Pregnancy has pretty much confirmed for me that my hormones are the source of all my acne and canker sore woes. Since I hit about 16 weeks pregnant (I’m 7 months now!), my skin has been effortlessly perfect, and I can eat jars full of peanut butter without a single canker sore. The only reasons I can imagine? It’s this little boy growing in my belly. Thanks, kiddo!
What Pregnancy Has Taught Me About Acne, Canker Sores, and My Hormones
Being pregnant is a lot like being on the birth control pill (assuming you use the type of pill that keeps your hormones stable throughout the month. When you first get pregnant, for about the first three months your hormones are rising and shifting so my skin went a little crazy my first trimester. But by the second trimester (starting around 14 weeks–right when my skin cleared up), your hormones stabilize (much like they do on the pill). In the third trimester you have a bit more shifting, but compared to your hormones while not pregnant, they’re still relatively stable. Thus clear skin for me-yay!
Interestingly–and this was a huge shocker for me–my canker sores have disappeared as well. I can eat endless amounts of all the foods that used to trigger them–peanut butter, chocolate, citrus fruits–without fear. Interestingly though, in my first trimester I did have a sudden breakout of canker sores (much like I had a sudden increase acne breakouts). Now that I think back on it, while on the pill, I got far fewer canker sores as well.
The Immune System is Definitely Involved
Now I’m not saying it’s ALL hormonal. I think what’s actually happening is some kind of unique interaction between my hormones and my immune system. After all, part of the reason your body produces all these hormones when you’re pregnant is FOR THE EXPLICIT PURPOSE of suppressing your immune system so your body won’t fight off the fetus like the foreign invader that it is (cutest little foreign invader ever!). Since both acne and canker sores are autoimmune reactions (and indeed these are both common symptoms of autoimmune disorders), a suppressed immune system means less opportunity for breakouts.
So, if keeping my hormones stable (and my immune system in check) is the only way to ensure clear skin and no canker sores, am I doomed to take the pill for the rest of my life? You can bet I’m sure going to try to avoid it!
My Skincare Plans for After Pregnancy: Estroblock
I have a feeling that the minute I’m not pregnant any more my skin is going to go a bit haywire. My initial plan? Use topicals-probably a benzoyl peroxide wash which I won’t mind doing since I intend for it to be short term and BP has always worked best for me over any other topicals. As soon as I’m done breastfeeding I plan to start taking Estroblock, a natural DIM supplement that helps clear your body of “bad” estrogens. I don’t want to try it until then because I wouldn’t want to mess with my hormones as it could disrupt my ability to breastfeed. A lot of women with hormonal acne along the jawline (my curse!) have excess estrogen. DIM, a plant based supplement, doesn’t completely rid your body of estrogen–you’ll still produce a normal, healthy amount. But we get so many excess estrogens from our environment (from plastics, food, and much more) that a lot of us are walking around with way too much of it built up in our systems. For a person who isn’t sensitive to hormones, these may not cause a problem, but for someone like me, it can wreak havoc. I read about Estroblock on two of my favorite natural skincare blogs–TheLoveVitamin.com andHighonHealth.org. Both of these bloggers have had great success with it, so I’m hoping I will too!
Using Estroblock to Clear Acne
I’ve still got about two months to go until baby gets here and then hopefully a good 6 months of exclusive breastfeeding after that. But I’ll let you know how it goes once I start on the Estroblock. I’ve read you should take 2-3 capsules a day (maybe 3 for the first few months and then two a day after that), and that it may take up to 6 months to see a difference. BUT, once your skin is clear, many people have been able to go off of it for a while and keep their skin clear, or just drop down to a maintenance dose of 1 pill per day, or a few doses a week. Anyway, I’m really hoping it works because I can’t stand birth control side effects and would do just about anything to stay off of it.
If you’re not pregnant/breastfeeding and decide to take it, let me know how it goes! Again, I’ve read a lot of reports that people saw no change for 5 months or so and then saw quick clearing, so give it some time. Oh and I’ll also add that it’s safe for men too, but I haven’t read about as much success with Estroblock for acne in men. Couldn’t hurt to try it though!
*I am not a doctor, a nurse, or any kind of health practitioner. I’m just a gal with a pretty keen intuitive sense, great research abilities, and curiosity that is easily peaked. Please understand that my advice is really just another opinion and it’s for you (and your doctor) to decide the best course for your health and well-being.