Acne is a very common skin condition with a myriad of causes. Many people will experience hormonal acne during their lifetime. Since the cause is internal rather than external, you may wonder what the best treatment for hormonal acne is.
Most people would admit that acne is one of the most common skin conditions. The condition is most commonly found as a mild form, where individuals experience oily skin and occasional breakouts of spots on their faces.
However, acne can be a more severe condition and cause severe symptoms and complications, including cysts and scarring.
Researchers believe that people with acne have abnormally sensitive sebaceous glands (which create sebum to lubricate their skin) .
Hormonal imbalances in the human body can lead to too much sebum production by the sebaceous glands . As a result, excess sebum blocks our skin’s hair follicles, and dead skin cells combine to cause spots.
Acne occurs in teenagers during puberty because of the interaction between hormones and sebaceous glands. This is also why people often talk about “hormonal acne” .
This article will discuss hormonal acne, its causes, its types, and the best treatment for hormonal acne in detail. Please read on!
What is hormonal acne?
Acne caused by hormonal fluctuations is exactly what it sounds like — acne that is related to hormonal fluctuations. A study shows it can be a problem that affects adults.
Oil glands of the skin and other glands in the body also undergo an extended development period during the most active growth period.
This oil gland becomes clogged, swollen, and inflamed in some young people. They are also prone to infections [2,3].
How does hormonal acne affect people?
Even though hormonal acne is typically associated with puberty, it can affect adults of any age. Women are particularly prone to it . Several factors may contribute to this, such as menstruation, menopause, and other circumstances.
In the U.S., it is the most common skin condition. Over 80% of the population experience it in their lifetime. The majority of women in their 20s experience hormonal acne, while around 25% of women in their 40s do.
The opinions of experts on hormonal acne are mixed. Sometimes hormonal imbalances cause acne in adults with underlying medical conditions.
Sometimes adults with acne are not affected by “measurable” hormonal issues. It can be much difficult to diagnose and treat such patients.
To find out how hormonal acne looks, what causes it, and how to get rid of it, continue reading.
What are the characteristics of hormonal acne?
The T-zone is a common site for hormonal acne during puberty. The T-zone includes your forehead, nose, and chin.
The lower part of your face is commonly affected by hormonal adult acne. You will notice this on the bottom of your cheeks and around your jawline.
In some cases, hormonal acne manifests as blackheads, whiteheads, small pimples that come to a head, or cysts.
Cysts occur deep under the skin, beneath the skin’s surface, and do not reach the surface. When these bumps are touched, they usually feel tender .
Hormonal acne may be caused by hormones released from:
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome
- Increased androgen levels 
As a result of hormonal fluctuations, acne may be exacerbated by:
- Skin inflammation as a whole
- Pores produce oil (sebum)
- Dead skin cells block hair follicles
- Developing Propionibacterium acnes as a result of acne 
What causes hormonal acne?
A clogged pore is the cause of acne. Hormonal acne increases your skin’s oil production caused by hormonal changes. As a result of this interaction, acne develops on the skin’s pores in the hair follicles where bacteria live.
The cause of clogged pores are:
- The sebaceous glands in the mid-layer of the skin secrete extra sebum.
- Dead skin cells .
Acne formation and genetics:
It has been found that genetic factors contribute significantly to adult acne. It is genetically determined how many, how big, and how active the sebaceous glands are. Oil glands in the skin produce sebum, which can clog and cause acne .
Acne formation and hormones:
Acne is referred to as hormonal acne since the hormone testosterone is one of the major factors involved.
Teenagers’ testosterone levels increase during puberty. During this time, male development occurs in boys, and muscle and bone strength are seen in girls.
A side effect of the hormone is that it increases sebum production at the base of the hairs resulting in hormonal acne. The reason for this is that the oil-producing glands are sensitive to testosterone.
Other hormones also cause acne. Women may also develop acne due to hormonal changes related to pregnancy or menstruation. Low estrogen levels may contribute to acne during menopause.
Progesterone remains unclear in its role.
A hormonal imbalance can lead to acne-like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) .
The AAD reports that an increasing number of women are dealing with acne well past their teenage years and into their 30s, 40s, and 50s. The majority of adult female acne cases are mild or moderate.
After 24 years, most adult female acne cases continue from puberty, but between 20 and 40 percent start after puberty.
This is not clear, but some life changes can trigger a flare-up. Acne sufferers usually have normal androgen levels but falling estrogen levels around menopause.
