What Causes Hormonal Acne And Why Am I Experiencing It
Hormone imbalances are the primary cause of hormonal acne flare-ups. Hormonal acne can be triggered by menstrual cycles, menopause, and even your birth control pills and hormones coated IUDs. Using the wrong skincare, eating the wrong foods, and stress can affect our hormones and cause more acne.
Androgen hormones are referred to as “male hormones,” but they are present in males and females. The most well-known androgens are testosterone and dihydrotestosterone Research has shown that there are androgen receptors in the base of the oil gland that lines pores, so if there are high testosterone levels in the body, they are more likely to bind to these receptors. More oil means more acne-causing bacteria more acne-causing bacteria means more blockages and breakouts.
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Best overall hormonal acne treatment
This skincare kit includes products with a range of ingredients commonly used to treat and prevent acne, including benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, glycolic acid, sulfur, and azelaic acid.
The products also contain natural ingredients that aim to soothe irritated skin, such as green tea, aloe vera, and passionflower and sage extract.
The company states that the kit is suitable for people with all skin types, including people with sensitive skin. It recommends using the products as part of a morning and evening cleansing routine.
The cleanser and tonic come in 4-ounce bottles, and the serums come in 1.7-oz containers.
The company offers a 1-year money-back guarantee.
The basic kit costs $59.95.
What Are The Symptoms Of Hormonal Acne
For teenagers, hormonal acne breakouts will often appear in the same places as typical teen acne: the forehead, cheeks, around the mouth, and the chin. Unlike teenage acne which is predominantly on the upper parts of the face, hormonal acne appears mostly on the lower parts of the face around the mouth, chin, and lower jawline. Though the chin and jawline are the most common locations for adult hormonal acne, the face and sides of the neck may also be affected.
Like teenage acne, hormonal acne will include comedones . Many women with hormonal acne will also have “under-the-skin bumps”, cysts that are not red or visible on the skin’s surface.
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Take Your Vitamins And Herbs
While hormonal acne is stubborn, there are some easy strategies you can take to balance hormones for acne relief naturally and it starts with vitamins and herbs.
Vitex for Acne
In women, hormonal acne typically manifests along the jawline and chin. If this sounds familiar, taking Vitex for acne may be a successful treatment.
Vitex agnus castus, also known as Chasteberry, is a womans herb thats been traditionally used for hormonal imbalances. Its been used for menstrual symptoms of low progesterone in the luteal phase . These symptoms include depression, crying, mood swings, acne, nervousness and anxiety.
Vitex has also been used as a natural remedy for treating such symptoms of high estrogen levels as pain, tender breasts, bloating and heavy periods.
Current research shows that Vitex can support healthy hormone levels and relieve pre-menstrual symptoms. It can also be an effective natural hormonal acne treatment.
How does Vitex for Acne Work?
The Vitex herbs act upon the pituitary and hypothalamus glands by increasing luteinizing hormone production and mildly inhibiting the release of follicle-stimulating hormone . This results in a shift in the ratio of estrogen to progesterone, with a rise in progesterone. The ability of the Vitex to increase progesterone levels is an indirect effect.
Vitex itself is not a hormone, but rather an herb that helps the body balance natural estrogen and progesterone. By balancing the estrogen, the androgens then come into balance as well.
What Does Hormonal Acne Look Like
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, adult-onset acne is becoming more common in women in their 30s, 40s, and 50s. Hormonal acne typically appears on the chin, jawline, neck, and lower cheek area. It often displays red, inflamed breakouts and even deep cysts that can cause discomfort and tenderness. Rather than being surface-level blemishes, pimples caused by internal imbalances often appear as hard bumps under the skin. Hormonal acne can range from mild to severe but is often categorized by larger outbreaks.
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Why Treat Hormonal Acne Holistically
While common solutions like topical products and prescriptions for birth control, spironolactone, and Accutane may mask the aesthetic symptoms of hormonal imbalance , they dont do anything to address the root cause of hormonal imbalance. Underneath it all, your hormones are still wreaking havocand by suppressing their cries for help, you could be missing important cues about your health.
Thats probably why the above solutions dont work. At least, not long-term. One study of Accutane notes that complete remission could not be obtained in patients whose acne was determined to be hormonal. Those who opt for birth control or spironolactone typically see a resurgence of skin issues the second they stop poppin the pills.
The Pill is not supporting your hormones, the Pill is shutting them off, explains Alisa Vitti, a functional nutritionist, hormone expert, and author of WomanCode. Its not making them better, its shutting off the brain-ovary conversation.
As soon that concept clicked for methat my hormonal acne was part of a larger conversation my brain was having with my body, a symptom of something deeper than skin-deepI knew I needed to stop silencing my hormones and start listening to them.
When we consider acne is a symptom of an underlying imbalance like poor detoxification, dietary and lifestyle habits, and hormone imbalance, then we need to examine our environment in answering the question of why acne seems more prevalent, Dr. Brighten agrees.
