Hormonal acne is acne that comes from imbalanced or fluctuating hormones. Estrogen and testosterone are hormones that can significantly affect our skin health and the amount of oil our skin produces. When these and other hormones are imbalanced, inflammation and sebum production in our skin increase, leading to more breakouts. Though hormonal acne can occur at any time in our lives, it most commonly occurs around puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause.
Hormonal acne is more than just acne typically associated with puberty. It can affect adults at many stages and is more likely to affect women than men. This is because women are more likely to experience periods of hormonal imbalance, such as during menstruation and menopause. If you are bothered by what you think is hormonal acne, talk to your a cosmetic clinic. They can diagnose the issue and advise you on what will be best for you.
Let’s highlight the leading causes of hormonal acne and what you can do when experiencing it.
Cause #1: Puberty
As we approach puberty, our bodies start to produce more testosterone. This increase stimulates the skin’s oil glands and causes the skin to become greasier. When this sebum, along with dead skin cells and bacteria, builds up, it leads to inflammation in the pores and the inevitable acne breakouts many teenagers experience.
Whether or not you will develop acne in puberty is mainly genetic. If others in your family have had trouble with acne during their teen years, you also have a greater chance of acne. The best thing you can do to deal with acne during puberty is to develop a solid skincare routine. Wash your face twice a day and after exercise. This will remove dead skin cells and excess oil that can worsen acne.
Cause #2: Menstruation
Hormones fluctuate during the menstrual cycle. Before your period begins, both estrogen and progesterone levels will drop. The decrease in these hormones can cause the glands in your skin to produce more sebum, leading to clogged pores.
It can also increase inflammation and the production of bacteria, which, unsurprisingly, can lead to more breakouts. Too much testosterone is also implicated in hormonal acne during your cycle. As testosterone rises, it also triggers more sebum production, leading to more chances of experiencing a breakout.
Cause #3: Pregnancy
While some women have clear, perfect skin during their pregnancies, many will experience increased breakouts as their hormones fluctuate. Once again, it’s hormones that are to blame, in particular, progesterone. This is especially common during the first trimester.
If you have a history of breaking out around your menstrual cycle, you may be more likely to suffer from acne during pregnancy. It is important to note that some acne medications are not suitable for use during pregnancy, as they are known to cause congenital disabilities. Always consult with your healthcare team before starting a medication while pregnant.
Cause #4: Menopause
Many women begin to experience perimenopause or menopause in their forties and fifties. And since these life events are also times of hormonal changes, some women will once again start to experience the breakouts they thought they left behind in their teenage years.
Similar to the cause of acne during menstruation, decreasing levels of estrogen and increasing levels of androgens such as testosterone are typically the cause of hormonal acne during menopause. These breakouts usually appear on the jawline or bottom of your cheeks.
Cause #5: Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
PCOS is a disorder of hormones that affects a woman’s fertility and causes several other hormone-related side effects, including acne. PCOS disrupts the signals from the pituitary gland that relay how much estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone your endocrine system should produce.
With this disruption of the correct levels, estrogen and progesterone drop and testosterone increases. Hormonal acne from PCOS can cause nodules and cysts that leave scars, and flare-ups tend to worsen during menstruation.
How to Relieve Hormonal Acre
You should talk to a dermatologist if you suspect you suffer from hormonal acne. Resist running out and purchasing products that claim they’ll be a quick fix. The truth is that because hormonal acne is different than your average breakout, all the skin care products in the world won’t help; you need to uncover the source.
Of course, you can support your skin by washing your face with a gentle cleanser morning and night and using only non-comedogenic products to reduce the chance of exacerbating clogged pores. And never, ever pick at your acne.
Not only can your hands introduce more bacteria onto your face, but you will also increase the chance of scarring. A dermatologist can prescribe products most suited to your situation. They may recommend a retinoid to be applied topically or suggest oral medications to help address the issue’s root, which is your fluctuating hormones.