While hormones are typically not the primary cause of acne, they can play a role, especially when the hormones are imbalanced. For example, certain medical conditions associated with hormonal imbalance are known to cause acne, such as polycystic ovarian disease.
If your acne is associated with your hormones, it is important to understand why this occurs and what you can do to restore hormonal balance and treat your acne so that you are able to enjoy clear and healthy skin.
Your Hormones and Acne
The sex hormones, specifically oestrogen, testosterone and progesterone, can lead to acne when they are not in the proper balance. For example, women who have polycystic ovarian disease can have higher than normal testosterone levels which can cause acne and increased sebum production, a precursor for acne.
When there are changes in your hormones, acne may result due to the following circumstances:
- Excessive production of sebum which can lead to clogged pores
- Dead skin cells that are abnormally sticky and more prone to clogging the pores
- More of the bacteria that is known to cause acne present on the skin
- Excessive amount of androgens, also called male hormones. This can increase acne by causing excessive oil production in both men and women
What Hormonal Acne Looks Like
Hormonal acne in adults tends to occur on the chin, jawline and around the both. In teenagers, this type of acne is usually found on the T-zone area, or the cheeks, forehead and chin. If you primarily only have acne in these areas, there is a high chance that your hormones are the cause.
Regardless of age, this type of acne typically has the following characteristics:
- Pus-filled cysts
- Redness around the pus-filled cyst indicate inflammation
- White bumps below the surface of the skin are common with milder cases
- The cysts may cause pain and discomfort, especially if you try to apply a little pressure to them
Treating Hormonal Acne
The key to treating hormonal acne is to balance the hormones that are causing the problem.
In most cases, it is the androgen hormones that have to be balanced. The most common medication used for this purpose is called spironolactone.
Women may also be prescribed oral contraceptive pills. The birth control pills help to balance a number of hormones, making them ideal for situations where androgens are not the only hormones to blame for hormonal acne.
There are lifestyle and diet changes that people can also consider to enhance the benefits of getting their hormone levels in balance. When it comes to diet, some experts believe that avoiding white flour, sugars, vegetable oil, high-fat dairy products, processed foods and other junks foods are beneficial in keeping your skin clearer.
It is also important to avoid stress because this can further lead to hormone issues. Use things like meditation, deep breathing and other relaxation techniques to keep your stress under control. You also want to ensure that you are sleeping well since sleep plays an integral role in your overall health.
If you believe that your acne is the result of a hormonal imbalance, it is important that you talk to your doctor. The only way to completely treat this type of acne is to get the hormonal imbalance under control. This typically takes medications that target the hormonal balance that you are experiencing.
Your doctor can also recommend treatments that work topically on the breakouts that you are currently experiencing. This treats your acne from the inside out so that you can start experiencing clearer skin faster than just trying to treat one issue alone.