There is a prevailing assumption that hormonal acne plagues only our teenage years, but that is simply not true. Hormonal acne—or acne vulgaris—entails acne which is triggered due to hormonal fluctuations within our body.
This skin condition afflicts those well within their 20s, 30s and 40s, and affects women more than men. However, there is no need to despair, as there exist treatments available to treat and eradicate hormonal acne.
What causes hormonal acne after 30?
There are a variety of causes which could trigger hormonal acne in individuals after the age of 30.
Hormonal acne could be a result of an increase in androgen levels (i.e. testosterone), which leads to a rise in sebum production and clogged pores; an outbreak of hormonal acne usually occurs on the lower part of the face, such as the cheeks and jawline.
In the case of women, hormonal fluctuations could happen due to pregnancy or one’s menstrual cycle. Hormonal acne could also be a symptom of another condition which could affect women, and that is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS).
Women who suffer from the latter condition suffer from acne due to raising testosterone levels, which leads to excess sebum and breakouts. Oncoming menopause could also be a cause of hormonal acne, due to a decrease in the amount of estrogen in the body.
Oral contraceptives such as drospirenone could be used to combat hormonal acne, as it is antiandrogenic and thus halts the production of male sex hormones such as testosterone. There also exists natural, herbal alternatives to treating hormonal acne, for instance, ingredients like tea tree oil and clove basil.
On the other hand, there are things to avoid when suffering from hormonal breakouts. The overconsumption of dairy and sugary foods could also lead to a greater frequency of acne flares.
Over-washing the face should also be avoided, as it further strips the skin of its moisture, as well as cause the skin’s barrier to weaken. Stress and lack of sleep could further compound acne problems and should be managed if possible.
The ingredients that treat hormonal acne:
1. Vitamin A to stimulate skin renewal
Vitamin A (or retinol) has been proven countless times in the past to be beneficial in aiding the skin against skin aging, as well as acne and the scarring left behind by it. Retinol works on both the outer (epidermis) and inner (dermis) layer of the skin.
This ingredient is efficient in exfoliating dead skin cells on the epidermis and cleaning out the pores, resulting in fewer breakouts. In the dermis, however, retinol is able to fuel the production of elastin and collagen, thus stimulating in skin renewal.
Vitamin A can be used topically as a serum or a cream or ingested orally. The latter exists in the form isotretinoin or Accutane, and they’re both used to treat the most severe form of acne (i.e. cystic acne).
Retinols should be used in moderation for beginners—one night per week—until the skin has adjusted to its effects (i.e. irritation, peeling), with low-strength retinol. Retinol strength could be gradually built up once the skin has become used to it.
2. Vitamin C protects your skin from pollution
Vitamin C is considered an extremely powerful antioxidant, used to combat free radicals and environmental stressors on the skin. Free radicals are unstable compounds which harm the body’s cells and are caused by pollution in the environment or cigarette smoke.
Pollutants from our surroundings could negatively affect our skin, such as triggering a rise in oil production as well as aggravate inflammatory skin conditions.
Despite this, vitamin C is an anti-inflammatory ingredient able to combat the latter effects, along with calming down redness in the skin. Moreover, vitamin C also assists in the lightening of hyperpigmentation and acne scarring.
3. Niacinamide repairs your skin’s barrier
Niacinamide is an extremely helpful ingredient in the treatment of acne. Not only can it serve as a brightening ingredient, but niacinamide can also strengthen and promote repair for the skin barrier.
People suffering from acne, in general, have a depleted and weakened skin barrier, thus making them vulnerable to environmental pollutants, thus leading to inflammation and acne. Niacinamide can assist in the rise of the skin’s ceramide production, which could further aid in fortifying the skin’s barrier.
Niacinamide is considered a non-irritating ingredient and would prove ideal for those with sensitive skin types who are dealing with hormonal acne.
