Hormonal Acne Distressing and Complex
It is estimated that up to 85% of teenagers have outbreaks of acne of varying degrees of severity but acne can also commence in adulthood, usually when a person is in their early twenties. This is a particularly demoralising situation when they have gone through their teenage years with clear, unblemished skin. To suddenly have to cope with acne at a time when most young people are starting their careers in earnest can have a negative effect on their self-confidence.
Adult Onset Acne the Result of Change in Hormone Levels
Hormonal activity is known to increase the production of sebum and stimulate skin cell production, two factors that are always present in acne breakouts. In teenagers, the onset of hormonal activity is generally the trigger for acne. In young adults who have already passed through this phase relatively unscathed, outbreaks of acne are the result of a change in hormone levels.
Either way, the hormonal activity results in an over production of oil while at the same time, the skin becomes thicker because the cells aren’t exfoliating as they should. This mix of oil and dead skin cells becomes the perfect breeding ground for the P acnes bacteria responsible for the swelling and redness around whiteheads and cysts. Hormonal acne is more likely to appear around the jaw line and chin and spread down the neck area.
Regular Hormonal Changes Make Women More Vulnerable
The current thinking on the causes of hormonal acne is that it is a result of the inter-relationship between sex hormones such as progesterone, estrogen and testosterone, other hormones such as insulin and chemical substances that the body produces during periods of illness or stress. In women, other causes such as polycystic ovarian syndrome, excess weight, insulin resistance and some types of contraceptive pills are suspected.
Mild adult acne responds to the same treatments as teenage acne including medicated creams, gels and oral antibiotics. The most effective treatment for severe hormonal acne is to bring the hormone levels back into balance. For women, the combined oral contraceptive pill with or without anti-androgens can help with long-term acne control. Establishing the hormone levels through a blood test is the first step and from there, a treatment program can be designed