Acne & Your Menstrual Cycle
This is great news for a workout, especially if you like to lift weights. Show those barbells whos boss!
But for our skin, it means higher production of sebum, our skins natural oils. No big deal, except that sebum makes you uber shiny and is one of the building blocks of our old friend acne.
And your hormonal shifts dont end there.
During the luteal phase of your cycle , progesterone levels rise and compress your pores. Hooray, smaller pores! …Except now, theyre more likely to get clogged.
Great, another stepping stone toward breakouts!
Frustrating, right? However, this is totally normal for many women and not necessarily a sign of imbalance. To dig deeper, there are other symptoms to look for.
Causes Of Hormonal Acne
Conditions that affect hormone levels can trigger acne. Here are a few examples:
- Polycystic ovary syndrome
- Increased levels of androgens
According to estimates, acne occurs in around 50 percent of the female population ages 20 to 20 and 25 percent ages 40 to 49.
A rise in testosterone levels may trigger the excessive secretion of sebum from glands in the skin. It may also change the activity of certain skin cells, leading to an infection of the hair follicles by bacteria known as Cutibacterium acnes. This can create hormonal acne.
Learn More About Acne
Acne is one of the most common skin conditions, affecting around 50 million Americans every year. While all acne is hormonal, it can be triggered by a variety of factors, from androgens to stress, medication and more.
Interested in learning more about acne? Our guide to androgen hormones that cause acne goes into more detail about how testosterone and other androgens can trigger an acne outbreak. You can also learn more about common acne triggers in our guide to what causes acne breakouts.
Want to solve your acne breakouts as quickly as possible? Our guide to getting rid of acne fast covers the most effective acne treatments available, as well as the amount of time required for you to see results.
This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your healthcare provider about the risks and benefits of any treatment.
This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.
Get updates from hims
Also Check: Does Blue Cross Cover Testosterone
Increased Risk Of Sleep Apnea
The risk of obstructive sleep apnea increases in women during and after menopause. Obstructive sleep apnea is a serious condition that causes people to stop breathing repeatedly during sleep. OSA occurs when muscles in the throat relax and block the airway during sleep. People who have this type of sleep apnea often snore. Researchers who performed one study found that perimenopausal and postmenopausal women who had lower estrogen levels were more likely to suffer from obstructive sleep apnea than women who had higher estrogen levels. More studies are needed, but women who feel tired or who have unrefreshing sleep should see their doctors to assess hormone levels and discuss risk factors and testing for sleep apnea.
Other Things That Can Affect Your Skin
Genetics and skinAcne has been found to be highly hereditary. So if you have a family history of skin issues youre more likely to have skin problems.
Diet and skinEating lots of foods with a high glycemic index has been linked to acne. This is because high-GI foods food can affect your hormones. High-GI foods include white bread, cookies, cakes, and pizza.
The link between dairy and acne is weak but possible. So its important to monitor your own symptoms and see if dairy aggravates your skin. Keeping a food diary is a good idea.
Stress and skinWhen youre stressed your body produces more cortisol a stress hormone. High levels of cortisol can cause inflammation and occasionally cause inflammatory skin conditions like psoriasis.
Sleep and skin If you dont get enough sleep your body produces more cortisol leading to inflammation.
Don’t Miss: Does Melatonin Help Tinnitus
Acne And The Menopause
Many women report skin problems as they enter the menopause: dryness, rashes, increased sensitivity and even blemishes and pimples. As with the menstrual cycle and pregnancy, some of these problems can also be due to hormone fluctuations. When the menopause begins, a womans body undergoes profound changes. The hormones oestrogen and progesterone are produced in ever smaller quantities and this can cause a variety of symptoms including: hot flushes, irregular menstrual cycles and skin problems.Skin cells lose their ability to store moisture over time, and skin takes longer to renew itself and heal. It becomes thinner and less elastic and, as a result, becomes more sensitive, dry and susceptible to blemishes.
Now Lets Go Through What Some Of The Hormone Imbalances You Can Suffer From Look Like
First, we have some saliva test results from my patients. I use saliva testing a lot because its very easy for patients to do. You can do it at home and its also good because it gives us a slightly different look at the hormones compared to blood tests. This is because saliva comes out of your body, so its carrying hormone levels which are very similar to what are next to your cells.
Whereas the blood is telling you about whats being transported out to your cells, which is slightly different.
In this example here, what we can see is the testosterone is high. It should be 100 but its up over 200, so thats double the amount of testosterone. Also, you can see progesterones on the lower side as well. This combination of low female hormone and high male sex hormone spells trouble for your skin because its going to trigger excess oil production, particularly in the week before a period.
In this next chart, weve got high testosterone, low progesterone and high estrogen. You can see the progesterone is not out of range, but its sitting down the bottom end. This test was done 21 days from the start of a period and at this point in the cycle, progesterone should be at the upper end, not the lower end, of the range.
