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Picky Guide: Hormonal Acne

Ever get those very annoying, and very unwelcome, zits popping up on your face every month? Yes, we’re talking about hormonal acne here. Just when you think your puberty years are behind you, another wave of acne problems come your way. Hormones are the culprit for these pesky and painful bumps, but not to worry! We’ll dive deep into what hormonal acne is, how it’s different and how you can tackle it.

What is hormonal acne?

Exactly what it sounds like. Menstruation, pregnancy, childbirth, breast feeding, menopause and also hormonal imbalances like polycystic ovarian syndrome causing your bodies hormones to rise and fall. These hormonal fluctuations can stimulate your oil glands to go into overdrive, causing extra sebum to clog pores. And this makes the ideal environment for acne causing bacteria, therefore a breading ground for acne!

But it’s not just hormones that can cause acne. Keep in mind that it’s impossible to pinpoint exactly what causes an individual to develop acne since it varies person to person. Hormones are definitely a big role, but so are genetics and other factors. For some it’s diet related, others it’s stress or certain face products. Make sure to remember this because it can help create a strategy so you don’t make flare ups worse!

What are the characteristics of hormonal acne?

Once you step into age 20-something, you’re led to believe that you can say adios to acne issues. But not so fast! Even when you’re 50 you might not be out of the woods just yet. Hormonal acne, or what is sometimes referred to as “adult acne,” appears during adulthood when women are most hormonally active and prone to hormonal fluctuations. Unlike acne during puberty, which usually shows up in the T-zone (forehead, nose, and chin), hormonal acne typically forms on the lower part of your face like the bottom of your cheeks and around your jawline.

In general, this type of acne has a cyclical pattern that usually appears around your period. However, it can also be the result of the way your body reacts to hormonal changes caused by pregnancy, childbirth and so on. Going on or off birth control can also trigger acne development as well.

How can you tend to it?

Ingredients to look for

Here are a few ingredients to look for that may help tame your breakouts.

  • Salicylic acid: a BHA that penetrates deep into pores and dissolves sebum, dirt and dead skin cells that clog pores.
  • Glycolic acid: an AHA that can be used to exfoliate the top layer of your skin, more suitable for oily/combination skin types.
  • Lactic acid: another AHA, excellent to help unclog pores for those with sensitive/dry skin types.
  • Niacinamide: a form of vitamin B3 which can reduce sebum production and the appearance of pore size.
  • Retinoid: Vitamin A derivatives that reduces sebum production and helps stimulate cell turnover which releases trapped sebum and bacteria from your pores.

Good Lifestyle Habits

In addition to skin care products, there are some good habits you can adopt for a healthier skin.

  • Apply no more than a pea-size amount of any acne product. Applying too much can dry out your skin and increase irritation.
  • Wear sunscreen everyday. UV exposure can dry out the skin, leading to excess oil production in an effort to compensate for it.
  • Don’t over-exfoliate. When your skin barrier is damaged, you will become more prone to acne.
  • Make lifestyle adjustments, such as get enough sleep, drink plenty of water, eat healthily, manage your stress.
  • Practice good hygiene, including changing your pillowcases every few days, using separate towels for your body and face.
  • Seek the help of a dermatologist for deep or cystic acnes as they could be a marker of more serious conditions such as thyroid condition or abnormal hormone levels.

Be Acne-Free on Picky!

The best thing about Picky is you have options! Find exactly what you’re looking for with the Mega Search Filter. Plug in one of the ingredients we mentioned to see what products work best for your skin type. Bonus, there’s an “Acne-Free” concern filter you can use too!

Created with Picky Expert Stella, @stellamarselie, a doctor from Indonesia!

9 Responses

  1. Hi this is exactly what I’m getting on my chin since I’m going through Menopause and it’s driving me crazy
    I know you Posted Tips but is there something I can buy now?
    Thank You

  2. I know exactly what hormonal acne is as I struggle with it. The worst part is when I do get a breakout I don’t wanna keep my hands away from my face!!

  3. I’m only 19 years old and I am not really sure if it’s normal to already have this specific type of acne. It fills my jawline, cheeks, and even goes down to my neck ugh. I’ve also noticed how my whole face is reddish compared to my neck. I guess I have to do more research about this then…

    1. Hello! I think it’s normal to have hormonal acne at 19. Mine started at 15 and I found out years later that I have hormonal imbalance! It’s best to see a professional to make sure there are no underlying causes!

  4. wow.. I didn’t know about how to prevent hormonal acne.. I only know about hormonal acne.. I tend to just let it be..

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