If you are suffering from acne outbreaks, then hormonal acne is likely to be causing them. Yes, hormonal fluctuations in your body at your monthly cycle can also lead to acne. Yes, hormonal acne often happens in response to an increase in some hormones, namely testosterone. During puberty, the secretion of testosterone often increases and this can prompt hormonal acne outbreaks in many teenagers.
There are other causes for hormonal acne such as changes in the skin due to stress, food allergies, etc. Generally speaking, blackheads are the most common type of pimple that is associated with hormonal fluctuations. These blackheads occur when the pores get clogged up with dead skin cells and bacteria. This can result in whiteheads which later become filled with pus.
Fortunately, hormonal acne can be treated by using topical medications. However, if you want to deal with this condition more aggressively, then your dermatologist might prescribe oral treatments, particularly oral contraceptives that decrease the activity of androgens in your body. As a general rule, when you are on hormonal acne treatments, your doctor will also advise you to avoid certain foods that contain high levels of androgens, like beef, lamb, and pork. These foods are believed to increase the activity of androgens in your body. However, some dermatologists believe that since the action of androgens is also related to the sex hormones of both men and women, then consuming these foods may have nothing to do with your acne breakouts.
Since androgens are associated with acne breakouts, many experts also believe that there is a connection between hormonal acne and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). PCOS is a condition that involves the overproduction of androgens in the body. The other hormones of concern are estrogen and progesterone. Estrogen and progesterone are both considered to be related to PCOS because they can affect the development and behavior of the ovaries. Because androgens are both related to acne breakouts, experts also believe that reducing the activity of androgens can also help reduce PCOS.
One effective way to reduce the effect of androgens and PCOS is through the use of oral contraceptives. Some dermatologists also believe that combining oral contraceptives with topical androgenic treatment with an antiandrogen like flutamide (trade name Isotretinoin) may help. To be effective, however, you need to use all three forms of treatment, not just one. Also, be aware that combining these treatments can have some serious side effects, including liver damage, blood clots, heart problems, and breast cancer. If you are thinking of trying oral contraceptives as part of your hormonal acne treatment, speak to your dermatologist first.
Hygiene and proper diet can go a long way toward clearing up symptoms of hormonal acne. But even though it is very important to maintain proper hygiene and diet, sometimes the irritation and inflammation caused by blackheads and whiteheads doesn’t respond or even disappear on its own. This is when you should look for one of the more aggressive treatments that can eliminate painful cysts and pimples from your skin. And once your acne clears up, don’t forget to keep up good habits: wash your face twice daily, don’t touch your face when it is raw, don’t scrub your skin, don’t use any harsh soaps or cleansers, and stay away from the sun to keep your skin healthy.