it has properties to battle blemishes and scars too.

I just made it today and used it immediately, even though I should have washed my face first. Just in using it, it certainly is not as drying as the commercial glycolic toner I use.

But I certainly am going to be using it for a while before I will see results as with most products.

This is what it looks like after mixing and shaking it up! The Hemp is what makes it green but the lavender makes it smell nice!

Image

I plan on using this religiously after washing my problem areas. Wish me luck!

Thanks for reading!

Treatment options for dark spots from years of shaving, tweezing, ingrowns, zits….UGH!


So after some research, I have decided that the best route to go to get rid of the years-old dark spot is glycolic acid.

Someone on a Facebook group page posted this link explaining various types of chemical peels and acids designed for skin problems like acne, stretch marks and hyperpigmentation/dark spots.

The website is called “Makeup Artist’s Choice.” They discuss glycolic acid, mandelic acid, lactic acid, salicylic acid, and TCA (trichloro acetic acid), which appears to be the most intense one for blemishes.

If glycolic acid does work for my next move will be TCA.

They explain the differences between well used acids in products to ease up dark spots and prevention of them.

I just purchased a night time gel with glycolic acid and hydroquione in it. It is made by Reviva Labs. Looking at the products on Amazon, it appears to have great reviews so I look forward to it WORKING! I also purchased a glycoic acid toner.

I really look forward to using the night gel because it’s when I take the rest of my medications.

Some other more organic means with potential to lightening dark spots include African Black Soap, aloe vera, lemon juice, willow tree bark extract and tea tree oil. I use raw lemon juice on my skin myself and it seems to dry up newer blemishes, pimples and scars very well.