Hormonal acne is simply acne which occurs when a female hormone called androgen flows in the body. When this happens, the sebaceous glands produce more oil and the pores get clogged. Generally, these hormonal changes take place mostly during menopause, pregnancy and puberty. While acne medications are available for women who experience acne due to these hormonal changes, there is a way to prevent hormonal acne from occurring.
The hormone which causes hormonal acne is dihydrotestosterone (DHT). It binds to oil producing sebaceous glands and increases oil production, causing blackheads, whiteheads and even soreness. This is because of the fact that DHT has a shorter reaction time with oil than other androgens. The longer the body has DHT in the system, the faster breakouts occur.
Women who have hormonal acne tend to have several lesions on their face. While some are very mild, others can be very severe. These lesions are called pustules or whiteheads and the deeper they are, the more severe the condition is. Fortunately, the treatments which are available for this form of acne are very effective as long as the glands on the jawline do not become clogged.
The most common and successful treatment of hormonal acne among women is a combination of topical ointments and oral medication. During puberty and pregnancy, the levels of hormones in the body are changing rapidly, and sometimes they can become imbalanced. In women who are taking oral contraceptives, this imbalance can also lead to acne. A good solution to this is to use a topical cream which contains two of the hormones responsible for the changes: progestin and adapalene.
Most people start out with topical creams that contain either one of these ingredients, and if that doesn’t work, then they move on to antibiotics or retinoids, which also help with hormonal acne. Retinoids work by scaring the whiteheads and blackheads that have already formed, while antibiotics help to prevent new pimples from forming. The side effect of retinoids is usually skin irritation. In order to avoid this, women are sometimes given antibiotics along with the topical cream. If the irritation persists, however, it’s best to see a dermatologist to find out exactly what can be done.
As with any medical condition, it’s important to follow your healthcare provider’s advice regarding hormone therapy and other treatments. While many people experience great relief with topical treatments and oral medication, some will see much better results with more aggressive treatments such as chemical peels. For women who have severe cases of hormonal acne, it’s also possible that a healthcare provider will recommend surgery as an option.