Hormonal acne is a common skin concern that affects people of all ages. It’s particularly prominent during puberty, but it can also affect adults. In this blog, we’ll break down what hormonal acne is, its causes, symptoms, and the treatments that can help you manage this stubborn form of acne.

What is Hormonal Acne?

When we say ‘hormonal’, this refers to breakouts that are primarily caused by fluctuations in hormones. While acne is often associated with teenagers, hormonal changes can cause acne in adults as well, especially in women who may experience hormonal fluctuations during their menstrual cycle, pregnancy, or menopause.

Hormonal Acne: Puberty, Pregnancy and Menopause

The Hormones Behind Acne



Androgens, such as testosterone, stimulate the production of sebum, or oil, in the skin. When too much oil is produced, it can clog pores and lead to acne.

Oestrogen & Progesterone

In women, fluctuations in estrogen and progesterone can also play a role in acne. Low levels of these hormones can lead to excess oil production.

Stress Hormones

The hormone cortisol is released during times of stress. Elevated cortisol levels can lead to increased oil production and subsequently acne.

Symptoms of Hormonal Acne

This type of acne typically appears in the lower part of the face, including the bottom of the cheeks and around the jawline. These breakouts can be deep, painful, and particularly stubborn in response to usual treatments.

Hormonal Acne

Targeted Treatments for Hormonal Acne


Birth Control Pills

For some women, birth control pills can regulate hormones and help in reducing acne. Care is needed though, as some can actually make it worse.


Medications such as spironolactone reduce the impact of androgens and can be helpful in treating hormonal breakouts of acne in women. These must be used only under specialist recommendations.

Topical Retinoids

Topical retinoids, such as tretinoin and adapalene, are effective in unclogging pores and can be used in combination with other acne treatments.

Oral Antibiotics

Oral antibiotics can help control bacteria and reduce inflammation in the skin, which can be helpful in treating acne. This requires particular types of antibiotics that are taken over longer periods.

Stress Management

As stress can contribute to hormonal acne through the release of cortisol, managing stress through relaxation techniques can be beneficial.

Professional Consultation

Seeing a dermatologist is crucial for effectively managing your acne. They can provide expert advice and prescribe treatments that are best suited to your skin type and condition.

Lifestyle Changes

Besides medications and topical treatments, lifestyle changes such as maintaining a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and following a proper skincare routine can also make a significant difference in managing your breakouts.

Targeted Treatments for Hormonal Acne


Hormonal acne is a common problem that can be frustrating to deal with. However, with the right combination of treatments, lifestyle changes, and help from a dermatologist, it is possible to effectively manage and treat your skin to achieve the results you’re looking for.

At Freyja Medical, our dermatologists are experienced in treating hormonal acne and are here to help you find the best course of action for your skin.

Book your appointment today.