The connection between menstrual cycle and hormonal acne

The Connection Between Menstrual Cycle and Hormonal Acne

If you're someone who experiences acne, particularly around the time of your menstrual cycle, you're not alone. Hormonal acne affects many women, and understanding the connection between your menstrual cycle and your skin can help you manage and treat this pesky skin issue.

What is Hormonal Acne?

Acne is a skin condition that occurs when hair follicles become clogged with oil and dead skin cells. Hormonal acne, as the name suggests, is acne that is caused by hormonal fluctuations in the body. Androgens are male hormones that are present in both men and women, but they are typically higher in men. Androgens cause the sebaceous glands in the skin to produce more oil, which can clog pores and lead to acne. During a woman's menstrual cycle, hormone levels fluctuate. In the first half of the cycle, estrogen levels rise, causing the skin to be more hydrated and less likely to produce excess oil. In the second half of the cycle, progesterone levels rise, which can cause the skin to produce more oil.

How Menstrual Cycle Affects Acne?

For many women, acne can often flare up around the time of their menstrual cycle. This is due to the surge in androgen levels that occurs during this time. The increase in androgens causes the sebaceous glands to produce more oil, which can result in clogged pores and acne breakouts. Acne that occurs around the time of a menstrual cycle is often located in the lower face and chin area. This is because the skin in these areas is more sensitive to hormonal fluctuations.

Treatment for Hormonal Acne

If you are experiencing hormonal acne, there are treatment options available. It is important to note, however, that treating hormonal acne can take time and patience. One option for treating hormonal acne is to use birth control pills. Birth control works by regulating hormone levels in the body, which can help to reduce the occurrence of acne breakouts. Another treatment option is to use topical medications that contain retinoids or benzoyl peroxide. These medications can help to unclog pores, reduce inflammation, and speed up the healing process. In severe cases of hormonal acne, oral medications such as antibiotics or isotretinoin may be prescribed. These medications work to control the bacteria that cause acne and reduce inflammation in the skin.

Preventing Hormonal Acne

While it may not be possible to completely prevent hormonal acne, there are steps you can take to help reduce the occurrence of breakouts. One step is to maintain a healthy diet. Eating a diet that is rich in whole foods, fruits, and vegetables can help to support healthy skin and hormone levels. Stress can also play a role in hormonal acne. Finding ways to manage stress, such as through exercise or meditation, can help to reduce the occurrence of breakouts. It is also important to take care of your skin by practicing good hygiene habits. This means washing your face twice a day with a gentle cleanser and avoiding harsh scrubbing or picking at the skin.


Understanding the connection between your menstrual cycle and hormonal acne can help you better manage and treat this common skin issue. While there may not be a one-size-fits-all solution, working with a dermatologist and making lifestyle changes can help to reduce the occurrence of breakouts and promote healthy, clear skin.