Signs You’re Dealing With Hormonal Acneand How To Treat It
Ah, hormonal acnethose pesky, painful, and unpleasant pimples that show up at the worst times imaginable . Werent you supposed to shake off acne in your teen years?
Sadly, notespecially if youre battling bouts of hormonal acne, which most commonly appears in adult women ages 20 to 40. And even the post-40 crowd is not in the clear, New York City-based dermatologist Cherise M. Levi, M.D., tells SELF. There can be a resurgence of breakouts around menopause due to hormonal fluctuations in the body.
How can you tell if youre dealing with hormonal acne versus run-of-the-mill acne? Dermatologists use a few key characteristics to pinpoint if a pimple is hormonal. Keep reading to learn how to spot hormonal breakouts, plus six expert-approved hormonal acne treatments.
Treating Hypertrophic Scars And Keloids
There are many different options for treating hypertrophic and keloid scars. The best treatment for you will depend on your personal situation, but can include steroid creams, silicone gels, cryotherapy , tapes, pulsed dye laser treatments, or injections to help shrink and flatten the scar.
Care must be taken while treating these scars to avoid aggravating the skin, which can lead to a worsening of the keloid.
There Are Two Types Of Broad Acne Groups
All acne is filed under one of two umbrellas: inflammatory and non-inflammatory acne. Understanding which category yours falls under is the first step in taking control of your complexion. “Non-inflammatory acne includes blackheads and whiteheads, which look like skin-colored bumps or congested black pores on the face,” explains Dr. Joshua Zeichner, the director of Cosmetic and Clinical Research in Dermatology at the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. “Inflammatory acne includes red, angry bumps, pus pimples, and the painful, underground cysts.”
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When To Seek Medical Advice
If you have mild acne, speak to a pharmacist about medicines to treat it.
If these do not control your acne, or it’s making you feel very unhappy, see a GP.
You should see a GP if you have moderate or severe acne or you develop nodules or cysts, as they need to be treated properly to avoid scarring.
Try to resist the temptation to pick or squeeze the spots, as this can lead to permanent scarring.
Treatments can take up to 3 months to work, so do not expect results overnight. Once they do start to work, the results are usually good.
How To Treat Different Types Of Acne
To see clearer skin, it helps to know what types of blemishes you’re dealing with. Each type requires different treatment.
Whats that blemish?
Is that a blackhead, papule, or something else? See what the different acne blemishes looks like and how to treat them.
Blackheads and whiteheads
These appear when pores become clogged with excess oil, bacteria, and dead skin cells. If the pore closes up, youll see a tiny bump that looks white or flesh colored. These are whiteheads.
Blackheads and pimples
If the pore fills with debris but stays open, youll see a blackhead. The black dots arent dirt, so resist scrubbing. It will only worsen your acne.
Treating whiteheads and blackheads
To unclog pores, dermatologists recommend using a retinoid. You can buy one retinoid, adapalene, without a prescription. Youll also want to use a benzoyl peroxide wash. It can help get rid of the excess P. acnes bacteria on your skin.
Stubborn whiteheads and blackheads
Give treatment six to eight weeks to work. If you still see blemishes, you may want to see a dermatologist. A procedure like comedo extraction may help. Prescription-strength acne treatment is another option.
When excess oil, bacteria, and dead skin cells push deeper into the skin and cause inflammation , youll see small, red bumps. The medical word for this type of acne blemish is a papule. They feel hard. If you have a lot of papules, the area may feel like sandpaper.
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How To Determine The Type Of Acne You’re Suffering From
Understanding your blemishes is the first step towards banishing them.
All acne is not created equal, but we can all agree that it’s a bad experience in any form: It pops up at the worst possible time and leaves a mess when it’s gone. There are so many factors that can cause and worsen acnehormones, diet, stress, and environmental damages, to name a few. It gets even more confusing when you factor in all of the different acne types, which are often indicators of those aforementioned factors and changes. Matching them up can feel impossiblebut it doesn’t have to. Here, industry experts explain the forms of blemishes, including the reasons behind them. Armed with this knowledge, you’ll be able to forge the best possible treatment plan for your own skin.
Mostly D’s: Combination Skin
All the signs say you’ve got combination skinthat is, the new normal skin type! “Combination skin is really the most common of all skin types,” says Dr. Rodan. You’ll notice that your skin is oiliest in the regions where your oil glands are most prevalent and dry in areas where they’re lacking. “Try to avoid over-cleansing, which is a common mistake with combination skin.” Instead, wash your face twice daily and only apply a light, oil-free moisturizer in the areas where your skin tends to be driest.” Also be mindful of the pH balance in your cleanser. “A more acidic pH level is better for balancing the oil in your skin.” Dr. Gerstner also recommends investing in a facial cleansing brush, like the Clarisonic. “It’s like a toothbrush for your face!” she says. It’s just that essential.
