How Girls' Skin Changes During Puberty

April 09, 2021
How Girls' Skin Changes During Puberty

As we go through life’s various physiologic stages, our hormone levels change. The most obvious and visible indicator of hormonal fluctuations is our skin’s appearance. In this post, Dr. Zenovia explains the internal hormonal changes that take place in a girls’ body as they undergo puberty and how these fluctuations may result in oily, acne-prone skin. Dr. Zenovia also offers her top skincare recommendations for healthy, balanced skin during puberty.

Hormonal Skin Changes During Puberty

Around the age of 10-11, female skin starts to get a bit oiler. The growth androgen receptor hormone and gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) get turned on and go to the testicles and ovaries which turn on hormones that weren’t turned on before. For example, GnRH sends a message to the ovaries to turn on estrogen and testosterone. Girls going through puberty then start releasing these hormones into the bloodstream that weren’t released at seven or eight years old. These hormones trigger sebaceous gland stimulation. Sebum travels up into the hair follicles (every hair follicle has an oil gland) and the skin begins producing oils. The surge in androgen hormones, therefore, causes girls undergoing puberty to experience acne, oiliness, and bad odor.

Period Acne Breakouts During Puberty

The surge in reproductive hormones during puberty including estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone trigger the beginning of the menstrual cycle and other physical changes. It is common to experience acne breakouts at the beginning of your period due to the change in the ratio of estrogen to progesterone and testosterone. Decreasing estrogen levels (and subsequently higher testosterone levels) leads to an increase in oil production, causing clogged pores and acne breakouts. While hormonal acne is very common during puberty and during one’s menstrual cycle, the severity can vary widely based on hormonal imbalances, genetics, and environmental factors including pollution and climate.

Puberty Skincare Recommendations

To control oiliness and fight against hormonal breakouts, Dr. Zenovia recommends that girls going through puberty (roughly between the ages of 10-14) incorporate the following skincare products into their weekly regimen:

  • Acne-Fighting Cleanser: Washing the face with a cleanser that contains Benzoyl Peroxide will help eliminate pore-clogging bacteria. Benzoyl peroxide contains antibacterial properties that reduce inflammation and exfoliate the skin. Dr. Zenovia’s 10% Benzoyl Peroxide Acne Cleanser is infused with a powerful, yet gentle dose of ultra-micronized Benzoyl Peroxide to deeply penetrate the pores without irritation.
  • Chemical Exfoliator: A chemical exfoliator such as Glycolic Acid (an Alpha Hydroxy Acid) helps remove dead skin cells and prevents the pores from clogging. Dr. Zenovia’s 10% Glycolic Acne Control Peel Pads contain a powerful combination of Glycolic and Salicylic Acids to effectively target acne and post-acne scars by promoting the skin’s cellular renewal process. Dr. Zenovia recommends using a chemical exfoliant 2-3 times a week in the evening after cleansing.
  • Acne Spot Treatment: A spot treatment is great to have on hand to target individual flare-ups as they strike. Dr. Zenovia’s acne spot treatment is formulated with Benzoyl Peroxide along with medical-grade Bakuchiol and Aloe Vera to soothe redness. It is our top-selling product!

Ingredient Note: It's important to gradually introduce ingredients like Benzoyl Peroxide, Glycolic Acid, and Salicylic Acid into your skincare regimen to avoid irritation. If excessive dryness or irritation occurs, decrease the frequency of product usage.           

  • Oil-Free Moisturizer: Having acne-prone skin is not a reason to skip moisturizing! A gentle, oil-free hydrator is essential for healthy skin. Dr. Zenovia’s Aloe Vera Blemish Soothing Moisturizer features skin-soothing Squalene and Aloe Vera. The Aloe Vera we use is pure, sourced from high-grade medical suppliers. The Aloe Vera mucopolysaccharides molecule absorbs many times its weight in water and is a very effective moisturizer.
  • Sunscreen: Applying sunscreen every morning as the last step of your skincare routine is a necessity! With acne-prone skin, you want to look for a formula that is non-comedogenic (meaning it won’t clog your pores). Dr. Zenovia’s Vitamin C Brightening Moisturizer SPF 30 contains transparent nano zinc-oxide mineral protection from harmful UVA/UVB rays and free radical protection. Enriched with Vitamin C, this sunscreen also helps minimize the appearance of dark spots, discoloration, and fine lines.

Note from Dr. Zenovia: All the Dr. Zenovia Skincare products contain a proprietary molecule of phytoestrogen called REG-ulate360 Complex™ that supports the tissue safely from a hormonal aspect and decreases the androgen concentration at the skin level which can cause hormonal acne. The REG-ulate360 Complex™ is safe, doesn’t have any downstream effects, and will not get absorbed systemically. Regular use of our topicals results in less flaking, firmer skin, and increased hydration. From an acne standpoint, by bumping the estrogen-like effect up with our topicals, the milieu of hormones affecting the tissue from the inside gets balanced at the epidermis so you won’t experience a hyper-androgen acne flare.


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