The Difference between Hormonal and Cystic Acne

Everyone gets pimples. They come in the form of an occasional clogged pore, sometimes inflamed and red and other times calm but stubborn. They’re frustrating but infrequent and shrink with a few applications of an over-the-counter spot treatment. They’re annoying but easy to cover with a small swipe of makeup (if you wear it) and don’t cause too much physical discomfort.

But where do you turn when you’re faced with a painful, angry, full-blown outbreak? How do you deal with those deep, under-the-surface bumps? Before you panic and douse the flare-up with whatever creams and ointments you can get your hands on, it’s important to know what kind of acne you’re dealing with so you can better understand how to fight and prevent breakouts in the future.

The two most common types of severe acne are hormonal acne and cystic acne. Dermatologist Dr. Robert Miller has put together a helpful article detailing what you need to know if you’re struggling with these painful breakouts. Read on to determine which type you have and how to prevent them.


What is Hormonal Acne?

If you’re struggling with hormonal acne, your breakouts will happen along the lower third of your face around your mouth, jaw line and the areas under your nose. If you’re a woman, they usually get worse or appear around your period. But men are affected too. These types of pimples are deep, painful, and remain under the skin’s surface. Because the pimples don’t come to a head, avoid picking or touching the affected area at all costs. There’s no way to extract these types of pimples since they’re so deep beneath the skin, and you’ll only be making the breakout worse.


What causes it?

Hormonal acne is caused by a hormonal imbalance. Androgens, male hormones that are present in both men and women, are the culprits. Too much androgen in the body leads to an overproduction of oil. While your skin needs a balanced amount of oil to feel healthy and soft, an excess amount creates an environment that’s perfect for acne-causing bacteria. This imbalance, along with every other factor that leads to an excess of oil, like dead skin cells, stress, dirt, and poor diet, may result in a breakout if you don’t take steps to prevent it.


How do you prevent it?

A healthy, balanced diet is a great place to start. While this may seem like an obvious answer to many issues, a diet full of alkalizing foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, fiber and antioxidants has been shown to decrease androgen levels, thus allowing you to regain some control. A well-balanced diet along with a daily skincare regimen that’s focused on treating hormonal acne is the best way to work towards clear, healthy skin. To create a skincare plan that works best for you, contact dermatologist Dr. Robert Miller today.


What is Cystic Acne?

Cystic acne is a broader type of severe acne that can appear anywhere on the face. Like hormonal acne, these pimples are tender and painful, and form as deep, unsightly bumps below the skin’s surface when acne bacteria inflames and ruptures nearby hair follicles, resulting in a wider spread of bacteria and inflammation. It’s imperative that you don’t pick or squeeze. However tempting, you’ll only be forcing the bacteria to spread and making the acne worse.


What causes it?

It’s hard to pin down exactly what causes the presence of acne bacteria that leads to cystic acne. While hormones may be a factor, humidity, pore-clogging ingredients in cosmetics and skincare products, imbalanced pH levels, stress and genetics can all be catalysts for an outbreak.


How do you prevent it?

Unfortunately because the causes of cystic acne are difficult to define, there isn’t one thing to do or avoid that will eliminate your chances of a flare up. To regulate bacteria and pH levels, make sure you’re drinking plenty of water throughout the day, washing your pillowcase often and following a strict skincare regimen, morning and night. Finding the right cleansers and exfoliating products that are gentle but effective can be a challenge. Get in touch with Dr. Robert Miller if you’d like to figure out the best way to get rid of cystic acne and achieve flawless skin.

Consult a dermatologist like Dr. Robert Miller of Long Beach, CA for the skincare plan that’s best for you. To make an appointment click here.

If you’re struggling with unsightly, painful cystic or hormonal acne, it’s easy to feel in over your head. But before you rush to buy topical products, remember that you have a better chance of managing breakouts and supporting healthy skin by using the correct treatment. And since all skin types are different, it’s best to consult a dermatologist to discuss a skincare regimen that will work for your specific skin type and acne. Make an appointment with Dr. Robert Miller today to learn more about what you can do to keep your skin clear and healthy.