Remember me whining about my skin a while back? So I’ve been doing the Oil Cleansing Method off and on for a few weeks and overall I like what it does: deep cleans, leaves most of my face feeling soft and glowy, doesn’t cost a million dollars. (Con: since I wash my face in the bath each night, I have to clean the tub more often to fend off an Oily Ring of Ewwww.)

The rashy whatever-it-is on my chin didn’t go away, though, and it seems like it’s slowly but steadily getting worse ever since it first showed up at the beginning of last summer, with spots showing up on my forehead now. I miss having decent skin, you guys. I don’t think I’m quite to the Oozing Leprous stage yet, but I feel wildly self-conscious all the time now. Unattractive.

I finally went back to the dermatologist, who promptly re-prescribed the original antibiotic that gave me headaches (Minocycline), and I took one last night and went UGH MY HEAD.


I keep wondering what it is that’s changed. Diet? Makeup? Skincare products? Nothing comes to mind, I’ve tried all sorts of different things and haven’t noticed any kind of pattern. But then last night while googling around for hormones+aging30-somethings+WTFISWRONGWITHMYFACE it finally occurred to me that maybe it’s my birth control?

Could that even be possible? I’ve had an IUD ever since Dylan was born, which is in fact when it was factory-installed, and it seems weird that I’d start having some random side effect 2.5 years afterwards.

Still, maybe she’s born with it . . . maybe it’s Mirena. Now if only there was some sort of Harry Potter spell for having it removed. (Cervixa Disapparition. Expulso No-Feel-Um. Libera Uterineum Bye-Bye.) You’d think I would have learned a thing or two from the process of pursuing pregnancy, but three years ago I wasn’t really thinking ahead to this thing’s exit strategy, and I’m just saying, IT DOESN’T SOUND PLEASANT.


91 Responses to “Girl stuff”

  1. Bethany on January 28th, 2011 9:06 pm

    Just wanted to let you know that I was just going over Mirena and Paraguard at my OB appt. today and one of the things that was said is that “…some people have no problems when they first have them inserted and then have side effects 2, 3 years down the line…” so it’s a possibility, Linda.

  2. Anonymous on January 28th, 2011 11:40 pm

    I have atopic dermatitis – for omg like I rememeber being 18 and having it= that was 13 yrs ago.. a rash- usually around my mouth.. that “could be caused from enviromental factors.” This shit has never gone away.. I can “treat” it, but it will never be gone- forever… I was prescribed Elidel, to treat- but it causes premature aging- sounds fab & it’s cancer causing.. Dont use it.. Hope u find sumthing that works for u- Im using products naturally made- with products I can pronouce- seems to help..

  3. Lesley on January 29th, 2011 12:17 am

    Diet could be the culprit. I used to suffer from chronic dermatitis and food was the cause. Even eating semi-clean I’d break out. I started eating 100% clean (no sugar, no grains, no refined foods of any kind) on December 26 and within a couple of weeks all the little red bumps disappeared.

  4. Sarah Bell on January 29th, 2011 1:53 am

    I was so afraid of having my Mirena out and it didn’t even hurt at all. Seriously. It was nothing. Just have it out and see if it helps (if that’s what you feel like doing, of course)…

  5. GingerB on January 29th, 2011 1:59 am

    Here I am, your little wet blanket. I was planning to get my first Mirena out to begin trying to get pregnant for a second bambina. My nurse practitioner first did a pap test which knocked the strings out of a suitable path. They used the ultrasound to find it and fish it out with some tool I put right out of my mind. Not my best day but not my worst either. I’m keeping mine. The advice I’ve gotten about skin yutz and hair loss is something like “welcome to middle age post pregnancy and don’t blame your IUD.” So I’m living with it and focusing on the good things about the IUD that I don’t want to give up: no periods = no PMS = less time spent wanting to get rid of my husband. I wouldn’t go back for anything. Good luck with yours!

  6. sara on January 29th, 2011 2:02 am

    If it doesn’t go away get an allergy panel done. My sister had a rash for 13 months that they presribed steroids and various ointments for. After 13 months she insisted on a panel and she is very suddenly allergic to nickel.

