I think we can all agree that acne of all types is a horrible, unwanted beast, but hormonal acne is another beast altogether. Not only can hormonal acne wreak havoc on your self-image, mental health, and social life, hormonal acne can consist of painful cysts and leave complications like scarring. Not just for teenagers, hormonal acne is common in adult women; in fact, 50% of women in their 20s experience acne.
What is hormonal acne? As you'd imagine, hormonal acne is acne caused by hormonal fluctuations. These fluctuations can be the result of:
Medical conditions like polycystic ovarian syndrome
Increased androgen levels
Decreased estrogen levels
What do hormones have to do with it? Okay, so hormones fluctuate - so what? Like it or not, hormones control a lot of what happens in our bodies. When hormones fluctuate, the body responds by increasing:
Sebum (oil) production
Propionibacterium acnes (acne-causing bacteria)
The sharp increase of all of those factors results in a perfect storm for a flare-up of hormonal acne. While it may be not be possible to stop a storm in its tracks, we can however prepare for it and protect ourselves as much as possible. Here are the best ways to manage hormonal acne:
Oral contraceptive medication. These medications, as prescribed by your physician, can help regulate your hormone levels. Talk to your doctor about what's good for you.
Vitamin A. This can be a prescription like Accutane or over-the-counter like RESET: Rebooting Night Serum. A true powerhouse in skincare, Vitamin A encourages cellular renewal, controls sebum production, and works as a hormone on the skin to normalize cellular function. Talk about a trifecta against acne!
Tea tree oil. When it comes to acne, inflammation is your worst enemy. Tea tree oil and its anti-inflammatory properties are excellent at fighting topical inflammation. Tea tree oil is also known to stop bacteria in its tracks. Find tea tree oil in CLEAR: Toner/Spot Fix.
Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs). Found naturally in fruit acids, AHAs are great at increasing cellular turnover, thus reducing clogged pores. They are also important because they keep your skin's pH low, which is great for keeping bad bacteria at bay. CLEAR: Toner/Spot Fix is chock-full of natural alpha hydroxy acids.
Lifestyle management. When treating any form of acne, it's always crucial to keep linens clean, avoid heavy occlusive makeup, eat a balanced diet full of healthy fats, and keep stress levels low!
If you are one of the many adults that struggles with hormonal acne, take comfort in knowing that it is manageable with a dedicated treatment plan in place.