The Best Tips for Clear Skin
Top dermatologists weigh in on what really works to get a flawless complexion.
Rather than blasting skin topically, many derms are tinkering with the hormonal precursors that lead to breakouts. During the teen acne years (between the ages of 12 and 18), the hormone Insulin-like Growth Factor 1 (IGF-1) peaks; it "decreases as people reach their twenties and may account for the decline in acne in many people," says NYC dermatologist Kavita Mariwalla, MD. “But at the same time there are plenty of other hormonal irregularities that cause adult acne.” For example, progesterone spikes each month when we ovulate. "Progesterone, more than estrogen, resembles testosterone, and that's the one that seems to be more villainous when it comes to stimulating and driving the sebaceous glands," says dermatologist David E. Bank, MD, of Mount Kisco, New York.
The hormonal cascade released when we're stressed is another acne agitator. "Your adrenal glands that sit right above your kidneys secrete cortisol and trigger your fight-or-flight response," says New Jersey–based Jeanine Downie, MD. "When you're stressed, your adrenal glands are secreting more cortisol, which can pack on pounds around the waist and lead to more significant amounts of hormonal acne." So stress leads to acne, which, in turn, leads to even more stress—it's a vicious cycle.