    As an esthetician I am a supporter of oil cleansing minus the castor oil….in the long run it seems to be too heavy for many. I like cold pressed grapeseed oil. That being said…it can be stress, dirty cell phones, dirty gym mats/equipment, dust mites, gluten or lactose which shows up as little white bumps in many, birth control, etc..eliminate one thing at a time!

  7. Deanna on January 29th, 2011 5:42 am

    Is there a Derm research place near you? I was dx with rosacea about 8 years ago and I have never followed up on it. It doesn’t bother me that much. I just got in touch with a research place locally and they are doing studies. I signed up with them and hope to get in a study. I am interested in their opinion on my skin. Money plus a dr to check out my skin. win – win!

  8. Mykal on January 29th, 2011 8:57 am

    I had nasty face rash that was all red with flaky skin and turned kind of this awful orangish-reddish color in the summer, that sounds similar to yours. Cortizone cream and aquafor(it’s gross to slather on your face but it might help) helped but in the end it never completely went away until I went back on daily allergy medicine (Zyrtec). I went to a dermatologist first but they were super unhelpful, the allergist fixed it for me in the end.

  9. Kate on January 29th, 2011 11:25 am

    It’s definitely the Mirena causing the skin eruptions. I had the same thing, as well as some other lovely side effects (like wanting to get a divorce or kill someone), and it got better after having it removed. And as everyone else said, no big deal getting it out.

    Google “mirena side effects” if you need more confirmation of what that little devil is doing to you.

  10. CC on January 29th, 2011 11:32 am

    I think IUD’s are too good to be true. I have the copper one and while I LOVE that it removes worry of getting pregnant, you pay a price. I put on 7lbs right away, skin/chin issues and have horrid horrid periods. So heavy, so long, and massive headaches once month. I was thinking of changing to Mirena but I’m sure I’ll pay a price with that too…sigh. Agreed, this girl shit is hard.

  11. Anonymous on January 29th, 2011 11:51 am

    Please google peri-oral dermatitis. My son had it, and was misdiagnosed twice. The steroid cream they originally prescribed made the redness worse. There were a few different meds they tried. We never has to take any oral meds, just topical creams. This only exacerbated the skin condition. Once this was determined, the right meds were given and this condition on his chin went away. The soap we were instructed to use was cetaphil and the cream was like an antibiotic cream along with a VERY mild steroid cream. This was a 6 month ordeal until they finally figured out how to treat him. After two derms, we finally figured out what to do. Hope this helps.

  12. MC on January 29th, 2011 12:22 pm

    I used to have a really bad rash on my chin and lower cheek that looked a lot like yours. I started using Arbonne three years ago and have LOVED it ever since. The rashes are gone and my skin is glowing and youthful looking all the time. It’s a little on the pricey side but it’s 100% natural and it last forever. I can’t recommend it enough.

  13. Ella on January 29th, 2011 12:40 pm

    Lynda I don’t know if you have tried using coconut oil but you might want to try it and see how you go.
    Another thing I have used for dry skin problem skin it’s a cream called NS 21 + Skin Repair Treatment it’s by a brand called Nutri Synergy. I’m based in Australia and I think you can get it online and they ship internationally. Anyway this is the website so worth reading the details and see if it might be something that could possibly help you.

  14. Jessica on January 29th, 2011 1:30 pm

    Completely not on the topic of your skin or birth control (although both topics are of real interest to me.) But rather, your desire for sunshine. I have to be honest, I’ve been thinking about you and it always seems weird to worry about someone you only “know” through their blog. But ok, I’ve been worrying about you. You seem, as my mom used to call it, blue. And when I read the entry about going tanning I knew I had an idea of a sunshine replacement but couldn’t drag it out of my chaotic frontal cortex. But then I remembered this morning. Have you tried hot yoga? Probably won’t help the skin or keep you from getting pregnant. :-) But the times I’ve done it I’ve come out feeling like a new woman. And be kind to yourself – January in Seattle is never easy.

