Tuesday, September 19, 2023

How Do You Know If Acne Is Hormonal

Does Progesterone Cause Acne

How Do I Know If My Acne Is Hormonal?

Yes, fluctuation in the levels of sex hormones during your menstrual cycle may also contribute to acne before your period.

Progesterone levels rise during the middle of the cycle. This may stimulate the sebaceous glands in the skin. However, the role of progesterone in sebum production is uncertain.

Increased progesterone may also raise your body temperature and worsen sweating, leading to clogged pores. This buildup of sebum beneath the skins surface along with dirt, dead skin cells, and bacteria results in breakouts of acne before and during your period.

Its The Most Stubborn Acne Youve Got

Hormonal acne seems to be much more stubborn than other types of acne. I know that for me personally, the hormonal acne around my chin has always been 100% the most stubborn acne on my face.

Or maybe you found a great skin care routine that makes a huge difference for most of your acne, but it wont make a dent in the hormonal stuff.

Aggravating, no?

How Can You Cure Hormonal Acne Without Knowing The Hormone Levels

This seems like a pretty obvious question, but as I was just saying, you might find your doctor doesnt see it this way though.

You might have already experienced going to your doctor and asking to get your hormones tested and found there werent too keen to do it. The reason for this is because medical treatments are really strong. The birth control pill and Accutane/Roaccutane usually work regardless of what type of hormone imbalance you have, so your doctor thinks why to bother testing.

They know the medications are that powerful that they will just override any hormonal imbalance.

But the problem with these treatments is that when you stop them, your hormonal imbalance returns and so does your acne. So if you want to get rid of your acne for good, then you need to balance out your hormones.

So when you want to solve your hormonal acne issues naturally, we need to know what your hormone levels are like. So testing becomes critically important. When you do the testing, you know what your hormone levels are which then allows you to be very specific around the herbs and supplements youll use.

Because if you dont test, all you can do is guess at what you need, and this is where most people are at.

So what I see a lot in my clinic is patients come to see me and theyre taking a whole heap of supplements, but theyve still got acne. And this is because they dont really know what they should be taking and what theyre taking isnt correcting their hormone imbalance.

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Natural Remedies And Supplements

There are many nutritional supplements on the market that claim to treat menopause and hormone imbalance. However, few of them are backed up by scientific evidence.

Many of these supplements contain plant-derived hormones. These are sometimes called bioidentical hormones because they chemically resemble the bodys natural hormones. Theres no evidence to suggest that they work better than regular hormone therapy, though.

Some people find that yoga helps treat symptoms of hormonal imbalance. Yoga is excellent for your strength, flexibility, and balance. It may also aid in weight loss, which can help regulate your hormones.

You can also make the following lifestyle changes:

  • Lose weight. A

The primary cause of acne is excess oil production, which leads to clogged pores. Acne is most common in areas with many oil glands, including the:

Acne is often associated with pubescent hormonal changes, but theres actually a lifelong relationship between acne and hormones.

You Break Out Before Your Period

Estrogen dominance and acne

*Small family of zits moves in on chin*

Me to me: Ohh, my period must be coming soon.

Sound familiar?

Acne is a common PMS symptom linked to fluctuating and falling sex hormones as is the case in the few days to week before your period begins.

Essentially, both oestrogen and progesterone work together in a see-saw to balance the effects of testosterone and keep sebum production under control throughout the month.

When both of these hormones fall away to trigger a bleed, androgens can seize the opportunity to rear their head and host a breakout party for one. This is why its common to experience your worst acne flare ups during the week before your period

If you arent already paying attention to the different symptoms that occur during the different phases of your cycle, a cycle tacker such as Flo or Clue makes it super quick and easy to do so. You may find that you begin to notice patterns that may indicate some hormonal imbalances. If this happens, weve got your back.

