What is hormonal acne?

Acne triggered by hormone fluctuation is what we refer to as hormonal acne. Despite being commonly related to hormonal changes in adolescence, hormonal acne can occur in people of all ages. Females often suffer from this ailment; certain triggers, such as menstrual cycles and menopause, may play a part in the cause.

Views among experts on hormonal acne are varied. In some cases, hormones don't cause adult acne; however, certain medical issues may lead to hormonal imbalances that can be the underlying source of acne in adults. In certain instances, adults with acne may not display any hormonal anomalies that are perceivable.

Fungal acne VS hormonal acne:

Many mistakenly confuse fungal Acne and hormonal Acne. as they both originate within hair follicles. Excessive yeast growth is the cause of fungal acne, whereas too much sebum is the cause of hormonal acne. Fungal acne often appears as whiteheads, causing itching and redness that can become increasingly inflamed.

Characteristics of hormonal acne:

During adolescence, acne resulting from hormonal changes commonly appears on the forehead, nose, and chin area.

Hormonal adult acne can manifest around the lower half of the face, from the cheeks down to the jawline.

For certain individuals, hormonal acne manifests as blackheads, whiteheads, and tiny pimples that come with a cyst.

Causes of hormonal acne:

An upsurge in hormones could be responsible for causing hormonal acne. A few factors for hormonal acne are:

  • menopause
  • menstruation
  • increased androgen levels
  • polycystic ovarian syndrome

Furthermore, the variations in hormone levels can exacerbate acne through:

  • overall skin inflammation
  • oil production in the pores
  • clogged hair follicles
  • producing acne-causing bacteria

Controllable hormonal changes:

  • Lack of sleep.
  • Stress.
  • Selecting haircare and skincare products without oil or ingredients causing pore blockages.

Uncontrollable hormonal changes:

  • Fluctuating hormone levels in women during periods, pregnancy, menopause, or after discontinuing birth control.
  • Man having testosterone treatment.
  • Genetic acne problem.
  • Medication's side effects.

Traditional treatments for hormonal acne:

OTC treatments usually don't provide the desired results for moderate to severe cases of hormonal acne. Hormonal acne usually appears in the form of cystic bumps beneath the skin, rendering topical treatments powerless against it.

Balancing hormones and restoring skin clarity can be achieved with the help of oral medications. Popular acne treatments involve oral contraceptives and medications that combat androgen hormones.

Oral contraceptives:

Oral contraceptives specifically employed to combat acne comprise a combination of ethinylestradiol with any one of the following ingredients:

  • drospirenone
  • norgestimate
  • norethindrone

Combining these components targets the hormones that may be contributing to acne flare-ups. Particularly during hormonal surges, such as ovulation.

Oral contraceptives might not be suitable for individuals who have experienced blood clots, hypertension, or breast cancer. Similarly, if you are a smoker, these may be inadvisable.

Anti-androgen drugs:

Anti-androgen medications reduce androgen levels, a hormone found in both genders. Excessive levels of androgen hormones can affect the health of hair follicles, stimulating sebum production, which in turn contributes to the emergence of acne.

Spironolactone (Aldactone), a drug typically prescribed for hypertension, has anti-androgen effects. Additionally, it inhibits the production of androgenic hormones in your body, thus helping you maintain hormone levels in equilibrium.


Retinoids can treat hormonal acne that is not severe. These substances originate from vitamin A.

To ensure consistent, clear skin, your doctor may prescribe a higher-strength retinoid cream, gel, or lotion than what is available without a prescription.

It's critical to wear sunscreen daily if you decide to incorporate a topical retinoid into your skincare routine, as it can make your skin more prone to sunburn.

What else to do to clear hormonal acne?

Maintaining an appropriate skincare regimen is crucial for keeping hormonal acne in check.

You should:

  • Wash your face twice a day.
  • It's vital to use only a small amount of any acne product; using more than the recommended quantity can lead to additional irritation.
  • Use sunscreen.
  • To lower the chance of blocked pores, opt for non-comedogenic products.

Final thoughts:

It's best to be proactive and stay ahead of hormonal acne to avoid breakouts. Though the frequency can differ from individual to individual. On average, a new skincare treatment targeting acne may require up to ten weeks to be completely effective.

If your acne does not improve, consult a medical professional for an appropriate plan to address the issue. Your doctor or dermatologist can modify your current skincare regimen and introduce various remedies to maximize results.