Hormonal acne is a frustrating skin problem that can leave you feeling self-conscious, especially if you have never struggled with acne before. For those who remember the painful battle you had with pimples during your teenage years, you were probably hoping that the days of breakouts were behind you.
Most forms of adult acne fall into the “hormonal acne” category, which is similar to the acne you may have experienced during puberty but more stubborn. This post is going to explain exactly what hormonal acne is and outline ways to help you manage it.
What Is Hormonal Acne?
Hormonal acne is a condition that primarily affects women. The condition can show up as early as your 20s or as late as your 40s and 50s. While there are a few different causes of hormonal acne, the root of the problem is a group of hormones called androgens.
All women have some level of androgens in their bodies, despite many people calling them “male hormones.” The presence of androgens is normal, but it can often lead to acne breakouts in women by overstimulating oil glands. Androgens can also change the skin cells in our pores, making them more sticky. The excess oil production combined with dead skin cells that are naturally more sticky and prone to clogging is a recipe for terrible acne flares!
Another huge contributor to hormonal acne flares is your lifestyle. Stress, fatigue and diet all play a big role in the severity of your hormonal breakouts. Diets high in caffeine, sugar and dairy can trigger hormonal acne, as can poor sleep habits and too much stress.
How to Treat It
So, now that we know what hormonal acne is, the big question is how to make it go away! Getting hormonal breakouts under control is going to require a lot of patience and a little bit of trial and error. Everyone’s skin and lifestyle is different, so unfortunately there isn’t one simple solution that works for everybody.
First, it’s important to remember that the most progress will be made with internal changes. Obviously, the most effective change you can make will be talking to a doctor or dermatologist about hormone treatments to help keep androgen spikes from happening as frequently, but there are plenty of non-medication options available as well.
Another important lifestyle change you can make is through your diet. Diets full of sugar, carbs and caffeine can aggravate hormonal acne and worsen flare ups. This part will take some experimentation to determine if something in your diet is triggering or aggravating your acne flares. For some, dairy is the culprit. For others, it’s caffeine. The best way to test this is by removing one thing from your diet for a whole month to see if your acne improves. If it does, you may have found your trigger! If not, continue removing just one thing per month and keep careful notes on whether you notice any changes in your skin.
Things like a poor sleep schedule or elevated stress levels have been associated with hormonal acne flares as well. Sleep is important for physical and mental health because it gives our bodies time to heal and rest. Too little sleep will leave your skin looking sallow and can cause your hormones to act up, which can lead to more acne. Stress also causes a whole cascade of physical changes that can cause you to gain weight, break out and even be more prone to illness! Making small lifestyle alterations like going to bed earlier and taking time for yourself during the day can help you to manage your skin as well as your well-being.
While you won’t be able to make hormonal acne disappear with products alone, a solid routine can go a long way to helping shorten breakouts and heal scarring.
First, you want to be sure you have a gentle face wash! Harsh soaps can strip your skin of oils and moisture, exacerbating any existing acne. Klairs Be Clean Rich Moist Facial Soap is an inexpensive and effective option that is suitable for almost any skin type. It is formulated with calamine, Yerba mate, jojoba, almond and argan oils to deliver a deep yet gentle clean. Each soap is made with high-quality ingredients and without drying surfactants or chemicals, so you will be nourishing your skin as you clean.
Once your face is clean, Klairs Supple Preparation Toner will balance your skin’s pH while delivering an extra dose of calming and moisture. This toner also helps boost the absorption of the rest of your skincare routine, so it’s pulling double duty! By adding extra layers of light moisture you can reduce the overall oiliness of your skin, which will make your breakouts less severe.
After cleansing and toning, choosing essences and creams that target blemish care, brightening and moisturizing will help keep your skin healthy and your acne flares manageable.
For problem skin, it is important to use light, non-greasy products to reduce the chances of pores clogging. I always recommend Lei Lani Poruji Essence for this. Its light, hydrating gel formula is perfectly suited to oily or acne-prone skin. It contains tea tree oil, witch hazel, licorice and aloe to help treat blemishes, brighten skin and soothe angry red spots.
If your skin needs extra moisture, I recommend following the Poruji Essence with Lei Lani’s Poruji Cream. Products from the same line always complement each other, so this is the perfect choice! The Poruji Cream is light enough to keep from clogging your pores, but still moisturizing enough to deliver an extra boost of hydration while helping keep your acne at bay. Its star ingredients are niacinamide, witch hazel, tea tree, allantoin, licorice and houttuynia cordata. Just dab a thin layer of this cream over your face as a final step and you’ll wake up with fresh, soothed skin!
Hormonal acne takes lots of time and patience to work through. There is no overnight fix or single cure. The best way to handle it is to make healthy lifestyle changes, work with your dermatologist and take great care of your skin.