What is hormonal acne?
Surviving your teen years can be tough enough, but taking acne with you into your young adult years can be brutal. After all, you're expected to have skin hiccups and awkward periods of development throughout your teen years. Once you hit that twenty-year-old mark, the ship of major breakouts is supposed to sail far, far away.
For some women, hormonal acne can carry on through adulthood and into the menopausal years. It can be a source of embarrassment and even cause physical pain in the affected area. This type of acne can result in cyst-like sores along the chin and is directly influenced by hormone fluctuations.
Sick of painful pimples? This article will tackle solutions to get rid of hormonal acne for good.
What are the symptoms of hormonal acne?
There are two categories of Acne Vulgaris - inflammatory and non-inflammatory. The latter is the most common: the whitehead and blackhead pimple variety. Inflammatory acne, however, manifests as a more severe pimple filled with pus. These are called papules, pustules, nodules, and cysts, and can become painful and large. A more drastic approach than its non-inflammatory sibling is required to get rid of these bad guys.
Generally speaking, an acne breakout is caused by oil produced by the skin not being cleaned out and collected dead skin cells clogging a pore. It is easily treated with a general facial cleanser.
Hormonal acne is induced by a fluctuation of hormones, causing the production of oil to increase and the pore to inflame under the top layer of the skin.
Hormones, such as estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, and cortisol, are essential to health and vitality but when too much or not enough is produced, it can be a sign of significant health issues. Paying close attention to the patterns and severity of your acne breakouts could even save your life.
One way to know if you have hormonal acne is to take note of where and when your breakouts normally occur. If you break out around your chin or jawline, the side of your face, or down your neck there's a good chance you have hormonal acne.
Some other key factors in determining whether or not your acne can be categorized as hormonal acne are:
1. You tend to break out in the same area.
2. Your breakouts generally happen on or around your period time even during menopause.
3. Your breakouts occur during times of severe stress.
4. Your breakouts result in tender tissue surrounding the pimple or cyst.
How to naturally get rid of hormonal acne
The good news is that there are many safe and natural remedies available to manage and ultimately get rid of any degree of inflammatory and hormonal acne.
If you prefer a medical approach, that is available as well. In fact, acne is one of the most common conditions people mention when seeking medical treatment.
If you notice a sudden onset of acne cysts or a severe change in your breakouts, you should inform your doctor. This symptom could be an indicator of abnormal hormone levels, thyroid issues, adrenal gland issues, and even ovarian cysts or cancer.
Here are some options to help you get rid of your breakouts.
1. Have a consistent facial cleansing routine
Having a consistent facial cleansing routine is vital if you want to get rid of and prevent breakouts. As your hormones fluctuate, the amount of oil produced by your sebaceous glands fluctuates as well. Regular exfoliation and cleansing will stimulate new skin cell growth and wash away excess oil and dead skin cells that can cause breakouts.
The key to making this work is to be consistent. To put it simply, invest in a system that will clean, exfoliate, tone, and moisturize your face and neck.
Below are some options for skincare routines that focus on decreasing incidents of acne breakouts. Any system you use will require two to three months to become fully effective so don't lose heart - it will work. Keep using the system, and you'll eventually get rid of that pesky acne.
2. OTC - over the counter and other pharmaceuticals
Speak to your general practitioner or dermatologist for recommendations to get rid of your breakouts. A good solution for you could be as simple as a probiotic cleanser like the one listed below, or you may need a more systemic approach to work from the inside out to regulate your hormone production.
Your doctor could also suggest something as easy as an over the counter cleanser or topical retinoid, to birth control pills or antiandrogen drugs.
3. Decrease stress
You heard right. Stress can be a major contributor to hormonal acne breakouts. Cortisol is a hormone released by the adrenal glands during times of emotional or physical stress. Too much or too little of this hormone will create undesirable symptoms, such as acne breakouts and mild to severe health issues.
The adrenal glands influence various systems in the body that help to regulate your body's immune response, blood pressure, metabolism, and the production of sex hormones such as testosterone. Some symptoms of adrenal dysfunction can be severe and are caused by a genetic disease known as Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia.
Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (CAH) can be life-threatening in its most serious form, causing an adrenal crisis which results in low levels of cortisol and sugar in the blood. This type of CAH is called Classic CAH. Non-classic CAH is not life-threatening and does not result in adrenal crisis. A persistent symptom of CAH is hormonal acne, and both types require continued medical care.
4. Fatty acids, vitamins and minerals
Remember that hormonal acne is a symptom and part of a chain reaction. This chain consists of overactive oil glands resulting in excessive oil production, caused by hormone irregularity - the production of too much or too little of various hormones and done so inconsistently.
Here comes the surprise. In most instances of hormonal acne, much of the symptomology can be regulated by addressing the root cause - the systems that produce the hormones. By supporting the systems in the body that produce the hormones, you can get rid of or at the very least, influence the symptoms you experience.
How do you do that? By giving the body what it needs most. It's simple. Nutrients like essential fatty acids will regulate androgen production by the adrenal glands. (Androgens, or sex hormones, directly affect acne breakouts.) You can access this super nutrient in coconut oil, olive oil, nuts, seeds, chickpeas, fish oil, and avocados, to name a few.
Eat foods with a low glycemic index that are high in fiber. Not sure what those are? Check out the link below to an article on gram flour.
Take supplements such as zinc, magnesium, vitamins C and A, along with a sublingual (under the tongue) vitamin B complex to help regulate hormone production and eventually get rid of those annoying hormonal acne breakouts.
5. Hormone support - naturally
Stress is a major contributor to hormone fluctuations and therefore acne breakouts. Minimize your stress through meditation and tension tamers such as:
Implement essential oils into a bath soak or simply apply them to your pulse points. Stress-reducing essential oils include:
Chamomile (Roman and German)
Drink delicious hot tea such as licorice root, peppermint tea, chamomile tea, and green tea.
Hormonal acne can be a pain - literally and figuratively. Understanding that this symptom stems from a deeper issue can help you overcome it once and for all with these easy solutions.
The solutions shared here will bring life-long changes with fast and lasting results. You won't get rid of hormonal acne overnight, but adding superfoods to your diet will make you feel great fast.
A consistent cleansing regimen is essential to keeping those acne breakouts at bay. Regulating the production of hormones naturally will give you more energy and help with your overall health while it works to keep your skin clear.