02nd August 2022
How To Treat Hormonal Acne?: With Before and After PicturesDr. Devan Patel, PharmD
Almost everyone from all over the world can agree that acne is one of the most common skin issues to exist, and that everyone at some point in life has experienced it.
A great way to explain why some people continue to struggle with hormonal acne through adulthood is that “you don’t choose the acne, the acne chooses you”.
Below, I will break down how to treat hormonal acne, including my personal hormonal acne story and my before and after pictures.
My hormonal acne before and after pictures:
What is hormonal acne?
Acne vulgaris, or simply acne, affects up to 80% of the population between ages 11 to 30 years old. Adult acne is also referred to as hormonal acne, which may help in an easy understanding of where it comes from.
Hormones change in their levels as we age (the oh so fun time of puberty), and along that path other factors like bacteria, skin cell growth, genetics, and stress play a role in hormonal acne’s becoming.
Just like “normal acne”, hormonal acne can be seen as whiteheads, blackheads, and those nasty painful cysts.
A good way to tell the difference though is through face mapping. Face mapping is when you look at the location that you most commonly get acne, and use these locations to determine the cause of the acne.
What is my acne face mapping?
A simple acne face map break down:
- Forehead: Caused by bacteria in small intestines or digestion issues, irregular sleep, stress
- Cheeks: gut health, digestion issues, unbalanced microbiome, bacteria from phone, bacteria from pillowcases
- Lower cheeks and along the jawline: Hormones! Or as many women are aware, the monthly cause of their acne- dreadful period
- Hair line: sweat and hair products
Hormonal Acne 101
Dealing with my own battles of hormonal acne, I personally know and understand the confidence crushing weight of acne that seems impossible to get to go away.
Trying all the skincare products, what feels like the whole A-Z list of antibiotics, and even Accutane. I have learned a lot over the years about my skin and continue to learn while on my journey of living with hormonal acne.
Your skin condition mirrors your internal condition. If your inside is messed up, it will show on our outside. Some may deal more with their hormonal acne around their period, while others it feels consistent and only gets worse.
Taking a look at how you take care of your body as well as your genetics is important to understand what causes your acne.
To learn more about how gut health and acne are related, check out Is the Acne-Gut Connection a Hype.
For both males and females, hormonal acne is caused by a hormonal imbalance. That means your skincare will have little effect on your acne. That is not to say a good skincare routine might be helping make it less painful, but it means it won’t solve your problem.
The most common hormonal imbalance is excess testosterone, also known as androgens. Too much androgen in women causes excess sebum, or oil, production which leads to hormonal acne. Hormone imbalance in men can be seen through hair loss, fatigue, memory loss, acne, and loss of muscle mass.
What causes a hormonal imbalance?
One of the most common causes for an imbalance is poor blood sugar and too much insulin produced. Insulin is a hormone that regulates glucose so it can be either used for energy or stored.
Insulin also sadly has an effect on ovaries by stimulating them to produce more testosterone. This can lead to irregular periods, unwanted body hair, acne, or even thinning of hair on your head.
How to treat hormonal acne?
Now to the part that most deem “most important” -- how to treat hormonal acne. Remembering that hormonal acne can be genetic and related to our body’s internal health.
Prescription options for hormonal acne
- Helps decrease testosterone by regulating testosterone being made
- Does come with a couple unwanted side effects such as hurting your microbiome which can cause other acne.
- Most women when they come off birth control will experience a period of breaking out while their body adjust to their hormone levels, while others may have acne full on come back.
I personally take birth control to help regulate my hormones, but still experience what I call “break through” acne. My acne is not as bad, but still get quite a bit of painful acne all along my jawline and cheeks.
- Also known as Isotretinoin, is a strong treatment of Vitamin A. It is pretty successful across the board for both male and females.
- Considered side effects, but instead are experienced by all that take it is severe dryness of the skin, the lips, and mouth. Lips cracking and peeling and having to go to the bathroom every 5 minutes because of what feels like hundreds of gallons of water you drink.
Natural dietary options for hormonal acne
The most powerful, even when against prescription options, food. Food is full of vitamins and minerals that aid a healthy gut and vitamins that combat hormonal dysfunction. Food also can help heal marks and scars from past acne. Some key nutrients to keep in mind when looking at your diet are:
- Fights inflammation
- Helps clear and hydrate skin
- Helps decrease inflammation
- Aids in healing damaged or broken skin
- Calms pores and irritation
- Can be used topically or by mouth
- A Healthy gut!
- Aids damaged or depleted microbiome. Helps feed healthy bacteria in the gut.
- Aids in healing acne and rosacea by processing and eliminating the excess estrogen in the body.
- Recommended daily and especially if taking birth control or any antibiotics (acne and non-acne related)
- Help regenerate and renew your skin by giving it energy to fuel your cells to grow and shed. (ew, I know)
- B6 specifically prevents inflammation and overall excess sebum production.
Take Away Message: Feed your body the good stuff to help treat hormonal acne
An easy way to make sure you get all the good stuff, the nutrients your skin needs to combat your hormonal imbalance is: a multivitamin, probiotic, and fish oil supplements.
Products such as Hum Skin Squad, Women’s/Men’s Daily Multivitamin, Florajen, Ocean Blue Omega 3.
But, an even better way is a product that combines almost everything all in one. SkinVite by ZenNutrients has all the ingredients listed, except omega 3, but yes even the probiotic!
SkinVite is vegan, gluten free, and super easy to take. Don’t worry, it doesn’t have that gross after taste like multivitamins. Fish oil is easy to come by and easy to get naturally through fish, if you don’t have a diet preference. Salmon is my personal favorite.
After one month of SkinVite I have noticed a significant improvement in my skin. Going from always having active acne, to only one or two, in only a month!
It is super easy to take in the morning after breakfast with my other medications and fish oil. My confidence has grown since my skin no longer is painfully bumpy, and I feel even better knowing that the ingredients come from the root of the food they are used from.
It is recommended to take SkinVite for three or more months to see full effects, but I am confident to say that you will love your skin while taking care of your inside at the same time!
Author - Lindsey Council