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How To Determine Your Skin Type In Four Easy Steps
Many factors can influence and change our skin type. However, the guide below will help you get a better idea of your skins overall behavior. This, in turn, will give you a blueprint for choosing the best products and methods to care for it. Read the descriptions below and find out which type sounds most like your skin.
As a general note, this is mainly referring to facial skin. Some principles will also apply to body skin.
Key Questions To Ask Yourself
Acne is a skin condition that affects the oil glands and hair follicles, which are connected to the surface of the skin. When dead skin cells, hair, and oil clump together within a follicle, they can create a plug. Bacteria in the plug can then cause swelling. When the plug starts to break down, a pimple forms.
When it comes to acne, the occasional zit or constellation of blackheads is one thing. With more vigilant face washing and a dab of benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid that you can buy over the counter at the drugstore, within a day or so you’ll be in the clear.
But what if you’re constantly breaking out or frequently have unsightly blemishes, or you have pimples or painful nodules on areas of your body besides your face? That’s another thing altogether. It may mean your acne is severe and you’ll need more aggressive treatment. For instance, acne that’s caused by a hormonal balance sometimes responds well to oral contraceptives.
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Quiz: What Is My Skin Type
A. Dry and tightB. Like another zit produced overnightC. Oily alreadyD. Oily in spots and dry in othersE. Puffy
A. Even drier than before I put moisturizer onB. Like that zit needs another concealer touch upC. My foundation performed a disappearing actD. Oily in spots
E. Paraben- and sulfate-free productsF. Tinted moisturizer
What Are The Factors That Contribute To The Developing Of Acne
There are four main factors which contribute to the development of acne lesions: 1) plugging of the follicles by debris from skin cells 2) inflammation in the skin surrounding the follicles 3) increased production of sebum by the sebaceous glands and 4) the presence of the bacteria Propionibacterium acnes within the follicle. In each individual, these causes may contribute in varying degrees to the onset and duration of acne as well as the type of acne that predominates in a given person. Hormones, genetics, medications, hair or skin care practices, and other factors may contribute to the development of acne.
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How To Identify Different Types Of Acne
Blanket terms like breakouts and blemishes are often used to describe acne. However, these terms hardly take into account the specific differences between acne types. In reality, there are dozens of different types of acne, each with varying symptoms, appearances, and treatment remedies.
Its important to know how to distinguish each type of acne before lumping your potential symptoms into a generic breakout category. Knowing the type of acne you have will guide your treatment plan and help clear up your symptoms more quickly.
Treating Ice Pick Scars
You have a few options for treating ice pick scars. Punch excision is a common ice pick scar treatment. During the procedure, your physician takes a small, cookie-cutter-like tool to cut out the scar. The skin is then glued back together to heal.
Punch grafting is done for larger, deeper ice pick scars. Just like with punch excision, the scarred tissue is removed from the skin. The hole is then filled with a graft of skin .
Although both of these procedures themselves can leave small scars, the resulting scars are flat and level with the surrounding skin, so they are much less noticeable.
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What Your Answers May Mean
- If you had mostly A’s, your acne is likely in the severe range.
- If most of your answers fell into the middle categories, B’s and C’s, your acne probably would be categorized as moderate.
- Mostly D’s indicates mild acne.
Even if you have only mild to moderate acne, a dermatologist can guide you to OTC products to try. And if your acne is severe, a dermatologist can create a treatment plan that’s tailored for you.
Do I Have A Severe Form Acne
Common acne, or acne vulgaris, is categorized by three stages of severity: mild, moderate, and severe acne. Heres how acne specialists and dermatologist decide which stage of acne you have:
- Mild Acne: Your acne is considered to be mild if your skin has only a small number of acne lesions. The marker for mild acne is twenty comedones and fifteen lesions or less.
- Moderate Acne: If you have between twenty and one hundred comedones and fifteen to fifty inflamed acne lesions, your acne is considered to be a moderate case.
- Severe Acne: A severe form of acne not only includes comedones and inflamed acne lesions but also inflamed cysts. More than one hundred comedones, fifty inflammatory lesions, or five pseudocysts.
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Treatment For Inflammatory Acne
Because severe acne is more closely tied to things like hormonal imbalances, genetics and food intolerances, its important to immediately seek treatment from a dermatologist.
I’m a huge fan of natural and non-toxic skincare treatments, but the truth is a majority of the time over-the-counter treatments simply won’t cut it. Not saying it’s impossible, but using countless over the counter treatments will leave you feeling exhausted, defeated and penniless. The longer you put off treatment, the more scarring you risk.
For some, inflammatory acne can be treated with an improved diet. For others, hormonal problems may be contributing to acne. And a small group may just be using the wrong products. This means it could take you a while to determine the deeper root cause.
