Tag Archive | acne

Your Cell Phone May be Causing Your Acne!


Yep…that’s almost what it feels like too! Courtesy of flavourmag.co.uk

So I woke up this morning and came across a pretty interesting article about some often overlooked causes for acne.

Acne, as most of us know, is a condition that causes an abnormal amount of zits and pimples to appear on the face and body from dirt and oil build up. Acne, like hirsutism, is typically hormonal, but other factors can play like stress and bad dieting decisions.

This article detailed some hidden things that may be causing acne in places that we may not realize.

The Yahoo Health article by Angela Haupt details activities that may be making you blow up zits all over the place.

What I will do here is summarize what Angela detailed in my words and give my own opinion on each “cause.”

  1. Cell Phones: This may hold some truth. I mean, who routinely cleans their cell phone? You talk to people all throughout the day, meaning before and after washing your face and hands so you are in essence just transferring dirt to your cell phone over and over. And then laying that device on one side of your face over and over. So when Angela points out the potential of developing acne on your face, particularly along the jaw line and chin, I believe it.

    Cell phones may be causing your acne. Courtesy of 123rf.com

  2. Yoga Mats: I do not practice yoga, but Angela says that when you lay your hands on the same place you lay your feet and then put those very hands on your face, it is possible to promote pimple development. Keep your work out gear (mats, clothing, etc.) clean routinely.
  3. Makeup:  It is imperative that if you wear makeup while acne-prone, keep your face washed at all times. And make sure you pay attention to ingredients too. Oil based make ups (especially ones containing mineral oil) need to be avoided at all costs. I personally develop God-awful blackheads if I wear oil-based foundation for too long. My preference is powdered foundations. According the Acne.org, a welcomed oil for acne is jojoba oil.
  4. Anti-Aging Creams: I do not use these either, but my guess is they are very oily, as Angela stated. She also points out that some ingredients in these types of creams, like retinol, while helpful with some skin conditions, may be an irritant to acne. So try to find a non-oil based aging cream or something without well-known skin irritants like retinol in it.
  5. Medications: I know some medicines, particularly those for steroids and hormonal disorders, may do more damage than good when dealing with acne. Angela suggest (and I agree) to chat with a doctor about all the pros and cons of all the medications you are taking for acne or other disorders you may have as to not trigger an acne outbreak unknowingly. Also, consider natural supplements to any medications you have to take for your conditions.
  6. Dandruff and Hair Products: Now I am not terribly sure how scalp flakes can cause acne, but I can imagine the build up of dirt in general in your hair and failing to shampoo your hair more often may lead to acne, particularly around the edges of your scalp. Ingredients from hair products (oil, alcohol, etc.) do not help either. For folks with longer hair, consider the idea of acne on your neck and back because of bad hair hygiene. Look into a medicine based shampoo, as Angela advised.
  7. Sunscreen: If it is not oil-based, you should be good to go.
  8. Traveling: Now I believe in this one passionately. I had a good friend suffer from horrible acne for quite some time. He moved to Seattle from Virginia and I swear his face cleared up over night! Coming from a place where there is a lot of industrial business (shipyards, military, dust, grime, etc.) to a place where it always rains and simply has a different climate to it, very much so helped in his case. Even when I go out in nice weather consecutively with my children, my face clears up from impurities too. My only beef is dieting while traveling. Make sure you eat healthy foods and foods that don’t look too questionable.

