How do Hormones Affect Acne?

To put it in a nutshell, hormonal acne forms as a result of fluctuations in the levels of hormones your body produces. It is quite common, and predictable, with such outbreaks often occurring at the same time as your period. Needless to say, it is immensely annoying as it is not only unsightly but dampens self-confidence too.

What is hormonal acne?

Normal sebum production keeps your skin fresh, smooth and healthy. However, when hormones signal to your body to increase it's sebum production, the extra sebum can clog hair follicles and cause you develop acne. Everyone has different sensitivity to certain hormones, so a boost in hormone levels that could cause one person to break out with acne could have no effect on a person with lower sensitive to acne-causing hormones.   

  • For the ladies: Right before your period, your body begins to increase production of androgen (male hormones). This Triggers the body to create more sebum.
  • For the Gentleman: Higher testosterone levels trigger your body to create more sebum, which can lead to oilier facial skin.
  • For All: More sebum leads to clogging of hair follicles (known as comedones). They can be completely blocked, forming whiteheads, or partially blocked with dirt accumulating over it, resulting in blackheads.                                                     
  • Bacteria trapped inside the comedone causes an infection, resulting in a painful, irritated pimple.
  •  Your immune system gets fired up in response to the bacterial infection, which causes the
Clogged hair follicle become red, swollen and uncomfortable. It generally takes 4-5 days for this cycle to complete, so you notice each pimple a few days before it is fully developed. Hormonal acne tends to go away soon after they initially become
clogged and inflamed.

What are the symptoms of hormonal acne?

Hormonal acne outbreaks tend to happen in the T-zone, which is the area of your face that covers your nose, chin and forehead. But that doesn’t mean it won't affect other parts of your face. As an adult, it is quite common for this type of acne to occur on your jawline, cheeks, and area around the lips. Hormonal acne can range from mild to severe. Mild acne is usually characterized by non-painful whiteheads and blackheads that occur in outbreaks of less than 30 lesions at a time. Most of the time, this type of hormonal acne resolves itself with no need for medication. Moderate acne is when you have above 30 total acne lesions, most of which are infected and inflamed. Outbreaks can go from moderate to severe when a large number of the lesions are inflamed, red and painful to the touch. Apart from whiteheads and blackheads, outbreaks caused due to hormonal acne might lead to acne nodules, which are big deep-set pimples that sit beneath the skin and pus-filled, cystic lesions. However, there is no need to panic, because like other forms of acne, hormonal acne can be treated.

By combining safe and effective over-the-counter products, and slight
changes to lifestyle and eating habits, you can easily tackle this type of acne!