Nothing kills my vibe like a breakout. It's a guaranteed wet-blanket for my mood 24/7. I'm not proud of it, but a surprise pimple can ruin my day (and Tom's because it makes me moody). I made it through my teens unscathed and kept my complexion clear with monthly facials throughout most my 20's. Somewhere along the way I got lazy and discovered the truest bane of my existence: hormonal acne.
As if PMS and hormonal fluctuations aren't already bad enough (i.e. hell), post-birth control pills, the quality of my skin began really reflecting my hormonal cycle. I would enjoy a couple weeks of skin contentment before the stressful time window of hormonal changes when breakouts are most likely (i.e. the 10 days leading up to your period).
(Photo via Moss Skincare)
As Dr. Wechsler confirms, hormonal breakouts share a few characteristics in common:
1.) They afflict the lower chin region of your face.
2.) They coincide with your cycle — specifically, 10 days before your period when your estrogen dips and your progesterone spikes.
3.) They often emerge in the form of under-the-skin cysts — painful, swollen, hard-to-treat, and rarely breaking the surface of the skin.
Note: If you are really impatient or have an event, Dr. Harold Lancer — dermatologist to Kim Kardashian West, as well as half of Hollywood — says to consider a cortisone injection. Done correctly, it'll reduce inflammation in a matter of hours, drastically speeding up healing-time to 1-2 days. (These quick treatments were my fallback while I lived in NYC, where I could easily book a last-minute appointment to get my face injected, which I considered practice for Botox.) But, it'll cost you at least your co-pay and doesn't accommodate a 9-5 schedule. You can also talk to your doctor about a hormone-altering diuretic called Spironolactone if you need some prescription relief.
(Photo via Renee Rouleau's Blog)
Then there's Renée Rouleau, celebrity esthetician, spa-owner, and luxury skincare line founder. Her top shelf products are among my faves — something Demi Lovato and I have in common (Renée is Demi's personal skin guru!). I personally like that her products rock anti-inflammatory properties, getting to the root of skin eruptions all together.
When I notice the beginning signs of a breakout, I reach for Renée Rouleau Rapid Response Detox Mask ($60.50) first. It's one of the sworn-by breakout solutions among beauty industry insiders, featured on outlets like PopSugar, Byrdie, and — obviously — Brit + Co. (That was me.)
I literally keep this baby stocked at all times; its one of the few skincare products that I buy on repeat. The gold-hued, gel-like mask goes on totally clear; I even left it on discreetly during yoga once when I was running late. Around the same time, I also discovered and began using Renée Rouleau Anti Cyst Treatment ($45.50) religiously. It's one of the only products of its kind to treat and prevent the dreaded acne cyst, reducing the size and healing time of breakouts by 50%.
She also offers the newly-released Renée Rouleau Emergency Zit Care Kit ($153). While pricey, it comes with four retail-size acne-clearing products — the Anti Cyst Treatment ($45.50), Daytime Blemish Gel ($38.50), Night Time Spot Lotion ($30.50), Post-Breakout Fading Gel ($38.50), plus all the supplies needed to heal your breakout safely (i.e. lancets, Q-tips, and finger cots). Oh, and all of her cruelty-free products are accordingly free of parabens, phthalates, gluten, dye, and synthetic-fragrances.
With an included Step-By-Step Guide To Healing a Blemish Fast, RR walks you through the ideal protocol for each and every type of pimple (i.e. cyst, papule, pustule) and offers tips for minimzing skin damage and scarring. For example, you should use the Anti Cyst Treatment upon development of a blemish until a whitehead forms. Then, move onto the Daytime Blemish Gel.
RR wants us to know that what we've been programmed to do is all wrong. Those harsh, drying treatments that we grab first are actually extending our recovery times. The real goal should be to expedite nature's healing process, and this handy little kit shows us how.
One of the most important lessons I've learned from interviewing dermatologists, skincare experts, and estheticians is that their prescribed treatments are only half of the work. They prescribe full-on regimens to adhere to, and it's up to us to implement them faithfully.
I read an interview in which Dr. Lancer was adamant that his client Victoria Beckham looks as gorgeous as she does thanks to being a world-class student, implementing his medical advice to a T.
Other than the Renée Rouleau products mentioned above, here are a few other notable products for dealing with hormonal breakouts.
1.) Mario Badescue Skin Buffering Lotion ($19)
2.) Amareta Beauty Pure Peace Clarifying Lotion ($52)
3.) Sunday Riley Saturn Sulfur Acne Mask ($55)
4.) May Lindstrom The Problem Solver Correcting Masque ($100)
Soon, a number of breakout-healing tips will go live in a Brit + Co. with exclusive tips from celebrity skin experts.
What problem-solvers are in your beauty regimen? Do tell.