Acne is a multifactorial disease that involves everything from your pituitary gland to your pores. You usually first develop acne in your teen years, when a surge of hormones causes an array of changes, including secondary sex characteristics. It also causes an excess production of sebum that leads to the development of pimples, pustules, and blackheads.
However, if you’re still breaking out as an adult, you may wonder why. In many cases — especially if you’re a woman — your hormones are still at work behind the scene, creating havoc that erupts into lesions on your face. Reasons behind hormonal acne include:
Paul Yamauchi, MD, PhD, an expert dermatologist, and our team at Dermatology Institute & Skin Care Center in Santa Monica, California, diagnose and treat all forms of acne in teens and adults. If you have hormonal acne, here’s how to beat it.
If you’re a woman, one sign that your hormones could be behind your acne is if you tend to break out along your jawline. Too much of the androgen called testosterone typically leads to breakouts on the lower half of the face.
You may even have a condition called polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) that causes other symptoms, including facial hair and scalp hair loss in women. Treatment for both hormonal acne in women and PCOS is the same: take prescription hormonally based birth control.
After balancing your hormones, your acne should clear within the next 3-6 months. We make sure to prescribe hormonal birth control that contains low levels of norgestimate, norethindrone acetate, and drospirenone, which could trigger an acne flare.
If you want to become pregnant, discontinue the contraception until after your baby is born. Going on and off birth control can throw your hormones off again, so be sure to discuss your decisions with our team.
Your body needs adequate rest to keep your hormones balanced.
Sleep is especially important as you age and go through perimenopause and menopause when your estrogen levels naturally drop. Too little estrogen may cause insomnia, which then further affects your hormone production.
Improve your sleep hygiene and use a sleep coach if necessary to keep your hormones balanced and your body rested. Also, be sure to take breaks throughout the day to lower your cortisol levels and help you relax.
All acne, including hormonal acne, improves when you take care of your skin. One of the reasons you develop pimples is that your pores (i.e., follicles) produce too much oil. That causes the follicles to get clogged.
Follicles clogged with sebum and dead skin attract the bacteria on your skin. The bacteria proliferate, which initiates an immune response in your skin, including inflammation. That’s why your pimples, cysts, and zits are red and swollen.
Regular chemical peels remove dead skin and excess sebum from your pores. We may also recommend using skin care products that contain retinoids.
If you’re currently in the middle of a breakout, we recommend pulsed dye lasers and blue light treatments to subdue inflammation and redness. Laser therapy also improves your skin health by triggering the production of new collagen. Healthier skin reduces your chances of future outbreaks.
Get help for your hormonal acne with treatments that resolve current outbreaks and prevent new ones. Call our friendly staff to set up an acne consultation today or send us an online message.