Why Hormonal Acne Happens And What To Do About It
Sick of dealing with pesky pimples well past your teenage years? Read this.
You might assume that pimples disappear later in life. However, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, fifty percent of women ages 20 to 40 deal with adult acne.
Fluctuating hormones, bacteria, excess oil, and dead skin cells all contribute to these types of breakouts. They usually occur throughout your chin, T-zone, and jawline.
It can be challenging to keep your skin blemish-free. Luckily, dermatologist-backed solutions do exist, and were here to help. Read on to learn why hormonal acne happens and what to do about it.
Reduce Inflammation And Breakouts
A good adult acne treatment is to reduce inflammation in breakouts and skin in general. Taking spots and pimples down will reduce redness, size and pain. Look for ingredients such as niacinamide, tea tree oil, spearmint oil and sulphur.
Products to try:
The Body Shop Tea Tree Oil, £8.50, is great for applying neat on top of cystic spots, but avoid applying to broken skin.
Epionce Purifying Spot Gel, £38. It includes spearmint leaf oil, sulphur, vitamin E and zinc to take down blemish size.
Gym For Your Skin’s B-Hit Vitamin B Booster Serum, £37. I recommend this niacinamide serum every day if your skin is sensitive or youre prone to breakouts.
Heres How To Get Rid Of Hormonal Acne
Before you get downtrodden about the finicky nature of hormonal acne, know first that its pesky, but perfectly normal. So normal, in fact, that there are many methods to help treat it.
Most people with hormonal acne have tried over-the-counter treatments to no avail. If they arent working for you, you may need to seek the help of a dermatologist, who can offer prescription hormonal acne treatments. In general, its a good idea to see your dermatologist if you have deep or cystic pimples, because they could be a marker of something more serious, such as a thyroid condition or abnormal hormone levels, adds Jegasothy. Keep reading to learn how to treat hormonal acne.
The hormonal acne treatment pyramid starts with good over-the-counter cleansers. When choosing yours, there are a few key ingredients to look for:
In acne patients of any age, most dermatologists will consider topical retinoids as the first step for treatment of mild to moderate acne, especially when its hormonal. Retinoids help your skin slough off dead skin cells at a more normal rate so the dead skin cells don’t bind together and clog your pores, explains Peredo. They are the preferred avenue for long-term treatment because of the limited severe side effects and are known for preventing new acne in the long term.
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Eat For Optimal Blood Sugar Control
Avoiding blood sugar fluctuations by following a low-glycemic-index diet to control acne is one theory that has gained momentum in the science world.
The glycemic index is a measure of how slowly or quickly a food spikes your blood sugar levels.
Choosing foods with a high GI, such as soda, white bread, candy, sugary cereals, and ice cream, cause dramatic fluctuations in blood sugar and can exacerbate acne .
Eating sugary foods increases levels of insulin, which is a hormone that shuttles sugar out of your blood and into your cells where it can be used for energy. This stimulates the release of other hormones, such as insulin-like growth factor 1 .
This increase in hormones leads to hyperkeratinization and excess sebum production, which can worsen acne (
Therefore, cutting out sugary foods and beverages, as well as refined carbs, such as white pasta, pastries, and white bread, may improve your acne symptoms.
One: Understand That Hormonal Acne Is An Inside Job
The root causes of acne start deep within your body. They dont start at the level of the skin. That means that any changes you make to your skin care routine will only help so much and, if you do nothing else, the root causes of your acne will smolder on. So your first step in easing hormonal acne is shifting your mindset. You can only truly address hormonal acne by understanding it for what it is a condition with internal root causes and then using food, supplement, and lifestyle strategies to address those root causes.
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What Does Hormonal Acne Look Like
“Hormonal acne is almost always cystic and inflammatory in nature, says Love. It presents with painful red papules, pustules, and deep cysts on the lower face, and it can create long-term scarring . At its mildest form, hormonal acne presents with a breakout or two near menstruation, but for many, it can persist all month long.
She explains that hormonal acne most commonly occurs on the lower face and body , but can also present between the brows.
Hormonal Acne: Diet Dos And Donts
The exact role between diet and hormonal acne isnt fully understood. Some foods may help prevent acne particularly inflammation-fighting foods.
Plant-based foods high in antioxidants may help reduce inflammation and promote clearer skin. Omega-3 fatty acids may also decrease skin inflammation.
Contrary to popular belief, junk food alone doesnt cause acne. But overdoing it on certain foods may lead to increased inflammation.