    Traveling my help/hurt your acne. Courtesy of stuffunemployedpeoplelike.com

  9. Stress: Well, this should be a gimme. Stress will kill you slowly; I firmly believe that. It will cause you depression, illness, body soreness, and just a crabby mood in general. For me, stress makes me grey quicker, lose a ton a weight (considering I’m already skinny) and my hair falls out. I feel I develop mild acne as well and battling my hirsutism feels that much worse. Stress does truly make your body change; I believe that. Take more short breaks at work, find exercises that you actually enjoy, go for more walks, consider looking for a new job if your boss is a dickhead, hang out with more inspiring friends, get out of a bad relationship, read more, go for more rides, hell, if possible, pick up an easy part-time job or hobby that does not require any stress whatsoever. Stress should have no place in your life, even though it is not always avoidable. I can testify to that.
  10. YOU!: You may be causing your acne more than anything else! Laying in your bed you develop germs and then you wake up and wipe your eyes. You scratch your butt, back, hair and then maybe rub your eyes or scratch your chin in the morning. Throughout the day, you may hug or shake hands with friends and coworkers, go to the bathroom, forget to wash or hands or don’t wash your hands well and then put your hands on your face….you just transferred 500 types of germs to your acne-prone face! It’s habitual and everyone does it so don’t beat yourself up too much but do be more mindful of the stuff you put on your face, including…well…YOU!

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!

DIY Masks to Treat Acne!


DIY acne masks. Courtesy of mybeautybunny.com

While I was never diagnosed with acne, I feel I have acne-prone skin, though I never had a breakout. I know that makes no sense! But I am one of those people that just have problem skin outside of my hirsutism. My skin is very, very bi-polar! Some areas, my face is oily; others it is quite the dry pit.

I am very aware that hirsutism is often related with acne because they both fall under the hormonal imbalance category in women’s health.

That is why women with PCOS are often plagued by both hirsutism and acne. Dealing with my hirsutism is enough to drive me crazy but to have to deal with it, plus other conditions can really wreak havoc on a young woman’s life.

When it comes to hirsutism and acne, there are many DIY efforts that can help you manage your conditions. I am constantly posting about DIY hair removal methods on this blog but I noticed I don’t discuss many ways to help treat acne. So here we go!

I hope these methods work for you as some of the DIY methods for hair removal really worked for me. This is not, however, to bypass any advice you were given from a medical professional. Please stick to that advice and/or those medications and simply use this holistic methods as a means to supplement the professional advice you were given.

  1. Honey mask. Honey is a natural astringent and sucks the oil right out of my face. Acne is nothing but the abnormal build up of oil because of out of wack hormones. Melt the honey down a little, mix with lemon, jojoba oil, and water, let dry a little to the point it is paste-like and apply it to your face. Let it sit for 10 minutes and rinse.
  2. Avocado Mask. Avocado keeps my hair and skin soooooo soft. This may help for people with acne whose skin is very dry. Mix half of an avocado fruit or avocado oil, soy powder, jojoba oil and water into a paste. Spread over your face and let sit for 10-20 minutes. Rinse.
  3. Turmeric Mask. Turmeric lightens and refreshes my skin. It has countless medicinal benefits, including skin care. Mix a couple of tablespoons of turmeric powder , jojoba oil, and water until you get a paste. Spread on the face and wear for as long as possible. I wore a turmeric mask once for a whole hour! Rinse.
  4. Aspirin Mask. Mash up aspirin pills, add some jojoba oil and water to the mix and apply a layer of it to your skin. Aspirin contains a crap load of salicylic acid which is great for peeling dead skin cells. Wear the mask for 20 minutes and rinse.
  5. Sulfur Mask. Sulfur has always been a great ingredient in acne control. You can buy sulfur powder at vitamin stores or in the vitamin section of your grocery store. It is easier to buy the powder form than the pill form. Take a table-spoon of sulfur, water and jojoba oil, make a paste and apply it to your face. Let sit for 10-20 minutes and rinse. You can also buy some sulfur soap on Amazon.
  6. Baking Soda mask. This is great for microdermabrasion and removing bad skin layers. Take 2 table spoons of baking soda, jojoba oil, vegetable glycerin and a few drops of water. Make a paste with this mix and apply to your face. Let it sit for as long as you can and wipe clean in circular motion.
  7. Willow Tree and Tea Tree Mask. Both are antiseptic in nature. Willow tree bark oil is where salicylic acid came from. Mix several drops of willow tree bark oil and/or tea tree oil with jojoba oil and kelp or seaweed powder. Now kelp and seaweed have been known to have iodine in it. While iodine is necessary in our diets, too much of it might prove to be counterproductive for your acne. If you use this mask, I would use it in moderation. Take notice if your skin is improving or not. If not, cease to use. Now it is possible that your skin will experience a breakout before it gets better with kelp so be prepared for the possibility if you use this mask!