This imbalance may be the cause of acne flares. As the hormonal ratio reaches a “tipping point,” sebaceous glands are further stimulated, triggering outbreaks .
Acne severity and types of hormonal acne
Among adolescents, acne is the most common chronic disease. There is no direct correlation between psychological and social impact and clinical severity . However, there are three types of acne: mild, moderate, and severe.
A mild case of acne is characterized by blackheads and whiteheads and does not typically require medical treatment. According to estimates, there are fewer than 20 comedones, 15 inflammatory lesions, or 30 lesions overall.
Moderate acne is characterized by inflamed and non-inflamed lesions, some of which can leave scars. In addition to 20 to 100 comedones, there are also 15 to 50 inflammatory lesions, for a total of 30 to 125 lesions.
Acne with severe lesions is characterized by widespread inflammation. This can impact both appearance and self-esteem, as well as cause scarring. It is distressing to suffer from acne of any kind.
An individual’s self-esteem can suffer even when they have mild acne. The reason is not just that it appears, but also that young people often suffer from it when they want to look good.
After discussing hormonal acne, its causes, and its types, let us now discuss the best treatment for hormonal acne:
Best treatments for hormonal acne:
A few OTC products might alleviate hormonal acne, but only if it is mild. Cystic acne is the most common form of hormonal acne. Many topical medications are out of reach of these bumps that form deep under the skin.
It is possible to balance hormones and clear up your skin using oral medications. Antiandrogens and oral contraceptives are popular choices .
The following are among the best treatments for hormonal acne:
Best topical treatment for hormonal acne:
The use of topical treatments is the first option. Topical treatments are the most popular and effective method of treating mild acne.
Dermatologists will likely prescribe or recommend one of the following over-the-counter products for treating hormonal acne:
- Benzoyl Peroxide
- Azelaic Acid
To maximize the effectiveness of the acne treatment, your dermatologist may also suggest a combination of some of the above ingredients .
Before going further, let us discuss these topical products:
Topical retinoids are sometimes needed to treat mild hormonal acne in some people. The retinoids work by removing dead skin cells to stop hair follicles from being clogged up by them.
Over-the-counter products such as creams, lotions, and gels containing these vitamin A derivatives are available. You can also get a prescription-strength product from your dermatologist to prevent acne.
Use sunscreen daily while using topical retinoids, as they increase the risk of sunburn .
Bacteria on your skin that infect blocked hair follicles are killed by topical antibiotics .
3. Benzoyl peroxide
Benzoyl peroxide is an antibacterial agent that reduces the number of bacteria on your skin, reducing inflammation .
4. Azelaic acid
The action of azelaic acid is to kill bacteria and remove dead skin cells. It is usually prescribed as an alternative to benzoyl peroxide or retinoids if you are particularly sensitive to either of these treatments because it can cause less irritation to the skin .
Another option for treating more severe or persistent hormonal acne is an oral medication. To prevent acne from recurring, combined oral contraceptives can balance testosterone production in the body.
Whenever acne is severe, and other treatments are not effective, a health care provider may prescribe combined oral contraceptives, taking into account their benefits and risks.
In oral contraceptives intended for acne treatment, ethinylestradiol is combined with one or more of the following:
- Norethindrone .
These ingredients work together to target acne-causing hormones. This can be especially useful when hormone levels are high during ovulation.
When choosing a contraceptive and dosage, your healthcare provider will consider your hormonal blood test results, age, regularity of your menstrual period, and medical history. It is not recommended that you self-medicate with oral contraceptives.
Those who have a history of high blood pressure, blood clots, or breast cancer may not be able to use oral contraceptives. People who smoke should also not use them.
Antiandrogen drugs lower the amount of the male hormone androgen. The natural level of this hormone is present in both men and women, but excessive androgen can cause acne by causing an increase in sebum production.
By preventing the body from producing excessive androgen levels, antiandrogen drugs stabilize this hormone’s levels.
They may not be appropriate for everyone; consult your health care provider about the risks and benefits .
Hormonal acne natural remedies:
In some cases, mild hormonal acne may be treated with plant-based treatments .
Typically, natural treatments have fewer side effects than those prescription treatments. These treatments are, however, less effective than prescription treatments.
There is currently less research on natural remedies, and few results have been proven at this time. It would be best to discuss potential risks with your doctor and any medications you may be taking.
1. Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil reduces inflammation that contributes to acne. In one study, researchers found that 5 percent topical tea tree oil relieved mild to moderate acne symptoms.
