Hormonal Acne: What is it Exactly?

By: Adelina Pavlyuk

Many women struggle with acne– typically hormonal acne is seen during puberty and its associated hormonal changes and even in women after puberty aging from 20 to 50 years old. 

You may ask, What is Hormonal Acne and What Causes It? 

Hormonal acne is an imbalance in hormones, where the hormonal levels fluctuate. When the androgen, estrogen, progesterone, or testosterone hormone levels rise, break outs begin to appear. The effect of this fluctuation causes oil glands under the skin to grow which is what leads to breakouts due to the changes in sebum production and skin cell activity. With the accompanied inflammation, colonies of bacteria begin to form in the hair follicles. Typically, fluctuation of hormones happens during menstrual cycles, menopause, pregnancy, thyroid issues, or PCOS. 

*Hormonal acne can range from blackheads, whiteheads, pustules, and cysts. The acne usually appears in the T-zone, and can often times be painful.

What Other Factors Influence Acne?

  • Antibiotics 
  • Medications
  • Mental Health Triggers Such as Depression or Anxiety
  • Certain Foods
  • Stress

Why it is Okay 

Many people get breakouts, at any age and any time and it is very common. Studies and statistics show that about 50% of the women population ages 20-29 deal with acne and even 25% of women aged 40-49 deal with it as well. All forms of acne can be distressing and can impact one’s self esteem, but it is treatable and should not take over your life. 


There are many ways to treat acne some ways can include:

  • Oral Contraceptives
  • Accutane
  • Topical Retinoids
  • Cleansers 
  • Your Diet
  • Spironolactone

When Should You Address a Dermatologist?

If you are concerned, it is best to see a dermatologist when your acne is bothering you such as having accompanied burning, itching, or pain. Visiting a specialist can have them evaluate what type of acne you have and the best treatments to provide for you to eliminate it.