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Acne Treatment: How do I know if my Acne is Hormonal?

Hormonal acne is a type of acne that would develop due to hormone levels fluctuation in your body. They’re usually the result of male hormones like testosterone and other androgens in your system.

For women, you’d mostly get this type of acne around the time when you’re getting your periods. This may make them sometimes predictable, but then, the breakouts can be frustrating considering how much it may affect your appearance and self-worth.

You may need to consider acne treatment if you feel like hormonal acne impacts your quality of life. For your treatment, your dermatologist may need to combine medications or recommend subtle lifestyle changes to manage your hormonal acne and, most importantly, reduce the effects of the outbreaks.

How can I Know if My Acne is Caused by Bacteria or Hormonal Fluctuations

Hormonal acne usually comes with symptoms that are akin to those observed with bacterial acne. Therefore it may be challenging to know the type of acne you’re dealing with.

At-home acne treatments would also be frustrating if your acne doesn’t respond to the OTC medications you could be used for the acne. After reading this guide, you will know the pointers to look for if you suspect that your acne could be hormonal. You will also learn the simple things you can do to manage acne or the effects that come with it. Keep reading.

Signs you have Hormonal Acne

If you get pimples around your jawline and chin

One of the most common pointers for hormonal acne is its location on your face. Ideally, if you develop inflamed cysts around your jawline and chin area, chances are pretty high you’re dealing with acne, and your best bet would be hormonal acne treatment options.

This acne majorly forms due to having excess oil that clogs up your pores. This would happen due to the excess hormones in your system stimulating the oil glands, which are mostly found in your chin area. These types of acne may also pop up down your neck or along the sides of your face.

If you get the breakouts once each Month

As hinted at early in this guide, hormonal acne almost always manifests itself in a cyclical pattern, much like your regular menstrual cycle. This happens even for menopausal women since they still experience monthly fluctuations in progesterone and estrogen levels, though lower than those in menopausal women.

Besides coming once each month, hormonal acne may also occur in a particular place each month. This would mostly happen due to specific pores getting enlarged in size by previous pimples, therefore, making the pore opening slightly larger therefore trapping oils easily. This may vary depending on the person.

If you’re past your Teenage Years

Acne is common among teens, especially during puberty. If you’re a woman and getting acne in your 20s and beyond, there are chances you’re dealing with hormonal acne.

When seeking acne treatment for your breakouts, in this case, it is imperative that you request your dermatologist for tips on how you can manage the acne even after your initial treatments. Some lifestyle changes can help you avoid hormonal acne and minimize the blemishes left by the breakouts.

If you Experience Increased Stress Levels

Cortisol is a stress hormone in your body. When you’re stressed, its levels may increase significantly, impacting all the other hormones in your body, causing them to ‘malfunction.’

Therefore, if you experience acute emotional stress, you’re more likely to get hormonal acne. With that in mind, if you tend to experience steeper hormonal monthly fluctuations, it would help if you take care of your physical and mental wellbeing to avoid hormonal acne flares.

If you get Cystic Blemishes

Hormonal acne is also linked to cystic blemishes. These lesions may get large, red, sore, and also painful when touched. If you get such types of blemishes, it is prudent that you resist the urge to squeeze or touch them as they’d almost always leave you with scarring. Some cysts may also get chronic and require a dermatologist’s attention to manage them.

How to Effectively Manage Hormonal Acne

Hormonal acne doesn’t always respond to topical acne treatments. Therefore, you may need to seek dedicated acne treatment to get rid of hormonal acne. Here are some of the practical treatment recommendations you can expect from your dermatologist to effectively manage hormonal acne.

Use of Oral Contraceptives

In acne treatment, oral medications will typically work from inside out your body to restore hormonal balance in your system and clear up your skin. If your skin doctor recommends oral contraceptives for your acne, the drug will mostly contain ethinylestradiol and any of the following; drospirenone, norethindrone, or norgestimate.

The medication used for your acne treatment, in this case, would target the hormones responsible for your breakouts to stop them. You may not be an ideal candidate for oral contraceptives in managing hormonal acne if you have a medical history of high blood pressure, blood clots, or breast cancer.


Topical retinoids may be prescribed for your acne treatment if you’re dealing with a mild case of hormonal acne. Usually, it would help if you use prescription-strength retinoids to manage the acne and ensure that your skin is clear throughout.

Note that retinoids may increase your risk of suffering sunburns. Therefore, if you’re going to include a retinoid in your acne treatment regimen, be sure to use sunscreen daily as well.

Anti-androgen Medications

Anti-androgen drugs may also be your best bet against hormonal acne. In acne treatments, these medications work by reducing androgen, which is a male hormone in your body.

Keep an Eye on Your Diet

You may also need to keep an eye on your diet to manage or prevent hormonal acne. Ideally, you may need to eat more plant-based foods to keep your skin clear and reduce inflammation.

Other than that, it is also prudent that you limit dairy products, refined carbs, sugar, and red meats in your diet. You may also need to use only non-comedogenic skin products to reduce the risks of having clogged-up skin pores.

Final Word

Hormonal acne are normal and can be managed. Contact us now to learn more how you can keep your hormonal acne breakouts.