4. Salicylic acid to remove dead skin cells
Salicylic acid is a BHA (beta-hydroxy acid), and these types of acids are normally recommended for those with combination to oily skin types, due to its oil-soluble properties in comparison with AHAs (alpha-hydroxy acid).
Sensitive skin types could find the salicylic acid ideal for them as well, as BHAs possess calming qualities. This ingredient proves beneficial in treating hormonal acne, because of its ability to penetrate the outer layer of the skin.
Salicylic acid promotes cell turnover through exfoliation, cleaning out clogged pores and regulating sebum production to abate further acne production.
Be patient, as this ingredient takes several weeks to work before you can witness a change in your skin.
Facial treatments can help you get rid of hormonal acne faster
Our topical treatments
This brand offers a line of Retinal Serums which are catered to your specific skin type or other skin concerns aside from acne. For instance, their Calm Gentle Retinal Serum is perfect for skin types with higher sensitivity, whilst tackling inflammation.
On the other hand, their Clarify Blemish Retinal Serum is ideal for combination to oily skin types, as they help manage sebum production as well as preventing acne formation by cleaning the pores.
For those who are veterans in the usage of retinol, the Renew-Advanced Retinal Serum contains both retinaldehyde (lowest irritation for vitamin A) and lactic acid (AHA) to resurface the skin. It is categorised as Level 4 in strength, meaning that this serum has the highest potency of vitamin A.
PCA Skin offers products to treat hormonal acne, one such being the PCA Skin Acne Gel. This gel could be used both as a spot treatment or all over the face. It contains 2% salicylic acid to exfoliate dead skin cells and keep the pores clean; a natural blend of root extracts (i.e. ginger root and licorice root extract) used to improve the appearance of acne-prone skin.
PCA Skin Retinol Treatment for Sensitive Skin possesses a combination of pure retinol and niacinamide in its formulation, allowing for skin renewal and maintenance of skin’s lipid barrier. Thus, a potent blend for sensitive skin types—as the name suggests—to battle hormonal acne.
Other topical treatments from PCA Skin’s line also includes a mask, specifically, their Pore Refining Treatment. This is a wash-off mask that contains both chemical and physical exfoliation: mandelic acid (an AHA known for combatting acne) and rice powder. This treatment maintains pore care and stimulates cell turnover to reveal healthier and brighter skin.
This facial treatment is ideal for any who suffer from hormonal acne, acne scarring, rosacea as well as aging concerns. This treatment does make your skin feel tight, however, there is no irritation involved.
This is because of the use of Osmosis’ liposomal delivery system, which carries a potent infusion of vitamin A, niacinamide, and 1,3 Beta-Glucan into the skin at a cellular level without any further inclusion of any sort of damaging or irritating ingredients—leading to healthier, brighter skin overall and smaller pore size. Sunscreen protection is a must before and after the treatment.
This treatment is beneficial for those suffering from acne and its aftermath. The peel contains a powerful blend of mandelic acid and a 10% Advanced Retinoid Booster.
This treatment significantly reduces the appearance of acne scarring, sunspots and hyperpigmentation, as well as promoting cell turnover and improving skin texture. Tingling and heating up of the skin will be experienced, especially with such a high concentration.
Power up your anti-acne routine with skin supplements
The consumption of certain skin supplements may assist in mitigating and halting hormonal acne and its effects. Advanced Nutrition Programme’s Skin Accumax supplements were created to aid those who are acne-prone attain problem-free skin.
There is now an even better product on the market: Osmosis Skin Defense.
This supplement contains 400mg DIM (Diindolylmethane)—which was extracted from broccoli—along with activated charcoal, n-acetyl cysteine, and sodium thiosulfate to support and nourish not only the skin on our face but all over the body.
DIM is particularly helpful concerning the treatment of hormonal acne, as they halt the flow of hormones to their receptors. The additional vitamins mentioned previously help to regulate sebum production, provide antioxidant protection as well as stimulate collagen production.
Author: Charlene M. Teressa