You may consider limiting the following:
- refined carbs, such as white bread and pasta
- red meats
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What About Conventional Hormonal Acne Treatments
Conventional hormonal acne treatment is indicated if YOU feel you need it theres no medical reason to use it. Its a personal choice. If youre at the point of trying pharmaceuticals which theres no shame in. While Id love you to try natural remedies first, if youre not seeing improvement and severe hormonal acne is taking a toll on your quality of life, other treatments can make a really positive difference. If youre at that point, I recommend starting with topical retinoids and azelaic and benzoyl peroxide, which are generally safe topical options.
Struggling with hormonal acne can affect all aspects of your well-being and you shouldnt have to feel resigned to living with the emotional toll it carries. While it can take time, treating hormonal acne from the inside-out as your hormones find their natural, happy balance will allow your skin to truly heal. But no matter what know you are beautiful. Really.
Be sure to get my FREE 7 -Day Hormone Intelligence Quick Start Guide & 7-day meal plan when you order my book Hormone Intelligence!
Laboratory Tests In Patients With Suspected Hormonal Acne
For patients signs of hyperandrogenism, failure to respond to conventional therapies, and with irregular menses, endocrinal evaluation is required at the early menstrual phase . Other hormonal treatments such as oral contraceptives should be terminated and stopped 1 month before laboratory investigations to avoid false results.
Testosterone : minimal to modest elevations of < 200 ng/dL are suggestive of a benign cause of ovarian or adrenal cause while above this level neoplasia of ovarian or adrenal origin should be suspected.
Androstenedione: secreted equally by ovaries and adrenals and follows a circadian rhythm making early morning samples, the best to analyze.
DHEA: high levels of DHEA > 8,000 ng/dL and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate should raise concern of adrenal tumors, while levels of DHEAS indicate benign adrenal hyperplasia.
SHBG: decreased levels of SHBG lead to free unbound testosterone in excess, resulting in more manifested signs.
Prolactin: elevated prolactin could point out to hypothalamic or pituitary causes for further assessment and investigation.
17-Hydroxy progesterone: elevated in congenital adrenal hyperplasia or nonclassic congenital adrenal hyperplasia due to deficiency or absence of 21-hydroxylase.
Luteinizing hormone : follicle-stimulating hormone ratio: a ratio of > 2 is indicative of possible PCOS.
Fasting and postprandial insulin: overweight and obese patients should be checked for insulin levels.
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Acne Has Been Associated With Low Vitamin D Levels
Studies have linked low vitamin D levels to acne. Researchers theorize that due to the vitamins powerful anti-inflammatory properties, a deficiency in this nutrient may worsen acne symptoms .
A study in 80 people with acne and 80 healthy controls found that vitamin D deficiency was detected in nearly 50% of individuals with the condition, compared with only 23% in the control group .
Vitamin D deficiency was also correlated with acne severity, and a follow-up study showed that supplementing with 1,000 IU per day of vitamin D for 2 months significantly improved acne lesions in people who were deficient in this nutrient .
Your medical provider can determine whether youre deficient in vitamin D and recommend an appropriate supplement dosage.
Vitamin D supplements are widely available in stores and online.
At What Age Does Menopause Start And What Are The Skin Symptoms
Menopause is diagnosed 12 months after a womans last period and the average age for this in the UK is 51. At this time, the ovaries stop producing oestrogen and progesterone. Skin becomes drier, thinner and more sensitive, and becomes more reactive to external triggers such as UV, pollution, fragrance, chemicals, sweat and friction, which can cause a breakout.
Some women may have relatively high testosterone so they may break out, grow facial hair and lose hair on the top.
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Hormonal Pathogenesis Of Acne
The pathogenesis of acne vulgaris is multifactorial and involves four main pathways. These include the following: 1) excess sebum production by androgen-mediated stimulation of sebaceous glands, 2) abnormal keratinization of the follicles leading to plugging and comedone formation, 3) Propionibacterium acnes colonization, and 4) inflammation of the follicle and surrounding dermis.,
A significant portion of the circulating androgens is produced by the adrenal gland and the testes or ovaries. As aforementioned, a large portion of androgens are also synthesized in the skin from inactive adrenal precursors including, dehydroepiandrosterone , DHEA-sulfate , and androstenedione . Besides sebaceous glands, other androgen-sensitive components of skin are hair follicles, sweat glands, epidermis, and dermis. These structures contain enzymes important in converting DHEA, DHEA-S, and androstendione into the potent androgens dihydrotestosterone and testosterone. DHT and testosterone are the major androgens that interact with the androgen receptors on sebaceous glands with DHT being 5 to 10 times more potent than testosterone., This conversion of inactive adrenal precursors to potent androgen occurs in sebaceous glands in the presence of several key steroidogenic enzymes: 3Beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase , 17Beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase , and 5Î±-reductase.,
Steroid hormone metabolism
How To Make A Scrub At Home
Exfoliation is the process of removing the top layer of dead skin cells. It may reduce the appearance of scars and discoloration, but more research needs to be done on its ability to treat acne.
