Cystic Acne And Hormones: The Imbalances That Can Occur
There are two primary hormones that cause cystic acne: testosterone and DHEA-S.
Testosterone is a male sex hormone that is still produced by healthy female bodies in small amounts. Testosterone levels often become unhealthfully elevated, mainly because of insulin resistance.
When insulin is high, the ovaries produce excess testosterone.
This causes many problems including the fertility condition Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome.
Treating Hormonal Cause Of Acne
When standard treatments failed to clear the skin, then you are looking at the only option available hormonal treatment. The treatment helps in stimulating the androgen hormones and reduces the oil production. As the treatment stops the occurrence of acne, it gives the best results. However, only a few are experts in this field and requires a blood test before planning the treatment. A properly planned treatment is suitable even for a woman who is experiencing a severe case of acne that existed for several years.
With complete information about acne and the hormone that triggers the same, it is time that you get a thorough checkup before the hormone triggers acne. As there are several treatments available for the cure, choosing the best depends on the dermatologist. In some cases, medicines and topical creams are helpful in reducing acne. However, if there is no sign of relief, making an appointment with a dermatologist is the preferred action. Treating acne is not a tedious task when you understand the root cause. When the dermatologist has all the information in hand, he/she can provide the best-planned treatment that prevents occurrence of acne due to the androgen hormone.
|Written, Edited or Reviewed By:Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc.This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimerLast Modified On: January 29, 2018|
What Is Menopausal Acne
Menopausal acne is when acne appears in women in their 40s and 50s. The cause of menopausal acne is a decrease in estrogen levels or an increase in androgen hormones like testosterone in menopause. Some of the hormonal treatments for menopausal symptoms can also cause hormonal acne. This is especially common in women taking a progestin.
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Learn More About Acne
Acne is one of the most common skin conditions, affecting around 50 million Americans every year. While all acne is hormonal, it can be triggered by a variety of factors, from androgens to stress, medication and more.
Interested in learning more about acne? Our guide to androgen hormones that cause acne goes into more detail about how testosterone and other androgens can trigger an acne outbreak. You can also learn more about common acne triggers in our guide to what causes acne breakouts.
Want to solve your acne breakouts as quickly as possible? Our guide to getting rid of acne fast covers the most effective acne treatments available, as well as the amount of time required for you to see results.
This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your healthcare provider about the risks and benefits of any treatment.
This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.
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Other Reasons For Elevated Testosterone:
- Because of exercise and fasting. You can read more about that in the post How Fasting After Workouts Can Cause Acne, High Testosterone, and PCOS.
DHEA-S is another hormone that acts like a male sex hormone in the body and which stimulates oil production. It is different from testosterone however because it is not produced in the ovaries. It is produced by the adrenal glands.
When you are stressed out, DHEA-S levels rise.
This is a problem for many women with PCOS, since it exacerbates symptoms like cystic acne. It is commonly a problem for women with hypothalamic amenorrhea, too, since women with HA have already put a lot of stress on their bodies.
This is an even greater problem for women who may have both hypothalamic amenorrhea and PCOS .
Then there is one more hormone that causes acne, though not as much as testosterone and DHEA-S. Its progesterone.
Progesterone does not increase oil production in the skin, so it is not quite as cystic as testosterone and DHEA-S are. But it does block estrogen activity in the skin. Estrogen is protective to the skin, so many women who have high progesterone levels often because of the pill or the progesterone IUD suffer from increased acne. You can read more about birth control options and how to manage their health effects in this PDF I wrote on birth control, here.
Yet if testosterone levels or DHEA-S levels are so high, not even high estrogen will be enough to curb their effects.
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Tips For Dealing With Acne Breakouts
Chin Acne Causes Or What Causes Acne On Chin
img source: redd.it
As already mentioned, any pimple or acne comes by when a pore in your skin gets clogged, usually with dead skin cells. Sometimes bacteria get trapped inside the pore, too, causing the area to become red and swollen. There are many things that could be behind or cause acne, and to be specific cause chin acne.
While looking at what causes chin acne, we are going to mention general causes and go to a few specific cases where we will discuss them in detail. You already know a few causes from what we have covered so far. So, what are the reasons for acne on the chin?