A dermatologist can work with you to decide the best course of treatment. Most of the time, prescriptions will be tried first. Then antibiotics, and as a last resort Accutane .
Severe inflammatory acne and scarring can lead to depression, social anxiety and other psychological problems. Thats why it’s important to treat it as soon as possible.
Different Kinds Of Acne And How Can You Prevent Them
Acne leaves blemishes on our faces, blots our self-confidence and ruins a good photo opportunity. Everyone hates those stubborn pimples which are often annoying, painful and can leave physical and emotional scars. In the United States alone, eight out of ten people will experience some form of acne between the ages of eleven to thirty.
In the summertime, especially, our skin becomes more exposed to dirt, free radicals and humidity from spending more time outdoors which increases our chances of buildup, and thus, acne on our skin.
We sat down with Ashley Wu, a board-certified Nurse Practitioner at The Dermatology Specialists, to get the inside scoop on the different kinds of acne, how you can help prevent it from happening in the first place, and how to heal frustrating acne scars.
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How Is Acne Treated
Your healthcare provider may suggest some non-prescription medications for your condition. Depending on the conditions severity, your age, the type of acne you have and how effective the over-the-counter remedies have been, you may need stronger prescription medications.
The use of certain contraceptives can sometimes help a womans acne go away. The Food and Drug Administration has approved three types of birth control pills for treating acne. All four contain a combination of estrogen and progesterone .
Various medications and therapies have proven to be effective. They target the underlying factors that contribute to acne. You might require at least one or multiple, depending on the severity of your condition.
Medications applied topically:
Medications taken orally :
Depending on your condition, your healthcare provider might suggest one of these specialized therapies, possibly combined with medication.
Rashes Due To Certain Cancer Drugs
Some targeted therapy drugs for cancer, such as Tarceva , cause a rash that closely resembles acne. People who are taking these medications may frantically try using acne preparations but with no success, since the rash is due to a mechanism unrelated to that of acne.
If you have a rash that looks like acne while going through cancer treatment, talk to your oncologist.
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Are There Any Special Concerns For Women Of Childbearing Age With Acne
Many topical and oral acne treatments are contraindicated during pregnancy. If youre a woman in your childbearing years, its important to discuss acne treatments with your healthcare provider and alert them if you become pregnant. Isotretinoin is known to cause severe birth defects and therefore, two methods of birth control are required while on this medication.
Hormone therapy is helpful for some women with acne, especially for those that flare-up with menstruation or those with signs and symptoms of excess androgen . Hormone therapy consists of low-dose estrogen and progesterone or a medication called spironolactone that blocks the effect of male hormones at the level of the hair follicles and oil glands.
How Severe Can Acne Get
Dermatologists rank acne by severity:
- Grade 1 : mostly whiteheads and blackheads, with a few papules and pustules.
- Grade 2 : multiple papules and pustules, mostly on your face.
- Grade 3 : numerous papules and pustules, along with occasionally inflamed nodules. Your back and chest may also be affected.
- Grade 4 : numerous large, painful and inflamed pustules and nodules.
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Why Do I Have Cystic Acne On My Face
After all, hormones are the cause of acne. Hormones play a vital role in sebum production. Certain hormones, especially male sex hormones such as testosterone, cause more oil to be produced. Some hormones, such as estrogen, cause them to decrease. Cystic acne is caused by two important hormones: testosterone and DHEAS.
Other Types Of Skin Conditions
There are other different types of acne that are not considered acne vulgaris, acne fulmians, or acne mechanica. They can look similar and exhibit comparable symptoms, but they tend to be much more difficult to treat and alleviate. If you are struggling with severe acne-like symptoms, its important to determine exactly what is causing your skin condition to get proper treatment.
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But Cysts And Nodules Are The Most Severe Acne Types
Ask anyone who has ever suffered from a cyst and they’ll tell you that these pus-filled inflammatory blemishes deserve a league of their own. Nodules, pus-free cysts, are equally as awful, and “are the hardest and deepest acne lesions found within the dermis and are associated with a hormonal imbalance,” explains Dr. Akridge. They’re hard and sore, and can take weeksif not monthsto go away. This leads us to the main problem: If you suffer from hormonal acne, even the most curated skincare routine won’t make a difference. What will can only be found in the dermatologist’s office.
“A doctor may need to prescribe a short course of oral antibiotics like tetracycline, not only for the bacterial reduction but also for the antibiotics’ ability to reduce inflammation,” shares Jacqueline Piotaz, a certified esthetician. In more severe cases, spironolactone and isotrentinoin may also be utilized cortisone shots can also be injected directly into cysts for quick relief. Whatever your cystic acne’s severity, it’s critical to leave these blemishes alone: Since nodules exist deep under the surface, you can’t physically extract them at homewhich is why they’re better left to your dermatologist.