Hormonal Acne: Signs, Causes, Types and Treatment Options

By  //  June 26, 2020

Acne is one of the most common skin conditions in the world, and it can be caused by a variety of factors. In many cases, fluctuations in hormones can cause a common, yet stubborn, form of acne called “hormonal acne.”

Acne is one of the most common skin conditions in the world, and it can be caused by a variety of factors. In many cases, fluctuations in hormones can cause a common, yet stubborn, form of acne called “hormonal acne.”

While hormonal acne can result in classic acne symptoms such as breakouts and skin irritation, its roots often lie far below the surface of your skin.

If you think your skin’s bumps and breakouts may be linked to your body’s hormonal changes, learn more about the signs, causes, types, and treatment options for hormonal acne:

The Signs of Hormonal Acne

While all forms of acne may involve the formation of lumps and bumps on your skin, hormonal acne tends to present itself differently with a few distinct signs.

If you think your hormones may be the culprit behind your acne, consider the following signs of hormonal acne:

• Acne brought on or made worse by hormonal fluctuations, relating to puberty, menopause or certain hormonal disorders

• Acne that is present on your “T-zone,” which refers to your the T-shape of your forehead, nose and chin

• Pimples that form heads, whether whiteheads or blackheads

• Deep-rooted cysts that can cause pain and sensitivity when touched

It is not uncommon for hormonal acne to be worsened by non-hormone related triggers, like excess oil or dirt on the face.

To determine if you have hormonal acne, it’s a good idea to pay close attention to your hormone fluctuations and the cause behind them.

What Causes Hormonal Acne?

Just as the name suggests, hormonal acne is caused by hormone fluctuations in your body. When your body’s hormones fluctuate, it can cause an increase of oil in your skin, resulting in breakouts and skin irritation.

Hormonal acne is often associated with certain stages in life and medication conditions that cause abnormal hormone levels.

Common causes of hormonal acne include:

•  Suffer from acne, as there are many major hormone changes associated with this stage of life.

•  Hormone changes in pregnant women can cause acne that should remedy itself after the pregnancy is over.

•  Many women who go through menopause experience unwanted changes to their skin, including hormonal acne.

• This syndrome affects a woman’s hormones, resulting in fluctuations that can have many effects on the body and skin.

• Androgen is commonly associated with male hormone levels, though it can fluctuate in women’s bodies too.

Some studies suggest women are more likely to experience hormonal acne in their lives, which could be related to certain female-specific hormonal events such as puberty, pregnancy, and menopause.

Types of Hormonal Acne

Acne can come in many forms, and sufferers of hormonal acne may experience different types of pimples and cysts, and varying degrees of severity. The most common types of hormonal acne include:

• pimples that form whiteheads, which contain dead skin cells, bacteria, and excess oil

• pimples that are usually small or flatter in appearance, with blackheads containing dirt and bacteria

• tiny inflamed bumps that are usually red in color and a result of inflammation

• red bumps that are small, though larger than papules, and filled with pus and oil

• larger, deeper lumps that are often uncomfortable and painful when touched

How to Treat Hormonal Acne

Hormonal acne can be stubborn, but fortunately, there are many ways to relieve its symptoms and achieve clearer skin.

Finding a remedy for hormonal acne may involve some trial and error to determine what works best for your unique skin and hormonal needs.

Here are the top five most common treatments for hormonal acne:

Try Topicals

While the skincare market is flooded with many types of skin cleansers, creams, and conditioners, there are certain products that may be particularly helpful in tackling your hormonal acne.

Look for products that contain “retinoids,” which are chemical compounds that contain vitamin A.

Retinoid acne products can help reduce inflammation and irritation while regulating oil production – and therefore reducing the effects of your hormonal acne.

You can use an over-the-counter retinoid product, or you can ask your dermatologist about starting a prescription-strength ointment.

Change Your Diet

It is important to eat a healthy diet to avoid further aggravating your hormonal acne. Just as hormone fluctuations can cause your skin to breakout, blood sugar spikes can often deliver the same result.

It is a good idea to limit sugary foods and beverages, like soda, candies, and desserts, to help regulate your skin’s natural oil productions.

Drinking plenty of water can also help reduce breakouts, as your skin can better manage its oil levels when it is properly hydrated and naturally nourished.

Start Birth Control

Ladies, you may have heard that taking birth control pills can help control your breakouts. Many dermatologists prescribe birth control pills for women with hormonal acne, as they can help regulate hormones and prevent fluctuations. There are a variety of birth control pill options associated with reduced hormonal acne, but there are only three approved by the FDA for treating this skin condition.

These pills are all part of the “combination” class of oral contraceptives, meaning they contain both estrogen and progesterone.

Both starting and changing a birth control routine can also mean other changes to your health, so it’s a good idea to do your research and discuss your options with your dermatologist and gynecologist (or other birth control provider) before making any changes.

Clean Your Skin

Like all acne, hormonal acne involves an excess of oil in your skin, which causes pimples and bumps to form. To help promote healthier oil levels and reduce irritation to your breakouts, consider adopting a daily skincare routine.

It is important to wash your face at least twice daily, remove all makeup and dirt before bed and hydrate your skin with a moisturizer formulated for your skin type.

While maintaining a daily skincare routine and keeping your face clean won’t treat your hormone fluctuations, it can help minimize the effects, frequency, and appearance of your breakouts.

Talk to Your Doctor

Because hormonal acne is caused by hormone fluctuations, it is a good idea to talk to a doctor about finding a solution best suited for your personal health.

Your doctor can help get to the root of your hormonal acne, and therefore prevent breakouts at the source. Consider scheduling an appointment with your primary doctor or a dermatologist to begin the conversation about solving your acne woes.

If you’re a woman experiencing a hormonal event like pregnancy or menopause, consult with your gynecologist or OB about potential solutions. This medical condition is often best treated in the hands of an experienced medical professional.