Hormonal Factors and Acne

Acne is the most common skin disorder in the United States, affecting about 50 million people of all ages. While acne is most prevalent during puberty, striking 85% of adolescents, it can still linger into adulthood.

At our practice, Dr. Allen A. Flood is a premier dermatologist who helps clients at any age manage skin conditions of all kinds, from acne to eczema. When it comes to the former, we have solutions for acne that restore clear, blemish-free skin.

While we offer solutions, it’s important to understand that the causes of acne are often beyond our control, especially when it comes to hormones. Here’s a look at how your hormones affect acne.

The transition through puberty

Hormonal acne, which is also called acne vulgaris, is extremely common among adolescents and young adults, affecting the majority of people between the ages of 12 and 24. These years are marked by a reproductive transition into adulthood, which is spurred by your hormones, including androgens (namely testosterone).

While androgens are mostly associated with male sex characteristics, both boys and girls produce androgens, especially during puberty.

Of the many things that androgen hormones affect, it influences your production of sebum, which is the natural oil your skin produces to keep it moisturized. When your androgen levels flare through puberty, you produce excess sebum, which can clog the hair follicles in your skin and lead to acne.

Adult acne and hormones

While the relationship between hormones and acne in adolescents and young adults is clear, the connection in adult acne is less so. As an adult, you still go through reproductive hormonal fluctuations, especially estrogen hormones in women. Estrogen hormones are known to suppress sebum production, which means women go through periods of both lower and higher sebum production as their estrogen hormones fluctuate.

Next, let’s take a look at the numbers surrounding adult acne in women — 50% of women between the ages of 20 and 29 have some degree of acne as well as 25% of women between 40 and 49.

Given these numbers, it follows that we could come to the conclusion that hormones play a role in adult acne, but researchers are on the fence. Adult acne can also be attributed to stress, environment, and genetics.

Regardless of how your acne developed, the good news is that we can treat the problem.

Treating acne

There are many treatment avenues we can take to clear your skin of acne, and they largely depend upon the extent of the problem. From prescription medications, such as antibiotics and hormonal medications, to better cleansing products and lifestyle changes, we can tailor a plan to clear your skin of these unwelcome blemishes.

While our goal is to prevent acne scars, should they develop, we can help clear away the pock marks using chemical peels, leaving you with smoother skin.

To learn more about how acne develops and what your treatment options are, contact our office in the Capitol Hill area of Washington, DC, to set up a consultation.

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