What causes hormonal acne?
During puberty, there is an increase in hormone production, specifically androgens. These hormones stimulate the sebaceous glands, leading to excess sebum production and clogged pores, which can result in acne breakouts.
The menstrual cycle is a complex physiological process that occurs in the reproductive system of females. It involves a series of hormonal changes that prepare the body for a potential pregnancy. One of the key hormones involved in this process is progesterone.
In the days leading up to menstruation, there is a surge in progesterone levels in the body. This increase in progesterone can have various effects on different parts of the body, including the skin. One of the common skin-related effects of elevated progesterone levels is an increase in sebum production.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
PCOS is a hormonal disorder characterized by elevated androgen levels. This hormonal imbalance can contribute to increased sebum production, follicle blockage, and the development of acne.
During pregnancy, the body undergoes a series of hormonal shifts, primarily driven by fluctuations in estrogen and progesterone levels. These hormones, essential for maintaining a healthy pregnancy, can also have an impact on the skin. Specifically, the hormonal changes can influence sebum production and skin cell turnover, leading to the development of hormonal acne.
Sebum, the natural oil produced by the sebaceous glands in the skin, helps keep the skin lubricated and protected. However, when hormonal imbalances occur, the body may produce excess sebum. This excess oil, combined with dead skin cells and bacteria, can clog pores and result in the formation of acne lesions.
As women enter menopause, there is a decrease in estrogen levels. This hormonal shift can disrupt the balance between androgens and estrogens, leading to an increase in sebum production and acne breakouts.
How to get rid of hormonal acne?
Follow a consistent skincare routine
To effectively get rid of hormonal acne, it is crucial to establish and maintain a consistent skincare routine tailored to your skin type.
Cleanse your face twice daily
Use a gentle cleanser that is suitable for your specific skin type. Cleansing helps remove excess oil, dirt, and impurities that can clog pores and contribute to acne breakouts.
Choose non-comedogenic and oil-free products
Look for skincare products, including moisturizers, serums, and makeup, that are labeled as non-comedogenic and oil-free. These formulations are less likely to clog pores and exacerbate acne. Read the product labels carefully to ensure they meet these criteria.
Avoid excessive scrubbing
Scrubbing too harshly can irritate the skin, strip away natural oils, and worsen acne. Instead, be gentle and use soft, circular motions when cleansing or exfoliating.
Steer clear of harsh treatments
Harsh treatments, such as abrasive scrubs, astringents with high alcohol content, or strong chemical peels, can irritate the skin. Opt for milder treatments and avoid using multiple harsh products at the same time, as this can lead to dryness and irritation.
Use topical treatments
When selecting over-the-counter products, look for those containing active ingredients, such as benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, or retinoids.
Benzoyl peroxide helps to kill acne-causing bacteria, reduces inflammation, and unclogs pores. Salicylic acid is effective in exfoliating the skin, removing dead cells, and preventing pore blockage. Retinoids, derived from vitamin A, promote skin cell turnover, reduce oil production, and help prevent clogged pores.
Or consider spot treatments that are formulated to target specific blemishes and can help reduce their size, redness, and inflammation. Apply it only on the affected area, avoiding the surrounding healthy skin. This targeted approach can aid in managing individual acne lesions effectively.
Consider hormonal therapies
If hormonal acne persists despite utilizing skincare and topical treatments, it may be beneficial to consider hormonal therapies. During your consultation, the dermatologist will evaluate your acne and hormonal profile to provide personalized recommendations. They may suggest hormonal therapies, such as combined oral contraceptives or anti-androgen medications.
Combined oral contraceptives contain estrogen and progestin, which can help regulate hormone levels by suppressing the production of androgens. This can reduce excess sebum production and the occurrence of hormonal acne breakouts.
Anti-androgen medications work by blocking the effects of androgens on the skin. They can help reduce sebum production and control hormonal acne. These medications are often prescribed in cases where hormonal imbalances are contributing to persistent acne.
Maintain a healthy lifestyle
Focus on a balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. Avoid excessive consumption of processed foods, sugary snacks, and drinks, as they may contribute to acne breakouts. A healthy diet provides essential nutrients for skin health.
In addition, stay hydrated by drinking an adequate amount of water throughout the day. Proper hydration helps maintain the skin's moisture balance and supports overall skin health.
High-stress levels can contribute to hormonal imbalances and worsen acne breakouts. Incorporating stress-management techniques into your daily routine can help promote hormonal balance and reduce acne-related stress.
Protecting your skin from the harmful effects of UV rays is crucial, especially when using topical acne treatments that can increase sun sensitivity. Here's how to safeguard your skin:
Wear sunscreen daily: Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher to all exposed skin, even on cloudy days. Choose a sunscreen that is non-comedogenic and suitable for your skin type. Reapply every two hours or as directed on the product label.
Cover up: When spending time outdoors, wear protective clothing, such as long sleeves, pants, and a wide-brimmed hat to shield your skin from direct sun exposure.
Seek shade: Limit your time in direct sunlight, particularly during peak hours when the sun's rays are the strongest (usually between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.). Seek shade under trees, umbrellas, or other forms of shelter.
Use sunglasses: Protect your eyes and the delicate skin around them by wearing sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays.
Managing hormonal acne requires a comprehensive approach that addresses both external and internal factors. While it can be challenging to completely eliminate hormonal acne, adopting a consistent skincare routine, using topical treatments, and considering hormonal therapies can help control and reduce breakouts. Additionally, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, managing stress, and seeking professional guidance when needed are essential in managing hormonal acne. Remember that results may vary for individuals, and finding the right combination of treatments may take time