How To Deal With Hormonal Acne
Hormonal acne is basically the result of all those hormonal reactions taking place in your body. All those tiny zits and pimples on your forehead and on your chin are on account of certain chemicals. To solve the problem of such acne, you need a chemical solution as well. Obtaining these chemical solutions, however, does not necessarily have to involve the use of dozens of expensive products and creams. Instead, here are some of the natural home-based alternatives that can provide you with the chemical solutions required to deal with hormonal acne.
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Home Treatments For Hormonal Acne
Now that we know that inflammation is the root cause of hormonal acne, our main goal is simple: lower inflammation.
You dont have to get rid of inflammation completelyjust lower it and your skin will start improving!
So, the home remedies below are all designed to help you fight:
- Internal inflammation .
- External inflammation .
Adult Acne: How To Get Rid Of Hormonal Acne Naturally
If youre someone who suffers from hormonal acne, chances are youve tried numerous home remedies for acne but may not be getting the results you hoped for. Thats likely because this type of acne can be complicated to treat, considering it occurs for reasons beyond having clogged pores, which is often the case with other forms of acne.
How can you stop hormonal acne? One of the first steps is working on balancing your hormones, such as by eating a nourishing diet, managing stress and getting enough sleep.
The next layer in your treatment plan is using the right types of cleansers and topical products. That means those that help clean and soothe your irritated skin without worsening symptoms.
The good news? Youre not alone if youve developed adult-onset acne, since this affects most people at one point in their lives or another based on a variety of factors.
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Why Do Androgens Cause Hormonal Acne
For the majority of women, hormonal acne occurs because their skin is sensitive to the normal levels of androgens like Testosterone.
Although considered to be a male hormone, it is normal for women to produce small amounts of Testosterone. Testosterone is an important hormone for women as it helps strengthen bones and muscles, provides a healthy libido and regulates the menstrual cycle. Androgens are the name for male hormones. Women produce other androgens as well as Testosterone. These are dehydroepiandrosterone sulphate , dehydroepiandrosterone , androstenedione . These three androgens are not very active by themselves and have to be converted to Testosterone or Dihydrotestosterone first.
Testosterone is produced by the ovaries and the adrenal glands. However, cells in the skin also make Testosterone from DHEAS. Skin cells, especially the cells in the sebaceous glands, also make DHT from Testosterone.
Hormonal acne also occurs when there are conditions in which too many androgens are produced such as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.
How Do You Know If Your Acne Is Hormonal
There are a few ways to tell if your acne is hormonal. While hormonal acne can be constantly present, there may be times in your cycle where it flares or gets worse. Hormonal acne is typically found on the lower part of the face, including the jawline, chin, and mouth. It’s also often triggered by hormonal changes during puberty, pregnancy, perimenopause, and menopause. If you’re experiencing any of these changes, it’s worth considering hormonal acne as a possible cause.
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How Can My Doctor Help
Before starting a new diet regimen, patients should consult with a physician. Doctors will be able to monitor patients while on a new diet to determine if the changes are working and the patient is healthy. Doctors can also refer the patient to specialists like dermatologists who can assist with hormonal acne treatment.
Your Diet May Be The Culprit
Food is one of the primary contributors to fluctuating or increased hormone levels in our bodies.
The typical American diet is acidic and high in saturated fats, processed grains, meat fats, and refined sugar. It is also low in fresh vegetables, fruit, fish, fiber, and antioxidants. Research has shown that this can cause an imbalance in testosterone and androgen levels, respectively. Therefore, a healthy diet is one form of natural treatment for hormonal acne. Another way to balance hormone levels is by taking certain herbs and vitamins. Both these items are discussed in more detail below.
What Else Can You Do When You Have Hormonal Acne
Follow a low glycemic diet, low dairy diet.
Research suggests that dietary factors such as insulin levels and glycemic index may be tied with acne breakouts and blemishes. Eating foods with a high glycemic index will quickly raise your blood sugar, causing a spike in insulin. This spike will trigger several hormonal reactions that will likely increase sebum production, leading to pimples and other skin woes. Foods with a high GI include processed foods like:
- Sugary soft drinks
Stress causes an increase in cortisol – also called the stress hormone. Cortisol affects the sebaceous glands to produce more sebum – leading to more acne breakouts.
Incorporate probiotics into your daily diet
Probiotics are live microorganisms that provide health benefits when consumed, generally by improving gut health. When undigested foods leak through your gut and into your bloodstream, it can cause disease-causing inflammation and hormone imbalances. Optimizing gut health is a key way to keep hormone levels healthy and synthesize and regulate hormones and neurotransmitters the microbiome aids in regulating estrogen levels. Foods such as sauerkraut, kefir, kimchi, miso, and tempeh are great probiotics sources!
