Is it just me or my hormonal acne hit differently every month?

Girl, no!

I literally have different sizes/kinds/shapes of acne every other month. Some months, I have crystal clear glowing skin, in MOST months, I breakout !!! Worst of all, they randomly pop up in weird & painful places, like at the tip of my lip 😩, why.

So, let me quickly explain what hormonal acne is for my girlies who don’t understand hormonal acne annnnnd for the girls who don’t have to deal with hormonal acne every month 🙄 ! Hormonal acne is caused by changes in hormone levels in the body. It is most commonly seen in women, but it can also affect men. This type of acne typically appears on the lower face, chin, middle of your forehead 😐and jawline. They are annoying, painful and really difficult to treat (yep, sometimes the salicylic acids & retinols don’t just do the trick, it’s not just you!)

What Causes These uninvited guests, aka Hormonal Acne?

Hormonal acne is caused by an increase in androgens, which are male hormones 😑😫 present in both men and women. Androgens stimulate the sebaceous glands in the skin to produce more oil, which can clog pores and lead to acne.

What triggers hormonal acne?

Getting old aka Puberty: As we get older, both boys and girls experience an increase in androgens, which can lead to the development of acne. So if you’re in your teens, dealing with this stuff, we’ve been there. It either gets better or worse 🤭🥲🤭😂😈

Menstrual Cycle: Women may experience hormonal acne during their menstrual cycle, particularly in the week leading up to their period. If as a woman you do not deal with this stuff, you are really God’s favorite. 🤎

Pregnancy: I’ve been seeing a lot of pregnancy challenges trending online lately – have any of you come across them too? 😭 While motherhood is undoubtedly a gift from God and we all cherish our little bundles of joy, the physical changes that come with it can be daunting 😫😩. We all pray and hope for a soft, glowy pregnancy era – can I get an Amen! However, it’s not uncommon for hormonal changes during pregnancy to lead to acne and hyperpigmentation. As someone who experiences hormonal fluctuations and is not even pregnant, I can only imagine how challenging it can be for those who are 😶‍🌫️. But please know that these changes are normal and will pass.

Menopause: Women going through menopause may experience hormonal acne due to a decrease in estrogen levels. I wish I could relate to this one to give personal advice. Buttttt, I can tell you how my mum deals with hers; by drinking loads of water, multivitamins (regularly, she doesn’t miss them), and active skincare that involves a lot of hydration & protection…. Her skin is chef’s kiss, 👌 literally. 

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS): Women with PCOS may experience hormonal acne due to an increase in androgen levels. This hormonal imbalance can lead to the overproduction of sebum, the oily substance that lubricates the skin. Women with PCOS may also experience other skin-related symptoms, such as hirsutism (excessive hair growth) and dark patches of skin (acanthosis nigricans). If you suspect that you may have PCOS, it’s important to speak to your healthcare provider, as they can help you manage your symptoms and improve your overall health.

Treatment Options for Hormonal Acne

The treatment of hormonal acne can be challenging, as traditional acne treatments may not be effective, yup 😑. However, there are several treatment options available that can help manage hormonal acne:

Birth Control Pills: Birth control pills containing estrogen and progestin can help regulate hormone levels and reduce acne. 

Spironolactone: Spironolactone is a medication that blocks the effects of androgens on the skin, reducing acne. I have personally used this one and yup it worked. Although I wasn’t consistent, but it did, and I literally saw a difference. I started with 50mg for a month and moved up to 100mg. I used it for only 3 months btw. Please note that this was recommended by my dermatologist, (it has to be recommended). Pleaseeeee make sure you see a dermatologist before you just pop ’em pills. 

Isotretinoin: Isotretinoin, also known as 13-cis-retinoic acid (allow me flaunt my chemistry sense small pls 💁) and sold under the brand name Accutane among others, is a powerful medication primarily used to treat severe acne. Dermatologists PRESCRIBE/RECOMMEND isotretinoin to treat deep, painful acne cysts and nodules, When other treatment fails. EMPHASIS on prescribing when other treatment fails!!!!

Bonus tips: 

Lifestyle modifications such as eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, and practicing stress-reducing techniques such as meditation or yoga can help to manage hormonal acne. It is also important to avoid picking or squeezing pimples, (I am STILL super guilty of this 😩) as this can lead to scarring and further inflammation.

If you are experiencing hormonal acne, it is important to seek the advice of a dermatologist, who can recommend a personalized treatment plan based on your skin type. Orrrrrrr come to the people’s pod and lament about it with other people. What’s better than a community of people who deal with acne ??? 

The information contained in this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice, nor is it a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please seek the advice of your physician with any questions you may have about the information contained herein, as well as the risks or benefits of any treatment.

What do you think?