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Taming the Beast: How to Tackle Adult Hormonal Acne Like a Pro

Winning Battles Against Acne, One Hormone at a Time!

Oh, the lovely joys of adulting! Paying bills, working 9-5, and let's not forget, dealing with adult hormonal acne (especially if you have PCOS or hormonal imbalances). Just when you thought your pimple-popping days were behind you (goodbye, teenage years!), hormonal acne raises its unsightly head over and over again. Well, I'm here with some tips and tricks to help you send those pesky zits packing. Seriously, ain't nobody got time for that!

Adult woman struggling with acne

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Know Thy Enemy – Understanding Adult Hormonal Acne

What is adult hormonal acne?

You know those annoying breakouts that seem even worse than the ones you had when you were 13 or 14? Yeah, that's adult hormonal acne. And let me tell you, it's something many people are dealing with, so you're not alone. 

Adult hormonal acne is basically acne that's caused mainly by fluctuations in your hormones. These fluctuations can result from various factors, like menstruation, pregnancy, or even some medications. Sometimes, this type of acne can seem to come out of nowhere, and other times, you might notice it pops up around the same time each month (like right before you get your period) or when you eat specific foods (like dairy or sugar).

What causes it?

As the name suggests, it has much to do with hormones. There are a few main things that can cause your hormones to go out of whack, leading to these frustrating breakouts. One of the most common causes of hormonal acne, especially for women, is the menstrual cycle. Hormone levels can fluctuate quite a bit throughout the month, and some people experience breakouts right before their period starts. This is pretty normal, and many people deal with this kind of hormonal acne.

Now, let's talk about a condition that you may not be as familiar with, called polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). PCOS affects women and is known to cause irregular periods, weight gain, fertility issues, and, yes, hormonal acne. This is because PCOS can cause higher levels of androgens, which - you guessed it - can lead to excess sebum production and breakouts.

Source: Unsplash

Stress can also play a role in hormonal acne. When we're stressed out, our bodies produce a hormone called cortisol, which can increase oil production in the skin. So, try your best to keep your stress levels in check - not just for your skin, but for your overall health. Lastly, some medications can have an impact on hormones and cause hormonal acne. If you're taking any medication and are concerned about your skin, it's essential to talk with your healthcare provider.

Why does it usually target the chin, jawline, and cheeks?

One reason might be related to the distribution of sebaceous (oil) glands on our faces. Research suggests that these areas have more sebaceous glands than other parts of the face, making them more prone to breakouts when hormone levels change.

Another possible reason is the way we touch our faces. We might inadvertently transfer dirt, oil, and bacteria from our hands to our chin, jawline, and cheeks more often than to other parts of our faces, leading to more acne in these areas. Think about it – when you're daydreaming or just resting your head, what parts of your face do you usually touch?

Lastly, some experts believe hormonal acne on the chin and jawline might be related to our hormone levels affecting the hair follicles in these areas. It's thought that higher levels of androgens, which are male hormones that both girls and guys have, might stimulate the hair follicles in the chin and jawline, making those areas more acne-prone.

Source: Unsplash

Ready, Set, Action! Your Ultimate Gameplan

Build a skincare routine that works for YOU

  • Cleanse: Gentle cleansers are your BFF (I've had to learn this the hard way); I'm currently using this one from Cetaphil.
  • Tone: Be mindful of the ingredients - avoid alcohol-based toners; I'm fond of this hydrating toner with rose water.
  • Moisturize: Hydration is still essential - embrace non-comedogenic options; Aveeno's oat gel moisturizer is a dream.
  • Exfoliate: Use chemical exfoliants with care (AHAs and BHAs are better together than ever!). The Ordinary has some great, affordable options.

Master the art of spot treatments

  • Salicylic acid: A true knight in shining armor for acne-prone skin
  • Benzoyl peroxide: Show those bacteria who's boss, but be careful with the higher percentages, which are harsher on the skin
  • Tea tree oil: A natural alternative for mild to moderate breakouts
  • Sulfur: Great if you have a whitehead just begging to be popped (don't pop; add a dab of sulfur)

Dare to lifestyle changes

  • Stress management: Embrace mindfulness and kiss those zits goodbye!
  • Sleep hygiene: Cozy up to a more acne-friendly bedtime routine (e.g., never sleep with makeup on!)
  • Diet power-ups: Fight hormonal acne from within (this is more important than many realize)
  • Exercise: Get moving and boost oxygen flow to your skin
Source: Unsplash

Professional Help, STAT

When should you seek a dermatologist's help? 

You might want to consider seeing a dermatologist if you've tried over-the-counter treatments for a few months without success if your acne is causing scarring or dark spots, or if it's seriously affecting your confidence and daily life. A dermatologist can help determine the best plan to tackle your acne and guide you through the process.

What are the typical treatments for adult hormonal acne?

Topical treatments include retinoids, which help unclog pores, and benzoyl peroxide, which kills acne-causing bacteria. Sometimes, your doctor might suggest using both to kick acne to the curb! There are also oral medications like antibiotics, birth control pills (for the ladies), and even a drug called spironolactone, which can help reduce hormone-induced oil production.

Is there such a thing as a miracle acne cure?

As someone who is still struggling with hormonal acne, I totally understand the desire for a miracle cure! Unfortunately, there isn't a one-size-fits-all solution for acne. Everyone's skin is different, and what works for one person might not work for another. That being said, it's crucial to consistently follow a skincare routine, including cleansing, toning, and moisturizing (a nutrient-rich facial serum isn't a bad idea either).

Don't forget to drink plenty of water and maintain a healthy diet; for PCOS, avoid dairy, sugar, and simple carbs. You can also consult with a dermatologist for professional advice. Hang in there; finding the best treatment for your acne might take some trial and error, but it's worth it!

Source: Unsplash

You've Got This!

Adult hormonal acne can be a pain in the (literal) face, but with the proper knowledge and a pinch of persistence, you can banish those blemishes from your flawless kingdom (or at least make them less frequent). Remember, skin glow-up is not an overnight process; patience is key. Conquer one hormonal beast at a time, and soon enough, you'll be diving headfirst into clear skin territory. Can you say #SkincareGoals?

Tell me about your experiences with adult hormonal acne in the comments below. What worked for you? What didn't? Which unexpected hacks turned the tide? Let's share our skincare knowledge and rock that radiant glow!


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