When it comes to acne, particularly for teenagers and young adults, there’s a specific connection between this condition and hormones in the body. Hormone fluctuations are a direct cause of acne, and these age groups experience the largest changes in these areas and therefore deal with this with the greatest frequency.
At Skintherapy, we’re here to remind you during all acne prevention and treatment services that hormones aren’t just a concern for younger people, however. The term “hormonal acne” is used to describe acne that develops in women around the time of their monthly menstrual cycle, and this specific cause for acne comes with a few notable symptoms and differentiators in some cases. Let’s go over all the basics you need to know about hormonal acne, including the groups at risk and some treatment methods available.
Hormonal Acne Causes
Hormonal acne is on the rise in the last few decades, some of which is due to worsening average diets and lifestyle habits, but some of which is also due to changes in the way female hormones are impacting broad groups. But how do hormones cause this sort of acne?
In many cases, the body is producing too much of a given substance, often testosterone or other androgens that should only be made in limited amounts for women. In some situations, these hormones will combine with other acne triggers like bacteria and dead skin cells, creating an even higher acne risk for women at this time of month.
Risk Groups for Hormonal Acne
Like with other forms of acne, the primary risk group for hormonal acne breakouts is young women in the teen and adolescent ranges. However, since women have several hormonal shifts during their life which include pregnancy, breast feeding, perimenopause and menopause, they may encounter hormonal breakouts into their 40s and 50s. Acne overall may affect over three in four teens, and teen girls are at particular risk during the parts of the month closest to their period.
However, it’s important to note that when it comes to hormonal acne, women of all ages can experience it. It can even take place in women who had no acne as teens, but are now developing it later in life.
Hormonal Acne Symptoms
In some cases, hormonal acne will appear a bit differently than other forms. For one, the presence of whiteheads and blackheads tends to be limited – women over 20 who get hormonal acne will usually see it in the form of red, inflamed papules around the chin and jaw area.
In addition, hormonal acne tends to show up on the cheeks and forehead. Bumps or pimples will often last for weeks even with treatment.
There are a few avenues to treating hormonal acne, some of which may overlap:
- OTC treatment: There are several over-the-counter items that will help with hormonal acne, including those with benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid, both of which remove blockages and oil from the skin.
- Prescription treatment: In some cases, visiting an acne specialist for prescribed treatments will be necessary. These could be enhanced versions of similar OTC products, or could also include topical retinoids, antibiotics, hormone blockers or even oral contraceptive pills that may assist some women.
- Prescription-free topical treatments: Some high-quality topical treatments are available without a prescription. These can be effective at reducing acne, especially when combined with lifestyle changes.
- Lifestyle changes: To supplement hormonal acne care, patients may be advised to avoid sugar and greasy foods (also dairy in some cases), take probiotics and supplements, and prioritize organic foods that are free of pesticides and hormones.
For more on treating hormonal acne for women, or to learn about any of our acne treatments, speak to the staff at Skintherapy today.