Struggling with adult acne is no joke. But if you've been battling your symptoms with cleansers and anti-acne remedies to no end and with no relief, it may be time you evaluated your situation. Your hormones could be contributing to your acne.
What Is Hormonal Acne
Hormonal acne is triggered by changes in your hormone levels, particularly androgens like testosterones.
Hormonal acne most often affects teenagers going through the hormonal changes of puberty, pregnant women, and and those going through menopause, though adult women with a normal menstrual cycle may be susceptible too. Other conditions that affect hormone levels can also trigger acne.
Signs Your Acne Is Hormonally Charged
If you can identify with these three signs, there's a good chance your acne is related to your fluctuating chemistry:
- Your breakouts occur at the same time every month, no fail.
- Your breakouts always appear in the same spot, namely your chin and cheeks.
- Your pimples go below the surface; they're deep, cystic, and painful.
What Plays a Factor in Hormonal Acne?
Foods that have a high glycemic index like simple carbohydrates and sugary drinks lead to an increase in blood sugar levels, which can have an impact on hormone levels.
A rise in androgen levels can trigger a chain of events involving more sebum production, changes in cell activity, inflammation, and colonization of the hair follicles by a bacteria known as Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes). The immune system responds to this in the form of inflammation. Together, these can lead to acne.
How To Control Hormonal Acne
Keeping your skin in balance while your hormones are out of balance can sometimes prove to be a challenge. Typically OTC products don't work.
- Your dermatologist can test your hormone levels, blood sugar level, and your stress hormone (cortisol) levels. Sometimes oral contraceptives or anti-androgen drugs may help.
- Use a gentle cleanser twice daily to clear your pores of dirt, oil, and makeup.
- Use a non-comedogenic, oil-free moisturizer.
- Eat foods rich in probiotics, or take a probiotic supplement to rebalance the beneficial microbes on the skin. Probiotics will also ramp up your body's first line of defense against anything harmful: your gut, which can also help to train the rest of your body to handle infection. Probiotics work by helping your gut ease the inflammation that can trigger a host of skin problems, including acne. They can reduce levels of hormones that drive acne, help your body absorb skin-essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals, reduce the effects of chronic stress, and regulate glycemic levels that can contribute to acne.
- Probiotic skin care can work to even out the skin microbiome by reintroducing beneficial bacteria, which compete with P. acnes and other inflammatory microbes on the skin, alleviating infection and inflammation.
- Eat plenty of inflammation-fighting foods like plant-based choices high in antioxidants and Omega-3 fatty acids.
- Avoid foods that have a high glycemic index like white bread, rice, pasta, sugary foods, and other refined carbohydrates, as they contribute to increased inflammation. Also avoid too many dairy products and red meats, as they have more pimple-producing hormones.
- Exercise more. It boosts circulation, which can help to ease inflammation.
- Take care of your stress. Stress hormones contribute to inflammation and can lead to a variety of health problems and skin concerns. Practice methods of stress reduction like yoga, massage, or meditation.