If you thought acne was exclusively for your teenage years, you may be surprised to know that acne flare-ups can follow you into your 20s and beyond. Hormonal acne is super common for people in their 20s as it’s often the peak childbearing age. You’re more prone to intense hormonal fluctuations at this time and may notice cyclical breakouts that pop up around the same time each month. While hormonal acne can be frustrating, it’s totally normal, and with the proper hormonal acne skincare routine, you can calm and clear your skin.
What is Hormonal Acne?
If you notice specific types of breakouts around the time of your period, or another time in your cycle, you’re likely experiencing hormonal acne. Hormonal acne is acne that is caused by an imbalance in hormones, such as estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. It’s fundamentally linked to your hormones, resulting in cyclical breakouts that typically coincide with your menstrual cycle. It can also be caused by other hormonal changes, such as postpartum breakouts or menopausal acne.
Fluctuations of estrogen and progesterone are generally what cause this type of acne. These two hormones vary widely throughout the menstrual cycle. The ratio of these hormones to each other can also affect your testosterone levels, which can cause hormonal acne.
You can tell if your acne is hormonal in a few key ways. If your acne appears around your jaw and chin, it’s a telltale sign that it’s hormonal. It will typically appear as inflamed, cystic acne pretty much anywhere on your lower face. It may also pop up along the side of your face, down your neck, or on your back, chest or shoulders.
Hormonal acne is often cyclical, so if you’re noticing breakouts around the same time each month, you’re most likely dealing with hormonal acne. It will also typically pop up in the same place each month. And if you’re really stressed out, cortisol, the stress hormone, affects all your other hormones, which can cause a hormonal acne flare up.
This type of acne also causes deeper, more painful cysts than the typical blackheads and whiteheads. This is likely due to too much oil production clogging up your pores. These cysts are deeper bumps under the skin’s surface that can’t be extracted through typical manual extraction. They’re usually tender because they’ve accumulated oil over a period of days or weeks, which causes an inflammatory reaction.
7 Hormonal Acne Skincare Routine Tips and Products
1. Switch to Non-Pore Clogging Ingredients
Anyone who has acne (hormonal or otherwise) should never use products with pore clogging ingredients. Acne is believed to be caused by blocked pores, so using the right products is key. Here’s a list of pore cloggers to look out for in your skincare, makeup and haircare products. Remember that “natural” and “organic” do not mean acne-safe and checking your ingredient list is a must if you have acne.
2. Use an Ice Roller Morning and Night
Since hormonal acne is inflammatory, an ice roller can feel heavenly on your breakouts. They reduce inflammation and irritation on the skin, providing much-needed relief. They help with pain and decrease inflammation by constricting the blood vessels. Ice rollers improve circulation in the skin, giving you a healthy glow and they also help your skincare products penetrate more deeply. Use your face roller morning and night, focusing on areas you’re experiencing breakouts, but roll it all over your face.
3. Incorporate a Vitamin C Serum
If you deal with hormonal acne, you likely have scarring as well. A vitamin C serum is one of the best products you can use for acne scarring. Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that increases the synthesis of collagen, which is responsible for your skin’s structure and is key to rebuilding healthy skin. Vitamin C also acts as a brightening agent, which can reduce hyper-pigmentation and discolouration.
4. Wear Sunscreen Daily
Wearing SPF daily is important for everyone, especially if you have acne-prone skin. Acne-prone skin is more sensitive and inflamed than others, and the sun’s rays can make hyper-pigmentation more noticeable and scarring last longer. While many sunscreen products do cause breakouts, this moisturizer by Paula’s Choice with SPF 30 is non-pore clogging and provides protection from UVA and UVB damage. Formulated with antioxidants, wear it daily as the last step in your skincare routine for a soft, healthy complexion.
5. Eat Probiotic Foods
Probiotic foods, like kimchi, sauerkraut, tempeh, coconut kefir, miso and kombucha should be a key part of your diet. Eat them daily as they’re super beneficial for your gut and benefit your digestive system. Probiotics are good bacteria that may reduce inflammation due to hormonal imbalance to help prevent acne. They also help fight pathogens and enhance the skin microbiome.
6. Use Micellar Water to Cleanse
The Bioderma Micellar Water is one of the gentlest makeup removers/cleansers out there. It’s excellent for sensitive, acne-prone skin, and is free from oil, alcohol and parabens. It cleanses and soothes your skin without drying or irritating it. It removes your makeup so easily and won’t cause any eye irritation. Use it in the morning and at night, and make sure to splash your face after use to get rid of any residue.
7. Try a Salicylic Acid Exfoliant
Salicylic acid is one of the most well-known ingredients for reducing acne, as it exfoliates the skin, eliminates build up and keeps the pores clear. It does this by dissolving dead, pore clogging skin tissue, speeding up cell turnover and going deep into pores to clean out dirt, oil and other impurities. It also plays a key role in the acne healing process, helping inflamed pimples and pustules go away faster. The Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant has become a cult favourite, known for being super gentle and leaving the skin looking younger and revived.
If you’re dealing with hormonal acne, try these tips and products to start healing from the inside out!
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