Hormones are powerful chemicals that communicate messages throughout the body. These signals impact lots of different body processes, including how the skin functions.
When the balance of hormones fluctuates, it can lead to hormonal acne. While most common during puberty, hormonal acne can affect adults of all ages.
If you’re experiencing a hormonal acne breakout and want to find the best way to get your skin back under control, this guide is for you.
We’ll explain the causes and reveal the best hormonal acne skin treatments.
What Is Hormonal Acne?
Hormonal acne is a type of acne that is caused by hormonal changes. While teenagers and young adults often experience cystic acne, adults of all ages can experience hormonal acne breakouts. Hormonal adult acne usually affects women during menstruation and menopause when hormone levels fluctuate.
What Does Hormonal Acne Look Like?
This type of acne usually occurs on the lower face around the mouth, chin, and jawline. Hormonal acne breakouts can include blackheads, whiteheads, and inflammatory lesions.
Some people also experience cysts that do not come to a head on the skin’s surface and appear as bumps. These areas often feel tender to touch and can appear red and inflamed.
The Causes of Hormonal Acne
Fluctuating hormones within the body cause hormonal acne. The most common time to experience hormonal acne is during menstruation and pregnancy.
The decline of reproductive hormones during menopause can also trigger hormonal acne. Some women also experience polycystic ovary syndrome, which causes hormone fluctuation and can result in a longer menstrual cycle and acne breakouts.
You can learn more about the possible causes of acne in our guide, What Causes Acne and How to Treat It?.
The Severity of Hormonal Acne
Anybody who has experienced acne knows how frustrating it can be. But some people experience more severe breakouts than others.
A simple mild, moderate, and severe grading system is the most used way to classify acne.
You likely have mild hormonal acne if you experience the occasional breakout of blackheads and a few pimples. This grade of acne can usually be treated with skincare products containing active ingredients like salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide.
Even mild acne can be distressing and progress into a more severe breakout, so it’s important to treat mild acne quickly.
Moderate acne is more widespread and more frequent than mild cases. You may experience blackheads and bumps under the skin, but you also experience cysts and lesions.
It can be more challenging to keep moderate acne breakouts under control. Prescription-strength medications and in-clinic cosmetic skin treatments are often required to eliminate moderate acne breakouts.
Severe acne is similar to moderate acne but usually involves more inflammation. Breakouts typically result in swelling and redness around the lesions and cysts.
This grade of acne generally requires professional treatment to be kept under control. A combination of medication and clinic treatments can help clear and prevent breakouts.
How To Get Rid of Hormonal Acne
The bad news is that there is no “magic bullet” when treating hormonal acne. Hormones levels constantly change, so it’s hard to permanently get rid of hormonal acne.
The good news is that there are lots of effective ways to control hormonal acne and oily skin. With the right skincare products, treatments, and a preventative approach, you can eliminate breakouts and keep your skin free of blemishes.
Try Benzoyl Peroxide
The first go-to topical treatment for hormonal acne is benzoyl peroxide. This active ingredient is a powerful antiseptic that cleans the pores to stop the build-up of oil and dead cells that cause pimples to form. Regular use of benzoyl peroxide can eliminate acne-causing bacteria to prevent future breakouts.
You can use a daily cleanser or face mask containing benzoyl peroxide to cleanse the skin. Alternatively, you could use a benzoyl peroxide lotion. An everyday lotion can often work best as it allows the active ingredient to stay on the skin for longer.
Use Salicylic Acid
Alongside benzoyl peroxide, you should make salicylic acid an essential part of your skincare routine to keep hormonal acne under control. This active ingredient is great at unclogging the pores and reducing inflammation.
In a 2009 clinical study, using a salicylic acid cleanser twice per day reduced the number of inflammatory acne lesions in patients by 44% after 12 weeks.
The Clarify Foaming Cleaner 150ml is a gentle cleanser formulated with salicylic acid. It’s suitable for even sensitive skin types. The cleanser lathers away impurities and cleans the pores to control acne without stripping the skin of its natural oils. It also contains aloe vera to soothe irritated skin and reduce inflammation.
Change Your Diet
Diet can have a significant impact on hormone levels and acne breakouts.
In some studies, dairy consumption has been shown to increase testosterone and estrogen levels, which can lead to acne breakouts.
Skimmed milk and fat-free dairy are most likely to cause hormonal spikes. The fat in dairy products slows down the metabolism. When the fat is removed, the hormones in dairy products are absorbed faster, causing a hormonal spike.
Foods that contain lots of sugar can also trigger acne breakouts. Processed carbohydrates can cause an insulin spike that triggers hormone production and leads to excess oil production and skin inflammation.
Medical Grade Peels
Medical Grade Peels are a powerful anti-ageing treatment to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. But they can also be an effective hormonal acne treatment.
A chemical solution is applied to promote a controlled peeling of the skin. The top layer of skin is removed to reveal healthy new skin underneath. The chemical solution penetrates deep into the pores to eliminate dead skin cells, bacteria, and impurities.
Depending on the severity of your acne, your clinician may recommend a series of treatments spaced a few weeks apart. Your skin will become clearer and more even-toned after each session.
According to a 2017 clinical review, glycolic acid and salicylic acid peels treatments significantly improved comedonal and acne lesions in more than 75% of patients.
IPL Skin Rejuvenation
Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) Skin Rejuvenation is at the cutting edge of acne treatments. It uses a spectrum of light energy wavelengths that can be tailored to acne severity and skin type.
The intense light energy kills the acne-causing bacteria while reducing the inflammation and blood vessel dilatation in acne-prone skin. Depending on the severity of your acne, your clinician may recommend a series of 3-6 sessions to achieve optimal results.
Over a series of treatments, IPL Skin Rejuvenation stimulates cell renewal and new collagen production to improve skin texture and tone.
Treating Acne at b clinic
Hormonal acne can be challenging to manage. You can try over-the-counter topical treatments, but you should seek professional advice if your acne doesn’t respond well and start to clear.
Our b clinic skin experts can advise you on the best approach and treatments for your specific skin type and acne severity. Book a free consultation today to receive a complementary treatment plan and start your journey to acne-free skin.