What Causes Hormonal Acne + Prevention/Treatment

What Causes Hormonal Acne + Prevention/Treatment

It’s Acne Awareness Month, so let’s chat a little about hormonal acne. Hormonal acne can be frustrating, but understanding why it happens and how it relates to our cycles as females can be immensely helpful in treating and preventing it.

We recently published a video on Instagram explaining hormonal acne, and the relationship between our cycles, surging hormones and hormonal acne.

Hormonal acne is primarily caused by fluctuations in hormone levels in the body, specifically androgens, which include testosterone. These fluctuations happen most commonly during puberty, our menstrual cycle, pregnancy, and menopause. 

When our testosterone levels rise, we start to produce more natural sebum oil, which can lead to clogged pores and a favorable environment for the growth of bacteria. Hormonal changes can also lead to increased production of keratinocytes (skin cells), and these cells can sometimes become sticky and clump together, blocking hair follicles and contributing to the formation of blackheads and whiteheads.

Below are some key pieces of managing hormonal acne:

1. Endogenous management of hormone levels (spironolactone, birth control, hormone modulators, etc.) is usually required to balance our levels of androgens from the inside out.

2. Topically, managing hormonal acne includes:

Consistent, thorough cleansing, including double cleansing every evening to remove excess oil, bacteria, and dirt.

Keeping your pores clean and unclogged. I recommend 2% Salicylic Acid (SA).Paula's Choice 2% SA is a fantastic salicylic acid product. I also recommend Emogene & Co. Renew Facial Toner for less frequent breakouts, as it is formulated at 0.75% SA, which is perfect for minimal breakouts. Hormonal acne, however, usually requires a stronger concentration closer to 2%.

Don't be afraid of oil! When your face feels oily, it's tempting to dry to strip all of the oil, but this actually causes your body to try to overcompensate and start producing more. Our Repair Oil was created specifically for acne-prone skin and provides anti-bacterial,  anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory benefits.

Increase cell turnover!  By increasing cell turnover, dead skin cells aren't able to reside under the dermis and combine with sticky sebum in our pores that traps dirt/impurities inside, which leads to breakouts. We recommend Glow Vitamin C Serum for this! Prime Niacinamide Serum is also a great option for nourishing acne-prone skin, or for those sensitive to vitamin C.

• Use our Local Detox Mask once a week to suck out any remaining impurities! This can also be used as a spot-treatment as needed.

Have questions about hormonal acne? Book a skin consultation with Dr. Allyson Brennan to dive deeper into your specific skin concerns and treatment options!

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