Hormonal acne is a very common type of acne. Babies can get it, teen boys and girls suffer from it, and even in adulthood men and women get occasional outbreaks of this type of acne. How exactly do hormones cause acne? And how do you effectively treat it?
Hormones and Acne
Acne is a result of two major events: first, the skin's oil glands become enlarged and produce extra oil. Second, dead skin cells accumulate at the pores and mix with the excess oil to form an oily plug. This blocks the pore and results in whiteheads and blackheads. When bacteria make its way inside the blocked pore, bigger pimples develop.
What does this have to do with hormones? Most people get their first pimples during puberty - the same time when sex hormones first flood our bodies to pave the way for adulthood. Certain hormones, specifically testosterone, have an unpleasant effect on acne. They make the oil glands bigger so that they produce more oil, while at the same time hogging the nutrients that would otherwise metabolize the excess oil. In other words, the hormone testosterone can make the skin oilier, rendering it more acne-prone.
Newborn babies get hormonal acne from hormones they get from their mothers while still inside the womb. Most teenagers get it as a normal part of growing up. Adult women get hormone-related acne right before or during their period - right when testosterone levels peak in tune with their menstrual cycle. Pregnant mothers expecting baby boys get hormonal pimple breakouts when the extra boy hormones flood their body. Adults receiving steroid treatments or supplements get acne as a side effect too.
Treating Hormonal Acne
Before you think - 'control the hormones!'- think again: hormones have far-reaching effects on the body and tampering with them can have serious effects. One workaround that seems to have benefited a lot of women are birth control pills. The pill is basically a cocktail of female hormones that not only prevents unwanted pregnancy but also keeps testosterone levels in check. With this, hormonal acne is minimized and female peace of mind is achieved.
Another route worth taking is to control the excess oil that comes from hormonal acne. A quick fix would be to use oil-absorbing cleansers, toners, and astringents. While these may give immediate results, they require more religious repetition and their effects may be more short-lived than desired. You can also try oral supplements that help control oil production. Vitamin A derivatives like Accutane shuts down the oil glands effectively but have very serious side effects. A safer alternative will be vitamin B5 supplements. They metabolize the excess oil on the skin without shutting down the oil glands or excessively drying out skin.
Just keep this in mind: your hormones are not your enemy, and hormonal acne can be cured. Various acne treatment reviews can help you find the right product that can give the best results for your acne type.