How to get rid of hormonal ACNE
I always thought that acne won’t be a problem once I’m in my twenties. Oh boy, was I wrong! Here I am in my mid-twenties and still having to fight acne every day. Since most women have the same struggle I decided to put all the wisdom that I collected to minimalize ACNE over the years into this article.
I am going to be brutally honest here. Getting rid of acne is not just difficult but nearly impossible for some of us. If it’s due to hormonal reasons, like in my case, skincare products offer little help in prevention or treatment.
You shouldn’t expect from yourself to have perfect skin like models. Most models have a very specific skincare routine in combination with clean eating and special facial treatments. However, there are certain things we can all do to minimize hormonal acne.
What is hormonal acne?
Hormonal acne refers to acne that appears due to hormonal fluctuations. More specifically when your hormones (estrogen and progesterone) fluctuate there is increased oil production in your pores.
Due to the increased oil production, your pores are more likely to clog up and thus you will have pimples.
Most of the time this is tied to your menstrual cycle and gets the worst a week before your period. Estrogen and progesterone are not the only hormones that can increase your oil production. An increase in your testosterone level and cortisol (stress hormone) can also cause an overproduction of oil in your pores.
How do you know if you have hormonal acne?
Hormonal acne refers to acne due to hormonal fluctuations. It’s most common during puberty but for women, it can last much longer than puberty does. So if you’re not a teenager anymore and struggling with acne mostly before and during your period you most probably have hormonal acne.
Other signs you can look for is the placement of the acne. Hormonal acne usually pops up on your jawline and chin, occasionally on the side of your face. Hormonal acne is usually deeper and more inflamed than normal acne.
So if you have painful, inflamed acne around the same time each month on your jawline or chin or face you most probably suffer from hormonal acne.
How can I get rid of hormonal acne?
Hormonal acne is the trickiest to get rid of, can be impossible without taking prescribed medicine for some of us. Most dermatologists will advise you the following options:
Change of diet: cut out dairy and sugar - I tried to cut out dairy once but it didn’t help me. Some studies show a correlation between sugar & dairy consumption and the severity of hormonal acne. Even if you are not willing to get rid of dairy products and sugar completely a clean and healthy diet will help. Try plant-based foods that are high in antioxidants.
Skincare products: I tried many different facial cleansers, masks, and so on. None of them cleared up my skin completely but some of them did help to minimize my acne.
Benzoyl peroxide products. These products usually contain 5-10% benzoyl peroxide and can help to get rid of stubborn acne. I use a cream version only on the affected area of my skin and leave it on for the night. Benzoyl peroxide dries out your skin so be careful with it and only use it as treatment aka no long-term use!
Salicylic or glycolic acid products. Facial cleansers with these ingredients help to exfoliate your skin and prevent break-outs. I use this face scrub from Facetheory:
Clean sheets: Dirty sheets that haven’t been changed for a while can definitely worsen the situation. You always want to keep your face clean. If you have any product in your hair or if you haven’t washed it in a while you should put up your hair before going to sleep. This way it won’t stick to your face and make matters worse. The same goes for sheets and pillow covers. Try to change them as often as you can.
Go to the sauna: Sauna always helps. The combination of heat and heavy sweating helps to clean out the toxins and impurities from your pores. It’s the best that you can do for your skin.
Go to the beach: Swimming in the sea is also great for your skin. Salty water sterilizes your skin and the vitamins, amino acids, and minerals that are in it will help to dry up the excess oil in your pores.
Birth control pills: They can help or can make things worse. If you get the right one (should be a combined birth control pill that contains both estrogen and progestin) birth control pills can help to stabilize your hormones.
Spironolactone This is a blood pressure medication which in small dosages can help to block the effects of increased testosterone levels.
Isotretinoin This is a form of vitamin A. Isotretinoin helps to reduce the oil in your skin and therefore prevents breakouts from occurring.
5 general tips for acne-prone skin
If your skin is prone to break-outs you should consider incorporating these general tips in your daily routine.
1. Don’t touch your face
Listen. Touching your face will only make matters worse. Your hand can be dirty and oily and the last thing your skin needs is constant touching or scratching. Never do that.
2. Use the right make-up
Not using make-up is always good for your skin however I realize that most of us don’t feel so confident without it. I prefer to use make-up when I go out even if it’s minimal. So the best we can do is use good quality make-up. Foundation wise I always recommend BBcream or tinted moisturizer in combination with a primer.
3. Face sunscreen
Try to use sunscreen that is specifically for your face. Sunscreens can easily clog your pores and make your skin oily.
4. Don’t pop your break-outs
I know it’s damn hard. BUT, popping your pimples will only help in spreading the inflammation, therefore, more breakouts will pop up.
5. Don’t overwash your face
One of the basic mistakes that many of us don’t realize is overwashing. You shouldn’t clean your face with skincare products more than twice a day. For some skin types once a day with products and once with water is enough.