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If It’s Timed Around Your Period

Do you tend to break out around your period? This is an incredibly common, and research-backed, phenomenon: According to a survey, almost two-thirds of acne-prone women report having flares before or on their menses . And while the exact mechanism of this is not confirmed, the most general understanding tends to be the increased presence of the hormone androgens, specifically DHEA-S, which stimulates the sebaceous glands to produce excess sebum.

Why There Is No Best Birth Control For Hormonal Acne

When I was researching for this blog post, I found that LOTS of women were searching the phrase the best birth control for hormonal acne.

I dont blame women for thinking hormonal birth control is the solution. Most women know a beneficial side effect of hormonal birth control is a reduction in acne. And if you go to your doctor complaining of hormonal acne, theyll likely prescribe you the Pill and send you on your way.

But, have you ever heard about birth control making acne WORSE?

Heres the funny thing about the Pill: for some women it clears acne up, and for others, it makes acne worse. In both cases, the root cause of hormonal acne still isnt being addressed, and long-term it makes matters worse.

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Why Do Androgens Such As Testosterone Cause Acne

Androgens cause changes in the skin and directly drive inflammation. Here are the three reasons why androgens cause acne:

  • The sebaceous glands are very rich in androgen receptors. As soon as androgens meet their receptors, the sebaceous glands produce more sebum. This causes greasiness of the skin and a build up of sebum in the pores. The sebaceous glands are also where the precursors are converted to Testosterone and DHT.
  • Androgens may also be important in clogging hair follicles and causing comedones to be formed.
  • HEA-S is a stimulator of inflammation. It causes T cells in the skin to produce IL2 and drives inflammation leading to acne spots.
  • This diagram shows the complex effects of androgens in the skin that cause acne:

    The Best Skincare Products For Hormonal Acne

    Hormonal Acne Symptoms – 6 SIGNS YOU HAVE HORMONAL ACNE

    The best acne treatment is the Intensive Clarity Treatment 0.5% Pure Retinol Night. This product contains a variety of acne-fighting ingredients such as salicylic acid, retinol and niacinamide. Retinol is the most effective treatment in calming acne as it stimulates cell turnover and is anti-inflammatory, minimizing the appearance of acne and preventing further hormonal breakouts. This is also an effective cystic acne treatment as niacinamide soothes inflammation and reduces oil production. Niacinamide is gentle and effective, meaning it this treatment wont irritate sensitive cystic acne. Niacinamide also reduces water loss, keeping your skin hydrated which is essential in preventing excess oil production, and calms sensitive acne.

    The Super Serum Advance+ is another brilliant serum to achieve heathy, acne-free skin. Detoxifying vitamin C protects your skin and reduces the appearance of hormonal acne. This serum also stimulates collagen production, which helps your acne heal, and reduces the appearance of possible acne scarring. This treatment is extremely effective in healing your skin and preventing further breakouts.

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    B Ayurvedic Essential Oils For Hormonal Acne

    1. Jojoba Oil

    Jojoba oil is known for its Vata- Pitta balancing properties. Topical application of jojoba oil on the area affected by hormonal acne can help in controlling sebum production. Its anti-inflammatory nature helps in reducing inflamed acne lesions such as papules, pustules, cysts and nodules. Its antimicrobial nature fosters the healing process and reduces acne causing bacteria.

    2. Turmeric Oil

    Turmerics natural anti-inflammatory, antiseptic properties prevents the formation of acne and controls the proliferation of Propionibacterium acnes bacteria. It is also highly effective on acne scars and blemishes. Mix it with a carrier oil as its direct application may irritate your skin.

    3. Neem Oil

    A natural antiseptic, anti-bacterial oil, neem helps improve your skin condition and prevents acne breakouts. It also reduces inflammations and helps improve your overall skin condition. Do a patch test before applying neem oil directly to the affected area or mix it with a carrier oil and apply.

    4. Coconut Oil

    5. Hibiscus Oil

    Hibiscus oil has multiple benefits when it comes to treating skin disorders such as hormonal acne. It can help to regulate sebum secretion and prevent clogging of pores. Mild saponins present in hibiscus can clear your pores and prevent the formation of acne. It helps to balance aggravates Pitta and thereby reduces acne inflammations.

