Beauty Buzz: 30-something mom has a pimple problem

Note from the mamas: The Summer Remix symbol appears on posts previously published on nwaMotherlode that were noted as a “reader favorite”. If you missed the original publication date, we hope you’ll enjoy this encore performance. Amy was our first beauty editor back when nwaMotherlode launched in May 2008. Happy summer and here’s to no acne outbreaks!

Dear Amy,

I am 35 and still get pimples! I think it’s worse now than when I was in junior high. What’s going on and how can I stop this???

Dear Pimply,

I feel your pain! Not too long ago I had a tumor-sized knot between my eyes that was so painful, it had me running to the dermatologist with my two kids in tow. Only an injection of cortisone and a round of oral antibiotics saved me from the single worst zit of my life. I still can’t believe how bad it was.

Why is this happening? According to my doctor, we can blame it on hormones and stress. At our age, we’ve been through a lot – usually a pregnancy or two, the rigors of taking care of a family, running a household and working either inside or outside the home. Even food allergies can trigger adult acne. Oh, and did I mention that we’re getting closer to menopause every day? Ugh.

There are a few things you can do to save face. First, keep your annual women’s well-check appointment and tell your doctor about your breakouts. She can test your hormone levels to see if anything is out of whack. She might recommend checking your thyroid levels too, since an over or under active thyroid can cause acne.

Also, follow a simple skin care routine: gentle cleanser (like Cetaphil Daily Cleanser), mild toner (I like Nivea’s Moisturizing Toner), gentle scrub (Aveeno’s Daily Clarifying Scrub) and a 2.5% benzoyl peroxide lotion (Neutrogena has a good one). The good news is that makeup rarely causes acne, but if you notice a flare up after using a particular product, by all means, stop using it.

Another approach to consider – and it’s pretty extreme – is to eliminate dairy products for a few months. Some people are sensitive to the hormones in cow’s milk and it could be a trigger for adult acne. This one is hard but might be worth it for clear skin. Good luck!