How To Tell If Acne Is Hormonal Or Bacterial
Acne is the most common skin condition in the nation and can occur at any stage in life. While primarily impacting teens, the American Academy of Dermatology reports that acne is on the increase in adults.
When oil and dead skin cells clog your skins pores, it causes acne. Hormonal levels have a lot to do with acne, but sometimes the issue is compounded by bacterial concerns, presenting as blackheads, cyst-like lumps, or blockages in your hair follicles. You can tell if acne is hormonal or bacteria by its severity if flare-ups occur during hormonal imbalances, and whether topical treatments resolve the issues, or if systemic medications are needed.
Lets break down how to tell if acne is hormonal or bacterial and look at treatment options.
How To Prevent Hormonal Acne Without Medication
Once you have treated the root cause of your hormonal acne with lifestyle changes, hormonal medications or antibiotics, you may start focusing on preventing hormonal acne from returning.
While it isnt possible to eliminate acne-causing hormones without disrupting essential body functions like the menstrual cycle, it is possible to establish a consistent skincare routine as a method of preventing acne flares.
Luckily, most of the treatments for hormonal acne double as prevention methods, including:
Eliminate Sources Of Chronic Stress And Reduce Cortisol Output
Hormone imbalances are strongly connected to stress. Chronic cortisol, a stress hormone produced by the adrenals, can disrupt the entire endocrine system.
Common sources of chronic cortisol output include lack of sleep, over-exercising and undereating, constant anxiety and worry, unresolved trauma or mental and emotional stress, and even chronic inflammation from a poor diet.
For hormones to be in balanceand hormonal acne to go awayyou must prioritize eliminating sources of chronic stress in your life , improving mental and emotional health , and getting at least 7 hours of sleep each night. Get to bed before 11pm to make sure your cortisol rhythms are properly balanced.
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Make Skin Care Tweaks Based On Your Cycle
Given many peoples adult acne comes around when they get their period, you may consider making skin care adjustments around your cycle. This way youre not using potent products daily, and deploy them only when you know zits might be coming. So when should you get prepared? Start around the second week of your cycle.
On Day 14 there is a surge in luteinizing hormone , which not only harkens a rise in progesterone, but testosterone peaks at Day 14, and these two hormones both contribute to increased sebaceous gland activity and oilier skin including an oily scalp and greasy hair, says Barr. As estrogen levels are declining, there may be more inflammation, irritation, and disruption of the skin barrier and microbiome, which can also contribute to breakouts.
How To Treat Fungal Acne
Heres the thing about fungal acne. Its a skin infection in the hair follicles that needs topical treatment or oral antifungal medication, prescribed by a healthcare provider or dermatologist. There are some home remedies and skincare products that can make it better, but the best way to eliminate it completely is with a prescription anti-fungal treatment that may include oral medication or a cream.
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Signs You’re Dealing With Hormonal Acneand How To Treat It
Ah, hormonal acnethose pesky, painful, and unpleasant pimples that show up at the worst times imaginable . Werent you supposed to shake off acne in your teen years?
Sadly, notespecially if youre battling bouts of hormonal acne, which most commonly appears in adult women ages 20 to 40. And even the post-40 crowd is not in the clear, New York City-based dermatologist Cherise M. Levi, M.D., tells SELF. There can be a resurgence of breakouts around menopause due to hormonal fluctuations in the body.
How can you tell if youre dealing with hormonal acne versus run-of-the-mill acne? Dermatologists use a few key characteristics to pinpoint if a pimple is hormonal. Keep reading to learn how to spot hormonal breakouts, plus six expert-approved hormonal acne treatments.
The Hormones Involved In Hormonal Imbalance And Acne
The five hormones discussed below are big players when it comes to acne.
High estrogen in relation to progesterone is a root cause in many hormonal imbalance conditions, such as PMS, polycystic ovary syndrome , and endometriosis. Estrogen dominance can be caused by exposure to xenoestrogens and inadequate estrogen clearance due to sluggish liver function.
If your liver is overworked dealing with other toxins, estrogen does not get properly metabolized and may then be recirculated back into your system. The resulting high estrogen levels can cause skin inflammation and acne.
Too much testosterone increases the skins production of sebum , which clogs pores and causes acne. At the skin level, testosterone gets converted into DHT, a more aggressive form of testosterone that causes an overdrive of oil production, leading to more acne .
Adequate amounts of progesterone are key because progesterone prevents the conversion of testosterone into DHT. However, many women have low progesterone. So, high estrogen, high testosterone, and low progesterone create a perfect storm for acne, which is why acne is so common in women with PCOS .
Insulin is the hormone that gets secreted by the pancreas to shuttle glucose into our cells so it can be used as fuel. A diet full of sugar and simple starches leads to high insulin levels, which catalyze acne in a variety of ways.
