'Hormonal' doesn't mean 'irreversible'. If you struggle with hormonal acne, here's what you can do.
Hormones tend to be considered unchangeable. But some hormonal conditions can be managed—even hormonal acne. Whether you're a teenager facing puberty or an adult struggling with a sudden hormonal shift, there's plenty you can do to help matters.
Hormones are the body's chemical messengers, a convenient way to send information from one part of the body to another. In sending messages, though, hormones sometimes undermine skin health. The signals may be amplified in such a way that your face overproduces the oil that leads to acne.
What Causes Hormonal Acne?
Most cases of hormonal acne occur when hormones cause your skin to produce too much sebum—the oil that keeps your skin healthy and lubricated. This oil can become trapped in your pores along with makeup and other debris, leading to blackheads and whiteheads. When bacteria enters the equation, the result is red, inflamed pimples.
Some of the most common causes of hormonal acne include:
- Puberty: Girls and boys both produce oestrogen, testosterone, and other hormones in larger quantities than before, potentially triggering breakouts.
- Endocrine system disorders: Medical conditions that throw your endocrine system into turmoil, such as polycystic ovarian syndrome and diabetes, may alter hormone levels, leading to breakouts.
- Certain medications: Steroids act directly on hormones, potentially triggering breakouts.
For some people, breakouts are the first sign that their hormones are out of whack. If your skin suddenly is mired in breakouts, it's time to talk to your doctor.
How Can I Treat Hormonal Acne?
Hormones don't necessarily cause permanent acne. But because the underlying problem will continue until you get your hormones in line, you should talk to your doctor before trying traditional acne treatments.
He or she may prescribe oral medications to ensure your hormones are functioning properly or topical acne treatments—particularly if other treatments have failed.
If you get the go-ahead from your physician to try over-the-counter acne remedies, embrace the following ritual:
- Keep your skin clean at all times. Remove makeup as soon as you no longer need to wear it, and wash your face before bed each night. Don't exercise in makeup, since the sweat can trap bacteria and sebum in your pores. Try Alpha-H Triple Action Cleanser for an acne-friendly cleansing.
- Don't pick at blemishes, since doing so can introduce more bacteria into the skin, worsening the breakout.
- Use a spot treatment to treat painful, inflamed blemishes.
- Moisturise your skin with an oil-free, acne-friendly product. Even acne-prone skin needs moisturiser, especially with the use of strong acne products. If your skin becomes too dry, it may overproduce sebum, leading to more breakouts.