  15. Karen on January 29th, 2011 2:21 pm

    I think someone else may have already suggested this, but does the timing of the skin flare up coincide with starting Cross Fit? Not that I have any clue what you could be doing there that would cause a skin problem, but maybe it’s a towel you use? A hormone shift from having your ass handed to you on a regular basis? If it remains a mystery, an acupuncturist might be able to treat it. Good luck!

  16. Scylle on January 29th, 2011 5:09 pm

    My 38 year-old face began breaking out in the same manner, and my doctor and a dermatologist both tried different strong antibiotics which both resulted in horrendous side effects. A few months later still suffering, I go back to my original doctor. He asks if I had acne when I was younger, to which I answer no, and he says we should try a low dose antibiotic, Erythromycin, and a steroid cream. It worked like a charm! Now I tackle the beginnings of a breakout with the cream for a couple of days and it goes away.

  17. Julie on January 29th, 2011 9:46 pm

    Could it be… stress? I have certainly found that personal angst can manifest itself in unexpected and confounding ways. I’ve be misdiagnosed with having “shingles” on my face. But it was just, I believe, stress. THe meds worked, but the condition kept re-asserting itself. Time and balance, however, did the trick. You’ve got a lot of on your plate. And many, many changes over the past year. I had a year like that too. 2009 kicked my ASS. And that’s when I had all my skin problems. It could be just one of those things that will resolve itself over time.

  18. deanna on January 30th, 2011 12:03 am

    i havent read all of the comments here through and through, so i hope im not repeating too much.

    first, im a pediastric nurse practitioner so (1) my experience with mirena is limited since i mostly prescribe oral birth control and (2) obviously my experience is limited to adolescents. with that being said, some of this is pretty basic medical knowledge.

    the levonorgestrol in mirena, more or less synthetic progesterone, can indeed cause some skin issues. did you have similar issues with your skin when you were pregnant? progesterone is increased in pregnancy (thus the reason why this form of birth control works!) so youre right in thinking that the mirena MIGHT be causing your skin issues. is your dermatologist aware that you are using the mirena? have you talked with your GYN about the skin issues? are you a candidate for the paragard, a non-hormonal IUD that works in a similar way but without the hormones? there are a multitude of other birth control options that dont involve progesterone. it might be worth discussing with your GYN and seeing which options might be best for you.

    sadly, i have terribly sensitive skin and thus have no real suggestions for cleansing methods. however, it might be a good idea to mention to your doctor that you have headaches with minocycline (common!) and maybe he/she can prescribe you doxycycline or tetrcycline (headache much less common and same medical effects) instead.

  19. Kym on January 30th, 2011 7:45 am

    Thank you ladies for helping me make up my mind NOT to have the Mirena placed!! I had my tubes tied at the birth of my 3rd son. I have since had crime sceen monthly periods:( I had an appt to speak w/my OB about having the Mirena placed to help with that, but after all of the info here I am NOT going to do it, I honestly was on the fence about it anyway.

    Linda I hope your skin clears up, and I would go to another Derm for a second opinion (can’t hurt right?)

  20. jen on January 30th, 2011 7:47 am

    I am surprised the doc didn’t try something topical and a different antibiotic. I mean I know different ones target different things but I had extreme issues with a similar rash…the derm always said it was perioral dermatitis and I kid you not I was on antibiotic for years (tetracycline, minocycline, topical clyndomycine, and some topical sulfur compound…um please excuse the spelling on all those) but the thing that finally cleared it up? TOOTHPASTE. I changed toothpaste to something that didn’t have Sodium Lauryl Sulfate in it (specifically I use Melaluca) and vloila! No icky rash/breakout cycle.

  21. C2 on January 30th, 2011 9:19 am

    I had the same issue with stuff that just wouldn’t go away on my face. My derm recommended using medicated Selsun Blue – on my hair a couple days a week and then also rubbing the lather on my face. VOILA! problem solved! Good Luck! Looks like you have a lot of advice!

