Hormonal Acne

Posted October 23, 2022 by Anusha ‐ 2 min read

Hormonal acne is when breakouts form in adulthood that could range from blackheads and whiteheads to painful cysts. Hormonal acne is linked to the overproduction of sebum, which clogs pores, leading to pimples.

What is Hormonal Acne?

Hormonal acne, also known as adult acne, affects adults between the ages of 20 and 50. Acne causes bumps on your face, shoulders, chest and back in the following forms:

  • Pimples.

  • Blackheads.

  • Whiteheads.

  • Cysts.

What causes Hormonal Acne?

  • Acne is caused by clogged pores.

  • Hormonal acne develops when hormonal changes increase the amount of oil your skin produces.

  • This oil interacts with bacteria on the pores of your skin where hair grows (hair follicles) and results in acne.

Clogged pores are the result of:

  • Excess sebum (the oily substance created from the sebaceous glands in the middle layer of your skin).

  • Dead skin cells.

  • Bacteria.

  • Stress.

  • Lack of sleep.

  • Using hair and skin care products that aren’t oil-free or free of ingredients that won’t clog pores

What are the symptoms of Hormonal Acne?

Acne causes lesions (damaged skin tissue) that can become inflamed and be red, painful or sore. Lesions are most likely to appear on your cheeks, but may also appear in the following places:

  • Face.

  • Neck.

  • Back.

  • Shoulders.

  • Chest.

Hormonal acne can appear as the following types of lesions:

  • Whiteheads.

  • Blackheads.

  • Papules (raised skin tissue, 2-5 mm in diameter).

  • Pustules (skin bumps that contain pus, 2-5 mm in diameter).

  • Cysts (pockets under the skin that contain fluid).

How do I know if I have Hormonal Acne?

Hormonal acne is diagnosed during a physical examination by a healthcare provider who will look at the acne and assess contributing factors. This includes discussing:

  • Skin care products you use regularly.

  • Stress and sleep habits.

  • Current medications you use.

  • Changes in your health (hormonal changes).

How do I treat Hormonal Acne?

Based on the severity of your acne, different treatment options are available to reduce sebum production, pimple formation and painful inflammation:

  • Blackheads and whiteheads: Topical cream (tretinoin).

  • Inflammatory acne: Topical retinoid and/or topical antibiotic and/or benzoyl peroxide.

  • Moderate to severe acne: Antibiotic and/or isotretinoin (retinoid).

  • Cystic acne: Steroid injection (intralesional triamcinolone).

  • Daily skin cleansing.

  • Birth control (oral contraceptives).

  • Change in diet.

  • Laser or light therapy.

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