Hormonal acne, we've all been there. But it's not always clear why it's happening or how to treat it. We've asked Dr. Rachel Day, our resident dermatologist to explain what causes hormonal acne and how to prevent and treat your next flare up.
First things first, what factors cause acne in general?
1. Hormonal imbalance
2. Excess oil (sebum) production
3. Inflammation from bacteria or clogged hair follicles
4. Skin cell differentiation
How do I know if my acne is hormonally driven?
Where it's located: Hormonal acne is often concentrated along the cheek and jaw line.
Timing: If your acne breakouts typically occur around your menstrual cycle, they are likely hormonally driven.
Mood: Cortisol, the stress hormone, is also a major trigger for hormonal acne, which is something we've all had an influx of over the past 18 months!
How do I treat my hormonal acne?
You can either treat your acne topically (treatment) or systemically (prevention).
Topically: Topical treatments can help treat hormonal acne by support the skin barrier so it is more resilient, but can't prevent hormonally driven acne. Over the counter topical treatments include AHAs, BHAs, and retinol serums. If your acne is more serious, consider seeing a dermatologist to see if a prescription topical treatment is needed.
Systemically: Skin health is an ecosystem and lifestyle changes can be huge for addressing the root causes of hormonal acnes. Focus on eating more leafy greens, minimizing stress, and getting enough sleep.
How does stress affect acne?
Stress can negatively impact your skin health, so stress management is really important for treating your hormonal acne.
Here are Dr. Day's top stress management tips:
Exercise: Movement (yoga, running, walking, whatever gets you out the door) is a great natural way to relieve stress!
Eat well: Avoid processed foods which activate your adrenal glands and up your cortisol levels.
Prioritize Sleep: Try and get at least 8 hours! Put your cell phone away before bed, take CBD or melatonin as a sleep aide, and stick to a nightly routine for a full night's rest.