Many skincare products contain tea tree oil, such as cleansers and toners, formulated solely for skincare. Tea tree essential oil can also be used as a spot treatment for specific areas on your skin.
It is always good to dilute tea tree essential oil with a carrier oil before application. Some popular carrier oils are coconut, jojoba, and olive. The general rule is to add 1 to 2 drops of essential oil to 12 drops of carrier oil.
Before using diluted tea tree essential oil, do a skin patch test. You can do so by applying diluted oil to the inner side of your forearm. It should be safe to apply elsewhere without irritation or inflammation within 24 hours .
2. Alpha hydroxy acid
Citrus fruits are the primary source of alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs). AHAs can be used to remove dead skin cells clogging pores. In addition, AHAs can reduce the appearance of acne scars.
Many OTC face masks and creams contain alpha-hydroxy acids (AHA). AHAs can also make your skin more sensitive to the sun, just like retinoids do. It’s important always to wear sunscreen if you’re using AHA products .
3. Green tea
Inflammation in the body can be reduced by drinking green tea. Drinking a few cups of tea and practicing your skincare routine on a topical level is a holistic way to take care of your skin. Green tea extract may benefit creams and gels containing at least 2 percent .
Medical procedures for acne
In addition, medical treatments can remove the top layer of skin and remove acne, oil, dirt, and other pollutants on the skin. These include:
- Chemical peels
- Laser Therapy
Isotretinoin (Accutane) is the most intensive option available if all other treatment options have failed. This drug has extremely intense side effects, and it should only be used in severe acne cases.
Hormonal acne and diet:
Nutritional factors play a significant role in hormonal acne, but they are not fully understood. Several foods have been found to reduce acne, such as inflammation-fighting foods.
Plant-based foods high in antioxidants may help combat inflammation and promote clearer skin. Omega-3 fatty acids may also help decrease inflammation.
Contrary to what is often believed, junk food alone is not the cause of acne. However, eating too much of certain foods may increase inflammation.
Here are some things you may want to limit:
- dairy products
- white bread and pasta refined carbs
- red meats
Best tips for hormonal acne treatment:
The following best tips are really helpful in treating hormonal acne in people:
1. Stay clean and stop touching
Keep your hands clean, your nails short, and never touch your face unless with a clean tissue. People with acne frequently touch their faces, eyes, or lips out of unconscious habits that may increase hormonal acne due to bacterial infections.
2. Daily showering
Cleanse your hair frequently by shampooing. Do not let hair touch your face or shoulders. Take a daily shower.
3. Stay hydrated
Keep the urine almost colorless by drinking enough water to keep the body fluid. To prevent all dryness, apply a thin layer of lotion to both hands and face after washing them carefully.
4. Maintain a regular schedule
Keep regular mealtimes, bedtimes, waking times, water-drinking times, and personal hygiene (including a BM after every meal, even if cold water and single-ear-syringe enema are required to accomplish this). Regularity is essential in everything.
5. Refresh your skin
Get out of the house for one hour or more each day and practice good posture, deep breathing, and exercise. Your face needs good circulation.
6. Don’t consume animal products.
Remove all animal products from your diet until the condition is under control. Be sure to check labels. Milk is particularly harmful.
7. Don’t mix too many foods
Don’t mix too many food items in one meal, or you will suffer the effects of chemical warfare. Maintain a simple menu.
8. Reduce gas-forming foods
It is advisable to eat small portions of gas-forming foods and chew them well before swallowing. Beans, corn, bananas, apples, prune juice, raisins, and apple juice.
Chew food until well-masticated before swallowing it and spend 30-45 minutes on a meal. Avoid overeating.
Diet plan to reduce hormonal acne:
You should follow the following diet:
- Do not consume sugar or honey.
- Limit salt intake to 1/2 teaspoon daily.
- Do not consume chemical substances that end with ‘-ine,’ such as nicotine, caffeine (coffee, tea, colas, and all other soft drinks), theobromine (chocolate), and all medicines that might contain them.
- Consume a lot of green and yellow foods rich in vitamin A.
- Eat fruits and vegetables frequently, grains moderately, and nuts sparingly (Yes. You can have unsalted nuts occasionally, but never between meals.)
Go outside and get some sunshine
Let the sunshine on your face every day.
Even though adult breakouts are less common than those affecting adolescents, they can be frustrating. Follow the tips in this article and try the treatments mentioned, and you will surely see good results.
Nevertheless, if your acne is persistent, your healthcare provider will be able to recommend advanced treatments to get rid of those pesky zits.
