You made it through high school and all the agonies that go along with it- puberty, math tests, your first breakup- and you think you’re in the clear. And then, well into adulthood, you get a giant zit. If it seems like it came out of nowhere, and you don’t usually experience pimples, chances are you’re dealing with hormonal acne. So what is it, why does it happen, and what can you do about it?
Hormones VS Regular Zits
In theory, most acne is hormonal- acne comes from an overproduction of oil, which is hormonally related. But usually when we talk about “hormonal acne,” we’re referring to more unusual changes in our hormones that lead to a specific type of breakout.
Hormonal acne tends to show up around the lower half of our faces, around our chin, jawline, and mouth, and is deeper and more painful than the more frequent everyday clogged pores, blackheads, and whiteheads.
But Seriously- Why Now?
Hormonal acne happens because of- you guessed it- changes in hormones. And because women menstruate, which creates frequent hormone fluctuations, they are much more likely to experience it. 50% of women in their 20s and 25% of women 40-49 experience hormonal acne. Changes in birth control- which controls and changes hormone levels-will also have a big impact on oil production and acne.
Although less common, men can also get hormonal acne often the result of stress. Which effects all of us, regardless of gender, and when we get stressed our bodies produce hormones that trigger acne.
Medicine with a Side of Meditation
Unfortunately, if you’re dealing with hormonal acne, the usual topical treatments we’d recommend- e.g exfoliation, glycolic acid, and deep cleaning face masks- aren’t going to fully target the problem.
If you're dealing with hormonal acne, you should meet with a dermatologist who can get at the underlying hormonal issues. They will evaluate your skin and medicate accordingly. For women it can often mean going on or changing your birth control to regulate your hormones- which you can talk to your doctor about.
One big thing that can't hurt no matter what you're dealing with? Self care. As we've mentioned, stress is a huge acne trigger. And while adult acne can totally cause you to feel stressed, you should try to give yourself a chance to unwind and relax while you're going through it. Your skin will thank you, as will your mind.