Blemishes, man.
August 10, 2012 1:25 PM   Subscribe

How can I treat painful hormonal lip-line acne?

I recently quit taking birth control. Since then, every month before and during my period, I've had constant, painful acne pustules around my lips, right on the line between the lip and the rest of my face. They start as a painful cyst for a few days and eventually emerge to the surface. I remember this happening during my teens too, now that it's going on again, but I've been on BC for almost a decade and had completely forgotten that this was an issue for me once upon a time. It's really terrible - it looks like there's food stuck on my face since it's a big white blemish near my mouth, and it hurts a lot. I'd say I get three to five of these per cycle, which is about six too many :\

In general my skin is annoying but not prescription-strength annoying. I took Accutane as a teenager and while my skin isn't Accutane-perfect anymore, it definitely isn't at the level where I think most docs would be down to prescribe anything, especially given this is only going on for about a week of every month.

I definitely take care of my skin and spend a lot of time and money trying to avoid acne, but this lip-line stuff is tricky since I don't really want salicylic acid or BP on the more sensitive skin of my lips. I have been icing the papules at night trying to at least get the swelling to go down, but the effect is limited. Has anyone found any product or routine that was effective in treating lip-line hormonal acne in particular?
posted by town of cats to Health & Fitness (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
The "cyst" part makes me feel that they might be in the same ballpark as sebaceous cysts, and as such, might respond to early treatment with the Zeno. It doesn't work for everything, but for the stuff it DOES work on, it's a tiny electronic miracle.
posted by julthumbscrew at 1:31 PM on August 10, 2012

I have to be careful about lip balms and lipsticks or I have problems. Some of them clog pores like crazy. I regularly exfoliate the area and don't worry about exfoliating my lips as I've never had much of a problem when I do.

When I get a pimple starting I aggressively use a product containing salicylic acid and while it certainly also gets on my lips, I've never had a problem with my lips reacting poorly. I don't use BP, but I'd likely do the same with that. Maybe use a topical Rx antibiotic when you're in the pimple time of your cycle?
posted by quince at 3:05 PM on August 10, 2012

Topical niacin totally solved this problem for me. I don't think it matters what you decide to use, but I use this niacin mixed into 4 ounces of this base.
posted by oneirodynia at 5:41 PM on August 10, 2012

I use this stuff, which my family calls 'red stuff,' for pretty much exactly this. It is kinda gross because it's a petroleum product, but for precisely this reason it will never make your skin, even sensitive lip skin, feel dry. And it's antiseptic, so it usually clears things up pretty quickly. If put it on (with a q-tip) as soon as I feel pimple tingles then it usually clears them up before they even become noticeable.
posted by emilycardigan at 5:41 PM on August 10, 2012

I have hormonal acne that responds to antibiotics. I've had some oral prescriptions when things have been bad, but have discovered that antibiotic ointment like Neosporin applied semi-regularly to the worst areas helps to keep things from getting out of control.
posted by TallulahBankhead at 8:51 PM on August 10, 2012

Do you eat/drink dairy?

I am almost thirty and struggle with mild hormonal acne on my chin. I just discovered that dairy seems to be a major culprit of my acne. If I am good about staying away from it I get little to no pimples; if I slack they come back with a vengeance. (And oh god do I miss cheese and ice cream)

Obviously everyone is so different, but it might be worth a try.
posted by imalaowai at 12:38 PM on August 11, 2012

Just a random idea -- some people have a reaction like this to tartar control toothpaste . . . ?
posted by MeiraV at 6:02 AM on August 12, 2012

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