Hormones and acne

By Erin Manoles, PA-C

Do you notice a monthly pattern with your acne? Does it seem like when your skin is starting to calm down, a whole new crop of pimples pop up? Talk about frustrating! Maybe you’ve even been able to narrow it down to a specific week of the month where you can almost guarantee you’ll get acne. If this is a pattern you’ve noticed, you likely have hormonal acne. 

Hormonal acne is any acne tied to fluctuations in your hormones and is  extremely common. While these breakouts can happen during puberty, the reality is that hormonal acne can affect adults of any age. Hormonal acne is especially common in women, often tied to the normal fluctuation of hormones experienced on a month-by-month basis with the menstrual cycle. These hormone changes can affect several factors contributing to acne, including skin inflammation, oil production, and the amount of bacteria living on the skin.

Hormonal acne varies from person to person. During puberty, hormonal acne often shows up in the T-zone, including the forehead, nose, and chin. During adulthood, hormonal acne most commonly shows up on the jawline and lower half of the face. While hormonal acne can take any form, it often causes inflammatory cysts, which can feel like deep, painful lumps under the skin that take a very long time to go away. 

If your hormonal acne is mild, you may be able to get by with over-the-counter topical acne treatments like benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, or adapalene. But, if you get inflammatory cysts with your acne, you will most likely need oral prescription medication to reach those deep,pesky bumps. Oral treatment options like certain birth control pills or spironolactone can help work from the inside out to balance hormone fluctuations and keep your skin clear and healthy.

If you suspect you have hormonal acne and want to talk more about treatment options, we’d love to visit with you in-person or virtually to address your concerns!


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