What Is Hormonal Acne And How Can I Treat It
- Reviewed By: Julie Lamonoff, CNM, OBGYN-NP, Shannon DeVita DNP, FNP-BC, CPNP-PC
Everyone tells us that acne is supposed to go away after puberty is over. In an ideal world, this would be true.
In our world, acne breakouts can and do happen well into adulthood. If you’ve noticed your acne flaring up around the same time each month , you may be experiencing hormonal acne.
Read on for a breakdown of what hormonal acne is, why it happens, and what you can do to get rid of it and get back to your life.
- Hormonal acne happens when hormone fluctuations create the perfect storm for clogged pores.
- The good news is hormonal acne is usually treatable.
- Treatments range from over-the-counter cleansers to prescription medicine to topical creams.
- There are things you can do at home to help prevent breakouts.
You Adjusted Your Fitness Routine
Have an acne problem? Get active. A good workout increases circulation and brings nutrients to the skin while ridding it of cellular debris. If you have a good diet but youre still suffering from acne, a standard fitness routine will do the trick. Make sure that you wash your gym clothes as soon as you can to avoid clogging your pores.
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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Dermatologists Can Help You See Clearer Skin
If your stubborn acne looks like any of these conditions, seeing a dermatologist can be helpful. A dermatologist can tell you whether its stubborn acne or another condition. Your dermatologist can also create a treatment plan for you, whether you have one of these skin conditions that looks like acne or stubborn acne.
Yes, even stubborn acne can be treated successfully. Thanks to advances in acne treatment, virtually everyone can see clearer skin.
ImagesImages 1, 4, 5, and 7: Used with permission of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.
Hormonal Acne Vs Other Pimples
Hormonal acne tends to be cyclical. If you have a vagina, breakouts usually flow with your monthly crimson tide. These zits usually appear on the lower face, jawline, and parts of the neck. Regular pimples are much more random and can pop up anywhere on the face.
Forehead and mid-cheek acne are typically not hormonal acne, while jawline acne can be indicative of hormonal origin, says Zenovia. This is because jawline oil glands are highly sensitive to the hormone fluctuations in your bloodstream.
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How Do I Balance My Hormones
12 Natural Ways to Balance Your Hormones Eat Enough Protein at Every Meal. Consuming an adequate amount of protein is extremely important. Engage in Regular Exercise. Avoid Sugar and Refined Carbs. Learn to Manage Stress. Consume Healthy Fats. Avoid Overeating and Undereating. Drink Green Tea. Eat Fatty Fish Often.
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.
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You Dont Understand Your Acne
We all have different skin types and acne can affect each of us differently. So its important to understand your own acne before you start trying out new treatments or products.
To do this, ask yourself a few questions:
- What is my body type?
- Do I produce more oil than the average person?
- Does my acne get worse at certain periods in time ?
- If so, what does triggering event occurs right before an episode occurs?
- Identify how often you experience breakouts on the forehead/jawline versus other areas like cheeks, chin, etc.?
- Are they isolated pimples or cystic bumps that are painful and take longer to heal?
Once you answer these simple questions, identify which category most closely matches your answer.
At What Point Should You Consider Using Another Contraceptive Entirely
If youre already dealing with acne or are particularly prone to hormonal breakouts, you may want to consider another form of birth control.
Weigh the pros and cons of each method before making your final decision.
Remember: It isnt a given that a hormonal IUD will lead to or worsen existing hormonal acne.
A doctor or dermatologist can help determine the cause of your acne.
If your acne is due to a hormonal imbalance, an oral contraceptive may work best, states Green.
Pills that contain both estrogen and progestin can help manage acne by reducing elevated testosterone levels. The pill isnt the only form of birth control to contain these two hormones. Theyre also found in the patch and the ring.
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Are You Struggling With Acne Due To Fluctuations In Your Hormones
If youre reading this page its probably because youve decided that the contraceptive pill, Accutane/Roaccutane and antibiotics arent the long term answer to your hormonal acne problems. Youve realised this because of all the research youve done, reading blog posts, listening to podcasts and watching vlogs. And now you understand that while conventional medical treatments can clear up your hormonal acne they dont actually treat its underlying cause. This means of course, once you stop them your hormonal acne problems return. And often worse than before! This isnt a great choice to be faced with because from what my hormonal acne patients tell me, having hormonal acne makes you feel like sh#! This is because when youve got hormonal acne that just wont go away it takes over your life.
So if you desperately want picture-perfect skin, but you dont want to poison your body with oral medications or chemicals and synthetic hormones then what is the best skin care routine thats natural and healthy too? The good news is, there is help. This article will discuss the best treatment options that have helped different people with a long-term, effective solution without resorting to the dermatologist, prescription medicine or other painful rituals. I’m about to show you a healthy, effective and long term solution to rid inflammation and even the most severe acne problem in minimum time.
What Gets Rid Of Hormonal Acne Fast
What else can I do to clear hormonal acne? Wash your face in the morning and again in the evening. Apply no more than a pea-size amount of any acne product. Applying too much can dry out your skin and increase irritation. Wear sunscreen every day. Use only noncomedogenic products to reduce your risk of clogged pores.
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Turns Out Acne Is Not Just A Teen Issue
What causes hormonal acne?
