Charleston Dermatology Blog

Hormonal Acne: Causes, Treatments and Preventative Care

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Breakouts can be frustrating at any age, but hormonal acne presents a unique set of challenges. Unlike the typical teenage acne experience, these breakouts can appear well into adulthood, often triggered by hormonal fluctuations. By understanding the underlying causes of hormonal acne and exploring treatment options, you can take proactive steps to address and minimize acne symptoms effectively.

Understanding Hormonal Acne

Hormonal acne typically manifests as deep, cystic lesions along the jawline, chin and cheeks. While more common in women during puberty, menstruation, pregnancy and menopause, these breakouts can also affect men.

Hormonal fluctuations stimulate the production of sebum in the skin’s oil glands. Excess sebum, combined with the shedding of dead skin cells, then clogs pores and leads to acne lesions.

Hormonal imbalances that trigger or exacerbate hormonal acne most commonly include puberty, menstrual cycles, menopause and hormonal fluctuations caused by pregnancy.

Available Treatment Options

Managing hormonal acne often requires a holistic approach. Your board-certified dermatologist can help you create a personalized skin care plan for your unique needs. This may include treatment options such as:

  • Topical medications containing ingredients like benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid or retinoids can help unclog pores and reduce inflammation. 
  • Oral medications, such as oral contraceptives or anti-androgen medications, may be prescribed to regulate hormone levels and decrease sebum production. 
  • Lifestyle changes, including dietary changes and regular exercise, can support hormonal balance and improve overall skin health. 
  • Dermatological procedures like chemical peels, microdermabrasion or laser therapy may also be recommended to target acne lesions and promote skin rejuvenation.

But you don’t always have to wait to act until symptoms appear. There are proactive steps that can be taken before breakouts to prevent them in the first place. For example, you can…

  • Practice stress management techniques such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, yoga or mindfulness to help lower cortisol levels..
  • Adopt a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins. This combats hormonal balance and bodily inflammation.
  • Avoid triggers, like high-glycemic foods, dairy products and foods with artificial additives.
  • Adopt a consistent skincare routine of gentle cleansing, exfoliation and moisturizing to keep pores clear and minimize acne breakouts.
  • Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night to support hormonal regulation and promote skin repair and renewal.

However, while these steps can help, they may not completely prevent hormonal acne breakouts for everyone.

Most importantly, you should always consult with a board-certified dermatologist. These highly-trained and educated skincare experts can provide personalized guidance and support to develop an effective treatment plan for managing acne and restoring skin confidence.

Clear Up Stress and Eliminate Skin Issues 

At Charleston Dermatology, our board-certified dermatologists help you unlock your skin’s potential. As a Lowcountry leader in skin care, our trusted team has an established legacy in providing unmatched, personalized care to patients across South Carolina. Contact us today to book your appointment and learn more about our medical, surgical and cosmetic dermatology services!

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