To find an efficient hormonal acne treatment you have to understand how hormonal acne occurs and what triggers this particular skin condition. Only by getting familiar with the mechanisms that lead to the manifestations of this ailment and by identifying the root causes of the problem you can learn how to treat hormonal acne properly.
In most individuals affected by this skin condition, the appearance of acne lesions are induced by a hormonal imbalance present in the body. In the vast majority of cases the condition appears around the age of 12 to 15 years and will diminish over time, completely disappearing in the early twenties. Still, a few people will suffer from hormonal acne for much longer, since there are other important hormonal changes that take place not only in teenagers, but also in adults and the symptoms of this skin condition in teens are usually less severe compared to those appearing in men and women after their twenties.
Identifying the Cause of Hormonal Acne
It is generally accepted that the trigger of this condition is the fluctuation of hormonal levels, caused by the increased production of androgens. These hormones are known to stimulate the sebaceous glands, which become larger and start producing higher amounts of sebum. This natural oil accumulates inside the hair follicles and mixes with skin bacteria and dead cells, blocking the pores and triggering an intense multiplication of bacteria inside the sebaceous glands. The more sebum is produced, the more pores get clogged, favoring the formation of small spots, pustules and pimples.
Although in most cases the trigger of this skin condition is the mentioned hormonal imbalance, acne manifestations can also appear during the menstrual cycle, pregnancy and in very stressful periods, in ovarian diseases, endocrine problems associated with insulin imbalances, as a consequence of skin irritation due to scratching that can activate inflammatory processes or in people using anabolic steroids.
Now that the potential triggers of this ailment are known, let’s take a look at the hormonal acne treatment options and see whether they are specific for this skin condition or they can be used to treat all the different types of acne known nowadays.
How to Treat Hormonal Acne Effectively
The main purpose of hormonal acne treatment is to eliminate the root cause of the problem, normalizing the sebum production, eliminating the malfunction of skin cells and reducing their inflammation. This can be done by fixing the hormonal imbalances, minimizing the stress by adopting a healthy diet, maintaining proper skin hygiene, taking oral medications or trying spot treatments.
Normalizing the hormonal levels can be done through natural methods (spearmint tea for example is known to lower androgen levels) or through medical treatments. Birth control pills for acne are generally prescribed to women affected by this skin condition as they alter androgen production, balancing hormonal levels. Once the hormonal imbalance has been addressed, acne manifestations and symptoms can be managed easier.
Eating well is important as there are lots of foods known to worsen the skin’s appearance and also to stimulate the production of stress hormones. Spicy products, hydrogenated oils, foods and beverages containing high amounts of sugars should be completely avoided because they favor pore clogging due to the oils and fats in these products and cause skin inflammation by raising insulin levels. For clean skin, foods rich in important vitamins for acne control, minerals, fibers and essential fatty acids should be included in the daily menu or perhaps you could try following an effective acne diet.
It is important to have an effective skin care routine for hormonal acne, rinsing oil and bacteria away with cool water and a clarifying gel and exfoliating the skin from time to time to eliminate the dead cells should be enough to reduce the risks of developing new pimples or papules. Still, try to avoid harsh cleansers containing strong chemicals that can irritate the skin and rely on milder products, preferably containing natural components like olive oil. These will help the skin balance its oil production over time.
Another valid solution for those trying to find out how to treat hormonal acne refers to topical gels and ointments containing active ingredients like benzoyl peroxide (a powerful bactericide) or retinoids. Rubbed gently on the affected areas, these products destroy the bacteria causing skin inflammation, normalize the follicle lifecycle, reduce the blemishes and treat blackheads and acne outbreaks.
With regards to oral medications used for hormonal acne treatment, the most common are anti-inflammatory drugs (mainly corticosteroids) that suppress androgen production and reduce skin inflammation, anti-androgens (like flutamide or spironolactone) that also reduce androgens secretion and block the reception of this hormone in sebaceous follicles and antibiotics that kill the Propionibacterium acnes bacteria, which is the main acne pathogen.
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