The other hormones are up at the top end of the ranges. High testosterone is particularly problematic because its going to increase oil production, and the high estrogens are an issue too because theyre contributing to progesterone suppression.
Also Check: How Much Does Estradiol Cost
Why Testing Your Hormones Is Critical If You Want To Eliminate Hormonal Acne
It always puzzles me how doctors give young women hormonal acne treatments without ever testing to see what their hormone levels are. So today Im going to go through with you why its so important to get your hormones tested if you want to eliminate your hormonal acne for good.
It seems pretty straightforward to me that if something is being driven by hormones, like hormonal acne, you need to know what the hormone levels are like before you supply or provide treatment. Otherwise, youre just dishing out treatments willy-nilly based only on assumptions.
Insulin Resistance & Blood Sugar Dysregulation
Insulin is released by your pancreas and is responsible for regulating blood sugar levels. High blood glucose levels cause insulin levels to spike. Eventually your cells dont respond as well to the insulin, causing your pancreas to secrete even more insulin to regulate your blood sugar levels. This leads to insulin resistance and blood sugar dysregulation.
Insulin resistance is a common trigger for acne. High levels of insulin increase androgens in the body, which can lead to acne. High insulin levels also reduce levels of sex hormone binding globulin , which promotes estrogen dominance and frees up acne-triggering androgens. Insulin resistance is commonly seen in conditions like PCOS.
You dont have to be overweight to have insulin resistance and blood sugar dysregulation, nor do you have to have PCOS. Your level of insulin resistance can vary, but even mild resistance can affect all of your other hormones. Causes of insulin resistance include certain eating and lifestyle habits, high blood sugar and blood sugar fluctuations, and chronic inflammation.
Interested to know what your primary hormonal imbalance could be? Ive created a FREE quiz to help you figure it out! Youll discover your primary hormonal imbalance, and youll receive my free ebook along with a ton of awesome tips geared towards your specific imbalance.
Did you take the quiz?? Let me know what your result was in the comments below!
Don’t Miss: How Much Is Estrogen Pills
Hormonal Imbalances That Cause Acne
Posted by Delgado Protocol on June 12, 2020
Acne is rarely caused by improper skin care or lack of hygiene its caused by internal imbalances, and more-often-than-not hormones are to blame. If you want radiant, clear skin for life, you need to ditch the harsh chemical products because they perpetuate acne by ruining its protective barrier, and focus instead on identifying and reversing hormonal imbalances.
Hormones Can Trigger Adult Breakouts Too
Theres a reason why most adult acne sufferers are women. Women have more hormonal variances throughout the month.
Most of us, even if we dont have consistent acne, can identify with PMS pimples. Many women find they break out a week or so before their period.
Pregnancy, perimenopause, and menopause are other times when acne commonly flares up because of the hormonal shifts within the body.
Read Also: Nugenix Estrogen Blocker
Are There Other Symptoms Of Hormonal Imbalance In Women
Its important to note that acne isnt the only sign of a lack of balance in hormones. Many women dealing with hormonal imbalances wont develop hormonal acne. This type of imbalance is multi-faceted and can manifest differently depending on the person and their unique situation. In addition to acne, some common symptoms of hormonal imbalance in women include anxiety, depression, insomnia, fatigue, irregular or painful menstrual cycles, PMS, ovarian cysts, weight gain, headaches and migraines, and thinning hair.
Acne And The Menstrual Cycle
When high levels of androgens promote excess sebum production, the sebum can combine with dead skin cells from within the pore, causing a blockage . This blockage of the pore can trap all the excess sebum being produced and manifest as acne . These sebum filled pores are the ideal place for bacteria to liveâparticularly P. acnes, which loves to colonize these pores, and further worsen and causes inflammatory acne .
Acne is one of the most frequently reported skin ailments connected to your cycle . Period-related hormonal breakouts are very common in the perimenstrual phase .
The reasons for hormonal acne are still not clear, but there are some theories. Some researchers think that before the period starts, there is not enough estrogen to promote its âanti-sebumâ effects . Without high estrogen, androgens increase sebum production, which leads to increased pore clogging and a habitable environment for P. acnes. Other theories suggest that hormonal acne might be caused by a deficiency or imbalance of progesterone to estrogen ratios . More research is needed.
Women and people with cycles who have higher levels of androgens, such as people with polycystic ovarian syndrome , are more likely to have acne, as well as excess hair growth and female pattern hair loss . Trans men may also notice an increase in acne lesions during the first year of taking testosterone, but this should decrease after long term testosterone use .
You May Like: Blue Cross Blue Shield Testosterone Replacement Therapy
Why Is Hormonal Acne Important
Hormonal acne does not always respond fully to treatment with acne creams, such as topical retinoids, and antibiotics. In some cases hormonal acne does not even respond well to treatment with Isotretinoin . Hormonal acne is more likely to come back after a course of Roaccutane has successfully cleared it.
