Hormonal Acne: What are they and how to treat them?

4 minutes
Hormonal Acne, Hormonal Acne Diet, Hormonal Acne Treatment, Hormonal Acne Causes, Hormonal Imbalance Acne, How To Control Hormonal Acne, How To Get Rid Of Hormonal Acne
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Your skin totally reflects what’s going on within you. Believe it or not, your hormones can cause Acne. Have you observed that your acne outbreaks at the same time as your period, when your hormones are taking a toss? Hormonal Acne is quite common, affecting 29% to 49% of women, depending on age. Study says that 50% of women between 20 to 29 years of age and about 25% of women between age 40 and 49 suffer from Acne problems.

Hormonal Acne is especially common in women because of hormonal fluctuations their body goes through at several stages – puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, menopause etc. Hormonal Acne is usually the result of male hormones and androgens that are produced in women. And,  the biggest culprit is testosterone. 

Hormonal Acne can be treated using effective medication and following a healthy diet and lifestyle. Let’s look at it in detail:

Hormonal Acne: What is it?

Hormonal Acne is a type of Acne caused due to hormonal imbalance in your body. Certain hormones (usually testosterone) stimulate the production of sebum in your skin. A normal amount of sebum keeps your skin fresh, smooth and healthy. However, the extra sebum can clog hair follicles and cause you to develop acne and inflammations.

Hormonal Acne Causes

Hormonal Acne evidently increases when you’re going through:

  1. Menstruation
  2. PCOD
  3. Menopause
  4. Increased androgen levels etc.

How Does Hormonal Imbalance Acne Develop in Women:

Every woman has small amounts of male hormone – testosterone running throughout your body. This hormone helps keep your energy levels up useful for strength and fitness. A tiny increase in this hormone can bother your health and appearance.

Hormonal Acne occurs when your female body produces more male hormones than needed. This is why you observe Acne right before your periods when your androgen levels rise. Likewise, hormonal acne is quite common in puberty too. 

Here’s how increased levels of testosterone cause hormonal Acne:

  • Step 1: Higher testosterone levels trigger sebum production in your skin.
  • Step 2: Extra sebum production clogs hair follicle forming comedones which eventually turn into pimple, whitehead, blackhead etc.
  • Step 3: Acne-forming bacterias get trapped inside clogged pores, causing infection, resulting in a painful, irritated Acne.

Mild acne caused by hormonal imbalance usually goes away in 4 to 5 days after they initially become clogged and inflamed. Some become severely cystic.

Hormonal Acne: How do they look?

Hormonal Acne just like regular acne can vary from mild to severe and one can’t judge the cause of Acne by just looking at it.

Hormonal Acne has the following characteristics: 

✔ They tend to happen on your nose, chin and forehead. But, hormonal Acne can also affect other parts of your face. 

✔ Hormonal Acne also affects your jawline, your cheeks and the areas around your lips.

✔ Mild Acne includes non-painful whiteheads & blackheads.

✔ Moderate Acne are infected inflamed ones. 

✔ Severe ones can lead to Acne nodules and pus-filled, cystic lesions. 

Most of the time, mild hormonal acne resolves itself with no need for medication. Moderate and severe acne surely needs help from a Dermatologist before it worsens.

Get an Acne-treatment kit from a Dermatologist for your skin type and conditions.

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Hormonal Acne Treatment: How To Get Rid Of Hormonal Acne?

Based on the severity of hormonal Acne, they are treated differently. 

✔ In case of mild hormonal Acne, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to treat it without medication. A mild anti-acne ointment (under doctor’s prescription) can clear up the skin as well.

✔  In case of severe ones, it’s best to use oral medication prescribed by a Dermatologist such as oral retinoids or antibiotics that treats acne. Without a proper prescription from a Dermatologist, acne sometimes leads to cystic bumps which are out of reach for most ointments.

Note: Self-medication using over-the-counter (OTC) products and home-remedies usually won’t work on Acne. They may worsen the situation too.

How To Control Hormonal Acne: Do’s and Don’ts

Certain lifestyle and skin care modifications come as a great help to improve mild to moderate hormonal Acne.

Here’s what Dermatologists advice you:

  • Do not scratch, scrap or pick Acne. Open Acne allows bacteria to enter into the pore, causing infections and inflammations.
  • Do wash your face once in the morning and once at night. Too much washing and scrubbing can remove oil from the skin and irritate it more. The skin can respond by producing more oil and so worsening the Acne.
  • Do not use harsh, chemical-heavy face washes as they can irritate your skin leading to Acne outbreaks. Gently use mild soaps or cleansers and warm water, not hot water.
  • Do limit your makeup usage. They can clog your pores and make way for Acne conditions.
  • Don’t let your skin stay sweaty. Shower right after working out to reduce the amount of time your bare skin is exposed to sweat.
  • Drink a cup or two of green/black tea every day. Both have mild anti-inflammatory properties that work miraculously on mild hormonal Acne.
  • Eat more antioxidant-rich foods. While they are not as effective as medicine, they can potentially decrease skin irritation and damage.
  • Do not skip your sunscreen during the day.
  • Use only non-comedogenic products to reduce your risk of clogged pores.

When To See A Doctor For Hormonal Acne

Seek help from a Dermatologist who specializes in skin conditions if:

  • You have a sudden increase in acne.
  • You face recurrent acne breakouts.
  • You’re noticing painful or large pimples.
  • Your acne doesn’t seem to settle by itself.
  • Your acne is affecting your daily functioning.
  • Your acne persists for a long time.
  • Your acne is affecting your self-esteem and social life.

Suffering from hormonal Acne?

See what Dermatologists prescribe for your skin

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  1. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/313084
  2. https://www.forhers.com/blog/what-is-hormonal-Acne-causes-symptoms-and-treatments#:~:text=As%20your%20estrogen%20levels%20decrease,severe%20and%20regular%20Acne%20outbreaks.
  3. https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/Acne/really-Acne/adult-Acne
  4. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamadermatology/fullarticle/2765025
  5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17628912/
  6. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamadermatology/fullarticle/393279

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Chaitra K

Chaitra K

I’m a Skin Care Enthusiast from Bangalore, a writer here @CureSkin teamed up with Expert Dermatologists to spread awareness on the right kind of skin and hair care for men and women. Inspiring people to explore the skin and hair care that suits their need and help them look and feel beautiful is my full-time job. Skin & hair problems affect every person's self-esteem and confidence. Hence I love helping people by giving them the best information about skin and hair health with my writing, driven by the BEST Dermatologists.

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