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The 3 Stages of Hormonal Skin Care

By: Kris Campbell
Posted: March 29, 2013, from the April 2013 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
Clients with hormonal acne may also experience irregular menstrual cycles, hair loss, diabetes and infertility.

Clients with hormonal acne may also experience irregular menstrual cycles, hair loss, diabetes and infertility.

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Hormonal acne will benefit from more gentle, effective treatments, because this skin can be sensitive and aggressive treatments may cause unwanted reactions. In the treatment room, a combination of deep cleaning treatments, enzymes and light-to-medium peels are effective. Home care should include products that are antibacterial, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, soothing and hydrating. Vitamin A derivatives, salicylic acid, totarol and benzoyl peroxide-like ingredients—such as glycyrrhiza inflata root extract (licorice)—can be effective for oil control.

Pregnancy. Another highly imbalanced hormonal stage occurs during pregnancy, and often results in melasma, also commonly known as “pregnancy mask.” This condition occurs when there is an overproduction of melanin. Professional treatments that can help include lasers and peels, but they are only recommended after the child is born. A series of microdermabrasion facials also can be helpful. (See Treatment How-to: Microdermabrasion Facial.) Home care during pregnancy can include natural brighteners, such as vitamin C, bearberry and daisy. After the pregnancy, home care may need to become more aggressive, using products such as hydroquinone and tretinoin-like ingredients. During the course of the pregnancy and beyond, always recommend a broad-spectrum sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher, since this will help prevent further pigmentation problems.

Pregnancy may also cause side effects to the scalp and nails, which, in turn, can affect head massage and hand/foot treatments. Most women tend to experience hair growth during pregnancy; however, after birth, they can experience hair thinning due to the loss of hormones. This usually calms and returns to normal about six months post delivery. Treatment serums to stimulate and strengthen the hair follicle are greatly beneficial during this time.

Nails often become very brittle and can also suffer from distal oncyholysis, which is a separation from the underlying nail bed and the nail plate. Treatments on the hands or feet with either condition should include antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and hydration, along with gentle pressure to nurture the nails back to a healthy state.

Menopause. The major phase of hormonal skin condition changes is menopause. Menopause can happen naturally as women age or be induced prematurely due to illnesses, surgeries and medications. Because the main source of female hormones, the ovaries, shut down at this time, many side effects can affect the skin, as well as the treatments done by the professional. Menopause is the state of an absence of menstrual periods for at least twelve months. There is usually a transitional period to menopause, which can include smaller stages of periomenopause, the transitional time of hormone fluctuation and post-menopause, the period of time after the very last menstrual cycle occurrence. Because each woman experiences menopause differently, treatments may need to be altered.

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