Acne is frustrating and embarrassing at any age. While many people experience acne in their teen years, hormonal acne typically appears in adulthood affecting nearly 80% of the population with about 50% of women in their 20s and 25% of women in their 40s noticing the symptoms and causes of hormonal acne. 

Generally, acne is caused by clogged pores and an improper diet. Clogged pores are the result of excess sebum, dead skin cells and bacteria. Hormonal acne, on the other hand, can be caused by stress, lack of sleep, oil-clogging products for hair or skin care and a poor diet that either lacks nutrition or foods that cause inflammation to the skin. Other causes of hormonal acne include a family history of acne, testosterone treatments, side effects of steroid medication use, pre-existing medical conditions such as polycystic ovarian syndrome, or changing hormone levels in women, specifically round the time of her period, irregular periods, pregnancy, menopause, or when discontinuing the use of oral contraceptives.

What does hormonal acne look like? Hormonal acne presents on the lower half of the face, especially at the chin and jaw line, as blackheads, whiteheads, papules (raised skin tissue), pustules (bumps on the skin that are filled with pus) and cysts (nodules under the skin that contain fluid). Hormonal acne is most often cystic and inflammatory. It looks like painful red papules, pustules and deep cysts that can come about near menstruation but unfortunately can last all month long. 

Because acne is brought on by the fluctuation of hormones, the best course of treatment is meeting with your doctor to take an in-depth hormone panel blood test to be sure hormones are the root cause of your acne. Topical treatments aimed at clearing pores with benzoyl peroxide and exfoliating with salicylic acid have proven successful at destroying bacteria that creates acne and reducing inflammation in the skin. Internally, a change in diet may help to clear up hormonal acne. Many people are not aware that dairy consumption may have something to do with the increase in acne as dairy has been shown to stimulate testosterone production that can impact hormonal balance. Refined carbohydrates and high sugar foods can cause an insulin spike that increases inflammation and oil production. In addition to eliminating certain foods, adding zinc to your diet either through foods or supplements can provide benefits that naturally counteract acne. 

If you are experiencing hormonal acne, a dermatologist at THE CENTER for Advanced Dermatology will provide you with a personalized skin assessment and treatment options. From topical treatments to prescription options to light therapy and chemical peels, THE CENTER for Advanced Dermatology will help you find the solution that is right for you. For a consultation, call our office at 602-867-7546 or visit online at WEBSITE