Hormonal acne, commonly referred to as adult acne, is very common. Unlike acne caused by bacteria or a fungus, hormonal acne develops when your body experiences hormonal changes. This change causes an overproduction of sebum (an oily substance) that clogs pores and can lead to pimples.
While hormonal acne can be unavoidable, especially if you’re pregnant or going through menopause, there are treatments that can prevent future breakouts. This article will shed light on hormonal acne and ways to combat this skin condition. From using the right skincare products to decreasing your stress levels, here’s everything you should know:
1. Identify Your Acne Type
Before starting any acne treatment, you should first determine whether or not you have fungal, bacterial, or hormonal acne. While all types can look similar, they’re caused by different factors and may need different types of treatment.
Fungal acne is when there’s an overgrowth of yeast within the hair follicles on your skin. These breakouts are typically small, even, and sometimes red. They’re most common on the forehead and cheeks, as well as the upper chest and back. Fungal acne is typically itchy, and usually more prevalent in the summer when yeast can grow.
Hormonal acne develops from hormonal changes that cause an overproduction of sebum. These breakouts can appear as whiteheads, blackheads, cysts, papules (raised bumps), or pustules (skin bumps with pus).
Bacterial acne is also caused by an overproduction of sebum and can have the same symptoms as hormonal acne. The difference is, a hormonal acne treatment, like a topical, will most likely not cure bacterial acne. That’s why it’s important to determine the type of acne you have before looking
2. Try A Retinoid
Retinoids are compounds derived from vitamin A. Because of their anti-aging and skin-clearing benefits, they’re a popular ingredient in skincare products. Retinol creams have been known to decongest pores, control oil production, and aid in exfoliation. They also have collagen-stimulating effects, making them even more attractive to adults wanting to maintain youthful skin.
A popular prescription retinoid is called tretinoin. This cream works by speeding up your body’s skin cell turnover cycle. As a result, regularly using tretinoin can have several benefits. For example, it can help unclog your pores, stimulate collagen, and reduce pigmentation and inflammation.
You may be thinking, “Well that’s great, but how can it help with hormonal acne?” Tretinoin puts a stop to breakouts by encouraging your skin cells to shed quicker. This keeps dead skin cells and oils from building up and clogging your pores, helping your skin stay clear.
3. Consider Your Diet
Believe it or not, hormonal acne can be a direct result of your diet. For example, dairy is known to increase testosterone production, which can lead to an increase in sebum production and cause acne. Dairy also contains its own hormones, which can interfere with your hormonal balance. If you’re experiencing hormonal acne, consider eliminating or reducing your dairy intake.
Processed foods and those that are high in sugar can also wreak havoc on your skin. These foods can cause an insulin spike, which can impact your hormones and cause acne. While this doesn’t mean you can’t eat carbs anymore, it’s important to be mindful of what you’re putting into your body. Thankfully, there are foods that can help combat hormonal acne. For example, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and quality protein.
Some people don’t realize exactly how impactful food can be on their skin. The reality is, when your gut health is off, your skin can become irritated and you may notice breakouts, redness, etc. Integrating food that’s good for your health can do wonders for your skin.
4. Limit Stress
Chances are, you know stress can impact your health. Studies have found that chronic stress can cause anxiety, depression, heart disease, weight gain, sleep problems, and more. Well, it turns out, stress can also cause hormonal acne.
When you stress, hormones are released that cause an inflammatory response in your body. Inflammation is a big part of acne because it causes breakouts to rise, swell, and fill with puss. The best thing you can do for your skin is to reduce inflammation by decreasing your stress.
While stress is common, that doesn’t make it good for you. That’s why it’s important to find ways to alleviate stress as much as possible. One way to do so is by identifying your triggers. What makes you stressed? Maybe it’s coming home to a dirty house or working too many long hours. Instead of accepting these triggers, try to mitigate them. That might mean using a cleaning service once a month or getting a new job.
It’s important to remember that stress, no matter how severe, can be managed. The sooner you find ways to alleviate stress, the sooner you’ll see an improvement in your skin health, mental health, and physical health.
About 50% of women in their 20s, and almost 30% in their 40s experience hormonal acne. It’s that prevalent. But just because it’s common, doesn’t make this type of acne any better. Hormonal acne can be embarrassing and make you feel insecure about yourself. Thankfully, the tips above can help you combat acne and achieve clear skin.