About 17 million adults have acne. And by its nature, reports Acne.org, this skin condition is hormonal. Pimples form when glands produce oils that clog pores. The sebaceous glands are triggered at puberty, during pregnancy, menstruation and times of increased stress or anxiety when hormones are activated.
Take a shower each morning. Use soap and water to clean your skin. Hormones stimulate the sebaceous glands, which release oils. When the oils combine with bacteria and dirt on your skin, the pores clog and lesions and pimples form. Showering in the morning, reports a 2008 study performed by the Urban Life Research Institute in Tokyo, can minimize sebum production for several hours.
Do yoga, meditation or other relaxation techniques to help control anxiety. Elevated levels of stress and anxiety can have an effect on your complexion. A 2004 study published in the journal “Experimental Dermatology” found that when a person is under stress his body produces hormones, including corticoliberin, which cause the sebaceous glands to become overactive. Cognitive behavioral therapy is also a proven method for minimizing stress and depression.
Take a prescription medication that controls hormones. There are three oral contraceptives that have been approved by the FDA for women to treat breakouts: ethinyl estradiol and norgestimate (sold as Ortho Tri-Cyclen), ethinyl estradiol and norethindrone (Estrostep), and ethinyl estradiol and drospirenone (Yaz). Birth control pills work by decreasing testosterone and androgens--hormones that can cause breakouts. Give the medication about three months to start showing an improvement in your complexion.
Stop taking medications that cause acne. Some antidepressants, such as Lexapro and Wellbutrin, are known to cause acne in some patients. There may be similar medications your doctor can prescribe that won’t have an effect on your skin.
Anabolic steroids, taken to enhance physical performance, commonly cause hormonal acne all over the body.
Prednisone, a corticosteroids prescribed for allergies, arthritis and breathing conditions, may cause acne, especially on the face. Breakouts can increase with higher doses of the drug. Prednisone is typically prescribed for serious health conditions. If your doctor does not think you should stop taking this medication, she may be able to lower the dose.
It’s important to shower after a vigorous workout, or any other activity that causes you to sweat. SkinEase.com reports “intense workouts can stimulate increased production of the hormone testosterone which will make the skin more acne prone.”
Be aware that some antidepressants may cause breakouts. Women with a family history of breast cancer, heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure should discuss the risks of taking birth control pills with their doctor.