February 2, 2024

From Teens to Adults: Conquer Hormonal Acne Once and for All!

Written by our expert


Avanthika Nityanand

M.Sc Human Genetics, B.Sc Plant Biology & Plant Biotechnology

From Teens to Adults: Conquer Hormonal Acne Once and for All!
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What is Hormonal Acne?

Hormonal acne is a specific type of acne due to fluctuations in hormone levels, particularly androgens like testosterone and estrogen.

It's often characterized by deep, painful cysts, typically around the jawline, chin, and neck.

Unlike regular acne, hormonal acne tends to be persistent and recurrent, often occurring in cycles, such as during menstruation.

What Causes Hormonal Acne?

Hormonal acne primarily results from imbalances in hormones.

Androgens stimulate the sebaceous glands, leading to excess oil production.

This, in turn, can clog hair follicles and promote the growth of acne-causing bacteria.

Factors like puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, menopause, and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) can trigger hormonal fluctuations, contributing to acne breakouts.

woman squeezing her pimples with her fingers
Photo by Anna Nekrashevich on Pexels.com

How to Treat Hormonal Acne

Treatment options for hormonal acne vary depending on its severity.

Dermatologists often recommend:

  1. Topical Treatments: These include retinoids, benzoyl peroxide, and salicylic acid, which can help unclog pores and reduce inflammation.
  2. Oral Contraceptives: Birth control pills containing estrogen and progestin can regulate hormones and improve acne.
  3. Anti-Androgen Medications: Spironolactone is commonly prescribed to block the effects of androgens on the skin.
  4. Isotretinoin: Reserved for severe cases, this oral medication can provide long-term relief from hormonal acne.

Natural Remedies for Controlling Hormonal Acne

Hormonal acne, often linked with fluctuations in hormone levels, can be particularly challenging to manage.

While prescription medications and topical treatments are commonly used, several natural remedies can help control hormonal acne.

It's important to remember that what works for one person might not work for another, and it's always a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional before trying new treatments.

Here are some natural methods to consider:

Dietary Adjustments: Certain foods can influence hormone levels and inflammation in the body. Incorporating a diet rich in whole foods, fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains while reducing the intake of sugar, dairy, and processed foods may help manage hormonal acne.

Herbal Supplements: Some herbs are believed to help balance hormones. For instance, spearmint tea has been studied for its potential to reduce androgen levels in women. [ref] Vitex (chasteberry), evening primrose oil, and green tea extracts are other supplements that some people find helpful.

Stress Management: Stress can impact hormone levels, so managing stress through techniques like yoga, meditation, deep breathing, or regular exercise can be beneficial.

Adequate Sleep: Quality sleep is crucial for hormone regulation. Ensuring you get enough restful sleep can help in managing hormonal acne.

Natural Topical Treatments: Certain natural substances can be applied topically to help reduce acne. Tea tree oil, for example, has antimicrobial properties and can be diluted and applied to acne spots. Aloe vera, known for its soothing properties, can also be beneficial.

Regular Exercise: Regular physical activity can help regulate hormones and reduce stress, possibly contributing to acne control.

Proper Skin Care Routine: Using gentle, non-comedogenic skin care products and maintaining a consistent routine can help manage acne. Avoid harsh scrubs or overwashing, as this can aggravate the skin.

Hydration: Drinking plenty of water can help flush out toxins and keep the skin hydrated.

Avoiding Certain Triggers: Some people find that certain triggers, like specific foods, skincare products, or environmental factors, can exacerbate their acne. Keeping a diary and noting any correlations can be useful.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids: In fish oil, flaxseed, and walnuts, omega-3s can help reduce inflammation and potentially benefit skin health.

It's crucial to approach these remedies with realistic expectations and give them time to work.

Consulting a dermatologist is advisable for a more targeted treatment approach in cases of severe or persistent hormonal acne.

How to Tell if Acne is Hormonal or Bacterial

Distinguishing hormonal acne from bacterial acne can be challenging, but hormonal acne tends to be deeper, cystic, and concentrated around the jawline, chin, and neck.

Bacterial acne, on the other hand, typically presents as whiteheads and blackheads spread across the face.

Here's a table highlighting the key differences between hormonal and bacterial acne:

AspectHormonal AcneBacterial Acne
CausesCaused primarily by hormonal fluctuations. Common triggers include menstrual cycles, puberty, pregnancy, and menopause.It fluctuates with hormonal changes and may worsen during specific times in the menstrual cycle.
Typical AgeIt is common in teenagers but can affect people of all ages.It often affects adults, especially women. It can occur at any age but is common in adults over 25.
LocationIt can occur anywhere on the body but is most common on the face, back, and shoulders.Stress, humidity, certain cosmetics, or poor hygiene can exacerbate it.
AppearanceLesions can be deep, cystic, and painful. Often appear in a cyclical pattern.Includes whiteheads, blackheads, and inflamed red pimples.
TreatmentOften treated with hormonal therapy, such as birth control pills or anti-androgens. Topical retinoids and antibiotics may also be used.Treatment usually includes topical or oral antibiotics, retinoids, and benzoyl peroxide.
FluctuationIt can be consistent or fluctuate due to external factors like hygiene, diet, and humidity.Typically, it appears on the lower face, chin, and jawline.
Skin TextureUsually, it involves oily skin due to excess sebum production.It may not be oily; it is often associated with skin dryness or normal skin in the affected area.
Associated FactorsIt can be exacerbated by stress, humidity, certain cosmetics, or poor hygiene.Often associated with other signs of hormone imbalance, such as irregular periods, hair loss, or excessive hair growth.
Response to TreatmentMay respond slowly to standard acne treatments and often requires long-term management.Often responds well to antibacterial treatments and changes in skincare routines.

Why Do Adults Get Hormonal Acne?

Hormonal acne can affect adults due to various factors, including stress, medication, underlying health conditions, and fluctuations in hormone levels as we age.

It's not limited to teenagers and can persist well into adulthood.

Main Takeaway

Hormonal acne is a specific type of acne triggered by hormonal imbalances, often causing deep, painful cysts.

Treatment options include topical and oral medications, and natural remedies can complement medical treatments.

It's crucial to consult a dermatologist to determine the most suitable approach for managing hormonal acne based on its severity and underlying causes.

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