Dealing with Hormonal Acne: The Ups and Downs

You have probably heard of hormonal acne. If you suspect that you have it, keep on reading to distinguish which characteristics are present in this condition. We’ll also talk about natural ways of treating it, as well as some do’s and don’ts.

What Is Hormonal Acne?

Hormonal acne is most commonly associated with fluctuations of hormones during puberty. However, it can also occur throughout adult life, and is particularly typical in women. Around 50% of women between 20-29 years old experience acne, while 25% of women between 40-49 have it.

There are many factors that contribute to its occurrence, including menopause and menstruation.

Defining Characteristics

Dealing with Hormonal Acne: The Ups and Downs

  • Hormonal acne appears in the T-zone, most often during puberty. The T-zone includes the chin, nose, and forehead.
  • Hormonal acne in adults is commonly found in the lower section of the face, including the jawline and the bottom of the cheeks.
  • Hormonal acne can manifest in different forms, such as whiteheads, blackheads, tiny pimples, and even cysts. Cysts form under the skin and do not come out on the skin’s surface. Once touched, they can be tender and painful.

Possible Causes

Hormonal acne is caused by an abnormal rise of hormones, caused by one or more of the following:

  • menstruation
  • menopause
  • increased androgen levels
  • polycystic ovarian syndrome

Aggravated Symptoms

Because of the conditions listed above which cause an influx of hormones, the symptoms of hormonal acne are worsened. The following are some of the aggravated issues with hormonal acne:

  • Increased oil production in the skin
  • Skin inflammation throughout the body
  • Clogging of skin cells, particularly in hair follicles
  • Growth and reproduction of the acne-causing bacteria Propionibacterium acnes

How To Treat Hormonal Acne

Treating Hormonal Acne Naturally

While there are medications and invasive treatment options available (please consult your dermatologist), we will only talk about the natural ways to clear hormonal acne. Much research is still needed to completely prove the efficacy of these treatments. If you are taking other medications, ask your doctor to avoid any drug interactions and adverse reactions.

One advantage of natural treatments is the lack of side effects that are common with prescription medication. There have been several cases where plant-based treatment such as the following have been effective in clearing up mild cases of hormonal acne.

Tea Tree Oil

Dealing with Hormonal Acne: The Ups and Downs

Tea tree oil decreases the inflammation in the skin which contributes to and aggravates existing acne. It is effective for mild to moderate cases of acne. It is a common ingredient used in many skincare products today because of its efficacy in cleansers, toners, and even spot treatments.

Alpha Hydroxy Acids

Dealing with Hormonal Acne: The Ups and Downs

AHAs are plant acids that get rid of excess dead skin cells, which end up clogging the pores of the skin. AHAs are derived primarily from citrus fruits. Aside from removing dead skin cells, they also help in reducing the unsightly appearance of acne scars. You’ll find AHAs in masks, creams, and cleansers. Remember to wear sunscreen when using products with AHAs, since they increase sun sensitivity.

Green Tea

Dealing with Hormonal Acne: The Ups and Downs

Green tea isn’t just a nice beverage to enjoy during cold weather. Its health benefits span a wide range, even in skincare. It is a potent anti-inflammatory. 

You can enjoy the benefits of green tea by drinking a few cups daily, in addition to using it in your skincare routine. A lot of skincare products have been incorporating green tea because of its potent ability to decrease inflammation. You can find it in lotions, gels, and facial cleansers.

Diet Modifications When Treating Hormonal Acne

Dealing with Hormonal Acne: The Ups and Downs

While there is no clear-cut correlation between diet and hormonal acne, there are some foods that can help in its treatment and prevention. 

Consider adding the following to your daily meals:

  • Plant-based foods that are rich in antioxidants can help lower inflammation while also improving skin clarity and texture. Examples are eggplant, grapes, berries, red wine and tea.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids aren’t just good for your cardiovascular health. They also decrease skin inflammation efficiently. Get your Omega-3 fatty acids from seafood such as mackerel, salmon, herring, cod liver oil, sardines, anchovies, oysters, and caviar. Vegetarian options rich in Omega-3 fatty acids include chia seeds, brussels sprouts, hemp seeds, walnuts, and flaxseeds.

Try to avoid, or at least limit your consumption of the following:

  • Junk food
  • Carbonated beverages
  • Refined sugars
  • Refined carbohydrates (pasta, white bread)
  • Dairy products
  • Red meats

Skincare Routine 

In addition to general good personal hygiene, you should exercise the following practices:

  • Washing your face twice: In the morning and in the evening
  • Limiting the use of anti-acne products to a pea-sized amount (too much can cause dryness and irritation)
  • Using only non-comedogenic skincare products to avoid pore clogging and irritation
  • Wearing sunscreen daily, no matter what the season

A Final Word

Dealing with Hormonal Acne: The Ups and Downs

Hormonal acne can occur at varying stages of adult life, or as early as puberty. There is no saying when it will happen, and just how severe it is going to be. The best thing to do is to be proactive by practicing good personal hygiene, having a healthy diet, and practicing preventive measures.

If you do develop acne, don’t be impatient - it often takes around 2 months (or longer) for most acne treatment efforts to take full effect! If the acne does not disappear, or become worse, consult a dermatologist for treatment.