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Hormonal Acne - How It Affects Women, Its Causes, and Solutions to This Problem

Hormonal acne is a common skin condition that affects many women, particularly during their menstrual cycle, pregnancy, and menopause. It is caused by an imbalance in hormone levels. More specifically an increase in androgen hormones like testosterone. This stimulates the sebaceous glands to produce more oil and leads to the formation of acne.

Hormonal acne can be quite serious, as it can cause physical discomfort and emotional distress. It can also lead to scarring if left untreated. However, with proper treatment, it is usually manageable.

There are several solutions for hormonal acne, including:

  1. Topical treatments: Prescription-strength topical medications containing retinoids, antibiotics, or benzoyl peroxide can be effective in treating hormonal acne.

  2. Oral medications: Birth control pills, spironolactone, and isotretinoin are all oral medications that can be prescribed to treat hormonal acne.

  3. Lifestyle changes: Eating a healthy diet, managing stress levels, and avoiding certain types of cosmetics and skincare products may help to prevent hormonal acne.

Skin Care Routine

A good skincare routine can definitely help in managing hormonal acne, but it may not be enough to treat the underlying hormonal imbalances causing the acne. A proper skincare routine can help to prevent breakouts, reduce inflammation, and promote healing of existing acne lesions.

Here are some tips for a good skincare routine for hormonal acne:

  1. Cleansing: Use a gentle cleanser to remove dirt, oil, and makeup from your skin. Avoid harsh scrubs or exfoliants that can irritate the skin and exacerbate acne.

  2. Toning: A toner can help to balance the pH of your skin and reduce inflammation. Look for toners that contain salicylic acid or witch hazel.

  3. Treatment: Apply a spot treatment containing benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid to individual pimples. These ingredients help to kill bacteria and unclog pores.

  4. Moisturizing: Use a lightweight, non-comedogenic moisturizer to keep your skin hydrated and prevent dryness.

  5. Sun protection: Use a sunscreen with at least SPF 30 to protect your skin from UV damage. As well as preventing post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.

While a good skincare routine can help in managing hormonal acne, it is important to address the underlying hormonal imbalances through medical treatment. 

Can Pregnancy Trigger Hormonal Acne?

Yes, pregnancy can trigger hormonal acne in some women. During pregnancy, the body experiences significant hormonal changes, including an increase in androgen hormones like testosterone. This increase in hormones can cause the sebaceous glands to produce more oil. This can lead to clogged pores and the formation of acne.

Pregnancy-related hormonal acne typically occurs during the first and second trimesters. But can also develop later in the pregnancy or postpartum. It may also be more severe in women who have a history of acne. Or those that have experienced hormonal acne during puberty or menstruation.

However, not all pregnant women experience hormonal acne. Some women may actually experience a decrease in acne during pregnancy due to hormonal changes.

It is important to note that some acne medications are not safe to use during pregnancy. It is essential to consult with a healthcare provider before using any acne treatments while pregnant. A dermatologist or OB/GYN can recommend safe and effective treatments for managing pregnancy-related hormonal acne.

What Kind of Diet Helps Manage Hormonal Acne?

There is no one specific diet that has been proven to completely cure hormonal acne. However there are some dietary modifications that may help to manage the condition:

  1. Avoid high glycemic index foods: High glycemic index foods, such as white bread, sugar, and processed snacks, can cause a spike in insulin levels. Leading to an increase in androgen hormones that can trigger acne. Instead, focus on consuming low glycemic index foods like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.

  2. Incorporate anti-inflammatory foods: Consuming anti-inflammatory foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats like omega-3 fatty acids. They can help to reduce inflammation in the body, which can contribute to acne.

  3. Consume foods rich in zinc: Zinc is an essential mineral that can help to reduce inflammation and regulate sebum production in the skin. Foods that are high in zinc include shellfish, nuts, seeds, and legumes.

  4. Stay hydrated: Drinking plenty of water can help to keep the skin hydrated and flush out toxins from the body. These toxins may contribute to acne.

  5. Avoid dairy: Dairy products may contain hormones that can contribute to acne. If you suspect that dairy may be contributing to your acne, try eliminating it from your diet. Then monitor to see if there is an improvement in your skin.

It is important to note that dietary changes alone may not be enough to manage hormonal acne.