Besides being stubborn to treat, hormonal acne causes redness for prolonged periods, scarring and pigmentation. Some types of hormonal acne cause a large number of comedones to develop especially on the sides of the face temples, cheeks and jaw line.
Enlarged pores on the nose and cheeks are commonly seen with hormonal acne. Hormonal acne can be really frustrating and cause a reduced quality of life for sufferers.
Hormonal acne can be distinguished from fungal acne on the type of spots and their location. Fungal acne causes smaller spots that are more evenly sized and itchy.
Hormonal Imbalance: Excessive Acne
Acne is mainly caused by excess oil that clogs pores on your skin. Acne is more common in areas of your body with the most oil glands. Many people assume that acne is only related to hormonal changes during puberty, but there is a life-long link between acne and hormone levels.
You may have noticed more breakouts leading up to your period. The menstrual cycle is a common trigger for acne. Acne develops about a week before your period, then dies down when your next cycle begins. Medical professionals often test hormone levels for women that get acne alongside other hormone imbalance symptoms, like missed periods, and hair loss.
Testosterone, also known as androgen is a male hormone that causes acne in men and women. This hormone triggers glands to produce excess oil. Acne is so common during puberty because males and females experience higher testosterone levels during this time. Androgen levels usually decrease into your early 20s.
Recommended Reading: Blue Cross Blue Shield Testosterone Coverage
What Is Hormonal Acne Anyway
First, its important to understand the difference between hormonal acne and good old-fashioned pimples. Hormonal acne is intrinsically linked to your hormones, resulting in cyclical breakouts that usually coincide with a persons menstrual cycle, Joshua Zeichner, M.D.2, board-certified dermatologist and director of cosmetic and clinical research at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, tells SELF. It can also match up with other hormonal shifts in your life, meaning your menopausal acne or postpartum pimples could be hormonal.
One important thing to note: Hormonal acne is technically not a medical term, board-certified dermatologist Ife J. Rodney, M.D.3, founding director of Eternal Dermatology + Aesthetics and professor of dermatology at Howard University and George Washington University, tells SELF. However, when a person tends to get very specific types of breakouts around the time of their period or when their body is experiencing vast hormonal shifts for other reasons , dermatologists generally describe it as hormonal acne.
What Does Hormonal Acne Look Like
Whiteheads, blackheads, papules, pustules, cysts and nodules are all common hormonal acne symptoms. Normally, whiteheads and blackheads do not cause pain, inflammation or swelling, but if they do, then they are most likely forming into cysts and pustules. If you do not know what a cyst is, it forms underneath the skin. It is typically tender or sore to the touch. Inflamed acne can cause redness, swelling, soreness and pain.
While hormonal acne can appear anywhere on your body, typical places depend on your age and health. Teenagers tend to have these lesions on the T-zone . Adults who are 20 years or older have breakouts, usually at the lower parts of their face like the jawline, chin and bottom on the cheeks. However, hormonal acne can appear on the neck, back, shoulders and chest as well.
Also Check: Nugenix Estro Regulator Reviews
Restore Hormonal Balance With Lifestyle Medicine
In order to reverse your acne, you need to first identify which of the above imbalances apply to you. Work alongside a doctor trained by Nick Delgado and the A4M who are experts in natural hormone balance and have them use a combination of urine, blood and saliva tests to identify hormone imbalances . You can also purchase an at-home hormone test kit which checks for the most common hormonal imbalances here:
Hormones Arent The Only Cause Of Acne
Obviously, everyone experiences hormonal changes during the teen years, and throughout adulthood. But not everyone gets acne.
Hormones arent the only cause. There are many factors that contribute to acne development, hormones being just one.
There is a big genetic component too. If everyone in your family has had acne, youre more likely to get it too.
Even though it may sometimes feel like your body and skin are working against you, you can really see some great improvement of your acne with the right treatments.
Don’t Miss: Does Blue Cross Blue Shield Cover Testosterone
Heres How To Get Rid Of Hormonal Acne
Before you get downtrodden about the finicky nature of hormonal acne, know first that its pesky, but perfectly normal. So normal, in fact, that there are many methods to help treat it.
Most people with hormonal acne have tried over-the-counter treatments to no avail. If they arent working for you, you may need to seek the help of a dermatologist, who can offer prescription hormonal acne treatments. In general, its a good idea to see your dermatologist if you have deep or cystic pimples, because they could be a marker of something more serious, such as a thyroid condition or abnormal hormone levels, adds Jegasothy. Keep reading to learn how to treat hormonal acne.
The hormonal acne treatment pyramid starts with good over-the-counter cleansers. When choosing yours, there are a few key ingredients to look for:
In acne patients of any age, most dermatologists will consider topical retinoids as the first step for treatment of mild to moderate acne, especially when its hormonal. Retinoids help your skin slough off dead skin cells at a more normal rate so the dead skin cells dont bind together and clog your pores, explains Peredo. They are the preferred avenue for long-term treatment because of the limited severe side effects and are known for preventing new acne in the long term.