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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.
The Science Behind Acne And Periods
The average menstrual cycle is 28 days, and each of these days is different hormonally. âIn the first half of a womanâs menstrual cycle, the predominant hormone is estrogen in the second half, the main hormone is progesterone,â explains ob-gyn Elizabeth Gutrecht Lyster, MD. Lyster is part of Holtorf Medical Group in Orange County, Calif. âThen levels of both hormones fall to their lowest levels of the month as bleeding approaches,â she says.
Meanwhile, the male hormone testosterone stays at a constant level all month. âThis means that before and during menstruation, testosterone is relatively higher than the female hormones,â Lyster says.
These behind-the-scenes hormonal shifts do all sorts of things to a womanâs skin. For one, the mid-cycle progesterone rise stimulates the production of sebum. Sebum is a thick, oily substance that acts as a natural skin lubricant.
âAnd as levels of progesterone increase, skin swells and pores are compressed shut,â explains dermatologist Audrey Kunin, MD, of DERMAdoctor.com. As a result, pores never looked so minimized. âBut this tourniquet effect also causes sebum to build up beneath the skinâs surface.â
In addition, higher testosterone levels around menstruation further activate the sebaceous glands to make even more sebum.
Unfortunately, you canât change the relationship between acne and hormones. But there are some things you can do to make those breakouts less severe.
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These Key Things Are Causing Your Cystic Acne
Acne including the cystic sort comes from many different sources.
Dermatologists would have you believe that acne is caused by bacteria overgrowth in the pores of your skin. This is somewhat true -bacteria does play a role. Yet this is a very limited understanding of the processes that cause acne. Every person in the world has bacteria all over their skin. Yet some people get acne, and others do not.
How do we account for that difference?
Its not simply because of genetics.
Acne is caused by many different internal factors. You can think of these factors like the trigger on top of genetics: genes predispose you to acne, but you only get acne if you trigger them with the right signal.
How Hormones Can Cause Oily Skin
Many of the skin changes you may experience around puberty and later in life are due to small glands called sebaceous glands. These sebaceous glands produce and secrete an oily substance called sebum. Starting around puberty, sebaceous glands increase in size, and begin to secrete sebum, with the most sebum secreted between 15-35 years of age . The medical term for the condition of having oily skin is called seborrhea, and has different causes.
Sebaceous glands, like many other parts of the skin, have receptors which are influenced by sex hormones. These glands are affected most dramatically by androgens, which are male sex hormones like testosterone, but are present in both sexes . These androgens increase the production of sebum during puberty in both sexes . When there are more androgens binding to the receptors on the sebaceous glands, more sebum is produced. This can lead to noticeably oilier skin, and may progress to acne.
Many other factors play a role in sebum levels: genetics, seasonal changes, excessive sun exposure, and overuse or misuse of skin care products all can affect the oiliness of your skin .
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Insulin And Insulin Growth Factor 1
Insulin stimulates the growth and maturation of sebaceous glands. This action is mediated through upregulation of GH receptors on the sebocytes by insulin. Moreover, insulin inhibits SHBG production from the liver and further plays a positive feedback effect on adrenal and ovarian androgenesis. The controversial link between diet and acne can be explained by the fact that highly glycemic index foods result in insulin release and in turn excess androgen and sebum production.
Acne On Chin And Neck
If you have acne on chin and neck, it could be an indication for PCOS which affects your lower face including your cheeks, jawline, chin, and upper neck. Any other cause of acne under the chin can also cause them on the neck.
Generally, if you often get acne on your neck, it is a sign that your body might be battling with a bacterial infection.
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Risks And Side Effects
While you can begin by tackling hormonal acne on your own at home, you may want to visit a dermatologist if your condition is reoccurring or worsening. Your doctor/dermatologist can help pinpoint any underlying conditions that might be contributing to our breakouts, such as PCOS, high testosterone or cortisol levels, a thyroid condition, or another hormone issue.
If the treatments above dont seem to be doing enough to reduce your breakouts, speak with your dermatologist about other options such as antiandrogen drugs, which block androgen receptors to decrease the actions and effects of testosterone, or stronger topical prescriptions to fight acne-causing bacteria.
