By Jyoti Dubey
Hormonal acne refers to acne and breakouts that form on the skin due to fluctuating hormone levels. Hormonal acne can occur in teenagers as well as in adults. Hormonal acne is common in both men and women, but it is more common in women than in men because of the menstruation cycle and the hormonal changes associated with it. Hormonal fluctuations trigger increased oil production in the skin which can result in acne. Rise in the levels of androgens (primarily male hormones) such as testosterone is one of the causes of hormonal acne, it triggers the production of sebum in high quantities which clogs the pores of your skin which can get clogged with bacteria and dirt and result in acne. Along with these hormonal fluctuations, there are various other factors as well which triggers acne:
1. Stress: Stress alone cannot be the cause of acne but it can definitely trigger breakouts and make existing acne issue worse. Rising levels of cortisol which is also known as the stress hormone works on the testosterone pathway and trigger acne breakouts.
2. An unhealthy diet: An unhealthy diet comprising of oily food and also junk food items such as burgers, chocolates, refined and processed food items, French fries etc. can increase the risk of developing acne. That is why it is important to have a healthy diet in order to reduce inflammation and acne formation and also to prevent them. A research has found that plant-based foods such as strawberries, kale and red cabbage that are high in antioxidants help to reduce acne and should be included in a person who is fighting hormonal acne.
3. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS): Polycystic ovarian syndrome is a hormonal disorder that causes a number of hormone-induced side effects (excessive facial hair, weight gain, infertility, etc), with acne being one of them. Women suffering from PCOS develop cysts in their ovaries and experience elevated levels of male hormone. Due to all these hormonal fluctuations, they suffer from severe acne problem.
4. Menopause: In the age of 40s or 50s, some women develop teenage like acne due to drop of the female hormone (estrogen) level or due to an increase in androgen hormones like testosterone. A decline in the level of estrogen is one of the main reasons for acne.
5. Dairy products: Many studies have found a link between milk and dairy products with breakouts. It was found that people who regularly consumed milk or milk products were four times more likely to suffer from acne. Nowadays, to meet the demands of the growing population, dairy cows are injected with artificial hormones that although increase the milky supply, it may lead to hormonal imbalance in the body when such products are consumed. Milk is also known to increase insulin levels, which makes skin more prone to acne.
There are a variety of treatments ranging from lifestyle changes to medications, to more significant medical interventions. You can also control breakouts by making simple changes to diet, getting more sleep, not using harsh scrubs and gently cleansing your skin at least twice a day. But, if your acne is severe, you should definitely consult a dermatologist, so that you can treat your acne effectively.