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How & Why Do Hormones Cause Acne?

Acne develops when the excess sebum or oil clogs the pores of the skin and get infected by bacteria. The surface layer of the skin has pores through which the hair follicles grow, the dead cells are discharged and the oil or sebum comes out. When the oil becomes excess, the dead cells and the hair follicles get trapped with the oil forming the plug. The P. acne bacteria then attack the skin causing the inflammation and redness along with spreading the infection. The sebum level in the sebaceous glands increases when we hit puberty due to the hormones like androgen, testosterone and oestrogen.

How Do Hormones Cause Acne?

How Do Hormones Cause Acne?

The oil glands are controlled by the sex hormones of the body. The hormone called androgen is present both in men and in women. The androgen level increases when a person hits the puberty. The sex hormones in women change from androgen to oestrogen. If the oestrogen and the progesterone levels change within a woman causing imbalance, the oil glands will start to secrete more oil than before. The same happens with the imbalance in the level of androgen and testosterone in men. The hormone androgen is responsible to stimulating the oil glands within the skin to secrete more oil and shed more skin cells. Along with the overstimulation of the oil glands, androgen is also responsible for slowing the exfoliating process of the dead skin cells through the pores of the skin. Both of the processes caused due to hormonal imbalance lead to the bacteria attack which stick and thrive in the hair follicles spreading the infection.

Why Do Hormones Cause Acne?

Hormonal imbalance can occur in the body due to several reasons:

  • Fluctuations of hormones when girls hit their puberty and the period cycle begins leads to acne.
  • Hormonal imbalance in women when menopause occurs.
  • Hormonal fluctuation due to pregnancy can also cause acne.
  • Hormonal fluctuation after the birth of a baby.
  • Dysfunction of the sex hormone secretion due to using birth control can cause acne.

How Does Hormonal Imbalance Which Leads To Acne Breakout Occur?

The hormones within our bodies never remain constant. The levels of the hormones keep changing but usually the range maintains normalcy. Women mostly suffer from acne since the body of a woman goes through shifts of the hormonal level throughout the month. Not only during the years of puberty, even adult women suffer from acne. Acne break outs can occur for women a week before their periods. During the time of menopause or peri-menopause and during pregnancy, the sex hormone levels shift drastically which can lead to the cause of acne. Acne breaks outs occur in men during their teen years of when they enter into adulthood.

The sex hormone in female or the oestrogen and the synthetic form of progesterone level increase in women when a birth control is taken in. This increase in the level is to match and balance the level of androgen. Due to this sudden rise in the hormonal level, the oil glands may start to secrete more oil and hence cause acne breakouts. If your body is prone to birth controls, acne may not occur always but a sudden use of the broth control can trigger a break out.

If you want to avoid acne breakout, then a week before your period begins you can prepare your skin for fighting the acne causing symptoms and bacteria. For doing so, you need to introduce benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid while you wash your face daily. This will keep the oil away and allow the exfoliation to occur smoothly. In the same way keeping your skin dry is a fruitful method to avoid acne caused by hormonal shifts.


  1. “Acne: Diagnosis and treatment” – Mayo Clinic’s comprehensive guide to understanding and managing acne, including information on the role of hormones in acne development. Read more

  2. “Hormonal Factors in the Pathogenesis of Acne” – This scientific article in The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology delves into the hormonal factors that contribute to acne, providing insights into hormone-induced acne. Read more

  3. “Acne: Overview” – The American Academy of Dermatology’s comprehensive overview of acne includes information on how hormones play a role in acne development. Read more
  4. “Acne During Pregnancy” – Explore the hormonal changes during pregnancy that can lead to acne breakouts and get tips on managing pregnancy-related acne from the American Pregnancy Association. Read more

  5. “The Role of Hormones in Acne and How to Control It” – This Healthline article provides insights into how hormones affect acne and offers practical advice on managing hormonal acne. Read more

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 21, 2023

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