Hormonal acne isn’t just acne that pops up around menses – it also includes acne in teenagers and adults during hormonal shifts, women with PCOS, as well as the skin’s general sensitivity to hormonal fluctuations.
Hormonal acne can range from mild (a few pimples around your period or when you’re stressed) to severe and chronic. One thing is for sure, though,hormonal acne can be very frustrating to live with and treat.
I want to help make it a little easier. From one person with hormonal acne to another, here’s everything you need to know about hormonal acne and how to treat it effectively!
Hormones are responsible for the growth of our oil glands and skin, and they do not have the ability to produce acne until they are fully matured. This is why children (unless glands are matured) do not experience acne. The skin is a target for these hormones. Which hormones are we talking about specifically? The four biggest hormones which affect our skin health are estrogen, testosterone, cortisol, and thyroid hormones.
Estrogen is important for determining how our skin looks and feels.As we age our estrogen levels change;our skin becomes dry, fragile, saggy,and has a general decrease in elasticity.The biggest culprit for women over 40 to experience thin, dry skin is typically due to a decrease in estrogen.However, an overproduction of estrogen can be harmful as well. This can cause a worsened cycle, PMS, and hyperpigmentation or discoloration of the skin.
Testosterone helps with sebum production, which is important for skin health and nourishing your skin with natural oils. However, when an overproduction of oil occurs the pore becomes clogged and acne is born! Hormonal changes related to age can cause a difference in testosterone, making your skin more oily and prone to breakouts.
Cortisol, also known as the stress hormone, has a massive impact on our skin (not to mention our mind and body as well).A surge in cortisol causes an increase in sebum production and spike inflammation, one of the biggest triggers for acne.Chronic stress and high levels of cortisol can lead to unhealthy habits of coping like consuming excess alcohol, refined carbs, and sugar, which in turn can all make acne worse.
Thyroid hormones are one more way your skins appearance can be affected.According to Dr. Trevor Cates,
“An overactive thyroid can cause warm, sweaty, and flushed skin, while an active thyroid can lead to dry, coarse skin with a reduced ability to perspire.If you suffer from skin problems and have weight, digestion (constipation or diarrhea), or energy issues (fatigue or feeling overly stimulated),you should talk with your doctor about thyroid testing.”
If you believe that you have a dysfunctional thyroid or to get tested, consider working with a licensed physician to achieve total thyroid health.
Menstruation is a popular time for hormonal acne breakouts, for obvious reasons.
During the ovulatory phase, most people enjoy a brief period of healthy, glowing skin due to peak levels of estrogen (which, aided by progesterone, keeps testosterone at bay). After ovulation is over, estrogen and progesterone levels drop considerably, opening the door for testosterone to play.
Testosterone then causes your skin to pump out sebum which mixes with dead skin cells and inflammation to clog pores and result in all types of hormonal acne.
If you find that your acne flares up around your period, take this time to be more diligent with your skin care, and be mindful of the other steps listed below.Try adding salicylic acid to your routine to really get into your pores and clear them out. It takes a little more effort in planning, but the results speak for themselves.
Yep, stress causes acne. Stress releases the hormone cortisol, which creates inflammation in the body. This inflammation can then lead to impair skin function and an increase in hormonal acne.
Here are a few steps to reduce stress-related hormonal acne.
Although eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables is super healthy for you and your skin, especially during a hormonal breakout, the sugars in processed foods are not. High glycemic foods result in insulin spikes which increases systemic inflammation and can result in more hormonal acne.
The fact is that dairy affects all potential pathways for acne to form, and if you have hormonal acne you’ll want to substitute it with plant alternatives.Eating something like dairy could turn your one or two pimples, into fifty.
Diet is not the miracle answer to acne, but for some people what they eat makes a huge difference in their hormonal acne.
While decreasing consumption of high glycemic foods (especially around your period) can help reduce breakouts, increasing healthy fat intake, eating more probiotics, and eating a diet rich in fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds can also help.
Regular exfoliation is a must for people with hormonal acne. Exfoliation helps to remove the extra sebum and dead skin that can build up and create pimples.
Banish is offering Pumpkin Enzyme Masque which has an exfoliating factor. Itwill help to exfoliate skin and will keep the pores from getting clogged and this will help to avoid the formation of new breakouts and dry those active pimples fast too.
Never underestimate a good face mask, especially when you’re dealing with a bad breakout of hormonal acne.
Clay masks and other oil-absorbing masks help soak up the extra sebum that clogs pores, and treated face masks can even add the help of exfoliation and treatment.
Banish has Activated Charcoal Clay Masque which removes deep-seated dirt from pores and absorbs excess oil too while getting rid of blackheads. It cleans pores and draws out dirt that may be invading pores.
An adaptogen is a plant or plant extract used in herbal medicine which is believed to stabilize the body and create a state of homeostasis or balance.
Ashwagandha and Holy Basil are both popular adaptogens said to help, among other things, reduce stress that can result in hormonal acne.
Adaptogens like Maca and Vitex are touted to help with hormonal side effects and alleviate PMS symptoms, but it isn’t clear whether or not they are effective for acne.
Despite hormonal acne being mostly resistant to long-term remission, many topical products can effectively keep it from erupting. Benzoyl peroxide is an especially safe and effective treatment for all hormonal acne. For mature hormonal acne, retinoids may be a more suitable treatment option.
The topical regimen is very helpful as well. Through using the regimen it has brought a huge transformation on the skin. But skin cleared up the best when combined the regimen and clean and healthy eating.
Banish has Vitamin C Beauty Elixir which revitalizes and adds a burst of hydration to the skin. It doesn’t leave any sticky residue behind and skin will drink up all the wonderful antioxidants, vitamin c, and skin-boosting plant extracts. It contains aloe vera that creates a protective layer over the skin to let it heal quicker and it is soothing and calming to the skin.
Antibiotics should not be used for hormonal acne.
Of course, hormone therapy is an option for hormonal acne that is resistant to other treatments.
IUDs and implants which only release progestin can make acne worse, whereas certain birth control pills increase estrogen levels to combat hormonal acne. For many women with hormonal acne, spironolactone is a very effective treatment option to block androgen receptors.
And, of course, for the very severe cases of hormonal acne, treatment of isotretinoin may be required. Although relapse rates for hormonal acne tend to be higher, it will still decrease the severity.
With consistent therapy (lifestyle, topical, and sometimes oral), hormonal acne can effectively be controlled so you can have your skin – and your life – back!
How long have you had hormonal acne, and have you tried any of these remedies?