Tackling Hormonal Acne
Does that familiar pimple pop up on your face a few days before your menstrual cycle every month? Well, this is hormonal acne.
Let’s take a look at how hormones play a huge role in contributing to acne and how you can treat it.
What is hormonal acne?
Hormonal acne is linked to a fluctuation in the body’s hormones. You are most likely to experience hormonal acne during puberty. However, it can happen to anybody at any age due to fluctuations in the following hormones:
Also called female sex hormones, they are responsible for reproductive development.
A hormone found in the female body that prepares them for conception and pregnancy.
Also called male sex hormones, they are present in women’s bodies as well, in higher amounts than oestrogens. Androgens in women play a vital role in kick-starting the puberty process. A major androgen that plays a vital role in hormonal acne is testosterone.
Disorders in androgen levels can pose a problem for your skin. High levels of androgens are linked to excess sebum production in the skin. This can result in clogged pores and eventually, hormonal acne.
Hormones eventually tend to stabilise in men, which explains why women tend to suffer with hormonal acne long after puberty. Menstrual cycle, pregnancy and menopause can cause hormonal changes in a woman’s body. This may eventually lead to acne breakouts.
What causes hormonal acne?
Fluctuations in hormones before the beginning of your menstrual cycle may trigger acne. A significant number of women reportedly experience premenstrual acne symptoms.
Oestrogen and progesterone levels fall as your “time of the month” approaches. Testosterone levels remain constant, making it the dominant hormone during your period. This can contribute to sebum production, causing your skin to break out.
Women experience a reduction in oestrogen levels and an increase in androgens during menopause. This can also cause you to break-out.
During puberty, androgen levels increase in men and women to increase bone strength and muscle. This can result in an overproduction of sebum, leading to acne breakouts.
Polycystic ovarian syndrome happens during a woman’s child-bearing years. PCOS happens when high levels of androgens prevent the production of oestrogen and progesterone in a woman’s body. This contributes to oily skin and results in hormonal acne symptoms. PCOS can affect a woman’s reproductive cycle and cause her to experience irregular periods as well.
Symptoms of hormonal acne?
During puberty, hormonal acne usually occurs on your forehead and nose bridge. This is because most of your sebaceous glands are located in your T-zone. In adults, hormonal acne usually appears on the bottom part of the face. This includes the cheek and jawline area.
Key ingredients to use on hormonal acne
There is a plethora of cosmeceutical ingredient combinations available for the management and treatment of hormonal acne. While the list is exhaustive, the following can be recommended due to their common presence in most cosmeceutical skin care offerings:
Encourages desquamation by “dissolving” intracellular “cement” with no inflammatory effects. Also deep cleans pores and removes debris within hair follicles.
Topical forms of Azelaic acid can be used to treat inflammatory acne. Azelaic acid has anti-inflammatory properties that can help improve acne symptoms.
Topical retinoids contribute to maintaining your overall skin health and improving texture. They have anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce acne. Side effects of topical retinoids include dryness, itching and redness.
Natural vitamin A functions as a powerful antioxidant with a potent free radical scavenging ability, it improves collagen synthesis by favouring biosynthetic activity of fibroblasts and promotes wound healing.
Please note, retinol is just a specific type of retinoid. Over the counter products usually contain retinol, which is a weaker form, while “retinoids” usually refers to stronger, prescription-level drugs like tretinoin (the generic name for Retin-A), tazarotene, and adapalene.
More specialised treatments may be used to treat hormonal acne; suitable options for homecare and in-clinic treatments should be discussed with your aesthetic practitioner during an in-depth skin care consultation.
Diet Do's and Don’ts for hormonal acne
Certain foods can cause a rise in your blood sugar levels. This releases a hormone called insulin in your body that is linked to an overproduction of sebum.
Foods that may contribute to insulin spikes:
- White bread
- White rice
If you consume these foods regularly, you may be putting your skin at risk.
Consuming foods that fight inflammation can reduce symptoms of acne. These include:
- Foods rich in antioxidants
- Whole grains
- Vitamin A supplements and foods
- Fibre-rich foods
At G&T Aesthetics, we have a variety of in-clinic and at-home treatments available for people suffering from all types and severities of acne. If this is your particular concern, please contact us or book a free consultation by clicking the below link. We’re always happy to help with any skin care concerns or queries you might have.
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