How to Tell if Your Acne is Hormonal, According to a Derm

November 29, 2021
Caitlyn Martyn
By: Caitlyn Martyn | skincare.com by L'Oréal

Hormonal acne might be associated with teenagers, but many adults also experience this type of blemish.To find out what exactly hormonal acne is, how to tell if you have it and how to address it, we consulted with NYC-based board-certified dermatologist Dr. Lian Mack

How Can You Tell if Your Acne is Hormonal?

According to Dr. Mack, hormonal acne is usually characterized by painful, inflamed cysts often occurring in adulthood. “The location of the cysts is indicative of the underlying cause of the breakout,” she says. “Hormonally driven breakouts typically occur in the lower third of the face, including the jawline and the chin.” 


Cystic painful breakouts are more likely to be hormonal and for most women, appear at some point during their menstrual cycle, most commonly right before women get their period. While whiteheads and blackheads may occur in the setting of hormonally driven-acne, they are more commonly associated with increased oil production. 

What Causes Hormonal Acne? 

Hormonal acne may be caused by hormones as it relates to your menstrual cycle. It can also be caused by increased androgen levels or conditions like PolyCystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). Diet and stress may also impact hormonally driven breakouts. 

How to Treat Hormonal Acne

“Hormonally-driven acne may be treated by oral contraceptives, more specifically pills containing both estrogen and progesterone,” Dr. Mack says. Chat with your dermatologist to come up with a specific plan, which might include in-office treatments, to treat your hormonal acne. 


Design: Hannah Packer

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