From CBS News, September 25, 2013
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Acne commonly affects women on what seems to be a sporadic basis. This is due heavily to hormonal changes that happen within the body during the menstrual cycle. A large number of women are effected by acne during adolescence. However, many first experience those pesky blemishes between 30 and 40 years old. Menopause can also bring out adult acne like a woman has yet to experience during her lifetime. The causes of acne are numerous, as are the treatments.
Acne is a skin disorder that causes an outbreak of pimples, redness, and skin lesions. A clogging of oil glands in the skin causes bumps and irritation to show on the skin’s surface. Many of these blemishes are made worse by excessive scrubbing, certain makeups, and medications. Acne is not a serious condition, but it can be treated and sometimes prevented.
Many people assume acne effects teenagers the most, but the hormonal changes that happen later in life can bring out heavy acne as well. As a menstruating woman, hormone levels change throughout your cycle. Adult acne can come and go as your menstrual cycle begins and ends. The same goes for pregnancy. Some women experience acne due to the hormonal changes their body experiences as they are growing their baby. Hormonal changes during menopause can have the same effect. Some makeups can clog your pores causing an oily buildup as well. Medications and family history tend to have an impact as well.
Perimenopause (the phase leading up to menopause) tends to be the time that women deal most with acne associated with menopause. During this time, female hormone levels (namely estrogen) decrease. Meanwhile, androgen hormone levels (namely testosterone) remain the same. This causes skin glands to work in overdrive and produce too much sebum; this oily substance then blocks pores causing bumps and redness. Because women experiencing menopause tend to be older, there is a slower skin regeneration time period as well.
First off, it is always best to consult your doctor. Dermatologists specialize in treating skin conditions such as adult acne. For more minor cases, topical medications such as benzoyl peroxide or Retinoids may work. Oral medications for acne can also be prescribed. Using non-comedogenic make up is a good place to start to prevent acne as it doesn’t clog your pores. Gentle cleaning twice a day is another great preventative measure.
Overall, acne related to menopause tends to calm down once hormones have balanced out during the post-menopausal phase. If you have concerns related to hormonal levels or acne scarring, be sure to schedule a visit with your doctor.
Recently I spent a day with Dr. Vincent Lucente and Dr. Cristina Saiz who specialize in female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery. Dr. Lucente and his fellow, Dr. Saiz are dedicated to providing excellent surgical care to their patients. They are willing to share their techniques with others and I greatly benefited from being in the operating room with them for the day. They are able to perform life changing procedures for women using minimally invasive methods. Dr. Lucente is very passionate about healthcare issues for women and he has agreed to join the board for Pass the Pearls and help with our mission to educate women about minimally invasive surgery options. Thank you Dr.s Lucente and Saiz for sharing! Lori Warren.
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