What Asian Dishes Are Recommended for Persons Experiencing Hormonal Acne?

While there is no one specific diet that has been proven to completely cure hormonal acne. There are some Asian and Singaporean dishes that may be beneficial for people with hormonal acne. Here are some options:

  1. Miso soup: Miso soup is a traditional Japanese dish made with fermented soybean paste. It contains probiotics that may help to improve gut health and reduce inflammation in the body, which can contribute to acne.

  2. Kimchi: Kimchi is a spicy Korean dish made with fermented vegetables. It contains probiotics and is rich in vitamins A and C, which can help to reduce inflammation and improve skin health.

  3. Tofu and vegetable stir-fry: A stir-fry made with tofu and vegetables is a nutritious and low-glycemic meal that can help to regulate blood sugar and reduce the risk of acne breakouts.

  4. Fish soup: A fish soup made with fresh fish and vegetables is a low-glycemic meal that is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which can help to reduce inflammation in the body and improve skin health.

  5. Herbal soups: Traditional Chinese herbal soups, such as black chicken soup and ginseng soup, are believed to have health benefits for the skin, including reducing inflammation and promoting collagen production.

It is important to note that dietary changes alone may not be enough to manage hormonal acne.

Is Anti-Inflammatory Food Good to Manage a Hormonal Acne Condition?

Yes, anti-inflammatory foods may be helpful in managing hormonal acne. Inflammation in the body can contribute to the development of acne. So incorporating foods that have anti-inflammatory properties may help to reduce inflammation and improve skin health.

Examples of anti-inflammatory foods include:

  1. Fruits and vegetables: Fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants, which can help to reduce inflammation in the body. Some examples of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables include berries, leafy greens, and citrus fruits.

  2. Whole grains: Whole grains, such as oats, quinoa, and brown rice are rich in fiber. Which can help to regulate blood sugar levels and reduce inflammation.

  3. Healthy fats: Healthy fats, such as omega-3 fatty acids found in fatty fish, nuts, and seeds, have anti-inflammatory properties and may help to improve skin health.

  4. Spices and herbs: Spices and herbs like turmeric, ginger, and garlic have anti-inflammatory properties and can be added to dishes to help reduce inflammation in the body.

It is important to note that while incorporating anti-inflammatory foods into the diet may be helpful in managing hormonal acne, it is not a substitute for medical treatment.

Can Hormonal Acne Affect the Skin Around the Eyes?

Hormonal acne can affect the skin around the eyes. Hormonal acne is caused by an imbalance of hormones, which can lead to an increase in sebum production and inflammation in the skin's pores. This can cause acne to develop not only on the face but also on the neck, chest, back, and in some cases, around the eyes.

Acne around the eyes can be particularly frustrating as the skin in this area is delicate and sensitive. It is important to be gentle and cautious when treating acne around the eyes to avoid irritating the skin or causing further damage.

The skin around the eyes is delicate and sensitive, so it's essential to use a gentle skin care routine to treat any acne in this area. Here is a recommended skin care routine for the skin around the eyes:

  1. Cleanser: Use a gentle, non-foaming cleanser that is specifically formulated for sensitive skin to avoid irritation. Gently massage the cleanser around the eyes using your fingertips or a soft washcloth, and rinse with lukewarm water.

  2. Toner: After cleansing, use a toner that is free of alcohol or harsh chemicals. Look for a toner that contains soothing ingredients, such as chamomile or aloe vera, which can help to calm any inflammation or redness.

  3. Eye cream: Apply a lightweight eye cream that is specifically formulated for the delicate skin around the eyes. Look for an eye cream that contains ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, vitamin C, or retinol, which can help to reduce inflammation and prevent further breakouts.

It's important to avoid using any harsh or abrasive products around the eyes, as this can cause further irritation or damage to the skin.


Hormonal acne can be a frustrating and difficult condition to manage, but there are various treatment options available to help alleviate symptoms. A good skin care routine, a healthy diet, and avoiding triggers such as stress and certain medications can all play a role in managing hormonal acne. It's important to consult with a healthcare provider, such as a dermatologist or obstetrician, before using any medication or treatment during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Additionally, being gentle with the skin around the eyes and using a specialized skin care routine can help manage hormonal acne in that area. With the right approach and care, hormonal acne can be effectively managed to help improve the appearance and health of the skin.

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