ADVERTISEMENT
Dermatologists and Skin Care Data Verified

Hormonal Acne - Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment

Published on Sep 16, 2021   -  4 min read

Abstract

Hormonal acne is a type of acne associated with hormonal fluctuations. This article explains in detail about this condition.

Contents
Hormonal Acne - Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment

INTRODUCTION

Acne is a clinical condition that affects the skin. The cause is known to be excessive production of sebum which blocks the pores and causes acne. Various other types of skin lesions include papules, pustules, cysts, and nodules.

Hormonal acne is a type of acne that is caused due to changes in the hormone levels in the body. It is more prevalent in women and is more commonly observed during puberty but can also be observed at any age. Also, menstruation and menopause affect the formation of acne.

What Causes Hormonal Acne?

There can be various factors associated with the formation or progression of acne. Hormones are one of them. The following are the known possible causes or mechanisms associated with the same:

1. TESTOSTERONE:

Testosterone production increases during puberty. This leads to excessive production of sebum creating oily skin.

2. BLOCKED HAIR FOLLICLES:

When the hair follicles get blocked, comedones or “clogged pores” are formed.

3. Any bacterial infection can worsen the comedones.

4. Finally, inflammation happens as the immune system defends the body or skin against bacterial infections.

It is not necessary that all types of acne have to be inflamed. Simple comedones like blackheads and whiteheads are usually not inflamed. Some examples of inflamed pimples include papules, pustules, nodules, and cysts.

Following situations also contribute to hormonal acne formation due to the fluctuation of hormones:

What Are The Symptoms Of Hormonal Acne?

The most commonly affected zone by hormonal acne during puberty is the T-zone. T-zone involves the forehead, nose, and chin. The adult type of hormonal acne is usually seen on the lower part of the face which involves the bottom of the cheeks and jawline. Some people may also experience blackheads, whiteheads, and small pimples which can even transform into a cyst. Cysts are tender to touch and usually do not present themselves on the skin surface.

Can Menopausal Acne Be Considered A Type Of Hormonal Acne?

Some women tend to develop acne during menopause. The cause for the same is the decrease in estrogen levels or an increase in the levels of androgens like testosterone. Women using hormone replacement therapies (HRTs) to ease their menopause symptoms may also develop menopausal acne.

How Is Hormonal Acne Diagnosed?

When you visit your physician, you will be asked questions about your medical history, family history, menstrual history, and personal history along with questions related to your current problem and the associated signs and symptoms. If required, the doctor may perform certain tests like blood tests, hormonal tests, etc.

How Can Hormonal Acne Be Treated?

There are various treatment options available to manage this condition. If the hormonal acne is mild, over-the-counter (OTC) medicines or products can be helpful. As this hormonal acne takes the form of cysts that are inaccessible by the topical medication, it is advisable to consult a specialist and take proper treatment.

Certain oral prescription medications can be taken which help in managing acne. The most commonly used oral drugs are oral contraceptives and anti-androgen drugs.

1. Oral Contraceptives:

Oral contraceptives which are used for the management of acne consist of ethinylestradiol along with one of the below-mentioned drugs:

These are more useful during the peak stage of hormones like the ovulation stage. It is important to avoid oral contraceptives if you have blood clots, increased blood pressure, or breast cancer. Also, smokers should avoid oral contraceptives.

2. Anti-Androgen Drugs:

Anti-androgen drugs help in decreasing the male hormone, androgen. Both men and women have these hormones within their normal limits but excess of these hormones can lead to acne formation. Hence, anti-androgen drugs are very useful in such cases.

3. Retinoids:

In mild hormonal acne conditions, topical retinoids can be used. The source of retinoids is vitamin A.

Natural Ways To Manage Hormonal Acne:

Natural products especially those obtained from plant sources can also be used to control or manage hormonal acne. Some of the natural acne management products are:

  1. Tea tree oil

  2. Alpha hydroxy acid

  3. Green tea

Can Diet Modification Help Control Hormonal Acne?

There is no supporting literature to understand the exact correlation between diet and hormonal acne. But, there is some literature supporting usage of certain foods, especially inflammation-fighting foods in controlling hormonal acne.

Foods that are plant-based contain high levels of antioxidants. These antioxidants help reduce inflammation and thus, promote much clearer skin. Another product known to decrease inflammation of the skin is Omega-3 fatty acids.

We see a lot of discussions on junk food causing acne. It is necessary to understand that junk foods alone do not cause acne. Excessive consumption of junk foods can lead to inflammation though.

Some of the food products that can be limited to control hormonal acne are sugar, dairy products, and refined carbohydrates like pasta, white bread, etc. Also, non-vegetarians should avoid red meats.

Apart from these, certain measures can be taken daily to ensure preventing or controlling hormones. The main objective is a skincare routine. You can do the following to keep your skin healthy and clear:

CONCLUSION

Hormonal acne is mainly caused due to fluctuations in hormones. It can be controlled either by using over-the-counter products or medical management. It is necessary to consult a specialist to get yourself checked thoroughly to rule out the cause of acne before using any medication. Online medical platforms have made consulting a specialist easy. To know more about this condition, consult a specialist online.

ADVERTISEMENT
Article Resources

Last reviewed at:
16 Sep 2021  -  4 min read

RATING

15

Tags:

Comprehensive Medical Second Opinion.Submit your Case

Related Questions & Answers


I have pimples, red, and brown spots on the face. Are they due to hormonal changes?

Query: Hello doctor,I have pimples, red, and brown spots on the face. Moderate acne. Mainly on chin, cheeks, sides of the nose and between eyebrows. Is it hormonal acne? How do I fix it? Large pores on the face but dehydrated, sensitive skin. Red pimples with white pus. Varies from large to small sizes. Le...  Read Full »

Adult Acne: A Common Problem

Article Overview: Adult acne is more common nowadays with changes in lifestyle and the use of various cosmetic products. The treatment of adult acne is a challenge for many dermatologists, and it is also frustrating for the patients. Understanding the cause of adult acne helps establish a better strategy for preventing and treating adult acne. Read Article


Sreelakshmi. S
Sreelakshmi. S
Dermatology

Introduction: Acne starts when oil and dead skin cells clog up your pores. Some people call it blackheads, blemishes, whiteheads, pimples, or cysts. However, acne breakout is usually considered to result from clogged pores, a buildup of sebum, and, most commonly, a bacterial infection. What Are th...  Read Article

Why am I bleeding for 16 days after taking hormonal pills for acne?

Query: Hello doctor, I am a 32 year old female. I suffer from hormonal acne and my dermatologist gave me Yasmin 21 to take for it. I have never been on any contraceptive before. I started Yasmin on day 1 of my period. It has been 16 days and I am still bleeding. It is not much but I still have it daily. I...  Read Full »

Popular Articles Most Popular Articles

Do you have a question on Acne or Hormonal Acne?

Ask a Doctor Online

* guaranteed answer within 4 hours.

Disclaimer: No content published on this website is intended to be a substitute for professional medical diagnosis, advice or treatment by a trained physician. Seek advice from your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with questions you may have regarding your symptoms and medical condition for a complete medical diagnosis. Do not delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice because of something you have read on this website. Read our Editorial Process to know how we create content for health articles and queries.