Dr. Zenovia Skincare aims to showcase the stories of real people. Hormones have a huge impact on our skin’s health throughout life’s various stages and that time of the month is no exception. In this post, Joia, a model, author, and influencer, shares how she struggles with hormonal period acne. She recently got off the pill and is trying to incorporate preventative skincare into her routine. Everyone has a unique perspective and story to tell.
Genetics are responsible for a predisposition to certain skin conditions including eczema and acne. Growing up, Joia naturally had great skin and didn’t really feel the need to develop a skincare regimen. “Genetically, I have been blessed in the skin category. Even though I worked in the modeling industry, I didn’t start taking skin care seriously until my late twenties!”
Similar to many women, there was one persistent skin issue that Joia dealt with every month- period pimples! Hormonal fluctuations during your menstrual cycle combined with bacteria and inflammation trigger the production of sebum which leads to the formation of pimples. Excess oils on the skin and hair follicles provide the perfect breeding ground for bacteria and clogged follicles.
The lower half of the cheeks, the chin, and the jawline region are the most common areas for hormonal breakouts. This is because there is a higher density of sebaceous glands in these areas. “Dealing with menstrual breakouts every month was very frustrating”, Joia shares. “I would pick at my pimples too, which would leave dark spots on my skin”. To avoid picking pimples, Dr. Zenovia recommends applying a spot treatment to affected areas. Our 5% Benzoyl Peroxide Acne Spot Treatment is a clinical-grade hormonal acne solution that effectively targets flare-ups.
Going Off the Pill
Many women are prescribed combination oral contraceptives (OCPs) or birth control pills for hormonal acne. OCPs affect the skin by decreasing the androgenic effect in our tissue and reducing the production of sebum and acne. “I got on the birth control pill when I was thirteen years old due to bad cramps and I think the pill helped a bit”, Joia shares. Many studies on the combination birth control pill have found that it is effective at treating both inflammatory and noninflammatory acne.
By her late twenties, Joia decided to get off the birth control pill. “There was definitely an adjustment period when I stopped taking the pill. My skin got worse before it got better”, Joia says. Within the first few months of coming off the pill, it is normal to see an increase in hormonal acne flare-ups as androgen hormone levels surge. It can take anywhere from six to twelve months for hormones to stabilize after coming off a contraceptive pill.
Introducing Preventative Skincare
Now that Joia is in her thirties, she has been enjoying the journey of learning more about topical products and lifestyle habits that can promote skin health with age. “My current skincare routine consists of using a gentle cleanser and hydrating moisturizer morning and night. I am currently on my third bottle of Dr. Zenovia’s Aloe Vera Blemish Soothing Moisturizer- it is that good! The Peptide + Ceramide Repairing Moisturizer is my favorite nighttime moisturizer when my skin is on the drier side. I also recently started using sunscreen in the mornings and a cleansing balm to remove makeup at night. Based on my skin’s needs, I enjoy using a hydrating facial mask, or Dr. Zenovia’s 10% Acne Control Peel Pads on a weekly basis”.
In terms of lifestyle habits, Joia sticks to a vegan, plant-based diet. She’s also careful with her sugar intake. “I sometimes breakout after drinking soda or sugary drinks so I do my best to stay away from it”, Joia shares. A diet high in sugar affects the inflammatory processes in the body which can manifest as acne and worsen inflammation. Making healthy food choices and lessening your intake of refined sugar will complement any acne treatment or topical therapy.
Joia also shared the skin care advice she wished someone told her when she was a teenager. “Even though I never had any major skin concerns, I wish I was more diligent with skin care. There were many nights in my twenties when I would be out late and end up going to bed without washing my face. There were even times in college where I would go to class with makeup from the day before!”
Joia’s skin tips for younger girls are to remove makeup properly every night, not to pick at pimples, and wear sunscreen daily. “I never wore sunscreen because I figured I was black and therefore didn’t need it, but that’s just not true! I would also tell my teenage self to start incorporating anti-aging ingredients because overtime you will see the effects.”