Are you feeling fed up or frustrated by predictable pimples that seem to show up each month, like an unwelcome guest?
If so, hormonal acne could be to blame. Although most of us think of acne as something that happens only to teens, hormonal breakouts tend to be the exception to this rule, affecting many women well into their thirties and beyond.
If this sounds familiar, we’re here to help. Today we're sharing all the important details, plus our top survival strategies for combating this common concern.
What Is Hormonal Acne and How Does It Differ From Regular Breakouts?
When a breakout strikes, it can be difficult to discern whether or not your hormones are to blame. For the most part, hormonal acne looks just like any other kind of acne. However, a few key differences include the timing, where acne is occuring, and how long it typically lingers.
Whereas regular acne can strike at any time and on any area of your body, hormonal acne follows more of a pattern, showing up just once monthly and usually around the same window of time.
Additionally, hormonal breakouts will mostly only happen in certain zones such as the chin, jawline or around the mouth. In many cases, they’ll also appear in smaller clusters, and heal much faster than your other breakouts.
Why Does Hormonal Acne Happen?
As the name suggests, hormonal acne is closely linked to the hormones in your body. Women’s hormones naturally fluctuate on a rotating monthly basis, and hormonal shifts tend to be the most dramatic right before the menstrual phase of your cycle as oestrogen and progesterone drop.
When this happens, the skin may produce more oil as a kind of stress response, meaning you’re more vulnerable to congestion and inflammation - two common factors that contribute to breakouts.
So what can you do to treat these types of breakouts or prevent them altogether? Here are a few helpful pointers.
How to Troubleshoot Hormonal Breakouts
Minimising the impact of hormonal breakouts on skin can be managed with the right skincare products and tips. We’ve rounded up our three most helpful tips that can help reduce the impact of hormonal acne on your skin.
Tip #1: Implement Active Products a Week Before Your Cycle
If you aren’t already tracking your cycle on the calendar or with a digital app, a good place to start is by doing so, and learning when to anticipate certain symptoms.
Once you know the approximate ETA of your hormonal acne, a good way to get ahead of breakouts is to implement an exfoliating mask, cleanser, or serum, with active ingredients - such as alpha- or beta-hydroxy acids - one week beforehand to keep your pores extra clean and clear.
Tip #2: Choose Soothing Treatments for Active Acne
Even with active attention to your skin, hormonal acne can still happen. In this case, your best bet is to focus on more gentle care to help reduce inflammation and keep your skin calm.
Look for anti-inflammatory ingredients like Green Tea, Chamomile, Cucumber, and Aloe, as well as hydrators like Hyaluronic Acid and Squalane. In the event of painful or cystic pimples, you can also try a bit of cold therapy, incorporating ice rolling, or a chilled jade roller to reduce redness and swelling.
Kiehl’s Calendula and Aloe Soothing Hydration Mask
Soothing inflamed breakouts visibly reduces redness and that itching feeling from deep breakouts. This cooling, soothing mask from Kiehl’s effectively calms skin thanks to a blend of Calendula and Aloe Vera.
Tip #3: Stick With Good Habits In Between
As simple as it sounds, preventative care begins with establishing healthy skincare habits all month long.
By consistently sticking to a routine that includes daily cleansing, moisturising, sun protection, and light exfoliation, you’ll be more likely to avoid the buildup of dirt, bacteria, and dead skin that contributes to breakouts in the first place.
You might also find it beneficial to include antioxidants such as Vitamin C for boosting skin immunity, and Vitamin A (aka retinol) for supporting healthy turnover.
Managing Hormonal Acne: Key Points
Hormonal acne can be a pesky, yet regular occurrence for women. Usually, it appears on the chin and jawline - a telltale sign that they’re hormonal, not run of the mill breakouts. While topical treatments can’t address the internal causes of hormonal acne, it’s possible to minimise their effect on skin as much as possible with the right products and techniques.
Or, if you’d like to create a straightforward skincare routine tailored to your skin type and goals, just try our skincare analysis. Just answer a few questions to help us understand your skin, and we’ll create a custom skincare routine just for you!