The relationship between diet and acne has been debated for years.
Research suggests that dietary factors, such as insulin and glycemic index, may be associated with acne .
A foods glycemic index is a measure of how quickly it raises your blood sugar.
Eating high GI foods causes a spike in insulin, which likely increases sebum production. As a result, high GI foods may directly affect the development and severity of acne.
Foods with a high glycemic index include processed foods, such as:
- white bread
- whole or minimally processed grains
In one study, 66 people followed either a normal or low glycemic diet. After 2 weeks, the individuals consuming a low glycemic diet had lower levels of insulin-like growth factor-1 , a hormone involved in acne development .
Another study in 64 people found that those with moderate or severe acne ate diets with more carbohydrates and a higher glycemic load than those without acne .
These small studies suggest that a low glycemic diet may help those with acne-prone skin. Additional larger, longer studies are needed.
The relationship between dairy and acne is highly controversial.
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Use Acne Supplements Wisely
The one thing that determines how well a supplement works is how much of it you actually absorb.
And that is totally dependent on the health of your gut and digestive system. If these two things are not in good shape, you may not absorb much of the good stuff that its a supplement. And it can look like the supplement isnt working.
So, before you go crazy on supplements make sure youre taking care of your gut.
Once youre doing that then I recommend starting with a good daily multivitamin. It saves you from buying lots of different supplements and you only have to worry about taking one thing.
There are two multivitamins that I quite like and you can get details on what they are in this article on products for hormone balance.
Aside from a daily multivitamin, other acne supplements that are helpful for some women include evening primrose oil, L-lysine, fish oil, zinc, vitex and vitamin C.
What Does The Doc Say
Hormonal acne can be stubborn AF. If at-home treatments arent working its time to call a dermatologist. They can provide you with a tailored treatment approach. They can also help identify any underlying health conditions that might be triggering your acne.
Here are some common treatments your derm may recommend.
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Use Neem Leaves To Get Rid Of Hormonal Acne On Forehead
Neem is an abundant source of antibacterial compounds. It is the ultimate solution to reduce acne that has been used widely even in commercial products.
How to use?
- Grind a few fresh leaves of neem in a blender
- Add water to form a paste
- Apply it on affected areas of your body.
- Let it stay for about twenty minutes
- Wash off with regular water
- Pat dry
Benefits of using Neem leaves
Neem not only kills the bacteria causing hormonal acne but also alleviates the inflammation and redness with its antimicrobial and soothing properties. The use of neem leaves can even cure the hormonal acne on the jawline.
The smell of the plant is quite strong, and few people may be allergic to it. Make sure you choose wisely.
Use Epsom Salt Bath To Cure Hormonal Acne With Natural Treatment
Epsom salt bath is a very beneficial remedy to cure hormonal acne.
How to use?
- Add two cups of Epsom salt in the bathtub of hot water
- Soak yourself in water for about fifteen minutes
- Remove the tub and pat dry with a clean and dry towel
- Repeat the same every day
Benefits of using Epsom salt bath
Epsom salt bath specializes in treating the hormonal acne pain and inflammation. It helps in draining out the bacteria from the body and reduces the tendency of the body to catch the same condition in the future. If you are looking for how to get rid of hormonal acne, this is the way to go.
Make sure the water is not boiling. Moisturize well after the bath.
Other than these natural remedies, there are a few more home remedies which help in curing hormonal acne on the body. Swipe down to know how to get rid of hormonal acne naturally at home with items coming right out of your kitchen.
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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.
Does Hormonal Acne Go Away
If you have hormonal acne now, know this: Youre not doomed to live with it forever. All forms of acne, including hormonal acne, can improve over time as your body adjusts to hormonal or physiological changes, Dr. Rodney says. However, in many cases, its a chronic problem that will be tough to get rid of without personalized treatment.
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How To Reduce Androgens Naturally And Clear Acne
If youre struggling with oily skin and acne, you can pretty much guarantee that you also have higher than normal levels of androgens. Excess androgens go hand-in-hand with acne and the only real way to clear blemishes is to reduce androgens within the body.
While you may think of testosterone as the main acne baddie that needs to be lowered, theres actually another, more potent, androgen hormone that works alongside testosterone which is the real hormone that causes acne, and that hormone is DHT or Dihydrotestosterone.
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.
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