This is a question we get asked often by women who inquire about our acne services. It's hard to understand how treating acne topically can help breakouts that are caused by something internal, like hormones.
Hormones definitely do play a role in acne flare-ups: Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), high-androgen birth control, pregnancy, miscarriage, breastfeeding, fertility treatments, hormone replacement therapy, testosterone, and emergency contraception pills are some of the instances where hormones can cause acne.
There are several factors that influence acne formation in addition to hormones. The areas that have the most significant impact on acne are: topical pore-clogging ingredients in skincare and makeup, certain foods and drinks, and specific ingredients in commonly used vitamins and supplements.
Until a person addresses these other factors, there is no way to know for sure if hormones are the cause of the acne or not. And surprisingly, we've only seen a small amount of true hormone-related cases.
In these cases (PCOS, women going through fertility treatments, the wrong birth control and/or emergency contraception pills, and situations requiring regular testosterone injections) each person had never had acne before so the hormonal connection was clear. And, despite the hormonal influences in these cases, each client was still able to achieve clear skin through topical pore management.
When a client works with us and their skin begins to clear, women will often say "okay, my skin looks good now, but I'm still going to get breakouts from my monthly cycle." My answer is that acne may still form deep down in the skin, but the correct products will never allow those pimples to make it to the skin's surface.
We do a thorough intake of each client we work with and can often tell exactly what's causing their acne based on their answers to a few specific questions. And surprisingly, most of the time it is not their hormones.
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