Hormonal acne is more common than ever before in women aged between 30-50 years old. Why? In this blog, we will explore what causes these hormonal acne breakouts and how we can help prevent them.

Let’s break this down

Did you know that sebocytes (the oil making glands in the skin) are activated by testosterone, which women make in tiny amounts, primarily in the ovaries?

As our oestrogen levels start to rise at the beginning of each menstrual cycle, the oestrogen binds to the cell receptors that usually respond to testosterone, ‘turning off’ oil production to help keep our pores clear.

When our body’s oestrogen levels begin to decline after ovulation, there’s less available estrogen to bind to the cell receptors in our oil glands, so they become activated by testosterone instead. This results in our bodies producing excess oil until our oestrogen levels begin to rise again with the following monthly cycle.  

This excess oil can cause skin cells to become clogged with oil, dirt and debris in addition to an increased number of the acne-causing bacterium Propionbacterium acnes (or P. acnes) resulting in breakouts that can appear as mild to severe acne.

Signs you may be suffering from hormonal acne

  1. You frequently suffer from breakouts shortly before, during or after your monthly cycle around your time of ovulation
  2. Your monthly breakouts tend to manifest predominantly around the chin and jawline
  3. Rather than blackheads or whiteheads, your hormonal breakouts have a tendency to be painful cysts. These can often feel like big tender bumps under the skin due to having accumulated oil over a period of days, or perhaps even weeks, causing an inflammatory reaction that can often reoccur in the same area of your face (or body) repeatedly.

How can I help prevent and reduce hormonal breakouts?

  1. As soon as you feel a hormonal cyst-like pimple forming, wrap an ice cube in a muslin square and apply to the affected area for 10 minutes to help reduce any pain, redness and/or inflammation.
  2. At the time of your monthly ovulation, step up your cleansing and polishing skincare routine to help ensure that there are less dead skin cells and blockages on the surface of the skin, allowing your pores to excrete oil and sweat more effectively without becoming clogged with excess oil. A woman’s menstrual cycle typically lasts 28 days. If your period arrives each month like clockwork, it’s likely you will ovulate between day 10-14 of your cycle. Mark your calendar so that you can step up your skincare routine at least a week prior.
  3. Double cleanse every evening – the first cleanse removes any pollution, dirt, bacteria and make-up that has built up during the day. The second cleanse gets deep down into your pores to remove any excess oil, dirt and debris.