Medically reviewed by Minimalist Health Specialist -  Written by Rupali Goswami (Beauty Expert)  on 05th Jan 2021

Hormonal Acne: Causes and Prevention 

What is hormonal acne?

Acne! These tiny little monsters may look small but significantly impact our skin as acne affects our skin a lot deeper than just its surface layer. Along with affecting our skin, acne can take you down by targeting your self-esteem and confidence, and the added frustration can cause even more problems; as you must have heard, "stress gives rise to acne." Acne in itself contains several causes and treatments that can differ for different people.

There are endless types of acne and unlimited causes that can contribute to the occurrence of acne. Some common things include bacterial infection, stress, side effects of certain medication, lifestyle choices, food that you consume, excess sebum production, skincare or cosmetic products, environmental aggressors, and many others resulting in acne.

Well, whatever type of acne or cause it is, it's never impossible to deal with it. The more you know about your skin concerns, the better you would get to safeguard your skin against these causes by making correct choices regarding the things you consume and put on your face.

While it is a good thing to keep in check a few things that go inside your body and skin to avoid acne, some acne causes are not that easy to deal with as it naturally rises within our skin and bodies. In this article, we talk about one of the most common but bothersome forms of acne is hormonal acne. These acne types can occur at any time and any stage in life, along with changing hormones. Please keep reading to know all about what hormonal acne is, its causes, and what you can do to prevent them. 

What is hormonal acne? 

As our hormones change our body internally, it also shows changes externally visible on the skin. From teens to adulthood, our hormones keep changing at every stage of life, influencing our organs' functionalities and how everything in our bodies works.

While both men & women can suffer from acne, it is most common in women to put up with hormonal acne during pregnancy, menstruation cycles, and menopause due to the dramatic change that our body faces. Some external factors, like medications, stress, and skincare products, can also cause hormonal imbalance.

The positive aspect of hormones is that these help us regulate our body's different functions like growth, metabolism, our behavior, body temperature, and other things and meanwhile in the process. The other side is where these hormones can result in hormonal acne, stress, anxiety, etc.

There is a reason why acne is so frustrating. It is because it pops up in an endless number of forms ranging from blackheads, whiteheads, nodules, cysts, pimples, and more. Some acne forms can be complicated to deal with due to their stubborn nature to stay on your skin, while other forms can be on the milder side that can be treated much more quickly. Every acne form has its distinctive features, but how would you know if you are going through hormonal acne?

Well, hormonal acne lies much deeper than any other acne form. It forms tiny bumps inside the skin and grows into bigger and more painful zits. Hormonal acne is mostly located at the lower part of the face, like the jawline and chin area.

Causes of Hormonal Acne 

1. Puberty:

Changes in hormones when you hit puberty is inevitable. Our body goes through many changes and development while entering adulthood. Our body starts growing in every aspect; you start becoming taller, physical and mental characteristics also change.

To make these changes in your teens, our hormones begin to encourage sebaceous glands to produce more sebum, and that excess amount of oil can clog your pores, which can result in acne. The puberty stage is different for everyone. Some people can suffer from nasty breakouts, while others can skip it with just mild acne or no acne at all. 

2. Menstrual Cycle: 

It is said that the location and severity of acne can be an indication of health issues related to different organs in our body. That is how our body tells us that something is lacking or damaged inside the body which needs to be fixed. For example, when your liver is not functioning properly, you might suffer from acne on the cheeks; if you have digestive problems, then you might notice some acne on the nose.

Just like that during our menstrual cycle, the level of estrogen and progesterone (hormones that work to maintain the female reproductive system) becomes very low, which can encourage sebaceous glands to produce more sebum that can further clog your pores resulting in heavy breakouts. 

3. Pregnancy: 

During pregnancy, a woman's body changes drastically. It affects not just physically but mentally too. Some women tend to suffer from really bad breakouts, while others do not even get a single zit on their skin. Many skin concerns can be seen during pregnancy, such as pigmentation, dark spots, and acne. The hormone level increases in the first and second trimester of pregnancy, resulting in more natural oils, ultimately causing a blockage in your pores, resulting in acne

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4. Menopause: 

Menopause is the time that signifies the ending period of your menstrual cycle. Menopause usually takes place in the '40s or '50s, depending on different individuals and their bodies. You can identify that you are going towards menopause when you start feeling dryness in your intimate areas, irregular sleep patterns, and mood swings. Menopause arises when we start getting older. Due to the hormonal changes, the amount of collagen and elastin in our skin becomes less that can cause dryness, leading to fine lines, wrinkles, and acne.

How to prevent and treat hormonal acne?

1. Choose a gentle cleanser: 

You might think that your skin is clear from the outside, but sometimes on the inside, a lot is going on. Even if your skin is free from all the issues, you must still use gentle and suitable products according to your skin needs. Using non-comedogenic products free from oils and known not to clog your pores would be a great step towards keeping your skin healthy during hormonal changes. A gentle cleanser will help calm the existing acne and also help prevent future breakouts. 

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2. Exercise:

Working out is beneficial for improving the physical aspects of the body, but is also mentally relaxing. Hormonal changes can be the cause for your acne, but if you are stressed at the same time when these changes are happening, then rest assured that stress can make it worse.

Stress prompts our body to release hormones that can increase the bloodstream's sugar level and produce more oils that can cause major acne. Along with exercising, give your body proper hydration throughout the day, get adequate sleep every day, and you can also opt for yoga as it is known to calm your body and mind. 

3. Use skincare products with particular ingredients: 

Skincare plays a major role when it comes to maintaining the health of your skin. As everyone's skin is different, the ingredients should also be used accordingly. You will see a drastic change in your skin when you incorporate the right kinds of ingredients, it can't be done overnight, but your skin will love it once it does. Using certain ingredients like salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, AHAs, and retinoids can help treat hormonal acne. These are some of the best ingredients that can help you reduce inflammation, keep your pores free from getting blocked, exfoliate your skin, and have antibacterial properties.  

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4. Watch what you eat: 

If you want to keep your skin well and clear at all times, then opting for a healthy diet is the perfect way to go. Certain foods that are high in sugar should be avoided as it can increase insulin levels in the body that can further result in the increased production of oils. Just like that, when we consume dairy products, when digested, the proteins in those products release hormones that can cause breakouts. It will help you with acne, improve the skin's texture, and evens out the skin. Instead, keep your diet focused on foods like raw vegetables, fruits, and plant-based milk.

5. See a dermatologist: 

What do we usually do when we need to gather information about anything? We go on the internet and search and search and keep searching. The internet is full of information and also misinformation. But a specialist specializing in a particular thing can help you much faster and easier when it comes to such big things as hormonal changes.  


Indeed, dealing with hormonal acne is not easy, as you will be up against hormones that are natural and essential for our bodies' functioning.

Hormonal acne can happen to everyone but is especially pretty common among women. As there are a few causes for hormonal acne, there is certainly not a limit to it because our hormones keep changing at different stages of life for many reasons.

Hormonal acne might be tricky to deal with but not impossible. Some things can help you deal with hormonal acne, along with other health benefits. Be sure to get it checked with a dermatologist if you are experiencing ongoing breakouts.