How do I know if I have hormonal acne?

Updated: Apr 28, 2021

If you would prefer to watch a video explanation on this topic, then please click here to watch the YouTube video I created.

Is there a way to find out whether your acne is related to the hormonal fluctuations within your body? What is hormonal acne and how do I get rid of it? If I have hormonal acne, what does this mean about me?

These are all very valid questions and they all deserve a detailed explanation to not only give you solutions, but to empower you with knowledge so you can transform your skin from the inside out.

Before I get into the details, can I please just say one thing...

You are not broken, there is nothing inherently wrong with you and if you are suspecting that your acne might be hormonal, please do not fear, with the help of an acne focused Skin Therapist, the assistance of various allied health workers and your 100% participation will inevitably help you to heal your skin moving you past this time in your life.


So the age old question, how do I know if I have hormonal acne?

The answer to this is rather simple, yet complicated in nature.

The simple answer...

If you experience breakouts when your hormones change (more on that down below) then you probably have hormonal acne.

The complicated answer...

Just about everyone who has had acne in their life has experienced a fluctuation in acne due to their hormones. This is because our hormones have a direct affect on our skin's sebaceous glands in terms of the amount and quality that is being produced.

Hormonal fluctuations will also have an effect on our skin's ability to naturally exfoliate (desquamation), how the skin goes through a normal cycle (keratinocyte differentiation) which directly affects how skin cells compact leading to clogged skin (retention hyperkeratosis) which is one of the main pathogenic factors of acne.

And just to summarise this for you, there are three main factors related to the pathogenesis of acne:

1. Clogged skin as mentioned above (retention hyperkeratosis)

2. A poor sebum quality (sebum causing blockages within the follicle)

3. An imbalance in bacteria found within the follicle due to a blockage which in turn causes an oxygen free environment (anaerobic), a perfect breeding ground for bacteria, which leads to an increase in the Cutibacterium (C.acne bacteria) resulting in an acne lesion and inflammation within the skin.

For further explanation of the above three factors, please watch this video: click here.


So with all this being said, how do I know if my acne is being affected by my hormones? Here are some of the most common causes of hormonal fluctuations in our bodies, which in turn, can lead to the formation of acne.

- Onset of puberty

- Normal menstrual cycle fluctuations

- Irregular menstrual cycle fluctuations

- Going on or off of hormonal contraception (the pill)

- Increase in androgens in the body (male sex hormones)

- Use of anabolic-androgenic steroids

- Pregnancy, childbirth and lactation (breast feeding)

- Chronic or long term stress

- The presence of Poly Cystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) or Endometriosis

- Other hormonally related medical conditions

- Menopause

If you notice a change in your acne, due to one or many of the above causes of hormonal fluctuations within your body, then you could potentially be experiencing hormonal mediated acne.

Hormonal fluctuations are normal on a day to day basis and as we grow and develop as humans throughout the lifespan. However, if hormonal imbalances are sustained, this is when problems arise within the body and of course, the skin too.

If you have found this article helpful or interesting, please stay tuned, because next week, I will be continuing to talk about hormonal acne and how we can change your skin, despite having an imbalance in hormones.

In the meantime, feel welcome to watch the video I created on this topic which goes a little further into detail. Click here to watch the video.

Thank you for reading Souls, I will see you here next week.

With love and gratitude

Your Holistic Skin Therapist

& owner of Soul Awaken Skin Therapies

Kathleen Klassman

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