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Will My Skin Ever Grow Up?

Updated: Nov 17, 2019

Lately I've been posting these heavy topics -- politics, trying to find my purpose in life, you know, those really light hearted conversations. But anyone who knows me knows I'm not only into the deep topics, I'm also a girly girl and I'm very much into skin care.

So that's why I am especially annoyed by these breakouts that have been popping up on my face like weeds in perfectly manicured lawn.

Why is this still happening to me? I am almost 30. Why do I have the skin of a teenaged boy at times?!

In the past year I've noticed my skin has been extremely volatile. From week to week I could go from baby-butt-smooth skin to pizza face overnight. And I feel like it's gotten worse as I've gotten older.

I decided to do some research into what's happening and why, and I actually reached out to a few experts. I asked dermatologist Dr. Lawrence Green if there's somehow a difference between adult and teenaged skin. He told me adult and teenage acne are really a continuum of the same process in both age groups.

Okay so there goes that theory.

Then I tried to identify some other possible causes. Do I need to stop holding my dirty phone up to my face? Do I need to wash my pillowcases more often? Are my makeup brushes not clean? Is it because Aunt Flow is about to come through?

But none of those seem like the complete answer because they don't change from week to week like my skin does. Dr. Green also confirmed that these things could contribute to the issue, but they aren't a silver bullet.

According to Dr. Green, here is real culprit:

Acne is caused by increased male hormones or male hormone receptivity in the oil glands on the face. This process leads to more oil production, which then leads to a clog in the glandular pores, which then triggers what we see as acne. People who have acne genetically have oil gland pores that are more responsive to the slightly increased hormone levels.

Translated -- it's this damn oily skin and these hormones!

Imbalanced hormones can stimulate oil production (and I already have oily skin womp womp) and create acne flare ups, according to another expert I spoke with, Dr. Jacob D. Steiger. He let me know that when hormone levels go up and down, the skin reacts by making more oil that is thicker, stickier, and more pore-clogging.

Ew, as if.

And of course hormonal ups and downs can be caused by many things, including stress (of which I've had plenty).

I've always known my oily skin wasn't helping in terms of acne, so I do all of the stuff they recommend. I wash twice a day with an oil free cleanser (currently loving OleHenricksen's Find Your Balance oil control cleanser), exfoliate a few times a week (I'm looking forward to trying one of these L'Oreal Pure Sugar scrubs), and use an oil-free, non-comedogenic (aka won't clog your pores) moisturizer (Neutrogena's oil-free moisturizer with sunscreen has been my go-to for years).

Still my skin is sometimes a mess. Now I realize I have the "outside-in" covered, but I need to address the "inside-out."

Most of what I've read about addressing hormonal breakouts goes back to diet. Green tea is said to be effective both when drinking and as an ingredient in moisturizer. Avoiding sugar, dairy, and refined carbs is also helpful is reducing hormone fluctations.

Oh great, all my favorites.

It seems that dairy is especially bad. I had already been trying (and failing) to go dairy free, but this makes it even more clear that I have to throw the whole cow away. I enjoy milk in my coffee and in my cereal, but I'll have to give up these small indulgences so I can have smoother skin (and a smaller waistline which was my original motivation).

Now that I have a better understanding of what's been causing these breakouts, here's hoping I can make the necessary changes and stick with them -- or just keep using that acne removal feature in my BeautyPlus app.

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