Hormonal acne refers to a certain type of inflammatory acne that mostly affects adults. It is caused due to the rise of androgen levels which triggers higher sebum production. With increased sebum production, the skin goes through various changes. It starts to witness fluctuating skin cell activity, inflammation, and also Propionibacterium acne, caused by the colonisation of hair follicles.
Hormonal acne is also the result of the constant variation in hormones such as estrogen and progesterone. Menstruation, pregnancy, PCOD, and puberty are some of the reasons for such hormonal imbalances in the human body which are responsible for causing hormonal acne.
Typically, hormonal acne occurs in regions such as the nose, chin, forehead, jawline, cheeks, neck, back, and shoulders. These areas of skin go through inflammation and the excess oil clog pores which worsens the condition of the skin, resulting in acne. Sometimes it leads to the growth of bacteria, which causes this type of hormonal acne.
Symptoms of hormonal acne
Hormonal acne can occur in various shapes and forms. Whiteheads and blackheads are some of the common symptoms of hormonal acne. Whiteheads are open, clogged pores that have a whitish tinge to them whereas blackheads are closed, clogged pores that are darker in color. Cysts, pustules, papules, and nodules are some other forms of hormonal acne. Cysts and nodules develop under the skin as tender lumps. Pustules are pus-filled bumps on the skin which can be painful. Papules are also another type of bump of the skin but usually, appear as pink or red in color.
How to get rid of hormonal acne?
However, a few ways to treat and prevent hormonal acne include:
1. Oral contraceptives or birth control pills
Oral contraceptives are composed of certain components that target hormonal acne and help to reduce them. Drospirenone, norgestimate, and norethindrone are some of the prominent ingredients present in oral contraceptives which help to maintain the hormonal fluctuations during ovulation. However, do check with your doctor before consuming these birth control pills.
2. Make lifestyle changes
- Avoid living a sedentary lifestyle as it is one of the most common issues that lead to hormonal acne.
- Excessive consumption of alcohol, sugar, and caffeine triggers the hormones. So cut down on foods like these and instead one can have green tea or other herbal teas, fresh fruit, and vegetable juices.
- Regular 10-15 minutes of meditation sessions can also help in reducing stress and calming down the fluctuation of hormonal levels.
- Also, lack of sleep is another reason for hormonal acne. Sound sleep is required to let your body heal throughout the body and keep such issues at bay.
Based on the severity of acne, various treatment options are available to reduce sebum production, acne formation, and painful inflammation.
Here are a few treatment options for hormonal acne:
- Blackheads and whiteheads: Topical retinoids
- Inflammatory acne: Topical retinoid and or topical antibiotic and/or benzoyl peroxide.
- Laser and light therapy
- Moderate to severe acne: Antibiotics and/or isotretinoin
- Cystic acne: Intralesional steroid injection.
- Birth control pills: Oral contraceptive pills.
The risk of hormonal acne can be reduced by:
- Daily skin cleansing.
- Lifestyle modifications such as reducing stress, getting better sleep, and eating a healthy diet.
- Regular exercise.
- Use skincare products that won’t clog pores.