beauty Skincare

5 Telltale Signs That Your Acne Is Hormonal

By Cha Miñoza
Girl with acne popping her pimples.
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5 Telltale Signs That Your Acne Is Hormonal

Acne typically happens during puberty. But for some people, this can also come up during adulthood.

The best way to deal with adult acne is to understand why it happens. For most people, adult acne is triggered by hormones.

Hormonal acne is more common among females. It is typically inflammatory and cystic in nature, popping up on the lower areas of the face and other parts of the body, including the chest, shoulders and back.

Here are 5 telltale signs that you have hormonal acne.

1. It happens before your menstrual cycle.

Girl with curly hair looking at her pimple in the mirror.
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Because hormonal acne is often triggered by an imbalance of hormones, it is common for them to pop out before your period starts.

Hormonal fluctuations happen during your menstrual cycle. Estrogen and progesterone levels drop, causing the sebaceous glands to release more sebum on your skin.

Too much of these can clog your pores. The result is acne breakouts.

Birth control pills can help your estrogen levels rise and decrease the possibility of having a breakout.

2. Your acne doesn't respond to Isotretinoin or Accutane.

Different medicinal pills and tablets all together.
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Isotretinoin is one of the most popular medications used to stop acne. Typically, it provides a long-term cure for acne, unless the cause is hormonal.

If you've already tried this kind of medication but found that breakouts happen as soon as you stop drinking it, then you likely have hormonal acne.

Sometimes, Isotretinoin or Accutane can temporarily stop breakouts but after the course, acne comes back again.

3. Your breakouts happen mostly around the chin and jawline.

Acne on a girl's lower cheeks and jawline.
Shutterstock | 192034124

While hormonal acne can also present itself in other parts of the body like the chest, shoulders and back, it mostly happens on the lower half of the face.

If you are getting inflamed cysts on your lower cheeks, around your chin and the jawline, you are probably suffering from hormonal acne.

“This is because these excess hormones in your body stimulate the oil glands—many of which are around your chin area," shares expert dermatologist Marina Peredo, M.D.

4. Your acne is painful.

Asian girl popping a pimple.
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Hormonal acne is no ordinary whitehead or pimple, it can be very painful.

“These bumps are usually tender to the touch because they’ve accumulated oil over a period of days or weeks that then causes an inflammatory reaction.” explains dermatoligist Manjula Jegasothy.

Because they are more inflammatory in nature, they typically require more clinical approach rather than the basic topical solution.

5. You're feeling extra stressed.

Girl in a pink knitted sweater looking stressed.
Shutterstock | 191671754

Another telltale sign that you have hormonal acne is if it is accompanied by stress.

When you are stressed, your body releases cortisol - a stress hormone, that can mess with your system. Your body is interconnected to what's happening on your insides. Stress can trigger hormonal acne.

The best way to treat hormonal acne is to regulate the hormones. If topical solutions don't work, you might need to have yourself checked to stabilize your hormones.

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