The monthly underground zit – you can count on it right? You have been blessed with hormonal acne. Monthly periods, going on and off birth control, pregnancy, postpartum, and menopause—all of these events in a woman’s life add up to a greater propensity for hormonal acne. Who says being a woman is easy? Men have it easy. Because unlike men, who experience one large hormonal flare-up in their teens and usually taper off from there, women can spend their whole lives on the hormonal acne roller coaster.


Women have about one-tenth the androgens (“male” hormones including testosterone and dhea-s) men have, but these androgens contribute to the acne problem. When estrogen levels drop approximately two weeks after menstruation, testosterone, an androgen, stimulates the oil glands. Oil production increases, making an acne flare-up much more likely. So likely, in fact, that over 60% of acne-prone women get premenstrual acne, hormonal acne flares which occur about 7-10 days before their periods.

Any life event that affects the hormones has the ability to cause acne. We see many clients who tell us that their acne became dramatically worse during or after pregnancy, after trying a new form of birth control, or after going off of hormonal birth control. If you are acne-prone and want to use birth control, we highly recommend referring to our list of birth control methods for acne-prone women. If you are trying to conceive, are currently pregnant, or are breastfeeding, we can recommend safe treatments and adult acne medication for minimizing breakouts. While hormonal acne is frustrating, it can be overcome with regular skin care treatments and safe, therapeutic-grade products. Products with mandelic, salicylic and/or benzoyl peroxide all used in the right way for your acne can keep hormonal acne from forming in the first place.

Nutritional supplements that can help with hormonal acne are zinc monomethionine and omega-3 fish oils. Also, when you start to feel the “undergrounder” on your chin, start icing it right away. Sometimes the ice makes it go away without it having to come to the surface.