Hormonal Acne: Men Get it Too
By Erika Luceri-Johnson
While many women are prone to pre-menstrual breakouts, hormonal acne is not reserved to the fairer sex alone. In fact, teenage boys are actually more likely to suffer from hormonal acne than their female counterparts. Even as adults, many men can trace the root cause of their acne to hormonal fluctuation.
But how exactly do hormones lead to breakouts? In order to answer that question, it’s important to understand what’s causing your acne in the first place.
What’s Going On?
As PositiveMed puts it, acne is a “visible manifestation of an internal imbalance that leads to overproduction of sebum (skin oil) by sebaceous glands”. In other words, acne is often caused by an internal force that increases your skin’s oil production. Among the main culprits in both men and women are male hormones known as androgens.
Although both genders can produce androgens (such as testosterone), for obvious reasons, men tend to secrete much, much more of them. When a man’s testosterone levels fluctuate, his skin will begin to secrete more sebum, clogging pores and resulting in chronic breakouts.
Identifying Hormonal Acne
Because hormonal acne is fairly severe, it’s also fairly easy to spot. Generally speaking, it falls under a category of acne known as “inflammatory acne”, which is characterized by large red pimples and cystic breakouts (rather than relatively inconspicuous blackheads and whiteheads). It often covers the lower third of the face, including the jawline and neck, and can also be spotted on the shoulders and back.
But what’s causing those hormonal fluctuations in the first place? As the Dermal Institute points out, rising levels of significant impact on men’s hormonal levels, and therefore on the severity of their acne. It’s a simple concept: because workouts (particularly those involving weight training) can increase testosterone, they can also lead to outbreaks of male hormonal acne.
Battling Hormonal Breakouts
When it comes to clearing up acne, the first step is always to establish a stringent skincare routine. Regardless of what’s causing your acne, finding the right face wash and investing in a non-comedogenic moisturizer can do wonders for your skin. If you’re battling oil production or you’re frequently working up a sweat at the gym, products containing benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid will help dry out skin and keep pore-clogging oils at bay.
With that in mind, for hormonal acne, topical treatments are often not enough. While hormonal acne can be more difficult to treat in men (since there’s no male equivalent of androgen-absorbing birth control), there are options for oral medications available that can make a significant impact.
If you think you’re suffering from hormonal acne, be sure to contact a dermatologist, and evaluate which treatment options are best for your skin.
Looking for help with your acne? Join ClearlyDerm’s Virtual Acne Program for personalized treatments without the hassle of an in-office visit.