The one thing that never fails to upset any woman on the planet regardless of her uniqueness is undoubtedly acne—especially if it sticks to its bad habit of showing up on the more “social” days of their lives.
After all, pimples aren’t just painful physically, but also visually, right? However, the problem of acne isn’t as shallow as we’ve just made it out to be–it actually goes skin deep.
Acne could be your body’s way of signalling that something’s wrong
Google acne and you would know that it is typically defined as a skin condition caused by inflamed or infected oil-producing glands.
But wait! What have hormones got to do with it? Well, we’re glad you asked. Let us explain:
You know our skin has pores. You also know that our skin sheds dead cells time and again. Now, if for some reason, our sebaceous glands attached to the hair follicles produce more oil (sebum) than needed, the dead cells stick to the pores and clog them. The result? No points for guessing—acne!
But makes our sebum glands go into overdrive?
Why hormones of course! A lot of times, it’s our hormones that wreak havoc on our skin. Here, we round up the top culprits for you to see:
Culprit #1: Oestrogen
“When estrogen levels decrease in the body—particularly a few days before the period—it prompts the sebaceous glands to produce more oil, leading to an increased probability of getting acne,” explains Dr. Venkatesh Purohit, consultant dermatologist-cosmetologist at Fortis Escorts Hospital, Jaipur.
Culprit #2: Testosterone
The so-called “male” hormone performs the function of maintaining the reproductive tissues and bone mass in a woman’s body.
However, Dr Bhavuk Mittal, dermatologist at Columbia Asia Hospital, says: “The oil glands are sensitive to testosterone and can produce more oil in case of excess testosterone in the body, thus causing acne.”
Culprit #3: Progesterone
Produced by your ovaries, progesterone maintains the inner lining of the uterus. But fluctuations in its levels can cause acne.
“Progesterone levels rise mid cycle and can lead to an increased sebum production. It can also swell up your skin and compress your skin pores, leading to a sebum build-up underneath the skin surface,” explains Dr Mittal.
Culprit #4: Growth hormone
Secreted by the pituitary gland and responsible for bone and tissue growth in the body, this hormone also has a role to play in this game.
According to a review article by researchers B. Balachandrudu, V. Niveditadevi, and T. Prameela Rani:
An excess of the growth hormone in the body can lead to increased oil production and acne.
Culprit #5: Insulin
The same article also touts the excess of insulin as a major factor for boosting sebum production by making your sex hormones more active.
Culprit #6: Corticotrophin Releasing Hormone (CRH)
This hormone directs your body’s response to stress by stimulating the secretion of the cortisol hormone in stressful situations. Innumerable studies have linked excess cortisol to acne.
In fact, CRH also regulates other hormones like melanocortins and glucocorticoids, which also affect cortisol production.
How can you tell whether you’re breaking out because of your hormones?
“Hormonal acne is typically characterized by its appearance on the jaw line, chin, and the bottom of the cheeks,” explains Dr Purohit.
Additionally, he suggests looking out for excessive facial hair growth and thinning of hair near the scalp as warning signs of a hormonal imbalance.
Now you know what’s causing it, but how can you curb that acne?
Don’t worry, we’ve got help at hand! Here are a few natural remedies that can help you tame those zits.
“Basic kitchen ingredients like apple cider vinegar on the skin can help you a great deal. You can even apply a mask of honey and cinnamon or tea tree oil on acne hotspots,” suggests Dr Mittal.
He also recommends washing your face with a mild face wash regularly followed by an exfoliate-and-moisturize routine. “Acne-prone women should also steer clear of foods that are oily, high carb, high sugar, or high fat in order to keep the condition in check,” he concludes.