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Inhibitors Of Ovarian Androgen Production
OCPs containing ethinyl estradiol combined with progestins with antiandrogenicactivity are recommended for the treatment of mild to moderate AFA. Although theevidence is limited and somewhat conflicting, combinations containingcyproterone acetate may be slightly more effective than those containing newerprogestins, such as desogestrel, gestodene, levonorgestrel, or norgestimate.Drospirenone-containing OCPs are effective in reducing inflammatory andnon-inflammatory acne lesions. Clinicians should be aware of the absolute andrelative contra-indications of OCPs prior to prescription.7 According to a systematic reviewin 2014, the risk of thromboembolism with OCPs is related to both estrogen andprogestin type. Thus, the higher the estrogen concentration the greater therisk, and for the progestins it was concluded that the second generation have a lower risk than those of the third and fourthgenerations.65
Consider Accutane For Hormonal Acne
STOP! Please dont just scroll by with a big olnope! Despite the myths and supposed horror stories youve heard, Accutane is not as dangerous as youve been led to believe. Yes, its definitely a serious medication , but its honestly the closest thing to an acne cure that dermatologists have, and its usually completed with just one six-month treatment.
Isotretinoin, or Accutane, permanently shrinks your oil glands so they cant be hormonally stimulated as easily anymore, says Dr. Gohara. And no, you dont need a face full of severe, cystic zits to be a candidate either: I have patients with pretty mild yet persistent acne, and because nothing else has worked for them, I have them on Accutane, she says.
Basically, keep your options openif your dermatologist thinks Accutane is the right call for your hormonal acne, at least hear them out, k? And maybe looking at some before-and-after Accutane photos from real people will help calm your nerves, too.
Experts Break Down What Hormonal Acne Actually Is How It Manifests And How To Treat It With Products Diet And Lifestyle Choices
If you’ve ever noticed an increase in acne whenever you’re near your period, chances are that your hormones are fueling the pimples on your face. Even if you stick to your skincare routine and maybe throw in an AHA or BHA to clear your pores and slough away dead skin cells, it can seem as if nothing you do can prevent breakouts during that time of the month.
We understand how frustrating it can be to navigate hormonal acne, especially if you’ve always heard that there’s nothing that can be done about it other than to power through. So, we tapped three skincare experts to break down everything there is to know about hormonal acne, from where it tends to manifest, what age demographic experiences it more, and how to treat it. Their answers, below.
How Do You Know If Acne Is Hormonal
There are several signs that your pimples are related to hormones. According to dermatologists, here are a few signs of hormonal acne:
While wed love to leave acne behind once we enter our 20s, the reality is acne flare-ups are possible at any time. Hormonal acne is the type thats most likely to attack in your 20-something years, since those are the years when people with vaginas tend to be most hormonally active. Your 20s is often the peak childbearing age, says Dr. Jegasothy. This makes people with vaginas more prone to the intense hormonal fluctuations of pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding.
But age alone wont determine whether or not youll break out. Genetics can dictate when hormonal breakouts start and stop. Throughout my professional career, Ive found that nearly half of women in their 20s experience acneand menopause can cause a resurgence of breakouts, Marina Peredo, M.D.6, cosmetic and medical board-certified dermatologist and associate clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital, tells SELF.
This is because these excess hormones in your body stimulate the oil glandsmany of which are around your chin area, says Dr. Peredo. These excess oil glands make your skin a prime spot for these types of breakouts.
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You Break Out Before Your Period
*Small family of zits moves in on chin*
Me to me: Ohh, my period must be coming soon.
Acne is a common PMS symptom linked to fluctuating and falling sex hormones as is the case in the few days to week before your period begins.
Essentially, both oestrogen and progesterone work together in a see-saw to balance the effects of testosterone and keep sebum production under control throughout the month.
When both of these hormones fall away to trigger a bleed, androgens can seize the opportunity to rear their head and host a breakout party for one. This is why its common to experience your worst acne flare ups during the week before your period
If you arent already paying attention to the different symptoms that occur during the different phases of your cycle, a cycle tacker such as Flo or Clue makes it super quick and easy to do so. You may find that you begin to notice patterns that may indicate some hormonal imbalances. If this happens, weve got your back.
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Do You Have Hormonal Acne
The American Academy of Dermatology reports that over 50% of women between the ages of 20-29 and over 25% of women between 40-49 are affected by acne. During puberty, hormonal acne is characterized by breakouts in your T-zone . Pores there are easily clogged there because the T-zone tends to be the oiliest part of the face. As an adult, hormonal acne manifests along the jawline and the lower part of the face . Inflammation is also a key indicator for adult hormonal acne. You may get painful and deep cysts that typically arrive a few days before your period along with shallower breakouts of whiteheads and clogged pores.