When treating hormonal acne yourself, theres potential to experience some side effects depending on the specific products and treatments you use. Some topical products might cause dry, red, flaky, painful skin at first, so make sure to follow directions, and remember that less may be more when it comes to improving your skins appearance.
If you have sensitive skin, such as eczema, dermatitis or rosacea, some products, such as retinoids and certain cleaners, may be too harsh. Certain products are also not safe when youre pregnant, so get your doctors advice if this applies to you.
The Role Of Hormones In Acne Formation
Acne may be known as hormonal acne because one major causative factor is the hormone testosterone.
Testosterone levels go up in the teenage years as part of puberty. This causes male development in boys and gives muscle and bone strength in girls.
The hormone also has the effect of increasing sebum production at the base of hairs. This is because the glands that secrete the oil are sensitive to testosterone.
Other hormones play a part in acne, too. For women, hormonal changes relating to pregnancy or the menstrual cycle can also trigger acne. Falling estrogen levels may increase the risk of acne around menopause.
The role of progesteroneremains unclear.
Conditions that affect hormone levels, for example polycystic ovary syndrome
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Is Menopausal Acne A Form Of Hormonal Acne
Many women begin to experience menopause in their 40s and 50s. This causes a natural decline in your reproductive hormones, resulting in an end to menstruation.
Some women experience acne during menopause. This is likely due to a drop in estrogen levels or an increase in androgen hormones like testosterone.
You may still experience menopausal acne even if youre using hormone replacement therapies to ease your menopause symptoms. This is because some HRTs use an influx of the hormone progestin to replace the estrogen and progesterone your body loses. Introducing this hormone to your system can cause your skin to break out.
In most cases, prescription medication can clear up menopausal acne. Some women may find success using natural treatment methods. Talk to your doctor about which options may be right for you.
Reasons For Adult Acne
Yes, adults get acne. Some adults continue to get acne well into their 30s, 40s, and even 50s. It is even possible to get acne for the first time as an adult. Dermatologists call this adult-onset acne. It is most common among women going through menopause.
Women tend to get adult acne more often than men do. If youre getting acne as an adult, it is likely due to one or more of the following reasons.
Fluctuating hormone levels: An imbalance can lead to breakouts.
Women often experience fluctuating hormones:
Around their periods
During pregnancy, peri-menopause, and menopause
After discontinuing birth control pills
Stress: Researchers have found a relationship between stress and acne flare-ups. In response to stress, our bodies produce more androgens . These hormones stimulate the oil glands and hair follicles in the skin, which can lead to acne. This explains why acne can be an ongoing problem when we find ourselves under constant stress.
Family history: Does a close blood relative, such as a parent, brother, or sister have acne? Findings from research studies suggest that some people may have a genetic predisposition for acne. People who have this predisposition be more likely to get adult acne.
Hair and skin care products: If you have adult acne, you should read the labels on your skin care and hair care products. Make sure that you see one of the following terms on every container:
Wont clog pores
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How To Treat Hormonal Acne
Everyones skin is different and reacts differently, so it might take some trial and error before you find what works best for you.
“Using a face mask weekly in addition to your regular routine is a convenient way to treat the early signs of hormonal acne with simple over-the-counter products,” says Dr Tomizawa.
“Choose a mask that contains sulfur as it will help with inflammation and reducing oil. Sulfur draws impurities to the surface and helps to unclog blocked pores. It is a keratolytic, which means it can act as a natural exfoliant that helps the new layer of skin underneath regenerate and grow.”
“Cleansing, treating and moisturising is also an effective solution for treating any form of acne. Ensure that you are using products that are specifically designed for sensitive and oily skin with active ingredients.”
Other ingredients you should be looking out for include benzoyl peroxide, and other aforementioned keratolytics such as salicylic acid, glycolic acid and azelaic acid which are all available over the counter.
Many women, however, find benzoyl peroxide can be too drying on the skin so salicylic acid and glycolic acid can be good options to try instead.
Some types of contraceptive pill are often prescribed by doctors as treatments for acne.