    How Does Hormonal Acne Look Like

    Hormonal acne or Mukhadushika may range from mild, moderate to severe acne lesions. For adults, it usually appears in various facial areas such as the lower face, forehead and across the jaw. Hormonal acne in teenagers often shows up in the T-zone where there are more sebaceous glands.

    Mild acne lesions may be characterized by a few comedones , pustules and papules. Moderate to severe hormonal acne is likely to cover a larger section of the face with inflamed acne lesions such as pustules, papules, cysts and nodules.

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    Retinoids And Other Topical Products

    Natural products like green tea may have some positive effects on mild acne. However, theyre usually not powerful enough to produce any improvement in moderate to severe outbreaks of hormonal acne.

    Retinoids, on the other hand, can be powerful tools for controlling your hormonal acne. Made using a derivative of vitamin A, retinoids work by speeding up your skins growth process and causing your skin to turn over more quickly than normal.

    This faster turnover process means sebum doesnt have as much time to build up inside your pores, resulting in fewer pimples and milder hormonal acne outbreaks.

    Retinoids can be applied topically or taken orally. The most common topical retinoid is tretinoin, a retinoic acid that you can find in our acne and other skincare products.

    Using tretinoin is simple all you need to do is apply it daily. Studies of tretinoin for acne usually show that it takes three to six months to control most acne, making topical retinoids like tretinoin a mainstay of medical acne treatment.

    If It Comes From Stress

    Pin by Jasmyn on Dermatonics

    We know that hormones can be affected by internal and external factors: Research shows that stress changes the levels of the corticotropin-releasing hormone both in the blood and in the sebaceous gland itself, which doubly affects sebum production. In other words: Stress can cause more sebum production which can help create an ideal environment for bacteria to flourish on the skin. We also know from research that stress causes more inflammation in the body, including skin. The combination of these factors can cause hormone-related breakouts during times of stress.

    Board-certified dermatologist Jaimie Glick, M.D. agrees that together these form a one-two punch: Overactive sebum production means excess oil traps dead skin cells in our pores. This becomes an ideal environment for the rapid multiplication of the common bacteria that live on our skin. The result is pores that are very inflamed and can quickly become painful pimples. And to top it all off, your body may be less able to deal with existing acne and scarring when you’re really stressed. ” has shown that stress can slow down healing, which may worsen acne and acne scarring,” says Glick.

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    Eliminate Sources Of Chronic Stress And Reduce Cortisol Output

    Hormone imbalances are strongly connected to stress. Chronic cortisol, a stress hormone produced by the adrenals, can disrupt the entire endocrine system.

    Common sources of chronic cortisol output include lack of sleep, over-exercising and undereating, constant anxiety and worry, unresolved trauma or mental and emotional stress, and even chronic inflammation from a poor diet.

    For hormones to be in balanceand hormonal acne to go awayyou must prioritize eliminating sources of chronic stress in your life , improving mental and emotional health , and getting at least 7 hours of sleep each night. Get to bed before 11pm to make sure your cortisol rhythms are properly balanced.

    Add Zinc To Your Diet Or Facial Products

    I use Dr. Baileys Zinc bar to wash my face. I use this both morning and night and leave on my face like a mask for 2-3 minutes at a time.

    I first heard about Baileys Zinc Bar in a Facebook group. I looked up the bar, expecting it to cost an arm and a leg. I was SHOCKED to see it be a reasonable price! I then started researching Zinc. I found out that Zinc is actually one of the most widely studied forms of acne treatment!

    According to Dermatology Research and Practice, zinc can resolve a wide range of skin ailments. The antioxidant impact on inflammation and bacteria-fighting properties are the two primary ways that zinc can reduce the occurrence of acne and breakouts.

    Because our bodies do not store the trace mineral zinc, we need to get it from external sources. You can get internal zinc from food or supplements and you can get topical zinc from medicinal cream.

