Acne is one the most common skin problems that both women and men face. While blackheads, whiteheads and pimples are a normal part of puberty, there are conditions when the acne can become stubborn and may as well occur well beyond your teenage years – the condition is known as hormonal acne. It can affect women even in their late 20s, 30s and 40s.
Delhi-based dermatologist and laser surgeon, Dr Deepali Bharadwaj and consultant dermatologist of Jaypee Hospital, Noida, Dr Sakshi Srivastava list out some of the most common causes and symptoms of hormonal acne and how to treat the same.
Bhardwaj says hormonal acne is more common in women and is mostly related to a woman’s menstrual cycle. It occurs during the cyclic flares of monthly menstrual cycles. When menarche happens, there’s a sudden release of oestrogen in the body. The fluctuation of oestrogen results in the breakout of acne. But it starts to decline once the oestrogen hormone becomes stable among ladies. Not only during menarche, another time when adult acne may occur is during menopause, when menstruation ceases in the late 40s.
Another common reason that may lead to hormonal imbalance is polycystic ovarian disease— 80% of women in India suffer from hormonal acne as a result of this disease, says Bhardwaj. It is the condition when male hormones are higher than female hormones in women. Srivastava says, when cysts builds in the ovary, it is not able to release the ovum. Hence, as the cysts get bigger, it leads to the breakout of hormonal acne.
It can also happen when people take pills in excessive quantity like steroids due to sugar, obesity or various other reasons. DHEAS or Dehydroepiandrosterone, which is an endogenous steroid hormone is another reason, adds Srivastava.
Other than that, stress, smoking, type-A personality disorder, drinking and unhealthy lifestyle habits can lead to breakouts. An increase in free testosterone levels is one of the main causes of hormonal acne in men.
If you have more than 2-3 acne on the face for continuous two-three weeks, then you need to reach out to a dermatologist as soon as possible.
The most common feature of hormonal acne is it happens in the lower face — the jaw area. It can happen in other areas of the face but this area is the most affected.
Dr Bharadwaj doesn’t recommend any oral medications, “I try to do lifestyle changes and suggest ayurvedic allopathic remedies. We recommend Diuretics that helps the body get rid of extra water and thus the hormonal problem will become a little diluted. In very serious cases also, I don’t like to recommend medications. People with hormonal problems slightly tend to become overweight. We tell them to lose weight through medical therapies and regular body massages. Increasing basic metabolic rate will help in less acne growth, so we ask them to try doing cardio, exercises and lifestyle changes.”
On the other hand, Dr Srivastava says one requires to do an ultrasound test of the lower abdomen, ” After the hormonal test, we see the hormonal profile of the patient during the second or third day of the period cycle. For that, we do a blood test on an empty stomach, early in the morning. Then according to the results and growth of the hormones, we give medicines. For example, if someone has sugar along with hormonal problems, one needs to have both the pills”.
Apart from these, one can try home remedies as well — take a bowl and mix tomato juice, lemon juice, multani mitti and sandalwood powder in equal quantities. Apply it on acne, wait for 5-10 minutes and then wash off with water, recommends Bhardwaj.