Acne is something we often think of as being an issue for teenagers but surprisingly most acne sufferers, particularly the hormonal type, are adult women. The reason is hormone-sensitive cells like the oil glands along the ‘beard line’ can become overstimulated and there are two main triggers for this…
- Too much male sex hormone (androgens)
- Too little female hormones
Some women can naturally overproduce male sex hormones (androgens) like testosterone, DHEA, androstenedione and dihydrotestosterone. Normally in women, female hormones are the dominant hormones, and this results in the suppression of the oil-producing effects of androgens.
However, when androgens are overproduced it makes pores larger and stimulates oil glands to produce oil more oil. Excess oil production causes the pore to clog, oil gets trapped and a pimple forms.
Some androgens like dihydrotestosterone also inflame the pore and cause the neck of the pore to close. This traps oil and bacteria within the pore and a blind cystic pimple forms.
At first glance, most people think their adult acne is being caused by excess androgens because their pimples are in the ‘hormonal’ or ‘beard line’ (jaw, chin, neck, cheeks) area. Cells in this area are sensitive to androgens and are why men grow facial hair there.
However, here at the Happy & Healthy Wellbeing Centre, I find that at least 50% of the time it’s not high androgens causing hormonal acne but low female hormones. When the female hormones (oestrogen and progesterone) are low it makes normal levels of androgens high, compared to the female hormones.
So, it’s like the androgen levels are high, even though they are not.
The result is the same though, oil overproduction, clogged pores and acne.
So why if you’re a woman would your female hormones be low?
For some women, it’s just how they’re born. There’s an underlying dysfunction with female hormone production. These women experienced acne or period problems from the time they go into puberty. And are often were put on the birth control pill to ‘fix’ it.
But herein lays the second cause of low female hormones, the birth control pill.
Despite what you may have been told if you were put on the pill, the pill doesn’t regulate your hormones or your period. It shuts them off.
When you take the pill the synthetic hormones turn off your natural production of hormones and stops you ovulating. This is why you can’t fall pregnant while you’re on it. You don’t make any hormones, so you don’t grow an egg and so you can’t fall pregnant.
And this turning off your hormones is why the birth control pill, in the long run, is a disaster for your skin. When you stop the pill, what is theoretically meant to happen is your suppressed hormone production turns back on and replaces the hormones you were taking.
However, what more commonly happens is your natural production doesn’t turn back on properly and so your female hormone levels drop because you’re no longer taking the synthetic hormones and you aren’t making enough naturally.
This then puts your female hormones and male hormones out of balance and causes androgen dominance and hormonal adult acne.
The third and very common reason for low female hormones and androgen dominance is stress.
Our modern lives are stressful. And whether you feel stressed or not you are stressed.
There are exams and assessments (if you’re a student), there’s work, there are bills, there are relationships, there’s overthinking, there are past traumas and then there’s the biggest stress of all… your skin!
Our bodies are not designed for constant stress. They are designed for intermittent stress like being attacked or not enough food. Stresses that resulted in you either living or dying. And if you lived, it meant the stress had passed.
However, nowadays the stress never stops. It’s not as intense but it’s continual.
But a primitive response is still triggered that was great for when you were under attack or if there was a famine.
Your female hormones are turned off to stop reproduction. This was necessary because it wasn’t a good time to have a baby.
However, times are different, stresses are different, but the same response is activated.
So living with constant stresses turns off your female hormones. And as the female hormones go down it switches you into an androgen dominant state.
Hormonal acne treatment for adults then must focus on hormone rebalancing, and to do this you need to follow my Hormonal Acne Cure Blueprint.
To discover how you can finally achieve picture-perfect skin, naturally, click here.
Read more on how to cure female hormonal acne.