How Does My Diet Trigger Acne Flareups
Food impacts all the bodys organs, including skin, the bodys largest organ. People with acne are often told to stay away from foods with high fat and sugar content. These foods can have a negative impact externally on the body. These foods can cause inflammation and heightened insulin levels which leads to chronic conditions like diabetes and acne.
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What Is Fungal Acne Vs Hormonal Acne
Fungal acne and hormonal acne are often confused with each other because both types of acne start in the hair follicles. Fungal acne occurs when excess yeast develops, whereas hormonal acne is caused by excess sebum. Fungal acne can result in whiteheads, itchiness and often becomes red, irritated and inflamed.
How Do I Treat Hormonal Acne
Based on the severity of your acne, different treatment options are available to reduce sebum production, pimple formation and painful inflammation:
- Blackheads and whiteheads: Topical cream .
- Inflammatory acne: Topical retinoid and/or topical antibiotic and/or benzoyl peroxide.
- Moderate to severe acne: Antibiotic and/or isotretinoin .
- Cystic acne: Steroid injection .
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Try A Tea Bag To Reduce Inflammation
Whether you’re trying to bring a period pimple to a head or you messed with it before it was ready and now it’s bigger and more inflamed than ever, something that can help to reduce a pimple’s redness and size while speeding up its healing process is to place a warm herbal tea bag over it.
The heat from the bag will open up your pores. The herbs contain tannins that help to treat and heal the zit . I like the tea bag approach because I’ve noticed that it helps to decrease my chances of having a long-term acne scar once the pimple has gone down and that’s always a win.
Stay Away From Cows Dairy :
Research shows that dairy can cause acne due to high levels of iodine. While milk itself does not naturally contain iodine, farmers give their cows iodine-fortified feed to prevent infection. They also use iodine solutions to sanitize cow udders and milking equipment. As a result, the iodine gets into the milk itself.
According to research published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology consuming dairy specifically, low fat/skim milk is much higher in teenagers who have acne. Safer options are goat and sheep milk.
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How Hormonal Acne Develops
Acne breakouts are a four-step process, with each step contributing to the development of a noticeable pimple:
Hormone production. Before your period, your body starts to increase its androgen production. Higher testosterone levels trigger your body to create more sebum, which can lead to oilier facial skin.
Clogged hair follicle. Sebum clogs one or several hair follicles. These clogged hair follicles are called comedones. Comedones can be completely blocked , forming a whitehead pimple, or partially blocked , resulting in a blackhead.
Bacterial infection. Bacteria trapped inside the comedone causes an infection, resulting in a painful, irritated pimple.
Inflammation. In response to the bacterial infection, your immune system causes the clogged hair follicle to become red, swollen and uncomfortable. This inflammation can include acne cysts or cystic acne.
How To Treat Hormonal Acne Naturally Top 3 Ingenious Ways
Hi! Im Jessica Gremley, Founder and CEO of Natural Acne Clinic. This blog post is a personal one for me as it took 15 years of education and research to figure out how to clear my own hormonal acne.
I launched NAC out of my passion to share the truth about acne and how hormonal acne can be treated naturally. With each client we serve, my hope is to debunk misleading myths and incorrect information about how hormonal acne can be cleared once and for all because I was able to do it for myself.
When we consume the wrong information, we often think the natural approach will not be as effective as a more harsh treatment like Accutane. Not true!
Harsh topicals, birth control pills, and pharmaceuticals can destroy the body from the inside out and are not the only option. Honestly, these are pretty old-school approaches that dont consider the whole body as we do at NAC.
The American Academy of Dermatology has found the onset of adult acne is becoming increasingly common in women in their 30s, 40s and even 50s. Studies show that up to 50% of women in their 20s and 25% of women in their 40s struggle with acne triggered by hormonal changes in the body.
Pregnancy, diet, stress, and menopause can cause hormonal imbalances triggering acne on the jawline, chin or lower cheek. It can often appear red and inflamed causing some amount of pain.
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Focus On These Diet Tips For Hormonal Acne
In other words, diet can be a powerful tool when youre dealing with hormonal acne. If you want to explore this further, you can try an elimination diet, but as a start, you can experiment with the following:
- Limit all dairy to see if it makes a difference for your hormonal acne. You can test yogurt and cheese after a few weeks since these usually are better tolerated.
- Reduce or eliminate high glycemic foods like sugar, white flour, white rice, and processed carbohydrates.
- Focus on eating anti-inflammatory foods like wild-caught salmon, olive oil, and avocados. Consider adding a cup of green tea each day.
- Increase gut-healing foods like bone broth and fermented vegetables. Aim for at least ¼ cup of fermented foods each day.
- Add fiber-rich fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, and whole grains as tolerated to meals.
What Medicines Treat Hormonal Acne
Medicines for treating hormonal acne include the birth control pill and spironolactone. Birth control works by suppressing estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone hormone production, while spironolactone blocks androgen, the hormone that contributes to hormonal acne. While these medications work for some people, they often come with side effects or could worsen acne, especially once you stop taking them. You can learn more about acne after birth control here.
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