Adult acne is the pits, literally! It’s rough enough to have acne as a teenager, and it feels ridiculous to experience it as a grown woman. If you suffer from breakouts, you may have questioned if they are due to a hormone imbalance. If so, it’s a good question!
Grown-up acne does often signify a hormone imbalance. But what hormones? It turns out it’s usually related to an imbalance of steroid hormones produced by your adrenal glands and your ovaries. The major players are DHEA, testosterone, estrogen and progesterone.
The specific imbalances can vary from woman to woman, but the symptom of adult breakouts certainly warrants an investigation into hormone imbalance, and specifically polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Up to 20% of women globally have polycystic ovarian syndrome, although it’s still relatively unknown.
PCOS is an epidemic that many women have not heard of, don’t know what it is, or don’t know they have it. Or, you may know you have it but don’t know what to do about it.
With adult skin breakouts, where do you think of going for help? The beauty counter? A dermatologist? Maybe your gynecologist? Chances are likely that you’ll get suggestions to treat the manifestation of acne, with topical skin products and medications. You may not get a proper investigation into the possibility that your skin problems are due to PCOS.
The name alone is confusing. Polycystic ovaries? What is that have to do with acne? Well it turns out this syndrome has an outdated name, because you can have it without having cysts at all. Cysts are only one symptom or manifestation of this syndrome, and you can have different manifestations with no cysts at all. Like acne.
Acne is a common symptom of polycystic ovarian syndrome. If your acne is due to this syndrome, it’s important to find out so that you can treat it properly, instead of just masking it with cleansers, creams and medications.
How to get a diagnosis? Our recommendation is to see your gynecologist, or another women’s health specialist licensed to do lab testing and diagnosis. You can also take our quiz to get a start on figuring out if you have PCOS.