Most people learn the basics about acne at school, and it’s normally attributed to four main causes:
- Oil production through the skin’s sebaceous glands
- Dead skin cells
- Clogged pores
But hormones, most prominently considered to be a ‘teenage thing’, continue to be a root cause of other breakouts as we age.
Stars of the show
In adults, Acne is usually caused by hormones, and it often appears in the lower half of face, cheekbones and jawline. It may look cystic, big and red, and can be very sensitive.
For women acne usually appears in the later stages of the menstrual cycle, so a week before or even during your period. It can also appear after starting a new form of birth control, hormone replacement therapy through menopause, or as a result of fluctuating hormones and conditions such as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).
The skin’s sebaceous glands interact directly with the hormones in our body. In fact it’s a particular trinity of hormones including estrogen, progesterone and androgens that make up the hormonal circus. Androgens are commonly called the male hormones and include testosterone for example. These three groups of hormones are naturally present in our body at all times but can fluctuate in level, particularly androgens, when compounded with stress, fatigue and lack of skin care.
Androgens are the worst perpetrators for causing bad skin because they stimulate growth of the sebaceous glands and increase sebum levels, making skin oily and causing severe congestion known as hyperkeratinisation. This condition means dead skin cells don’t slough off naturally and instead clog the skin’s pores. Cue the entry of bacteria and acne appears as the star of the show.
Men are particularly susceptible to breakouts because acne belongs to a grim troupe of hyperandrogenic diseases that are characterised by the excessive production of androgens. Other members of this merry band include male pattern baldness which can join acne as a misery double act.
Treating the miserable circus
It’s important for people to understand that acne is a skin disease, and it needs to be treated as one. Our skin is an effective barrier against dirt, infection and pathogens, which is designed to beat skin disease at its own game. We’re born with our own unique skin microflora of bacteria and viruses that builds our immunity and keeps skin healthy. Just like our gut microflora, the good bacteria and matter that make up our skin microflora, known collectively as your microbiome, needs to be preserved.
Here’s some potential treatments for hormonal acne:
- Keeping your gut balance and microflora healthy through fermented foods and Kefir which helps replenish beneficial bacteria. These naturally combat the inflammatory effects of antibiotics, sugar, alcohol and processed foods which reduce your immunity.
- Stimulating your lymph system through exercise, drinking more water and avoiding excessive caffeine and alcohol consumption.
- Experimenting with cutting dairy out of your diet and try to incorporate Evening Primrose Oil, zinc and vitamin B6.
- Limiting stress and getting more sleep.
- Seeking medical advice to rule out any hormone imbalance or disorder that may require further investigation.
- Keeping the skin’s moisture barrier strong and healthy as this makes it more resilient and reduces the severity of acne. Don’t use soaps or cleansers that strip the skin, and gently exfoliate once a week. It’s also important to use a good moisturiser that doesn’t block the pores (non-comedogenic), and targets acne and hormonal skin complaints.
How Atopis can help
Based on her award-winning international research and successful clinical trials, Dr Iona Weir has formulated safe, natural products to help unlock skin’s own immunity and assist self-repair.
Atopis Acne Prone Skin Cream helps treat hormonal acne by limiting overstimulation and moderates the hormone receptors of the skin’s sebaceous glands. It rebuilds your skin through moisturising, controlling sebum levels and preventing that old villain, hyperkeratinisation.
Meanwhile, the probiotic peptides in Atopis, work to restore your skin’s friendly bacteria microbiome, just like probiotics in the gut.
Drop the final curtain down on hormonal acne by trying Atopis Acne Prone Skin Cream.