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    What Is Causing My Hormonal Imbalance

    Hormones go out of balance for a reason. Its not like testosterone just has a bad day and decides to start bullying all the other hormones.

    No, something is interfering with your hormone levels! Maybe something like…

    Stopping Birth Control

    Birth control pills are primarily made up of estrogen and progestin. As we now know, estrogen suppresses the oily effects of testosterone and other androgens. Thats why the pill is often prescribed to deal with acne.

    However, if youre coming off the pill, you may experience an androgen rebound as your androgen production reboots.

    This can cause Post-Birth Control Syndrome, a type of acne that can appear anywhere on the body as androgens like testosterone start to reassert themselves on your skin and pores.


    We all know stress is bad for us. But if youre struggling to relax, your skin also suffers. The more we stress, the more our body generates those sebum-producing androgen hormones, leading to clogged pores and breakouts.


    The pressure to meet global food demands has resulted in more pesticide-sprayed crops, which are, in turn, linked to hormone disruption among people who eat them.

    But its not just pesticides that could be behind your hormonal imbalance. Dairy, for one, has also been linked with acne. It spurs the production of androgens like DHT, the hormone linked to sebum production.

    Household & Personal Care Products

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    If you have tried topical treatments consistently for 2-3 months and still dont see any improvement or if your acne is severe, consult a board-certified dermatologist to receive an evaluation for a personalized acne treatment plan. Your doctor may prescribe oral medication such as antibiotics or isotretinoin for more severe, persistent cases.

    Do not let your skin scar before you seek help! Even though there are treatments for scarring, active acne must be treated completely before acne therapy can ensue.

    There are a host of professional treatments for scarring including chemical peels and laser resurfacing. Again, dont wait until you need these treatments- get help with your acne and start early.

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    What Can You Do At Home To Prevent Acne

    In addition to treating your acne flare-ups as they happen, you also want to take care of your skin between breakouts.

    • A few things you can do at home include):
    • Keeping your hands off your face throughout the day
    • Being gentle on your skin
    • Washing your face twice a day with a fragrance-free, gentle cleanser
    • Washing your skin immediately after working out or sweating for any other reason
    • Avoiding astringents, toners, and exfoliants that may irritate your skin
    • Staying out of the sun and using sunscreen to protect your skin when you go outside
    • Sticking to non-comedogenic makeup and moisturizers

    At best, hormonal acne can be a minor annoyance. At worst, it can be a painful ordeal that brings up feelings of anxiety or embarrassment. Though acne is a natural process that you should never feel ashamed of, it is still understandable to want to make it go away.

    Treating hormonal acne can be an ongoing process, but you and your healthcare provider can experiment until you find a solution that works for you. If you’re interested in seeing how birth control can help with hormonal acne, we can help! Let us help you pick the best birth control for you.

    • Office on Women’s Health. Womenshealth.gov. Acne. Updated December 27, 2018.

    • National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. NIAMS.NIH.gov. What is Acne? Definition & Types. Reviewed August 1, 2020.

    • American Academy of Dermatology Association. AAD.org. Adult Acne. Accessed June 9, 2021.

    Natural Remedies For Hormonal Acne

    Certain plant-based strategies can treat mild hormonal acne. However, they may be not as effective as conventional methods, and research on the efficacy of these treatments is lacking. One of these natural treatments is tea tree oil. Although tea tree oil is generally safe, your health care provider can verify whether it will interact with any medications youre taking.

    These self-care tips may help clear acne or keep it from getting worse:

    • Wash your face gently, no more than twice a day, and after heavy sweating.
    • Use mild cleansers or soaps and lukewarm water.
    • Avoid exfoliating products or harsh scrubs.
    • Dont rub, pick, or scrape your pimples since this can cause inflammation.
    • If you wear makeup, look for non-comedogenic options when possible.
    • Avoid humid environments, which lead to sweating.

    Excessive washing and scrubbing can actually worsen acne, as it may remove too much oil from your skin and cause irritation. In response, your skin may secrete more oil, worsening the acne.

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