Acne is a common skin condition that causes blackheads (pimples), which form when the hair follicles under the skin become clogged. Most appear on the face, neck, back, chest and shoulders, according to the US National Library of Medicine.
While the exact cause of acne is not known, one of the underlying causes of this condition is hormonal changes such as those that occur during adolescence or pregnancy.
Information from the Healthline portal indicates that, when it comes to a hormonal problem, it is usually associated with changes that occur during puberty; However, hormonal acne can affect adults of any age. It is particularly common in women and there are contributing factors including the menstrual cycle and menopause.
Expert opinions are divided when it comes to hormonal acne. While, for example, the Mayo Clinic says that hormones are generally not a factor in adult acne, according to Healthline, hormonal imbalances contribute to acne with underlying medical conditions.
Increased androgen levels can lead to increased sebum production, changes in skin cell activity, inflammation and colonization of hair follicles by bacteria known as Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes). When these elements come together, the development of acne is facilitated.
During puberty, hormonal acne usually appears in the T-zone. This area includes the forehead, nose, and chin. In turn, it usually forms on the lower part of the face in adults; That is, under the cheeks and around the jaw.
There are patients whose condition is manifested by blackheads, pimples, small pimples that reach the head, or cysts, which form under the skin and do not appear on the surface. These lumps are usually sensitive to the touch.
Hormonal acne, according to Healthline, can be caused by an influx of hormones from: menstruation, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), menopause, and elevated androgen levels.
Specifically, these hormonal changes can exacerbate acne problems by increasing overall skin inflammation, sebum production in pores, clogging of skin cells in hair follicles, and the production of acne-causing bacteria.
Acne can be mild, moderate or severe. In the first case, it’s mostly blackheads and pimples that usually don’t need professional help. Typically, less than 20 comedones or 15 inflammatory lesions are present in this condition.
Moderate acne includes both inflammatory and non-inflammatory lesions, some of which leave scars. According to Medical News Today, there could be over 20 comedones here and over 50 inflammatory lesions.
Finally, in severe acne there are generalized inflammatory lesions. It affects both appearance and self-esteem, while a person risks leaving scars on the skin, which are often very difficult to remove.