More about vegan skincare:
- Foods Good For Skin
- Foods For Glowing Skin
- Best Herbs For Skin
- Foods With Hyaluronic Acid
- Benefits of Dry Brushing
- Chlorella Benefits For Skin
Also, get discounted copies of my cookbook here.
Fortunately, because of the ads on our website, readers and subscribers of Healthier Steps are sponsoring many underprivileged families. Thank you!
- González-Mondragón, E. A., Ganoza-Granados, L. D. C., Toledo-Bahena, M. E., Valencia-Herrera, A. M., Duarte-Abdala, M. R., Camargo-Sánchez, K. A., & Mena-Cedillos, C. A. (2022). Acne and diet: a review of pathogenic mechanisms. Boletin medico del Hospital Infantil de Mexico, 79(2), 83-90.
- Hattiholi, A., Tendulkar, S., & Dodamani, S. (2022). Status of Using Probiotic Supplementation in Acne. In Probiotic Research in Therapeutics (pp. 131-145). Springer, Singapore.
- Thomas, J., Parimalam, K., & Sindhu, R. B. (2013). Hormonal acne: leading to a paradigm shift in the management of acne. Expert Review of Dermatology, 8(3), 225-227.
- Lucky, A. W. (1995). Hormonal correlates of acne and hirsutism. The American journal of medicine, 98(1), S89-S94.
- Bhadra, P. (2020). A Literature Review Onacne Due to Hormonal Changes and Lifestyle.
- Azanbayeva, D., Batpenova, G., Tarkina, T., Algazina, T., & Kotlyarova, T. (2018). СLINICAL AND LABORATORY CHARACTERISTICS OF PATIENTS WITH ADOLESCENCE ACNE AND ACNE TARDA. Georgian medical news, (282), 103-106.
- Bhadra, P. (2020). A Literature Review Onacne Due to Hormonal Changes and Lifestyle.
- Beylot, C., Auffret, N., Poli, F., Claudel, J. P., Leccia, M. T., Del Giudice, P., & Dreno, B. (2014). Propionibacterium acnes: an update on its role in the pathogenesis of acne. Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, 28(3), 271-278.
- Elsaie, M. L. (2016). Hormonal treatment of acne vulgaris: an update. Clinical, cosmetic and investigational dermatology, 9, 241.
- Suh, D. H., & Kwon, H. H. (2015). What’s new in the physiopathology of acne?. British Journal of Dermatology, 172, 13-19.
- Arora, M. K., Yadav, A., & Saini, V. (2011). Role of hormones in acne vulgaris. Clinical biochemistry, 44(13), 1035-1040.
- Khunger, N., & Mehrotra, K. (2019). Menopausal acne–Challenges and solutions. International journal of women’s health, 11, 555.
- Zaraa, I., Belghith, I., Alaya, B., Trojjet, S., & Mokni, M. (2013). Severity of acne and its impact on quality of life. Skinmed, 11(3), 148-153.
- Fox, L., Csongradi, C., Aucamp, M., Du Plessis, J., & Gerber, M. (2016). Treatment modalities for acne. Molecules, 21(8), 1063.
- Arowojolu, A. O., Gallo, M. F., Lopez, L. M., & Grimes, D. A. (2012). Combined oral contraceptive pills for treatment of acne. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, (7).
- Miller, J. A., WOJNAROWSKA, F. T., DOWD, P. M., Ashton, R. E., O’BRIEN, T. J., Griffiths, W. A. D., & Jacobs, H. S. (1986). Anti‐androgen treatment in women with acne: a controlled trial. British Journal of Dermatology, 114(6), 705-716.
- Goswami, P. K., Khale, A., & Ogale, S. (2012). Natural remedies for polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS): a review. International journal of pharmaceutical and phytopharmacological research, 1(6), 396-402.
- Bassett, I. B., Barnetson, R. S. C., & Pannowitz, D. L. (1990). A comparative study of tea‐tree oil versus benzoylperoxide in the treatment of acne. Medical Journal of Australia, 153(8), 455-458.
- Liu, H., Yu, H., Xia, J., Liu, L., Liu, G. J., Sang, H., & Peinemann, F. (2020). Topical azelaic acid, salicylic acid, nicotinamide, sulphur, zinc and fruit acid (alpha‐hydroxy acid) for acne. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, (5).
- Saric, S., Notay, M., & Sivamani, R. K. (2016). Green tea and other tea polyphenols: Effects on sebum production and acne vulgaris. Antioxidants, 6(1), 2.