Hormonal fluctuations are a key contributing factor to acne in all age groups.
Androgen hormones, including testosterone stimulate overproduction of oil secreted by sebaceous glands located in every hair follicle, leading to clogged pores and P-acne bacteria proliferation. To read “Acne, why and how it happens” click here.
Although androgen hormones are more dominant in men, women may experience also their acne-causing effects. As estrogen and progesterone levels fluctuate throughout the days, months and life, an imbalance of testosterone can take place, leading to more potential for breakouts.
During puberty (from age 9-14 in girls and 10-17 in boys) lots of biological and physical changes occurs together with changes to the skin. Because of its role that testosterone hormones have in the onset of acne, the condition is more severe in males during puberty. However it normally clears up or get much better by mid 20s and is not as reoccurring throughout life as in females.
About 45% of women suffer from menstrual cycle breakouts, because this 28 day process involves constant fluctuation of different hormones, which can improve or worsen the skin condition. During days 1 to7 of the cycle, estrogen hormone level increases clearing up the skin and during days 15-28 it begins to decline again which increase the potential of blemishes. In addition to a drop in estrogen, the progesterone level increases causing follicles to swell, compressing pores which in combination with the increased oil production create an ideal environment for acne.
Peri-menopause and menopause period begins when ovaries production of estrogen and progesterone slows down, while testosterone becomes more dominant, stimulating sebaceous glands produce more oil. In addition, surface hydration decreases with age (due to decreased surface lipids), trapping oil beneath the surface, this leads to a higher potential for breakouts. Menopause acne sufferers’ skin is considered water dry, not oily dry.
Another hormone cortisol (released in response to stress) stimulates sebum production and inflammation and thus contributing to severity of acne.
In summary even though acne pathology remains the same, adult acne is typically drier and similar to menopausal acne than teenager acne, due to decrease of surface lipids. To create an appropriate treatment plan both teenager and adult acne should seek advice from a professional
For my next article “Treatment plan to control teenager and adult acne”. (click here)