You’re doing all the right things: cleansing twice a day, exfoliating regularly, moisturizing and applying sunscreen. And yet you still get the occasional blemish, usually on your chin. So not fair, we know. The causes of spots can vary significantly, but today we’re tackling hormonal acne—what it is, why we get it, and most importantly, what we can do about it.
What is hormonal acne?
Hormonal acne is acne that has a direct correlation to the body’s estrogen, progesterone, testosterone and androgen hormone levels. Androgens and testosterone are male hormones that are responsible for male traits, like a deep voice and facial hair, while progesterone and estrogen are responsible for female traits, such as a smaller waist and wider hips. All four types of hormones are present in the male and female body, and they naturally tend to fluctuate. When testosterone levels increase and estrogen levels decrease, our skin responds by producing more oil, which can clog pores and lead to acne.
How to tell if your breakouts are hormonal
If you’re experiencing acne of any kind, we can’t stress enough how important it is to see your dermatologist for a diagnosis. But since it never hurts to go into your appointment armed with a little knowledge, here are some telltale signs your acne could be hormonal:
1). It shows up once a month like clockwork.
Hormones fluctuate with monthly cycles. If you find you can time a breakout practically down to the minute every few weeks, hormones are the likely culprit.
2). It’s usually one to three blemishes on or around your mouth, chin and jawline.
Hormonal acne almost always occurs in these areas, but it’s important to remember it can occur anywhere else as well.
3). It’s slow to heal and doesn’t respond to your favorite benzoyl peroxide gel.
As a teenager, you may have been able to “zap” blemishes with a 10% benzoyl peroxide treatment and dry them up in a day. Not so with hormonal acne. The spots show up in the same places and they tend to require some serious TLC before they begin to diminish. We should not that this is the weakest sign as MANY types of acne don't respond to benzoyl peroxide. Even some forms of infections won't respond to this treatment, so it isn't foolproof.
4). You’re age 30 or older.
It’s true, hormonal acne is common in pre-teens and teens going through puberty. But if you went mostly acne-free (lucky!) for a decade or more and are beginning to experience breakouts again in your 30s, 40s and 50s, fluctuating hormones are probably to blame. Alternatively, an infection can be the cause of what you think is acne. This is something that a dermatologist can help to figure out the cause and treat.
5). You have other symptoms that tell you something is up.
Signs of hormonal imbalance can mimic common PMS symptoms, like bloating, cravings, mood swings and fatigue, but they can also be much more severe and include depression, weight gain and insomnia. Listen to what your body is telling you.
How to treat hormonal acne
Dermatologist. Seriously. They can prescribe a treatment, suggest a new skin care regimen or adjust your diet—eliminating dairy and replacing it with almond milk-based products has been known to help.
For mild breakouts, we love Eminence Eight Greens Youth Serum, a formula that’s designed especially to target hormonal acne and hormonal aging. This serum features BioComplex, a unique blend of vitamins and antioxidants that have the power to balance oil production and minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
What's your favorite treatment for blemishes? Let us know in the comments below, or tell us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using #LovelySkin!