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Hormonal Acne: How To Treat Them Naturally

  • timeline Anoush Gomes
  • 3 Min Read
  • Fact Checked

Acne is a very common skin condition that is usually prominent when one reaches puberty. Although, there are various causes of acne, and so adult acne is also a common occurrence. Commonly, acne is a result of blocked and infected hair follicles – these follicles are likely blocked by excess oil or dead skin cells. It is widely known that these blockages can cause pimples, blackheads and whiteheads. One of the most common types of acne is hormonal acne, which is caused due to an imbalance of hormones in the body. This article will not only define hormonal acne, but will explain how it can be treated.

What is hormonal acne?

When there is a fluctuation of hormones in the body – such as during stress, pregnancy, puberty or when one is diagnosed with PCOS – they can cause acne, hence it’s called hormonal acne. Many women experience hormonal acne when on their period as well, again, due to hormonal changes that occur during that time. While PCOS/PCOD and menstruation can cause hormonal acne and menopause can also cause it.

When there is an imbalance or fluctuation of hormones, especially increased androgens, there are some effects on the skin such as: increased inflammation, production of excess oil/sebum and P. Acnes, the bacteria growth that causes acne. All these factors result in the condition of hormonal acne. Though this condition results from hormonal fluctuations, most of the individuals do not have measurable hormonal abnormalities.

Hormonal acne treatment

Since hormonal acne is specifically caused due to hormonal imbalance/concerns, the priority of treatment is treating the underlying concerns. This can also mean treating underlying medical conditions such as PCOS. Although, it is important to remember that while medications are available to help balance hormone levels, lifestyle changes such as weight loss and diet can be huge positive factors that can contribute to treating hormonal acne. 

In some cases, hormonal acne may need medical intervention as first line treatment. The following are treatments used:
(1) OCP
(2) Anti-androgen medication
(3) Retinoids: topical or oral

All of the above medications should not be used without the prescription of a dermatologist. These medications are strong and can alter hormone levels drastically, and so should only be taken if a professional deems it necessary. Beside medications, there are some natural ways that you can help treat acne. Of course, these too should be used only under the supervision of a dermatologist, because they can have negative effects on the skin which can worsen inflammation and in turn worsen acne. 

(1) Tea tree oil: anti inflammatory
(2) Turmeric (Haldi): anti inflammatory that may work for small breakouts and hyperpigmentation/scars caused by acne.
(3) Green tea: anti inflammatory

Do not use quick fixes such as toothpaste and DIY remedies on your pimples, this can damage your skin and can cause excessive dryness. Acne is an actual dermatological condition and should be treated as such. There are also several grades of acne (1-4) and each individual’s case and skin are different and therefore a personalised treatment by a dermatologist is the best way to help them.

There are also hygiene tips that can be followed to help manage hormonal acne
(1) Use a gentle face wash: hormones can cause excess oil production, and washing your face twice a day can keep the skin clean and dry. Using a gentle cleanser is recommended so as to not flare up existing acne.
(2) Use the right amount of medication: too much of anything can be a bad thing – topical acne medications are usually strong and are not meant to be used in excess amounts. In fact, too much can make your skin very dry prompting more production of sebum which can cause more breakouts.
(3) Use a non-comedogenic moisturizer: Keeping your skin well hydrated is an amazing skin care tip but oil based moisturizers are not a good idea with hormonal acne. Avoid applying oily makeup and skincare products. Choose products that are non-comedogenic, non-acnegenic, oil-free and won’t clog pores.
(4) DO not touch or pop pimple which will make it worse. 

Hormonal acne diet

As you may know what you eat can greatly affect your skin. Certain foods can increase the amount of inflammation in your body and further excaverate hormonal acne. Here are some foods that you should eliminate or reduce in your diet. Don’t make any changes to your diet without speaking to a nutritionist. 

  • Dairy products: milk, eggs
  • Sugary foods and drinks
  • Oily foods/fast food: those high in saturated fats
  • Red meats
  • Chocolate/candy
  • Simple carbs such as white rice, white bread and pasta

If you’re experiencing constant breakouts or have an underlying medical condition that causes hormonal acne, speaking to a dermatologist will help a great deal. Because there are various causes to acne, it’s better that a dermatologist diagnose the grade of acne accurately along with the cause behind it. With this information, a treatment plan can be set up to make sure your hormonal acne is managed and treated well.

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    Anoush Gomes

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