  22. Tia on January 30th, 2011 10:42 am

    So as I’m reading what idea’s your readers have I came across the one that mentioned possible yeast infection. Well, I’m thinking that could be true. Gag, I know. Anyway, when my son was born he had beautiful skin and then within weeks it was all rashy and it just wouldn’t clear up. Then a friend of mine stopped over to see us and as soon as she saw his poor face she’s like, that is yeast! She told me to buy the over the counter cream and start applying it on the rash. Worked like a charm. So send JB to the drug store for that monistat, stat!! Okay, you might have to buy your own.
    I’m going to go dig through the pictures and see if I have a good one of the rash and I’ll email to you.

  23. cara on January 30th, 2011 10:44 am

    I know you were doing the honey-cleansing a while back, might see how that works this time for its naturally antibacterial and moisturizing properties ?

  24. Laurea on January 30th, 2011 11:45 pm

    Linda, if you haven’t read Rebecca Woolf’s (Girls Gone Child) posts about her Mirena experience, you should go read them right now. I know everyone’s experiences with hormonal birth control differ, but yeah – there are some craptastic side effects out there.

    Rebecca’s experience is summed up in two of her Babble column posts, here:

    I have the Paraguard – the non-hormonal, copper IUD. It is definitely not issue-free either. I’ve had it for 3 years and so far it’s been a worthwhile trade-off but it has meant longer periods and some challenges with the um, flora of the um, area. Ug. Anyway, good luck! You’re super smart to consider the BC as a cause.

  25. Redbecca on January 31st, 2011 9:05 am

    I got a skin freakout when I was in the second trimester with my son. I started using aubrey organics vegecol (sensitive skin) facewash and moisturizing cream, and overnight I saw dramatic results and I haven’t looked back. The only time I couldn’t use it was when I developed an intolerance to Vitamin E for about a year (don’t ask). But I’m back to using it again and I love it! Amazing smooth results. I’d get a second opinion on the face breakouts. Any doctor who continues to prescribe you something that gives you headaches isn’t exploring all the options!

  26. Mandy on January 31st, 2011 11:29 am

    My friend got a weird rash/break out around her mouth–turned out it was caused by teeth bleaching. She had used one of those bleaching trays from a dentist. The rash lasted way past her using the bleaching solution. The dermatologist she saw said he had seen something similar on several others. Antibiotics cleared it up.

  27. Heather B. on January 31st, 2011 12:21 pm

    I keep meaning to let you know that thanks to you I’ve been using the oil method and my skin is starting to look like regular people’s skin as opposed to the crap fest it looked like in months past. It’s no longer dry and flaky and painful in some spots yet oil slick in others. So thank you for the suggestion!

  28. shelie on February 1st, 2011 8:49 am

    I had some sort of funk pop up on my chin last summer – my family doc told me that it could be a bacteria infection that i picked up anywhere ie. the grocery cart at the store – off of my cell phone ect.(touching those things- then touching my face) Anyway she prescribed topical a medicine that worked pretty fast. It is “BETHAMETHASONE DIPROPINATE CREAM” You may want to see if your doc will hook you up with a script, i highly recommend it.

  29. shelie on February 1st, 2011 8:51 am

    sorry that should have said “topical medicine” instead of topical a medicine. LOL

  30. Trish on February 1st, 2011 10:12 am

    Here’s 2 cents that may bring you hope. My skin was a mess in my 30’s; I’d say 31-37 or so…..never had skin issues before that and haven’t had them since (I’m now 42). It’s definitely hormone related and aging. Yon-ka was my saviour — you’d may have to order online and I only ever used a cleanser and moisturizer even though there’s a bajillion treatments, serums etc. It’s for hormone inflamed skin and worked wonders. When I used anything else, the flare-ups would begin. So I gave in and swallowed the price tags whole……Now my skin is back to normal and I use Pears soap. Good Luck!

  31. Laurie on February 1st, 2011 9:39 pm

    Mirena is evil (for me anyways). Switch to the regular IUD– no beastly hormones, but you’ll get periods again.

