How To Prevent Acne Flare Ups
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How To Prevent Acne Flare Ups

March 22, 2022

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Are you looking for a hormonal acne treatment that can end your breakouts once and for all? Learn what’s causing your flare-ups and how to prevent them.

Hormonal acne (also known as adults acne) is a challenge many people face, but it’s especially prevalent among women. If you’re wondering how we got so lucky, the answer lies in the complicated nature of our female hormones and androgen levels. Every month, the balance of our estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone changes. Then, there’s the fact that our hormones experience some big changes as we go through menopause.

Even though we ladies are more likely to experience hormonal acne than men, that doesn’t mean we’re guaranteed to have it or that we can’t do things to avoid it. For those of us with mild to severe acne symptoms as adults, here’s what to know about what may be causing our acne flare-ups and how to prevent them with hormonal acne treatment and lifestyle changes.

What Causes Hormonal Acne?

We have already mentioned that hormones (specifically androgens) are the driving force behind hormonal acne. But why do some women get it while others don’t? We all have hormones, right?

When our hormones are optimally balanced, we’re less likely to experience hormonal acne breakouts. Even as we experience hormonal changes throughout the month or during different periods of our lives, our hormones can still remain balanced as they change. Problems tend to arise only when one or more of our hormones dip too low or spike too high. Here are some of the events that are associated with a hormonal fluctuation in females:

  • Puberty
  • Pregnancy
  • Menstruation
  • Menopause

There are also other potential causes of mild to severe acne in women, such as starting and stopping birth control or other types of oral contraceptives. Birth control pills are known to cause moderate acne in some women. Any type of oral medication that manipulates the delicate balance of our female hormones can lead to acne symptoms.

Unbalanced hormones (particularly androgen hormones) can get in the way of our clear skin goals. Changes in androgen hormone levels can cause our skin cells to produce more oil than they normally would. Excess oil from the sebaceous glands can combine with dead skin cells and clog the pores.

Polycystic ovary syndrome is another potential trigger for adult acne. This condition is still not entirely understood, but it is marked by menstrual irregularities, hormonal acne, insulin resistance, and hair loss or excess body hair growth.

Other important causes of hormonal acne include genetics, gender, and acne-causing bacteria. One study shows that half of adult acne vulgaris patients have at least one family member with acne. Women are also much more likely to experience acne vulgaris breakouts than men. Finally, there are certain types of bacteria that can get into the skin cells or hair follicles and cause inflammation that leads to pimple formation.

What Are the Symptoms of Hormonal Acne?

Whether you have mild acne or severe acne, you may be wondering how to tell if your breakouts are caused by hormone imbalances or something else. Here are some of the most common symptoms of hormonal acne:


  • Acne that breaks out along the lower jawline and cheeks, back, neck, shoulders, and chest

  • Hormonal breakouts that occur consistently during certain phases of your menstrual cycle

  • Deep, cystic acne that develops under the skin and is often painful and inflamed

In addition to cystic acne, hormonal acne can also appear as blackheads, whiteheads, pustules (skin bumps with pus) and papules (raised skin tissue). Any of these types of acne can potentially lead to acne scars (though you can lower your risk of scarring by avoiding picking at or popping your acne).

What Is the Best Way To Treat Hormonal Acne?

Whether you tend to get mild hormonal acne or more severe acne around your period, there may be things you can do to avoid it, including getting an official diagnosis and treatment recommendation from a dermatologist. There are internal and topical treatment options to combat adult acne. Sometimes doctors prescribe medications such as spironolactone and topical retinoids as acne treatments for adults. Spironolactone is primarily prescribed for high blood pressure and heart failure. Though the FDA has not approved it for the treatment of acne vulgaris, some doctors still prescribe it for this purpose.

Spironolactone is a diuretic (which means it stimulates the removal of fluids from the body). It is effectively used off-label to reduce excess oil production in the skin that frequently leads to hormonal acne. Though it is an effective acne treatment, spironolactone does come with a long list of potential side effects. According to the Mayo Clinic, some of these side effects include:

  • Bleeding gums
  • Blurred vision
  • Chest pain
  • Cloudy urine
  • Constipation
  • Indigestion
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Muscle spasms or cramps
  • Seizures
  • Lump in the breast
  • Inverted nipple
  • Vomiting of blood
  • Yellow eyes

And there are many more! Fortunately, there are safer ways to combat your acne vulgaris issues. Topical retinoid creams contain vitamin A (which is great for skin health). These creams are commonly recommended as hormonal acne treatments because they help exfoliate dead skin cells and boost new skin cell production. As new skin cells develop, they help clear out blocked pores by pushing excess oil and dead skin cells out.

Dermatologists also commonly prescribe topical medications containing salicylic acid to combat acne. Salicylic acid is derived from the willow bark tree. It exfoliates the skin to keep the pores clear. Some people notice a drastic reduction in hormonal acne after using products with salicylic acid. Others find that extended use of products containing this ingredient eventually leads to skin dryness and peeling.

How Can I Naturally Treat Hormonal Acne?

If you would rather ditch the medications and learn effective home remedies for acne, you’re in luck! We have prepared a list of natural supplements and lifestyle changes that are great for the hormonal treatment of acne. They include:

  • Reducing stress

  • Eating a nutritious diet (and avoiding sugars and refined carbohydrates)

  • Getting sufficient sleep at night

  • Using a gentle cleanser to wash the skin

  • Avoiding irritants (such as some commercial cosmetics, sunscreens, and hair-styling products)

  • Avoiding picking or touching acne-prone areas

  • Showering after all strenuous activities that cause you to noticeably sweat

  • Protecting your skin from extended sun exposure

  • Taking hormone-balancing supplements such as Hertime

  • Avoiding oral birth control (if possible)

These are all effective treatments and prevention options for hormonal acne. You’ll notice that they all involve taking care of your body and avoiding harmful substances both internally and externally. For many of us women, being proactive about the health of our body and skin is more effective at preventing breakouts and promoting skin health than any synthetic treatment available.

In addition to reducing adult acne, we can avoid so many other unpleasant monthly symptoms by balancing our hormones. For more information about how you can take control of your sex life, confidence, and overall health by balancing your hormones, check out our entertaining and educational articles over here at Mixhers resources.

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