Basically everyone has experienced a breakout, whitehead, or blackhead. The fact of the matter is, changing hormones can cause sebum (oil) production to go into overtime — yielding to cystic acne. And if you thought hormones were reserved only for women, think again. Men and women can experience hormonal acne on any skin type, and any time of the year. Basically, the increased sebum can do one of two things: clog pores or mix with bacteria — again, creating acne.
Since acne can occur at any age and on any face, it becomes paramount to have a host of skincare products to combat any breakouts around the cheeks, chin, forehead, and jawline. Since acne results from trapped oil, bacteria, and dead skin cells, products that prevent clogged pores will be your best line of defense against hormonal acne.
What is hormonal acne?
First of all, all acne (blackheads, whiteheads, legions) has some hormonal component. However, specific hormones like testosterone and androgens can increase production of oil in the skin. Because of the deep inflammation, you might even notice some scarring, pain, or hyperpigmentation that comes with these types of breakouts. And unfortunately, on melanin-rich skin, they can leave stubborn dark spots once the acne resolves and reddish blotches on lighter skin tones.
How to prevent and treat hormonal acne
For the good news, there are numerous ways to treat and prevent hormonal acne from coming in the first place. To start with, washing your face two times a day (morning and night) is your first step. It will help cleanse and hydrate your skin. Hydrated skin is less likely to overproduce sebum, meaning less acne as well.
Below are 4 skincare ingredients to look for in your products:
Spironolactone, a diuretic pill, helps block the receptors that bind testosterone and other androgens, it’s a great solution for hormonal acne.
Isotretinoin, more commonly known as Accutane, is a Vitamin A-based drug that is the most popular treatment for hormonal acne. By decreasing the overall activity of oil-producing sebaceous glands, this drug can completely change the way your skin responds to changing hormones.
Skin care acids
If you don’t incorporating acids into your evening routine, you should probably start, as they could very easily be the difference between a breakout and acne-free skin. Known to dissolve the upper layer of skin cells and disrupt clogged skin cells, glycolic acid is the most common acid in skin care. Salicylic acid is another great acid that will exfoliate the top layer of the skin, while penetrating into the pores to dissolve sebum.
Most dermatologists will recommend you invest in a cleanser with 2% salicylic acid and use it twice a day.
You probably won’t be able to find a single person above the age of 27 that doesn’t use retinoids. Yes, the Vitamin A-based products are really that good. Retinoids help regulate cell turnover, decrease keratin buildup in pores that lead to clogging and control oil production.
Slight warning though, retinoids are known to cause a bit of skin irritation and redness for first-timers. If this happens to you, make sure your treatment plan builds up to retinoids — instead of jumping right in.
Here’s a more in-depth article about retinol.