What is Hormonal Acne? Hormonal Acne Treatment

Hormonal acne (also known as adult acne) is acne caused by genetic and hormonal factors that cause breakouts well past puberty and the teenage years. Hormonal acne occurs more often in women and is typically located on the lower part of the face. Breakouts happen along the jawline, the chin, and the perioral region (the area surrounding the mouth). The breakouts consist of inflammatory lesions, cysts, whiteheads, and blackheads.



When it comes to adult acne, genes have proven to play a role in its existence. Genetics influence the number, size, and activity of the sebaceous glands; the sebaceous glands are the oil glands in the skin that create sebum (oil), can get clogged, and cause breakouts.



The two hormones that need to work harmoniously together when it comes to clear skin are androgens and estrogen hormones. Androgens (Testosterone, Dehydroepiandrosterone Sulfate, and Dihydrotestosterone) stimulate sebaceous gland growth and increase sebum production. Estrogens work in the opposite way and slow sebum production. So when androgen levels are abnormally high, breakouts occur often. Similarly, when estrogen levels are lower especially during the premenstrual period in women, acne is more likely to occur.


The most common reasons for hormonal acne breakouts are:

  • Menstruation
  • Menopause
  • High androgen levels
  • Starting or weaning off oral contraceptive pills


Other factors that can increase adult acne are poor diet, drugs, stress, tobacco, and endocrine diseases.


Hormonal Acne Treatment


There are a few treatment options on how to get rid of hormonal acne.


Topical Treatment

The first option is the use of topical treatments. This option is the most popular and effective when treating mild forms of acne. Your dermatologist will likely prescribe or recommend an over-the-counter version of one of the following:


  • Retinoids
  • Antibiotics
  • Benzoyl Peroxide
  • Azelaic Acid
  • Dapsone


Your dermatologist may also recommend a combination of any of the above ingredients in order to maximize effectiveness in reducing acne.


Oral Medication

The second treatment option for more severe or persistent hormonal acne is oral medication.

  • Antibiotics
    • Lymecycline
    • Doxycycline
    • Minocycline
  • Hormones
  • Androgen Receptor Blockers
    • Cyproterone Acetate
    • Spironolactone
    • Drospirenone
    • Flutamide

Natural Treatment

There are some natural ways to treat hormonal acne.

  • Dietary Changes
    • Limiting dairy, artificial sugars, alcohol, red meat, and overly processed grains (white bread, pasta, desserts) can help to lower inflammation and reduce breakouts.
  • Tea Tree Oil
    • This oil can be applied topically to dry out the sebaceous glands and decrease inflammation.
  • Exfoliate
    • Exfoliating the skin with a brush or a harsher scrub will remove the top layer of skin and unclog pores.
  • Fish Oil Supplement
    • Fish oil contains Omega-3 fatty acids that decrease inflammation in the skin and increase hydration without clogging pores and causing breakouts.


Medical Procedures

Medical Procedures are another treatment option that are typically used to remove the top layer of skin that contains acne, dirt, oil, and other pollutants on the skin. Options include:

  • Microdermabrasion
  • Chemical peels
  • Phototherapy
  • Laser Therapy


The most intense, and well-known treatment option for hormonal therapy when all else has failed is Isotretinoin (Accutane). This drug is only used when acne is severe as its side effects are incredibly intense. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, your dermatologist will only send this prescription to your acne pharmacy if you:

  • Enroll in a program from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
  • See your dermatologist for follow-up visits
  • Sign forms that state you know the risks of taking isotretinoin


Overall, hormonal acne can wreak havoc on your emotional and physical well-being. It is a very difficult condition to manage on your own, so we encourage you to reach out to your dermatologist who will work with you to find a treatment that works! Contact us today to learn more about other acne conditions and treatment solutions.

This blog is based on research and/or other scientific articles and is written by our experienced Chief Strategy Officer and Pharmacist, Ronak Desai. This blog is fact checked by our educated Pharmacist in Charge, Darshan Patel, who additionally runs our Apotheco Manhattan location.

Here at Apotheco Pharmacy Group, our goal is to provide the most up to date and accurate information on health and dermatology related topics. We do this to ensure our readers can make informed decisions based on factual content. All blogs undergo an extensive review process before posted.

This blog contains trusted sources. All sources are listed at the bottom of this article with hyperlinks that take you directly to the source.