A general note about these masks. DO NOT USE THEM EVERYDAY! You risk drying your skin out. I would use these masks every other day or maybe even once a week.

Additionally, I include jojoba oil in all this masks because jojoba oil is actually the one oil that acne-prone skin welcomes. Because jojoba oil is not an oil per say, it’s nutrients are absorbed in the skin immediately, as oppose to clogging pores. But I would use jojoba oil in moderation anyway just as a precaution.

I hope you have good outcomes with these DIY masks. Some actually worked very well for me for making my skin feel and look great. Good Luck!

Sunscreen helps with fading hyperpigmentation and blemishes


One of the biggest concerns about my skin, outside the hair, is the hyperpigmentation my skin has suffered from years of shaving and tweezing and ingrowns.

I am honestly more self-conscious about the dark marks than the hair! I can epilate the hair no problem but the scars stay for quite some time.

Sometimes, it feels like they will never go away.

But the good part of it is this: most blemishes and scars are on the epidermis layers of our skin:

Courtesy of eMedicinehealth.com

With that being said, most fading creams for blemishes (if they are good products) will penetrate the epidermis layer. If you use these products long enough, you may start to see your blemishes fade. Some microdermabrasion treatments will remove the damaged layers of the epidermis to reveal healthier looking skin. Chemical peels also remove the blemishes on this layer of skin.

Blemishes in the epidermis layer look brownish or reddish like in the pics below, before and after a chemical peel, courtesy of The Laser Spa website:

Courtesy of The Laser Spa

Blemishes that are more blue and grey-ish are probably in the dermis layers and will be way more difficult to treat without the assistance of a dermatologist. Chat with one to determine which type of hyperpigmentation you have.

Sunscreen is so important because it blocks harmful rays that do even more damage to our skin, even when we think our skin is flawless. You see, if you are taking a medication to fade dark spots, it will only work as long as your skin is protected from the elements, mainly the sun. The sun will simply make you darker, making the medication or cream you are using less effective. Even darker toned people like Blacks, Hispanics, Indians and Middle Easterners should very much so be using sunscreen if they have hyperpigmentation.

It’s actually a pretty well-known regimen to use sunscreen when dealing with scars and blemishes….one that I neglected until now!

When buying a good sunscreen consider the following:

  1. Is it a reputable brand with rave reviews?
  2. Does it have at least SPF 30?
  3. Does it specifically state “Broad Spectrum” protection?
  4. Does it NOT cost an arm and a leg?!

If you can answer yes to all four of those questions, you probably found a very good sunscreen for yourself! I use Neutrogena Clear Face myself.

 

I cannot really say if it’s working or not because I just bought it, plus, I have not received the product I will be using to fade my blemishes and scars from my hirsutism.

This is what I will be using to try to eliminate some of my scars on my face. This product line is called Forces Of Nature  and it is the only USDA approved skin care line for a number of health conditions including athlete’s foot, eczema, acne, arthritis and hyperpigmentation scars.

So I will definitely keep you all up to date about my progress with the Scar Treatment. I’m all for using all natural products so I really look forward to this!

So remember to always protect your skin even if you don’t suffer from hyperpigmentation at all. And always protect your skin no matter how light or dark your skin is.

 

 

Removing Ingrown Hairs and Blackheads on the body and bikini line!


I made a little mention of ingrowns in some previous blogs when talking about hair removal because the two are nearly always related.

