Hormonal Acne: What are they and how to treat them?

Hormonal Acne, Hormonal Acne Diet, Hormonal Acne Treatment, Hormonal Acne Causes, Hormonal Imbalance Acne, How To Control Hormonal Acne, How To Get Rid Of Hormonal Acne

Your skin reflects what’s going on within you. Believe it or not, your hormones can cause acne. Have you observed that your acne outbreaks coincide with your period when your hormones are taking a toss? What you’re experiencing is known as hormonal acne and affects a majority of people. 

It is prevalent in women because of hormonal fluctuations their body goes through at several stages – puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, menopause etc. Hormonal Acne is usually the result of male hormones and androgens in women. The biggest culprit being testosterone. 

Hormonal Acne: What is it?

It happens due to hormonal imbalances in your body. Certain hormones (usually testosterone) stimulate the production of sebum in your skin. The usual amount of sebum keeps your skin fresh, smooth and healthy. However, extra sebum can clog hair follicles and cause you to develop acne and inflammation.

Causes of Hormonal Acne 

  • Menstruation
  • PCOD
  • Menopause
  • Increased androgen levels etc.

How Does Hormonal Acne Develop in Women?

Every woman has small amounts of male hormone – testosterone running throughout the body. It aids in keeping your energy levels up and is useful to maintain strength as well as fitness. A tiny increase in this hormone can bother your health and appearance.

Hormonal acne occurs when your female body produces more male hormones than needed. It is what leads to acne right before your periods when your androgen levels rise. Likewise, hormonal acne is quite common in puberty too. 

Here’s how increased levels of testosterone cause hormonal acne:

  • Higher testosterone levels trigger sebum production in your skin.
  • Extra sebum production clogs hair follicles forming comedones that eventually turn into pimples, whiteheads, blackheads etc.
  • Acne-forming bacteria gets trapped inside clogged pores, causing infection, resulting in painful, irritated Acne.

Hormonal Acne: How Do They Look?

Just like regular acne, they can vary from mild to severe. It’s hard to judge the cause of acne by just looking at it. 

Given below are some of the characteristics: 

  • They tend to occur on your nose, chin, jawline and forehead. 
  • However, hormonal acne can also affect other parts of your face. 
  • Mild acne includes non-painful whiteheads & blackheads.
  • Severe ones can lead to painful acne nodules and pus-filled, cystic lesions. 
  • Most of the time, mild hormonal acne resolves itself with no need for medication. 

Moderate and severe acne surely needs help from a Dermatologist before it worsens.

Get a customised acne-treatment kit from your dermatologist for your skin type and conditions.

How To Get Rid Of it?

Your hormonal acne treatment would depend on the severity of hormonal acne. 

In case of mild hormonal acne, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to treat it without medication. At times, your doctor may prescribe an ointment too. 

In case of severe ones, a dermatologist may recommend oral retinoids or antibiotics that aids in treating acne. 

Note: Self-medication using over-the-counter (OTC) products and home remedies usually won’t work on acne. They may worsen your condition. 

How To Control Hormonal Acne: Do’s and Don’ts

Certain lifestyle and skincare modifications come as a great help to improve mild to moderate hormonal Acne. Here are some tips suggested by dermatologists for you:

  • Do not scratch, scrap or pick acne as it allows bacteria to enter the pore, causing infections and inflammations.
  • Wash your face once in the morning and once at night. Avoid overwashing because it can remove oil from the skin and irritate it more. The skin can respond by producing more oil and worsen acne.
  • Never use face washes or any other skin products with harsh ingredients or anything you are allergic to. Switch to products that are gentle and suitable for you. 
  • Try to minimise the number of makeup products if possible. Also, remember to remove them before you hit the bed. 
  • Don’t let your skin stay sweaty. Shower right after to reduce the amount of time your bare skin is in contact with sweat.
  • Drink a cup or two of green/black tea every day. Both have mild anti-inflammatory properties that work miraculously on mild hormonal acne.
  • Eat more antioxidant-rich foods. While they are not as effective as medicine, they can potentially decrease skin irritation and damage.
  • Do not skip applying sunscreen and do reapply it throughout the day. 
  • Use only non-comedogenic products to reduce your risk of clogged pores.

Summing Up 

It’s hard to mention a generalised timeline for how long it may take for hormonal acne to clear up. Each person may have a different experience and varied kinds of results. Though following preventive measures and a healthy diet can be beneficial. Discuss with your dermatologist if you notice no improvement even after eight to ten weeks of your treatment. 


  1. Will hormonal acne go away?

It may go away, but the outcome may be different for everyone. 

  1. Can certain foods cause hormonal acne?

According to some reports and research, sugar, refined foods, and dairy products could be potential reasons. Though, without sufficient data and research, it’s hard to claim anything.  

  1. Does hormonal acne mean infertility? 

It doesn’t directly mean infertility. If you suffer from hormonal imbalance irrespective of fertility, you can still develop hormonal acne.

  1. How do you pop a hard pimple?

The truth is you shouldn’t be touching any kind of pimple. It is better to leave it as it is or follow the treatment plan suggested by your doctor. 



Picture of Chaitra K

Chaitra K

I’m a Skin Care Enthusiast from Bangalore, a writer here @CureSkin teamed up with Expert Dermatologists to spread awareness on the right kind of skin and hair care for men and women. Inspiring people to explore the skin and hair care that suits their need and help them look and feel beautiful is my full-time job. Skin & hair problems affect every person's self-esteem and confidence. Hence I love helping people by giving them the best information about skin and hair health with my writing, driven by the BEST Dermatologists.