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What Causes Hormonal Acne?

What Causes Hormonal Acne?

Ah, hormones. From mood swings and cravings to energy levels and focus, these itty-bitty chemical substances influence nearly all processes in the human body. You can think of them as your body's personal chemical messengers — they tell your body how to breathe, grow, drink, eat, and more.

In other words, hormones are pretty important, and keeping them balanced is key to feeling good, happy, and healthy.

So, what happens when the delicate hormonal balance gets disrupted, you ask? Hormonal acne happens. *Sigh*

Not to worry, though — Love Wellness is here to help! In this article, we're exploring hormonal acne to uncover everything you need to know about getting those hormones in check for a pimple-free complexion.

Hormonal Acne: What You Need To Know

First things first, what exactly are hormones anyway?

We could spend quite some time explaining the ins and outs of hormones to you, so we'll keep the biology lesson brief. In short, hormones are tiny molecules that are produced by your endocrine system.

They help regulate your body's many processes, like blood pressure, hunger, mood, and sexual desire. While you may already know that hormones are essential to reproduction, the truth is that they are fundamental to all the systems of your body, from head to toe.

What Is Hormonal Acne?

Simply put, hormonal acne — aka acne vulgaris, adult acne, and bane of our existence — is a type of acne that forms due to hormone fluctuations or a hormonal imbalance. It's common and also sometimes predictable, with outbreaks and flare-ups often coinciding with or worsening around the time of menstruation.

It's estimated that 50 percent of women ages 20 to 29 and about 25 percent of women ages 40 to 49 are plagued by acne. The most common skin condition in the United States, acne happens when the body makes too much sebum — an oil that keeps the skin moisturized.

This excess oil then clumps together with dead skin cells in a pore and anytime clogging occurs, a pesky acne lesion or zit can make its debut.

What Causes Hormonal Acne?

Everyone has a different level of sensitivity to certain hormones. This means that a spike in hormone levels could cause your skin to break out with acne, whereas it does not affect your bestie, who may not be as sensitive to acne-causing hormones.

So, which hormones are notoriously known for acne flares, you ask?

The biggest culprit that's often linked to hormonal acne is none other than a little hormone called testosterone. This androgen hormone can stimulate oil production, which in turn clogs pores and causes acne.

But we can't give testosterone levels all the credit for their ability to wreak havoc on our skin at usually the most inconvenient of times (enter: flashbacks of picture day). Progesterone, estrogen, and even the stress hormone cortisol can also be to blame.

When the balance of these hormones gets disrupted, an imbalance occurs. And when there's an imbalance, everything can be affected — and not in a good way!

What Contributes to Acne-Causing Hormone Fluctuations?

Women tend to experience fluctuating hormones during the menstrual cycle, during pregnancy, peri-menopause, menopause, and even after discontinuing — or starting — oral contraceptives like birth control pills.

Hormonal acne flares can also happen if:

  • You're stressed. Your body produces more androgens when you're dealing with stress, and as we discussed earlier, this type of hormone is known to stimulate the oil glands and sebum production, which can lead to acne.
  • You have a genetic predisposition for acne. Does your mom, dad, sister, or brother have adult acne? If so, you're likely to get it too.
  • You use irritating skin care products. Some skin care products can be especially irritating to the skin and even strip it of its important protective moisture barrier. Without moisture, your skin can become dehydrated, which often leads to acne flares.
  • You have polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Thanks to its ability to influence the ovaries to make more androgens, PCOS is another culprit behind hormonal acne.

What Does Hormonal Acne Look Like?

Although hormonal acne can look different from person to person, there are a few ways to tell it apart from regular acne.

When trudging through the murky waters of puberty, hormonal acne typically appears in the T-zone, which is the area that includes your forehead, nose, and chin.

As an adult, hormonal acne can still crop up on your T-zone, but you may also discover it forming along the lower part of your face. This includes the area around your lower cheeks and jawline.

Hormonal acne can take the form of whiteheads and blackheads, but it most prominently manifests as deep cysts that are tender to the touch. These painful bumps have no visible head, but are red, inflamed, and angry.

Needless to say, hormonal acne can be much worse than your typical acne.

What's the Best Way To Treat Hormonal Acne?

Now that you know all about hormonal acne and what causes it, you probably want to know how to treat it, right? We thought so. Here are some of the best tips to combat hormonal acne:

Tip #1: Load Up on Vitamin C

Did you know that vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that helps neutralize free radicals?

Yep, it's true — this essential nutrient plays a key role in protecting and healing the skin. But that's not all; vitamin C is a known anti-inflammatory, meaning it may help reduce redness and swelling related to hormonal acne.

With that in mind, we recommend adding Good to Glow to your daily supplement line-up — a skin-lovin' supplement filled with not only vitamin C but biotin and organic ashwagandha to tackle skin issues such as acne, dryness, fine lines, and wrinkles.*

Tip #2: Sip on Green Tea

Green tea is pretty well-known for its ability to decrease inflammation in the body, so it makes perfect sense why many women drink it to soothe acne flares.

Not particularly fond of green tea? Don't worry — you can apply it to your skin topically to reap the benefits of this coveted holistic remedy, too!

Tip #3: Take Probiotics

We know what you're thinking, "probiotics for skin?" — and the answer is yes, probiotics for skin. But not just any probiotics; we recommend taking Clear Skin Probiotics!

Clinically tested to clear acne† and support your gut-skin connection,* our clean formula includes Bifidobacterium longum BB536®, a clinically tested strain of bacteria that promotes blemish-free skin, and Chaste Berry Tree, which happened to improve acne† in 70% of female and male participants in clinical trials. We know, pretty awesome, right?!

Simply take one easy-to-swallow capsule per day to balance your skin's microbiome and reduce acne breakouts.


Hormonal acne may not be an official medical term, but it's often used to refer to those pesky cystic acne breakouts that emerge in adulthood due to fluctuating hormones.

It can be painful, put a damper on your self-esteem, and even burn a hole in your pocket when looking for treatment, but you don't have to just deal with it; you can kick hormonal acne to the curb and achieve your best skin day yet — you just need to know how to do it. And that's where we step in.

At Love Wellness, we've your back whenever you need us. Whether you’re looking for a Probiotics Kit to balance bacteria, information on sexual health, or the best vitamin for your V — you can always count on us.

Check us out today and let us help you to feel like your best self yet!


ADULT ACNE: Why it happens and what you can do for it | American Academy of Dermatology Association


Hormones | Endocrine Glands | MedlinePlus

Effect of vitamin C on inflammation and metabolic markers in hypertensive and/or diabetic obese adults: a randomized controlled trial | PMC

Anti-inflammatory Action of Green Tea | National Library of Medicine: National Center for Biotechnology Information

How Acne Bumps Cause the Blues: The Influence of Acne Vulgaris on Self-Esteem | PMC

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