Hormonal Acne - How do you distinguish it?
The catch phrase I hear the most is “Oh my acne is hormonal”. Often clients come to us for advice on treating their skin and they believe that their entire skin condition is purely hormonal acne and that there is nothing you can really do for it.
Once we see these clients, it is very clear that they don’t have hormonal acne at all. Often they have acne vulgaris or what is known simply as just plain old acne. They also often have acne cosmetica. Acne cosmetica is acne that is caused by the use of comedogenic ingredients. Once we examine what they have been using, we discover that the products that they have been applying in the hope of curing their skin are actually making it worse.
So how do we distinguish hormonal acne from other types of acne?
1. They have NO blackheads or congestion. This is the biggest CLUE
2. They have red painful cysts on the jawline, which may also extend down the neck
3. The acne is cyclical and tied to their menstrual cycle. This means that they breakout prior to their period and once their period comes they start to clear. This means they have a period of no acne.
4. The forehead and cheeks are not involved.
So how do you distinguish acne vulgaris?
1. They have congestion, blackheads and whiteheads. The areas they occur are the forehead, chin and cheeks. They do not need to be in all of these areas.
2. They may or may not have cysts or pustules involved. It depends on the particular type of acne and the grade of acne.
3. They have p.acnes involvement in the formation of acne.
4. Their skin is often red and barrier impaired
5. The breakouts are not cyclical they are continuous.
6. The breakouts get worse with the use of comedogenic products
This is what hormonal acne looks like. Note that she doesn’t have any blackheads at all and only the hormonal cysts. This is true hormonal acne.
While the hormone testosterone is involved in acne, labeling your skin hormonal acne when you have blackheads is not a true reflection of what you are dealing with.
The other misconception is that hormonal acne can not be treated topically. This could not be further from the truth. The sebaceous gland has receptors for testosterone and because they reside in the sebaceous gland, topical products can be applied that target this specifically. One of the best ways to target hormonal acne is with 5a reductase inhibitors. These specifically block the binding of testosterone in the sebaceous gland. The end result is a reduction in sebum. Less sebum less means less p.acnes that can survive on the skin.
Our plant harmonizing serum was specifically designed to manage hormonal acne. It is a potent blend of over 10 botanicals that inhibit 5a reductase. This serum reduces sebum and mattifies the skin, preventing hormonal breakouts.
Acne is complex and it requires a thorough knowledge of the skin and ingredients. If you have been struggling with acne for more than 3 months and you are still struggling then you need some help. The longer you leave treating and getting help, unfortunately the higher the risk of scarring that may be permanent.
If you are struggling with your skin and need some guidance then please message us so we can help you and put you on the path to clear skin.