Pimples have this uncanny ability to show up overnight, with zero provocation, right before a big day. Got a job interview that’s been stressing you out? A vacation you’ve been planning for weeks? Or better yet, a special date night on the cards that you want to look your best for? People who suffer from acne know the struggles of religiously following a multiple-step cleansing routine, only to end up with a loud, pesky spot when you want to avoid it the most.
The same thing happens to a lot of people, especially women, more often than you think. This condition is called hormonal acne, known among dermatologists as acne vulgaris. As the name suggests, it’s tied to an increase or decrease in your body's hormone levels.
Let’s find out more about common triggers, ways to recognize them, and treatment solutions, including the best skincare products for hormonal acne.
Table of Contents:
- What are the most common causes of hormonal acne?
- How can you recognize the signs of hormonal acne?
- What can you do to treat hormonal acne?
- Which are the best skincare products for hormonal acne prevention?
What are the most common causes of hormonal acne?
The human body runs on hormones, which affect everything in our bodies – from our metabolism and appetite to our stamina, fertility, etc. Hormonal imbalances are considered to be the primary cause of acne, though factors like medication, diet, and lifestyle can also trigger or worsen the condition. Since women experience hormone fluctuations in estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone more often, they are more susceptible to this type of acne, and acne prone skin in general.
Hormonal acne is extremely common during puberty when the body produces androgens at a higher rate. The sudden influx of testosterone causes an increase in sebum production, which can clog your pores and lead to breakouts and even cystic acne. The androgen release often coincides with your period, so if you have ever wondered why your skin inevitably breaks out around that time, now you know.
Unfortunately, hormonal acne can follow you out of puberty and well into adulthood. As annoying as it is, you’re not alone in this. Studies have found that approximately 50% of women in their 20s and 26% of women in their 40s struggle with adult acne. From menstruation and menopause to medical conditions like PCOS, which causes excess production of androgens, there are several leading causes of hormonal acne.
How can you recognize the signs of hormonal acne?
Unlike regular zits, hormonal acne tends to be cyclical and more stubborn. These signs will help you differentiate between hormonal acne and other types of acne. You most likely suffer from hormonal acne if:
- You are an adult and have been for a while.
- You usually break out in sync with your menstrual cycle.
- You often experience breakouts of cystic acne.
- The pimples inadvertently appear on your jawline, around the chin, or down your neck.
- Your pimples aren’t just whiteheads or blackheads – they are painful cysts that start as bumps.
- They appear in the same locations over and over again.
It’s not difficult to differentiate hormonal acne from pimples because the former loves to follow a pattern. Whenever there’s an event that triggers a hormonal roller coaster, it shows on your face. Even acute stress can create a perfect setup on your acne prone skin for inflammation, clogged pores, and persistent pimples that leave behind scars and pigmentation.
What can you do to treat hormonal acne?
Of course, balancing hormones is not something you can do as easily as brushing your teeth. You’ll need some medical help from a dermatologist, who will prescribe a personalized skincare regimen suited for your acne prone skin to heal your existing scars and control future breakouts, and particularly breakouts of cystic acne.
Contrary to popular belief, hormonal acne isn’t something that disappears by cutting out certain foods or washing your face more often. In fact, vigorous scrubbing only worsens the issue and agitates your skin. Therefore, don’t hesitate to seek medical help because it’ll lead you to faster and more effective solutions. Being on birth control, dealing with PCOS, feeling stressed, and approaching menopause are all factors to consider before you can figure out the best acne treatment for your specific needs.
Which are the best skincare products for hormonal acne?
The best skincare products for hormonal acne do not contain sulfates, parabens, and other comedogenic (pore-clogging) chemicals. Here are four consumer favorites that we recommend:
- Apple Cider Vinegar Foaming Face Wash contains 100% pure, unadulterated, and organic ACV known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Gentle on the skin and suited for daily use, it unclogs pores, clarifies your skin, and keeps it hydrated between washes. Oily, dry, or combination – it works on all skin types and contains no irritants like sulfates, parabens, or mineral oil.
- Activated Charcoal Face Wash protects your skin from the grind and grime of city life by ridding your face of toxins and impurities. The charcoal beads trap dirt while tea tree essential oil disinfects and soothes the skin. This is instantly refreshing after a day outside and will keep your pores in check with each wash.
- Activated Charcoal Face Mask is crafted with Bamboo Charcoal Powder, which acts as a magnet for blackheads and pollutants from the depths of pores.
- Aloe Vera Foaming Face Wash uses hyaluronic acid, which is dermatologically recommended for its humectant properties that hydrate the outer layer of your skin. Blending the anti-inflammatory effects of Aloe Vera, green tea, cucumber, and calendula flower extracts, this face wash foams thick, leaving you completely refreshed and radiant, while the built-in brush helps remove dead skin cells.
Avoiding acne-causing chemicals like alcohol-based soaps and comedogenic products makes a huge difference in the frequency and intensity of breakouts. From over-the-counter cleansers to face masks made of natural extracts, the WOW Skin Science collection is thoughtfully designed to subdue the finicky pests that are hormonal pimples and help you regain control over your appearance.
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