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Hormones and Acne: What Is the Relation Between them?

Hormones and Acne

  • When rise in men and women, their oil glands being overproducing and this can trigger more acne breakouts
  • The connection between hormones and acne explains why teens suffer from the problem more commonly than adults
  • Taking low dose can help women balance out the male hormones in their body and slow the creation of excess oil


For decades, people have been told that chocolate, greasy food, and other items cause acne. However, research now knows that one of the biggest triggers for breakouts is hormones. The connection between hormones and acne helps set off a series of changes in the body that can make conditions favorable for the development of pimples.

Testosterone Levels & Acne

Testosterone is a type of hormone classed as an androgen, or male sex hormone. Despite the name, testosterone is found in both sexes, although higher levels are found in men than in women. Part of the reason so many teenagers end up having major breakouts is that their bodies begin producing androgens during puberty.

While these androgens have lots of purposes in your body, one of the consequences of their presence is that the oil glands in your skin start producing at high levels. This causes a lot of oil to end up in your pores and when that oil mixes with the dirt or dead skin cells on your face it can form a plug in that pore. The result is a pimple. While pimples can form in this way any time, the extra oil causes breakouts to be more common, more widespread, and more severe during puberty for men and during times of hormone imbalance for women.

Hormones in Women

While women do have their own testosterone levels that need to be maintained, their main hormones are estrogen and progesterone. During certain parts of their lives, women have imbalances in the levels of these two hormones and the androgens coursing through them. When the androgens get too high, women’s oil glands start overproducing and leading to breakouts, too.

This happens to women when they go through puberty, hit menopause, become pregnant, or menstruate. For this reason, women seem plagued by pimples for most of their lives and are more likely to see treatment for adult acne than men.

The Treatment

When it comes to hormones and acne, one of the most effective treatments for women has been low dose contraceptives. Because these oral contraceptives contain estrogen and progesterone, they can help restore the balance in the body and slow down the production in the oil glands. However, this means the contraceptives must be taken regularly and that a woman will not be able to become pregnant during the course of her treatment. Obviously, this type of treatment does not help adolescent males who sometimes suffer from very severe outbreaks that can lead to permanent scarring.

Another treatment sometimes used is isotretinoin which is a form of Vitamin A. While it has been shown to be effective at combating the connection between hormones and acne, it does have some dangerous side effects so long term use is not recommended.

Additionally, teens and adults can reduce the amount of breakouts they experience by washing their face no more than twice a day and exfoliating with a gentle product regularly. Avoiding products that will dry or irritate the skin is also important.

The information supplied in this article is not to be considered as medical advice and is for educational purposes only.