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Hormonal Acne: The Relationship of Hormones and Microbiome

Updated: Mar 11

Acne is a skin condition often associated with adolescence, but it doesn't discriminate by age. A significant number of adults, particularly women in their 30s, grapple with hormonal acne. This article delves into the causes, treatments, and practical tips for managing hormonal acne, with a special focus on the interplay between hormones and the microbiome.


Contents

A close up of woman with acne on her cheeks and chin

Understanding Hormonal Acne

Hormonal acne is primarily driven by fluctuations in hormone levels, particularly androgens like testosterone. These hormones stimulate the production of sebum, an oily substance that can clog pores and foster the growth of acne-causing bacteria, leading to inflammation and acne breakouts.


The Role of Hormones in Acne

Hormonal imbalances often trigger acne breakouts. For women, these imbalances can occur during various stages of the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, or menopause. Hormonal acne often manifests as deep and painful cysts, typically around the jawline, chin, and cheeks.

An illustration of a uterus decorated with flowers around it

The Microbiome and Acne

The human body is home to trillions of microorganisms, collectively known as the microbiome. This includes bacteria, fungi, and viruses that live on our skin and in our gut. The gut and skin microbiomes play crucial roles in our overall health, including skin health.


Imbalances in the gut microbiome, known as dysbiosis, can contribute to skin conditions like acne. The skin microbiome, particularly the acne-causing bacteria C. acnes, also plays a significant role in acne development.


An illustration of the microbial activity in the gut with tiny scientists and doctors examining it

Probiotics: A Potential Ally in Managing Acne

Emerging research suggests that probiotics, beneficial bacteria that promote gut health, may play a role in managing acne. Probiotics can help restore balance to the gut microbiome, potentially reducing inflammation and acne breakouts.


Moreover, probiotics can also influence the skin microbiome. They can help maintain a healthy skin barrier, reduce inflammation, and inhibit the growth of harmful skin bacteria, including C. acnes.


A picture of fruits on a beige surface with KINS probiotic supplements

Treatment Options for Hormonal Acne

Treatment options for hormonal acne range from topical treatments to oral medications. Topical treatments include retinoids, benzoyl peroxide, and antibiotics. Oral medications include hormonal therapies like birth control pills and spironolactone, which work by balancing hormones.


However, these treatments can have side effects, and their effectiveness can vary from person to person. Therefore, it's essential to consult with a dermatologist to determine the best treatment plan for your specific needs.


Schedule a consultation today and start your acne recovery journey today.

A salad bowl with salad dressing and different types of vegetables

Practical Tips for Managing Hormonal Acne

In addition to medical treatments, lifestyle changes can also help manage hormonal acne. These include maintaining a healthy diet, regular exercise, adequate sleep, and stress management. It's also important to follow a regular skincare routine, which includes cleansing, moisturising, and using sunscreen.


A smiling woman applying facial cream on her cheek

Conclusion

Hormonal acne can be a challenging condition to manage, but understanding its causes and treatment options can help you take control. Remember, everyone's skin is unique, and what works for one person may not work for another. Therefore, it's important to consult with a dermatologist to find the best treatment plan for you.


This blog post was medically reviewed by Dr Summer Zhang.


References

1. E. Bagatin, T. Freitas, M. Machado, B. Ribeiro, S. Nunes, M. Rocha. (2019) Adult female acne: a guide to clinical practice. Anais Brasileiros de Dermatologia. DOI: 10.1590/abd1806-4841.20198203


2. K. Chilicka, I. Dzieńdziora-Urbińska, R. Szyguła, B. Asanova, D. Nowicka. (2022) Microbiome and Probiotics in Acne Vulgaris-A Narrative Review. DOI: 10.3390/life12030422


3. S. Bosanac, M. Trivedi, A. Clark. Progestins and acne vulgaris: a review. Dermatology Online Journal, 24(5). DOI: 10.5070/D3245040035

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