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What Is Adult & Hormonal Acne And How Is It Different
We cant discuss adult acne, without explaining acne in general. Acne vulgaris is a complex skin condition that occurs from increased sebum production, chronic inflammation, and the normal skin bacteria Propionibacterium acnes. Although P. acnes is a normal organism that lives on your skin , it causes trouble when it gets trapped under the skins surface. When this happens it wreaks havoc by causing increased inflammation, both on the surface of the skin and in the deeper layers. This is when youll see blackheads, whiteheads, pimples, and cysts start to form.
What causes acne? Now thats a hard question to answer, most derms note. See, there is a genetic link with acnemeaning, you are more likely to have it if someone in your family did or doesbut what actually triggers an individual to develop the condition remain somewhat a mystery: Some people are affected more by diet, others respond to external aggressors like an irritating face product some breakout from stress, others lifestyle habits are to blame. Given the root causes are varied and not totally clear, there is no correct way to treat acne as a whole, given that each case is highly individualized and likely includes multiple confounding causes. Read: Your most effective acne-tending remedy might be different from another persons. Thats OK.
Cosmedica Skincare Products For Acne
Regardless of where your acne is coming from, using the right products from Cosmedica Skincare can help make improvements in your skin. Getting into the right regimen can help your skin maintain a better balance of oil and water, an improved texture and tone, and an enviable glow. Here are some of the best products in skincare technology that we make at Cosmedica Skincare for acne-prone skin.
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Having Breakouts How To Tell If Your Acne Is Hormonal
What is Hormonal Acne and its causes?As the name suggests, hormonal acne is tied to fluctuations in your hormones. It does not only occur during puberty, but it can also affect adults of any age. Hormonal acne is specifically caused by an imbalance of the female hormones estrogen & progesterone and the male hormones testosterone & androgens. When the body is producing excessive amounts of testosterone, especially during a menstrual cycle, it can stimulate the sebaceous glands to produce more sebum.
Because of this hormonal imbalance, it causes an overproduction of oil on your skin and clogs your pores with dead skin cells and dirt, leading to an acne breakout.
There are a few signs that can help you to identify whether your acne is hormonal. These are as follows:
- Your acne might be hormonal if you have other hormonal symptoms too. Since hormonal acne is caused by an underlying hormonal imbalance, it usually doesnt present itself in isolation. Thus, with hormonal acne, you most likely go through a range of symptoms such as PMS, mood swings, irritability, bloating, massive facial hair growth, weight gain etc.
- It can recur once a month, especially near your period. It can come and go throughout your cycle or might just be present throughout. Acne breakouts commonly occur near ovulation or right before periods due to monthly fluctuations in their estrogen and progesterone levels
How to cure hormonal acne?
If You Get Acne On Your Legs This Could Be Why
Hormonal, cystic, or just plain random, acne comes in many forms. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, a staggering “85% of people between the ages of 12 and 24” experience the skin condition in some form, making pimples not only common, but expected. In fact, acne is the eighth most common disease in the world, per PubMed. So, if you struggle with blemishes, rest assured that you’re far from alone.
In recent years, the has taken over. The hashtag is about embracing blemishes and natural skin texture. As explained by consultant dermatologist Dr. Anjali Mahto in 2018, “Skin positivity is about confidence, self-love and reducing the stigma and shame that can be associated with visible skin conditions such as acne, scarring, or birthmarks to name a few.” Celebrities, too, have made their stance on the movement clear. In December 2020, Keke Palmer posted a series of no make-up selfies highlighting her acne. “To all the people struggling with this please know you’re not alone,” she captioned the photos. Products like brightly-colored pimple patches have also become popular since the emergence of the social media-led #acnepositivity movement.
Though acne most commonly pops up on the face, back, and chest , pimples can also form on your legs. Keep in mind, however, these blemishes often form for different reasons entirely.
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How Can I Treat Hormonal Acne
The nice thing about hormonal acne is that it can be treated by dealing with the underlying hormonal imbalances youre experiencing. Some doctors may recommend taking hormonal therapy to balance your hormones. This may be a good solution for some, but there are women who may not want to take the risks associated with hormonal treatment. For these women, natural hormone-balancing supplements provide a good alternative treatment option.
Supplements such as Hertime are not associated with a long list of side effects like those that come with hormone replacement therapy. Hertime contains a variety of vitamins and minerals known to support reproductive health. It also contains herbs such as dong quai, Siberian ginseng, and white peony root. These herbs help to keep female hormones in balance so you not only experience fewer acne breakouts, but less bloating and discomfort around your period as well.
To learn more about how Hertime can help you achieve better hormone balance, take a look at the fun and informational articles we have at Mixhers resources. Our goal is to help you balance your hormones, improve your sex drive, and boost your overall health and happiness. Heres to harnessing Mother Natures most powerful ingredients to make our lives as females even better!
Why Do Androgens Such As Testosterone Cause Acne
Androgens cause changes in the skin and directly drive inflammation. Here are the three reasons why androgens cause acne:
This diagram shows the complex effects of androgens in the skin that cause acne:
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