Everyone has had to deal with acne at some point or another. With a typical person having over 17 square feet of skin on their body, it would only make sense that a blemish or two would occur at some point or another.
A common myth about acne is that it is only indicative of your teenage years. While acne prevalence can certainly increase as a result of the adolescent surge in hormones, some people have to deal with acne throughout their lives. Acne can have a multitude of different causes and hormonal acne can impact your skin in a unique way.
Hormonal acne is a common type of acne that comes as a result of hormonal imbalance. Unlike other forms of acne, hormonal acne is not readily resolved with topicals alone.
To reduce hormonal acne it is important to tackle it from both a surface and internal approach.
Below is a look at different causes of hormonal acne as well as ways that you can attempt to remedy pesky blemishes.
Common Causes of Hormonal Acne
Hormonal acne is a large category of acne that encompasses all of the hormones that can contribute to acne in the body, and is especially prominent along the jawline and chin. Both men and women can experience hormonal acne and understanding some of the common causes of hormonal acne can allow you to understand what treatments would work best for you and your specific acne.
Puberty is among the most common causes of hormonal acne. During puberty, hormone levels skyrocket. This hormonal event during adolescence is what signals growth and maturation. While a necessary aspect of development, many teens experience unwanted side effects like an increase in acne.
While hormonal acne can be treated, during the formative years of adolescence it is advised to exhaust all topical over-the-counter options before other more potentially invasive ingredients and therapies. Typically hormonal acne experienced during adolescence, especially acne caused by puberty-induced dead skin cells accumulation and overactivity in the oil glands resolves once puberty is over. Hormone levels typically decrease back to a baseline and those notorious whiteheads generally clear up as a result.
Consulting a dermatologist is a great resource during this time as they can walk you through all of your treatment options and find you the best acne treatment option for your given hormonal acne, whether that’s finding the right salicylic acid cleanser or trying serums with ingredients like tea tree oil or vitamin A to help soothe inflammation.
Puberty can be an awkward stage of life and while simply waiting until puberty has ended works for some pimples, others may require a more tailored approach to keep a clear face.
Another common cause of hormonal acne is the menstrual cycle. Many women may experience an increase in acne as a part of their monthly cycle because of hormone fluctuations, especially when taking oral contraceptives, i.e. birth control pills.
During menstruation, hormones like estrogen and progesterone fluctuate which is what signals the physiological changes to occur within the body. Commonly women will experience acne just before the start of their period. During this time both estrogen and progesterone levels drop which can cause the sebaceous glands in the skin to produce more oils.
While the menstrual cycle can cause hormonal acne in itself, the cessation of the cycle known as menopause can also cause an increase in the occurrence of acne. During menopause, women experience low levels of hormones which could initiate the same sebaceous secretion experienced during the monthly cycle.
To alleviate menopause symptoms hormone replacement therapy can be utilized to increase hormone levels.
High testosterone levels are another common cause of hormonal acne that is more commonly experienced by men. Testosterone increases the production of sebum in the glands in the skin which can lead to acne. Typically high testosterone hormonal acne is indicative of puberty, but it can also be associated with later in adult life.
One instance when high testosterone-associated acne can occur is during testosterone hormone replacement therapy. During this treatment supplemental testosterone is administered to help alleviate symptoms of low testosterone.
When first being placed on testosterone therapy a prescription could be too strong or result in acne. This form of hormonal acne is easily remedied by lowering the dose or by providing treatments for the acne itself.
Topical solutions represent the first line of treatment when it comes to acne. While hormones can increase the production of oils coming from the skin, this increased rate does not in itself cause acne.
For acne to occur there is typically a blockage of the pores of the skin and a potential subsequent localized infection of bacteria.
Topical solutions work by reducing the chance of blockage and ensuring the surface of the skin is clean and properly nourished.
Skin Care Routine
A regular skincare routine is one of the best ways to effectively get rid of most forms of acne. While you may wash your face before you go to bed, it is important that you also renourish the skin and protect it.
Washing alone is able to remove debris and dead skin from the surface of the skin, but a good moisturizer and skincare routine ensures that the skin retains its moisture and integrity.
Staying consistent with your skincare routine is important in giving your skin a helping hand and reducing the chances of pore blockage and acne. While hormones can increase oil production on the skin, by taking charge of your skin health you can limit the likelihood of developing acne even with the most active sebaceous glands.
If a good skincare routine comes to no avail, topical medication can be prescribed to help with acne. Topical medications commonly utilized include retinoids, antibiotics, and azelaic acid. Topical prescriptions typically come in gels or creams that are utilized in a targeted manner to help alleviate and resolve acne spots.
Because these are considered prescription medication, they must be prescribed by a licensed healthcare professional. If acne is persistent and severe even after trying a good skincare routine, scheduling a visit with your doctor can help you to get on an acne-free road and a topical may be prescribed if necessary.
While topical solutions can help reduce the severity and frequency of acne, internal solutions aim to solve the problem from the inside out. With hormonal acne specifically, getting to the bottom of the issue is important in reducing excessive production of oils on the surface of the skin which can make you more prone to breakouts.
Diet is a great and non-invasive solution that you could utilize to get your hormonal acne under control. Maintaining a healthy hormonal balance throughout your life is all about living a healthy and active lifestyle. Your diet can have drastic impacts on your hormonal health and as such, eating a good diet can allow your hormonal systems to operate to their best potential.
While there is not a singular diet that will improve hormone balance or improve acne, there are some things you should try to avoid. Foods that are high in fats, refined carbohydrates, and foods you have a sensitivity towards should be avoided. While it is okay to indulge occasionally, these foods should be avoided to give your body proper nutrition that will allow your skin to have the best shot at being blemish-free.
Hormone Replacement Therapy
Hormone replacement therapy is a great option for hormonal acne because it tackles the source of the problem which is hormone imbalance. Regardless of your gender, hormone replacement therapy can be an effective means of getting your hormones back to a baseline that could help remedy your hormonal acne.
Abnormal hormone levels can place a damper on your wellbeing and through hormone therapy, many people are able to get back to the things they enjoy free of their hormonal troubles. Hormonal acne is no exception and by assisting your hormonal balance through the supplementation of hormones, you could experience a decreased prevalence of acne.
Hormone replacement therapy requires the supervision of a physician, and Elite HRT can help you navigate hormone replacement therapy in an easy, safe, and efficient way.
The Elite HRT process includes the completion of a medical history form, blood test, physical exam. With three easy prerequisites, Elite HRT can formulate a specific HRT plan tailored specifically to your needs.
In summary, hormonal acne is a complex form of acne that has many possible contributing factors. From menstruation to elevated testosterone, hormonal acne can affect all people regardless of gender.
Because of the complexity of hormonal acne, getting rid of hormonal acne does not have a one-step solution.
To give yourself the best shot of overcoming hormonal acne, a topical and internal approach needs to be adopted. Topicals can help reduce the chances of pore blockage while internal methods can be utilized to reduce excessive oil production and restore hormonal balance. When combined you give your body the best shot at getting rid of pesky hormonal acne.
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Nutrients | Special Issue : The Relationship between Diet and Hormones