Adult Acne – Are Your Hormones To Blame?

Dermatological studies show that almost all teenagers – up to 85% - experience acne at some point in their lives. Changes in their hormones, which are so prevalent during this time, are largely responsible for this phenomenon. So you can be forgiven for thinking that once your teenage years are behind you, so is any trace of problem skin. Sadly, for many adults – and women in particular – this isn’t always the case.

Adult acne occurs in approximately 12% of women over the age of 25, and is most often caused by a hormonal imbalance. Mild breakouts are common during pregnancy or menstruation, but severe and longer-lasting breakouts are usually the result of too many androgens (male hormones, such as testosterone) and not enough oestrogen.

Diet and stress can also trigger outbreaks of acne in adults, so how do you know when hormones are to blame?

Causes of Hormonal Acne

Flare ups during predictable times in your menstrual cycle are likely to be hormone related. Many women experience break outs in the week leading up to the start of their cycle, while others have more of a problem during menstruation itself.

The location of your acne is also a clue as to its cause. Pimples on your jawline, or beneath your cheekbones are usually caused by hormonal imbalances, while those on the bridge of your nose or across your forehead are more likely to be linked to diet.

Even the shape and appearance of your acne changes depending on its cause. Hormonal acne is often very sensitive to touch, and can be quite deep, even cyst-like. This is the kind of acne that is prone to leaving unsightly scars if you attempt to pop the pimple.


The best thing for adult acne is to seek out the advice of your medical practitioner. Sometimes, the oral contraceptive pill is prescribed to balance hormones, but this is not advisable if you’re over 35, or if you smoke, have high blood pressure, or are prone to migraines.

Whatever treatment you’re prescribed for your acne, you have to be patient as it can take a couple of months before you start noticing any real difference. Even the strongest treatments take a while to work, but don’t give up – if you get frustrated and stop your treatment, you get stuck in a continual loop of trying and giving up, with nothing actually working.

Dr. Alain Sanua is a qualified Medical Doctor currently practicing integrated medicine combining Homeopathy, Acupuncture, Nutritional Advice, Mineral and Vitamin supplementation, Traditional Chinese Medicine and Functional Medicine. He has a particular interest in treating persistent conditions, including hormonal imbalances and their consequences. If you’re concerned about your adult acne, come and chat to him about your treatment options.


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