How to Tell if Acne is Hormonal or Bacterial

Acne is one of the most common skin conditions in the world, affecting millions of people of all ages and genders. Two of the main causes of acne are hormonal imbalances and bacterial infections, but it can be difficult to tell which is causing your breakouts. In this blog post, we will discuss the signs and symptoms of hormonal and bacterial acne, as well as treatment options for each type of acne.

Hormonal acne is typically caused by an imbalance of hormones such as testosterone and estrogen. This type of acne is often seen in women during menstrual periods, pregnancy, menopause, and while taking birth control. The acne is usually located around the chin, jawline, and neck area. If you notice that your breakouts occur around the time of your menstrual cycle or are worse during pregnancy, it is likely that you are experiencing hormonal acne.

Bacterial acne, on the other hand, is caused by the accumulation of bacteria on your skin. This bacteria causes inflammation and infection in your pores, leading to whiteheads, blackheads, and cysts. Bacterial acne can occur anywhere on your face, neck, chest, and back. If you notice that your acne includes painful cysts and is not limited to a specific area, it is likely that you are experiencing bacterial acne.

If you are unsure whether you have hormonal or bacterial acne, it is best to see an esthetician for an accurate diagnosis. An esthetician can perform a skin analysis and recommend the appropriate treatment plan for your specific type of acne. However, if you are unable to see an esthetician, there are some over-the-counter treatment options that can be effective for both hormonal and bacterial acne.

For hormonal acne, birth control pills and spironolactone can be effective treatments. These medications work to balance hormone levels and reduce acne flare-ups. Topical medications, such as retinoids, can also be used to treat hormonal acne. These medications work to unclog pores and reduce inflammation.

For bacterial acne, benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid, mandelic acid, ALA  with Azelaic are effective over-the-counter treatments. These medications work to kill bacteria and reduce inflammation. These medications work to reduce bacteria on the skin, preventing future breakouts.

In conclusion, hormonal and bacterial acne can be difficult to distinguish from each other, but there are several signs and symptoms that can help you determine which type of acne you have. Hormonal acne is usually limited to specific areas and occurs during hormonal fluctuations, while bacterial acne can occur anywhere on the face and includes painful cysts. If you are unsure which type of acne you have, it is best to see a esthetician for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. However, over-the-counter treatments can be effective for both types of acne, so it's important to find the right medication that works for you. We recommend getting a consultation from a skincare expert like your esthetician from Vasseur Day Spa who are experts on all things acne.


If you are in the San Diego area and would like to learn more about our services or book an appointment today, click here. If you are new to Vasseur Skincare or needed help choosing the right skincare, click here. If you would like to talk with one of our Vasseur team members for a free consultation, click here and we will get back with you as soon as we can (please allow 1-3 business days for a response).

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