Acne is a skin condition that happens when the follicles of your hair become clogged with oil and dead skin cells. Individuals of any age can have this skin condition but it is more common among those in their teens. While most people may know acne as the pimples on your face and other areas of your body, it can also refer to other skin issues such as whiteheads and blackheads.
Everyone can experience acne at any given time. Several factors can cause acne, including those that irritate or cause the skin to become imbalanced. These factors may include high levels of stress, dirt buildup on the skin, persistent oiliness, dietary factors, and many more.
In some cases, the skin type of a person can also determine how prone they are to getting acne in their lifetime. Those with naturally oily skin will experience more build-up and can be more susceptible to severe skin conditions than people who do not have such issues.
More often, acne can occur between the age of 10 and 13 when puberty begins for most boys and girls. In some cases, this skin condition tends to be the most severe among teenage boys. Acne can also last anywhere from 5 to 10 years and then naturally go away on its own when you reach your twenties.
What is hormonal acne?
For some people, severe acne may persist throughout their adult years, which can be more difficult to treat and remove completely. Known as hormonal acne or adult acne, genetic and hormonal factors play the biggest role in this skin condition.
Unlike teenage acne, hormonal acne more commonly occurs in adult women and typically affects the lower parts of their faces. These breakouts can occur during a woman’s menstrual cycle, transition to menopause, or treatment involving oral contraceptives.
Nearly all cases of acne can be treated and removed with the use of modern treatment and technology and by sticking to a few skincare basics.
However, fluctuations in hormone levels may continue to aggravate this skin condition and increase inflammation. Having these adverse reactions can make it more difficult to treat your skin, taking as many as several weeks before completely clearing out. In rare cases, someone with hormonal acne may not be treated for this condition completely.
What are the symptoms and factors that cause hormonal acne?
Hormonal acne is significantly different from regular acne that teenagers are often prone to. This skin condition is directly correlated to the fluctuating levels of estrogen and progesterone hormones.
Such fluctuations are more commonly seen in women during their menstrual cycles because they have stronger volumes of these hormones in their bodies. But despite this fact, it does not mean that men are immune to this type of acne.
There are several ways to differentiate hormonal acne from other types of acne. Here are some of the most common symptoms and factors you should look out for the next time you experience a breakout.
Hormonal acne can occur at any given time after your teenage years and is more common among people in their twenties. For women, more breakouts occur during this time because they are in the age group where they are most hormonally active. Hormonal fluctuations that typically happen during pregnancy, childbirth, and lactation can also cause acne.
- How often they appear
A common symptom of hormonal acne is that it occurs in a cycled pattern, typically during a woman’s menstrual cycle. This implies that breakouts can occur at any time as hormones begin to fluctuate as a way of preparing the body for its monthly cycle.
It is also not uncommon for women who are postmenopausal to experience this type of acne since their hormone levels continue to fluctuate despite the lower estrogen levels.
Your genetics can play a major factor in determining how your hormonal acne may begin and end during your lifetime. In many cases, women experience these breakouts during their twenties and then the condition can slowly go away after some years.
However, other hormonal changes in the future such as menopause can also cause these breakouts to return temporarily. This can prompt women to seek more skincare treatments and routines later on in their lives.
- Stress levels
Stress is one of the biggest factors that can affect how often your skin breaks out even in your teenage years. Those who experience monthly hormonal changes and fluctuations are more likely to go through episodes of acute stress, which can cause flares to quickly show up.
- The area where the pimples or breakouts occur
One of the best ways to determine if you are experiencing hormonal acne is by determining where on your face the breakouts happen. This type of acne typically shows up on the lower side of your face, most especially on the jawline and chin areas. The excess oil glands can cause your pores to clog and cause your skin to become inflamed with acne.
- Painful pimples or cyst
Painful brown or dark spots around your lower face are common problems that occur when you have hormonal acne. These breakouts typically occur in the form of a painful cyst that lies deeper under the surface of the skin. Often, these cysts show up around the same area each time and may require professional treatment to clear up.
- Dietary habits
The foods you eat can affect how your body absorbs nutrients that cause your skin to become healthier or worse. Having an unbalanced diet can cause you to break out more often than you’d like and can also harm your overall health in the process. Consider improving your diet by adding more variety of healthy meals to achieve holistic health.
- Medical conditions
Some medical conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) can cause hormone imbalances that play a role in your breakouts.
How can you treat hormonal acne?
There are several ways you can treat hormonal acne from the comforts of your own home. However, some cases may require stronger treatment to clear acne scars and other marks.
- Over-the-counter skincare products
Most cases of hormonal acne can be treated with a basic cleanser and a regular skincare routine. Opt for cleansers that have ingredients such as salicylic or glycolic acid and probiotics for acne-prone skin. These products can help clear up bacteria build-up and balance your skin’s natural pH levels. Most dermatologists recommend washing your face with these cleansers once during the day and before bed for the best results.
- Birth control pills
Getting on and off oral contraceptives can cause your hormones to fluctuate and trigger breakouts at random. Consider talking to your doctor and ask for recommendations on how you can regulate your system to treat hormonal acne. Depending on your condition and needs, you may be advised to take other medications as well.
Also known as Accutane, Isotretinoin is a type of vitamin that is taken orally. The main function of taking this medication is to help reduce the amount of oil that the glands in your skin regularly release. As a result, the skin can recover and renew itself more quickly to reduce the severity of hormonal acne breakouts.
Most dermatologists and doctors would typically prescribe this medication solely for severe cases of hormonal acne due to the several side effects it can cause. It is also only prescribed when all other forms of treatment are deemed ineffective or not strong enough.
- Topical retinoids
Topical retinoids are one of the most commonly given types of acne treatments and solutions for anyone experiencing breakouts at any age. These creams help your skin get rid of dead skin cells and speed up the process so that they don’t clog your pores and bind together. This option can be used as a long-term treatment and act as a preventative measure so that no new blemishes will appear.
Most topical retinoids can be bought over the counter at any local pharmacy or online. They may also range in intensity. However, higher concentrations can be harsh on sensitive skin and typically require the prescription of a dermatologist.
- Regular skincare treatments
Getting regular checkups and cleaning treatments from your dermatologist can be one of the best ways to keep your skin clean and clear of any blemishes. Generally, most dermatologists recommend getting a facial once a month or as frequently as needed for your skin’s average life cycle.
Regular checkups with your doctor also grant you the benefit of knowing which products are best to use on your skin. From there, you can customize your skincare routine safely without suffering the side effects of harsh products.
Dealing with adult acne
Waking up to a skin breakout can be a frustrating and uncomfortable experience for many. In most cases, acne can be treated with regular skincare routines and professional treatment. However, if these breakouts seem to show up in a pattern it may be a sign of hormonal acne.