  32. Sarah on February 2nd, 2011 8:19 pm

    Hey, late in the game here, but since I went through the entire battery of acne meds in my teens (from Cleocin and antibiotics all the way up through Accutane), I will toss out there that some skin that doesn’t respond well to other stuff does really well with topical creams containing sulfur. Turns out in my 30s I acquired acne rosacea, and now I use Clenia at night, which contains just enough sulfur to keep breakouts at bay. I’m not a person who can tolerate salycic (sp?) acid or benzoyle peroxide on my skin, but the sulfur topicals totally work for me. There’s an over the counter one called Acnomel, and for me, Clenia rocks.

  33. kendra! on February 6th, 2011 11:06 pm

    Here’s a dose from the earthy crunchy camp on skin ish or otherwise. Whenever it appears I’ve got something toxic going on, I literally swallow a bottle of activated charcoal over the course of a week or two and something improves. Even if it’s my bowels. Worth a shot?

  34. BA on February 20th, 2011 10:12 am

    I had something that sounds quite similar. I tried numerous Rx creams and a loooong round of antibiotics, none of which helped in a meaningful way. Everyone is right, it has to do with age and hormones (especially from birth control). Mine was concentrated around my mouth and chin (although it did radiate out after a while) and what really worked for me is switching to a toothpaste that is fluoride free. Not in a hippie-campaign way, but in a the-fluoride-interacts-somehow-with-30-something-skin way. SpectroJel face wash helps with this–and many other–skin conditions too!

  35. verdemama on February 26th, 2011 2:34 pm

    The first thing that comes to my mind is food allergy. Dairy and sugar are both highly inflammatory and affect my skin obviously and immediately. (If I eat something cheesy today I will wake up tomorrow with acne around my mouth. Guaranteed.) Right now I’m reading a book called “Feed Your Face,” which, if you can get past the Hollywood, star-f*ckerish way it’s written, has some good info.

  36. Rachael on March 13th, 2011 5:54 pm

    I had a Mirena put in 5 years ago and in a few weeks I have an appointment to have it removed. I have been absolutely panicking about this because I was convinced it was going to hurt like hell too.

    Thank you to your readers for posting their “it’s nothing” experiences. They’ve settled my mind immensely.

    Mirena definitely mucked my skin up and I ended up taking Roaccutaine (sp?)to clear it up. That stuff is meant to be the devil itself but it made such a difference and allowed me to show my face in public again so I was happy with it.

    The Mirena on the other hand has caused to me gain weight that I just can’t lose, develop intense cravings pre period and also wild hormonal mood swings which I never had. I never considered myself premenstrual but the Mirena has me in totally unreasonable mind sets once a month.

    There is evidence of hormone changes after 30 and I take a supplement called 30 plus which has helped but I think the Mirena coming out will be my best ‘fix it’.

    Oh and having it out will help me have the baby I want. Small detail I missed ;)

  37. Lando on March 15th, 2011 8:11 pm

    I started breaking out and having really bad skin about a year ago.

  38. Lando on March 15th, 2011 8:18 pm

    I started experiencing really bad skin about a year ago, thought it was hormones, stress, turning 40, etc. It had been getting worse lately, with lots of small red spots, some being tiny whiteheads and some just being red bumps, on my forehead and cheekbones. I was starting to panic and became very self conscious about it; I have always had really good skin and I didn’t know what to do about it. In speaking with a friend of mine who is studying Holistic Nutrition, she suggested that I might be severely deficient in EFA’s – which made sense as my diet has been pretty bad this past couple of years. She suggested 1 Tablespoon of Flax Oil daily, along with eating more foods rich in EFA’s (salmon, walnuts) daily, a good multivitamin, 8 glasses of water per day, cutting back on fats, processed foods and sugar. I started 15 days ago – and today I can’t believe the change, but my face is almost entirely cleared up. Other amazing side effects are increased energy, fewer mood swings, generally feeling great. If you google “EFA deficiency symptoms” and “EFA rich foods” you can see more info as well.

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