The myth of acne is that it belongs to a certain age group: teenagers. If only! Certainly, as women get older the incidence of acne goes down but its still significant, says Dr. Catherine Zip, a Calgary-based dermatologist and spokesperson for the Acne and Rosacea Society of Canada, who sees it frequently in patients.
Whether the condition is more widespread now than in previous generations, or simply talked about more openly, is still under debate. We dont know if its becoming more common because we dont necessarily have statistics from thirty years back on adult acne in women. But it tends to be more hormonally influenced, it tends to change with her menstrual cycle, says Dr. Zip. Thus, as nature would have it, the end of adult acne coincides with another biological milestone: menopause.
Basically, if patients are 35 or 40 years old and still struggling with acne maybe they havent developed it for the first time, but it seems to be more of an issue as they get older I tell them theyre really not going to get over it until they go through menopause.
How to treat hormonal acne
How Long Does Acne Last
Acne normally starts during adolescence and only 20% continue with acne into adulthood. Commonly, most peoples acne starts between the ages of 10-13 and lasts for 5 to 10 years or into the early 20s. It goes away with age and proper treatment. Although these are statistical averages, no one knows how long acne will last for each individual person. Many teens and young adults find that their acne improves as they get older into their 20s and others have acne into their adult years.
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What Else Can Help
Sometimes even though they wash properly and try lotions and oil-free makeup, people get acne anyway and this is totally normal. In fact, some girls who normally have a handle on their acne may get some a few days before their period starts due to hormone changes. This is called premenstrual acne.
Some people get help with acne from a doctor or dermatologist . A doctor may treat the acne with prescription medicines. Depending on the person’s acne, this might mean using prescription creams that prevent pimples from forming, taking antibiotics to kill the bacteria that help create pimples, or if the acne is severe, taking stronger medicines such as isotretinoin, or even having minor surgery. Some girls find that birth control pills help to clear up their acne.
If you look in the mirror and see a pimple, don’t touch it, squeeze it, or pick at it. This might be hard to do it can be pretty tempting to try to get rid of a pimple. But when you play around with pimples, you can cause even more inflammation by popping them or opening them up. Plus, the oil from your hands can’t help! More important, though, picking at pimples can leave tiny, permanent scars on your face.
What Are The Characteristics Of Hormonal Acne
During puberty, hormonal acne often appears in the T-zone. This includes your forehead, nose, and chin.
Hormonal adult acne typically forms on the lower part of your face. This includes the bottom of your cheeks and around your jawline.
For some people, hormonal acne takes the form of blackheads, whiteheads, and small pimples that come to a head, or cysts.
Cysts form deep under the skin and dont come to a head on the surface. These bumps are often tender to the touch.
Hormonal acne may be caused by influxes of hormones from:
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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.
Why Wont My Acne Go Away
If you have been battling acne breakouts for what seems like forever, it can be frustrating to see no improvement. Its also not uncommon for people with acne to start blaming themselves or their lifestyles.
However, there are actually a few reasons why your acne may be sticking around and theyre all easy fixes!
In this blog post, we will discuss 5 hidden reasons that could be keeping your breakouts from going away and how you can fix them.
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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.
Hormonal Acne: Causes Types And Treatments
Hormonal acne refers to breakouts that occur due to hormone fluctuations, particularly a rise in androgens such as testosterone. Although the acne that results from hormonal fluctuations in puberty is typically called hormonal acne, it may affect adults at any age. Its particularly common during menstruation and menopause.
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Why Do Some Adults Have Acne
Although the hormonal fluctuations that cause acne are most common during the teen years, they can also affect adults. Women may experience hormonal swings during their menstrual cycle, pregnancy, and menopause that result in acne breakouts.
Acne can also be a side effect of certain medications, such as anticonvulsants and steroid drugs. Some people may also have a genetic predisposition to acne. One study found that 50% of adults with acne had a parent, sibling, or child with acne.
What Hormones Cause Pimples
Hormones Stimulate Your Skins Oil Glands And its testosterone that plays the biggest role in acne development. Although its typically thought of as a male hormone, ladies have testosterone too, just in lower levels than men. Androgens stimulate the sebaceous glands, making them produce more skin oil or sebum.
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Where Are Your Pimples Popping Up
We often think of the T-zone as the main area for acne breakout, since the forehead, nose and chin are notorious for pumping out lots of sebum in acne-prone skin. But there are other areas of the face that experience acne breakouts. And where those breakouts occur may shed light on the source of the problem.
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:
This diagram shows the complex effects of androgens in the skin that cause acne:
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Traditional Treatments For Hormonal Acne
Unless your hormonal acne is mild, over-the-counter products usually arent successful.
This is because hormonal acne typically takes the form of cystic bumps. These bumps form deep under the skin, out of reach of most topical medications.
Oral medications can work from the inside out to balance your hormones and clear up the skin. Common options include oral contraceptives and anti-androgen drugs.
What Is The Best Treatment For Teenage Acne
Its often hard to pinpoint a specific timeline for anything health-related, especially for physical changes that are linked with puberty, growth, and aging. Your body and genetic makeup have their own unique timetable for all these processes. Its necessary to point out that we dont necessarily outgrow acne, but the nature and type of acne will change for most over time. Acne treatments may include:
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