Acne: Dr Ross Perry offers skincare tips and treatments
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General Practitioner (GP) Doctor Sohere Roked explained: “Hormonal acne is linked to our hormones, resulting in cyclical breakouts.” Fluctuations in oestrogen and progesterone are to blame, but can anything be done about it? “Hormonal acne tends to appear on the face, chest, shoulders and back in various presentations such as blackheads, whiteheads, papules, pimples or nodules,” said Doctor Roked. “The severity of flare-ups, or if the condition exacerbates during hormonal imbalances can indicate whether this is a hormonal or a bacterial issue.”
Cystic acne, for example, appears on the chin or jawline area – “a pretty reliable indication of hormonal acne”.
Doctor Roked elaborated: “Excess hormones in our body stimulates the oil glands, and many are around the chin area.”
Hormonal acne also tends to show up in the same place again and again, in a cyclical pattern.
In addition to hormonal fluctuations, stress can aggravate the condition due to the release of cortisol.
“Effective skincare starts from within, especially when it comes to the breakouts caused by hormonal fluctuations,” said Doctor Roked.
“Good supplementation can be game-changing!” She suggested taking “a natural supplement such as Agnus Castus”.
To balance the hormones, Doctor Roked advised to take Agnus Castus “in the second half of the [menstrual] cycle” to help avoid breakouts.
“Or using a progesterone cream to balance hormones can also help with improving the skin around the cycle,” she said.
Doctor Roked added: “Evening primrose oil contains fatty acids that contribute to overall skin health by decreasing inflammation; this too can help to treat acne.”
“Our body does not naturally produce these fatty acids — they can only be derived from plant oil.”
Untreated, hormonal acne can lead to cysts and scarring on the skin, Doctor Sameer Sanghvi, a GP from LloydsPharmacy, added.
“It’s thought that in people with acne, the sebaceous glands (which create sebum to lubricate the skin) are abnormally sensitive to our hormones,” she said.
Hormonal changes can cause the sebaceous glands to produce too much sebum, which blocks the hair follicles on the skin.
When the blocked hair follicles combine with dead skin cells, spots develop.
“How you manage your acne will depend on a few different factors, including how severe your symptoms are,” Doctor Sanghvi stated.
For mild cases, gels or creams containing benzoyl peroxides, which are anti-septic and anti-inflammatory, should be helpful.
For more severe acne, “it’s worth speaking to your GP”, as your doctor can prescribe medication.
Prescription treatments include topical retinoids, tablet antibiotics, or isotretinoin.
People can also seek support for troubled skin by visiting a private dermatologist.
While this option is costly, a dermatologist might be able to offer a more tailored treatment plan.
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