What Hormonal Acne Looks Like and Ways to Check

Do you find that your acne flares around the same time of your cycle each month? Is it painful red papules, pustules, and deep cysts that mostly appear around your chin and jaw? Did going on hormonal birth control partially or totally clear it up?

If you answered yes to any of the above, then it’s highly likely that your acne is caused by a hormonal imbalance.

Hormonal acne is typically caused by excess oil production and changes to the sebaceous glands that make them more sensitive to male hormones. This type of acne often appears as large, cystic type acne that stays trapped under the skin.

But it can also be lots of smaller pimples that come to a head or have a red bumpy texture.

Typically, the sure sign that your acne is hormonal is it appears around your jaw, chin, cheeks, temples and neck but can also be located on your chest, back and shoulders.

How can you check if your acne is caused by a hormonal imbalance?

Test your hormone levels!

Read here: Why testing your hormones is critical if you want to eliminate hormonal acne

There are a few different ways to test your hormones, but we have found that the below methods are the most discerning and accurate ways to pinpoint acne causing hormone imbalances –

  1. Saliva hormone testing

Testing your hormones via saliva hormone testing is easy and insightful. By collecting samples of your saliva at home on day 21 (in a 28-day cycle) of your cycle it allows us to see whether any of your hormones are out of balance and are the cause of breakouts.

The hormones tested are testosterone, estrogen, progesterone, DHEAS and your stress hormone cortisol. Doing the test on day 21 helps us be able to fully understand how your hormones are interacting with one another.

  1. Blood testing

Blood testing can give additional insight into what hormones are affecting your skin.

It’s very important to test them on the right days of the month so that we’re able to understand what is happening. The hormones below are best tested around days 2-4 of your cycle:

  • Luteinizing hormone (LH) and Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH). These two hormones are responsible for successful ovulation but excess LH can trigger excess production of acne causing male hormones
  • Prolactin. This hormone if in excess can suppress ovulation and suppress the important female hormone progesterone
  • Sex hormone bunding globulin (SHBG). This hormone can bind up important female hormones making less is available to suppress the acne causing effects of male hormones
  • Fasting insulin. This checks if you have blood sugar dysregulation. too much insulin causes the ovaries to overproduce acne causing male hormones

Confused about which testing to go with? Read this article.

Now, testing your hormones is the first step to fixing hormonal acne. The second and most important step is to have an experienced practitioner interpret your results for you and guide you on what supplements to take so you can correct your hormone imbalances and clear up your acne.

That’s where we can help you. We have the expertise and experience from working with over 1000 women with hormonal acne to know what to test, what the test results mean and what supplements to take.

There are two ways you can get help from us, click here to discover what way suits you best.

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