But it occurred to me that people are very discouraged by them because people simply don’t know how to extract them right.

For a long time, I was extracted my ingrowns and blackheads/pimples wrong too.

And it was not until recent years that I realized one of the main things I was doing wrong: Unless you are a professional dermatologist, don’t squeeze your skin. You might be doing more damage than good.

Even though I feel a certain way about Wiki, on WikiHow, they detail a good way to remove an ingrown hair, with pictures:

http://www.wikihow.com/Remove-an-Ingrown-Hair

Their directions are pretty exact, but here is the routine I take after dealing with hirsutism for so many years:

  1. LEAVE IT ALONE!  Simply leave the ingrown alone. It will likely clear up on its own and dry out or it will extract itself upon you bathing or showering a number of times.
  2. If you have to mess with it, or if it is painful, exfoliate it often. Exfoliating removes the dead skin layers on top of it, slowly bringing it to surface. You can exfoliate using a number of good body scrubs. Doing it enough times will expose the hair under the bump. You can also use like salicylic acid and other facial peels to expose hairs. They work well for me.
  3. When you can see the hair, apply heat to it. You can do this best with a warm cloth or depending on where the ingrown is, soak in a very warm bath with essential oils to loosen your skin.
  4. If it is still bothering you, apply alcohol or some disinfectant facial cleaner to the affected area and try to extract with a clean pair of tweezers, blackhead remover, needle or epilator. This is the tricky part. Sometimes, I have been able to use my epilator over an ingrown hair and the ingrown was extracted fine. Other times, I had to dig for it using a needle (sterile) or a pair of clean tweezers. Using tweezers may not always work because the hair may not be long enough and it may snap when you try to pull it out. Also, you have the impulse to hold the skin up, as if you were popping a zit. But you should actually hold the skin taut, as flat as possible.
  5. Using a blackhead/comedone remover. I often get blackheads that are also ingrowns. Gross, I know.  In that case, use a blackhead/comedone remover. I actually love using these because they almost always work. You put pressure with the device down on the zit/ingrown/blachead/pimple to extract the dirt, pus, or ingrown. And it certainly does not leave as horrific of a scar as popping a zit with your fingers. I almost wish all my ingrowns were blackheads; that way I know for a fact I can remove them almost immediately. Removing blackheads are pretty easy and it is easier to identify them; they are simply black pimples. They are more inverted pimples than regular pimples sitting above the skin. This is not my skin, but it’s a good representation of what my ingrowns typically look like:

Ingrown hairs…yeah…I know….gross! But they are very common even in people who don’t have a hormonal condition.

Again, a sterile needle, tweezer set, or epliator should remove the hair with little strain on the skin. I couldn’t find  decent YouTube video of a good ingrown hair extraction but I found plenty of gross blackhead extraction videos. The instrument to remove a blackhead or comedone looks like this:

Blackhead remover…you put the hole part over the infected zit, push down and watch the nastiness be extracted.

Not my skin, but an example of what blackheads are (from BethChai3j.com)

 

Of course after doing any of these routines, clean the skin vigorously. I would even put some hydrogen peroxide or some type of alcohol lightly over the freshly extracted area to keep it from being infected again anytime soon. It also cuts down on your skin being ruined and scarred up.

For the pubes, I would recommend Bikini Zone to greatly cut down on the itching and irritation or some other type of lubricant. I posted in an earlier post how Bikini Zone very much cuts down on the bikini line irritation I get after hair removal. This also cuts down a lot on scarring your bikini line.

And my last tip is to get out more! If you go to the beach alot, stay out there! Keep sun screen on your skin (this goes for darker toned women too) and enjoy yourself! So what if people notice a dark mark or two on your bikini line? I am certain there is something fucked up on their bodies too! Being in the outdoors certainly clears my skin up, bikini line too. I might make it a habit to get to the beach more often with my children this coming summer myself.

Thanks for reading!

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!