Being an adult can be hard, especially when it concerns our skin. Almost all of us went through those awkward adolescence years when we were plagued by acne. It seemed like having break-outs and pimples were pretty much a rite of passage to adulthood—but unfortunately, not all of us outgrow breakouts. Yes, for some, acne can become a problem that only gets worse as they grow older.
As depressing as this info is, it’s not entirely unexpected, considering how stressed most people are. In addition to this are a few other factors like side effects of medications and some medical conditions. Even if you were lucky not to have had acne as a teen, the cold hard truth is you can still experience adult hormonal acne (Oh yes, that’s what it’s called).
Why We Break Out
- Hormonal Changes
Some hormones, particularly testosterone, induce increased oil production, which in turn, causes acne. The rise in those hormones may likely be due to menstrual period, pre-menopause, menopause, hormonal intrauterine devices (IUDs), birth control or the consumption of hormone-enhanced foods like non-organic dairy and meat.
- Over scrubbing
Irritation and dryness of skin are likely results of too much roughness. You might not want to hear this, but as you age, your skin becomes drier. This is partly due to the cumulative effects of sun/UV exposure on the skin over the years.
This is understandable considering the world we live in. But unfortunately, too much stress increases cortisol and androgens levels. When androgen production is elevated, it leads to an increase in sebum, which blocks pores and increases the overgrowth of bacteria called P. Acnes. This then lead to inflammation underneath the skin or cystic acne. According to a study by Differin, 90 percent of the people surveyed reported they have suffered a breakout when stressed.
- Your diet could also be the issue
If absolutely no treatment is working for you, then maybe you should check what you eat. Though not yet proven, but there seem to be a link between dairy consumption and acne. Could it be because dairy products contain hormones which can throw off our bodies? As much as possible, avoid certain foods for a while and see if it helps. Now, also remember to eat lots of vegetables and take more foods with a lower glycemic index.
What is hormonal acne?
Hormonal acne is typically caused by changes in hormone levels. Specifically, hormonal acne is as a result of a surge in male hormones called androgens. These hormones are often referred to as “male sex hormones”, but both men and women produce androgens like testosterone.
Of course, hormonal acne naturally starts at puberty. But girls tend to develop acne first, while boys will often develop more severe acne due to naturally higher levels of androgens.
However, for some reasons, hormonal acne affects adults too. Adult hormonal acne seem to be on the rise, as it affects women between the ages of 20 and 49. As a matter of fact, about 50 percent of women aged 20 to 29 still experience acne.
Signs of hormonal acne
The most obvious sign of hormonal acne is the location of pimples or cysts on the face.
Typically, in adults, hormonal acne affects the chin and mouth regions. It is common for women to experience hormonal acne during their menstrual cycle and menopause because this is when the female sex hormones naturally drop.
In adolescents, acne affects the “T zone” which is the chin, mouth, nose, and forehead. However, if there are fluctuations in hormones, acne can also affect the jaw line and cheeks.
Probiotics for hormonal acne
As a matter of fact, adult hormonal acne is one of the most frustrating things to deal with as an adult. Imagine having your face act like it’s going through puberty. And sometimes, no matter what you do, the flawless face you crave seems illusive. But wait, some people swear that probiotics actually work and we’re inclined to believe them! No, trust us—probiotics are life-changing.
Are you still wondering how probiotics might help hormonal acne? It’s pretty simple. The skin becomes hyperactive due to the oil glands in the skin and high levels of androgens. When this happens, it begins to secrete too much oil, called sebum. Sebum is capable of clogging pores and trapping in bacteria in the skin.
The major type of bacteria associated with acne is propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes). Though P. acnes is found on healthy skin, it overgrows with acne. This could lead to a disruption in the balance of the skin microbiome, leading to inflammation.
Probiotic supplements can prove helpful in treating hormonal acne by reintroducing good bacteria to the skin. These good bacteria then compete with P. acnes over food sources on the skin.
How Probiotic Supplements helps hormonal acne
Probiotic supplements contain Bacillus subtilis. This bacterium is a common species that is usually found in the soil and on vegetation. Luckily, Bacillus subtilis is responsible for a healthy skin and gut.
Though it competes with other bacteria for survival, these bacteria secrete chemical compounds that are antimicrobial. This helps Bacillus subtilis inhabit the skin and stave off competing pathogens. Contrary to what P. acnes to, it is rare for Bacillus subtilis to colonize the body.
Probiotic supplements are not responsible for solving the root cause of hormonal acne. However, they are a surface level treatment that can help rebalance disrupted microbial communities on the skin.
Do Probiotic Supplements work?
Obviously, the best way to find out if a probiotic supplement will work for you and help treat your hormonal acne is simply to try it, right? The trick is to monitor your results, and see how it goes.
The Bottom Line
Of course, we feel the need to remind you that what works for everyone else in treating hormonal acne may not work for you, but as far as risky skin treatments go, probiotics is pretty low-stakes. So if you want to try it out for yourself, visit a drug store right now. Then come back here after a while with a selfie of your shockingly excellent acne-free face, so we can all celebrate together.
Of course, this is the part where we ask you to follow expert advice from your dermatologist and doctor, and blah, blah, blah, but we know you’ve already decided what to do to combat your acne. However, we really do recommend talking to your doctor before commencing any treatment that could possibly affect your hormones, as there have been studies to this effect.
Over time, scientific researches have actually discovered more health benefits of probiotics—they not only help in reducing skin conditions such as acne, but also rosacea and eczema! In fact, several other studies from countries such as Italy, Russia, and Korea have suggested that using probiotics supplements in combination with traditional acne treatments may in fact, elevate the rate of healing. Probiotics also help in combating skin aging by hydrating, reducing damage caused by exposure to the sun, and improving the appearance of fine wrinkles.
We encourage you to share your hormonal acne experience in the comments below or reach out to us if you have questions.