Premenopause or perimenopause is the approximately 2 to 8 year period leading up to menopause. It can begin as early as your mid 30s and continue into the early 50s. This completely normal part of aging is commonly marked by a number of hormonal related physical symptoms, including hot flashes, sleep disturbances and possible acne flareups.
Women in general are no strangers to pimples and fluctuating hormones. They often have breakouts in the days leading up to their menstrual periods and during pregnancy. It may come as no surprise then, that the hormonal changes taking place during perimenopause may also contribute to the formation of acne.
Hormonal acne is commonly associated with androgens (male sex hormones) that stimulate the oil (sebaceous) glands and hair follicles in the skin, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. When estrogen (female hormone) levels decline, the now unguarded androgens may over-stimulate the sebaceous glands and block the shedding of dead of skin cells. This leads to clogged pores and the development of pimples, blackheads and whiteheads.
Adult acne that develops or intensifies during the premenopausal years can cause tender, inflamed pimples and bumps. Acne in women in their 30s, 40s and 50s commonly develops around the mouth, chin and/or along the jaw.
Women with premenopausal acne have a number treatment options to consider. For mild cases, an over-the-counter topical treatment that contains benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid may suffice. For moderate and severe cases, your dermatologist may recommend prescription-only tretinoin (Avita, Retin-A or Renova) and tazarotene (Tazorac or Avage). These vitamin A derivatives encourage cell turnover, and prevent the clogging of hair follicles.
The AAD says making even minor changes to your daily skin care routine can have a major impact on the appearance of your skin. For example, use moisturizers and cosmetics that are labeled non-comedogenic .This means they won't clog your pores and are less apt to cause acne. Exfoliating products encourage the shedding of dead skin cells and can help prevent acne flare-ups. They may also give your skin a healthy glow.
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