How to fight hormonal acne?

By Sabine Monnoyeur, naturopath

Hormonal acne affects many women in adulthood between the ages of 25 and 40. At issue: the menstrual cycle and the fluctuation of hormones. But other factors related to lifestyle, stress and genetics can trigger and aggravate this acne.

Unlike acne in adolescence, hormonal acne in adult women is essentially inflammatory with little or no comedones and micro-cysts located on the lower face.

Understanding Hormones

To fight against this acne, it is important to understand the action of hormones in our body.

The role of androgens:

Those that cause inflammation are androgens (male hormones), the best known of which is testosterone, which plays a role in the production of hair and skin cells. An excessive level of these androgens accelerates the production of sebum and skin cells (keratinocytes) giving rise to the appearance of closed comedones (whiteheads) and micro-cysts which settle and can remain in the stratum corneum for long enough.

When sebum is produced in excess, it promotes the proliferation of acne bacteria (propionibacterium acnes) and causes inflammation in the pilosebaceous follicle. This is therefore the inflammatory stage. Thus, acne due to hormonal imbalance begins with hyper seborrhoea, followed by the appearance of localized pimples on the face, neck and décolleté.

Estrogen and progesterone:

Estrogens and progesterone play an anti-androgenic role in women. Taking exogenous estrogens (with the birth control pill, for example) reduces the overproduction of sebum caused by androgens and reduces acne lesions. But in naturopathy, we also have in our toolbox more natural solutions than the pill.

The testosterone present in the body will therefore be less available to come and stimulate the sebaceous glands, the androgen-estrogen balance is then modified (in favor of the estrogens), and as a result the sebaceous glands are less stimulated (because less androgen hormones available). Unlike male androgen hormones, female estrogen hormones have a beneficial effect on acne!

For example, just before the start of the menstrual cycle, a woman's estrogen level decreases, the hormonal balance is therefore changed in favor of male hormones and acne occurs by stimulation of the sebaceous glands.
This is also the reason why acne is more common during puberty because teenage girls have low levels of estrogen and progesterone during the first menstrual cycles.

Explanations regarding our cycle:

D1 to D14: secretion of LH and FSH hormones, estrogens predominate over progesterone.
=> The skin is therefore more beautiful and acne lesions are reduced.

D14 to D28: the quantity of progesterone is greater than that of estrogen, which stimulates the production of sebum.
=> Shortly before the onset of bleeding, estrogen and progesterone levels are low, the level of testosterone compared to other hormones is higher, which causes increased sebum production and therefore pimples!

You will therefore have understood that to solve this type of acne, you will have to work internally to manage to rebalance your hormones, counter balance the level of androgens (thanks for example to nutrition, phytotherapy and micro-nutrition ) and externally with calming and soothing skin care.

The other factor of inflammatory acne: stress

The more you stress, the more you produce cortisol, the stress hormone par excellence produced by our adrenal glands, and which will therefore promote inflammation!
If our adrenal glands are overstimulated, our testosterone will increase. Why ? Because our adrenal glands produce different hormones which increase the production of testosterone and which therefore will stimulate the production of sebum by our sebaceous glands.

We can therefore realize how much everything is linked in our body and that it will therefore be particularly important to work on the cause to reduce hormonal acne.

Top 5 good habits to adopt

  • Limit dairy products : pro-inflammatory, they have an unfavorable effect on hormones such as insulin and androgens. Plus their high content of omega 6, which will also increase the general inflammatory state.

  • Avoid refined sugars : with their high glycemic index, you create a blood sugar spike, therefore promoting an inflammatory state and stimulating an insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) which increases the availability of androgens partly responsible for acne.

  • Fill up on antioxidants (mainly present in fruits and vegetables): they will act favorably against acne by reducing skin inflammation, but also by reducing the effects of flare-ups and reducing the size of scars.

  • Bring Omega 3 every day (with linseed, rapeseed, camelina oils for example): polyunsaturated fats essential for the proper functioning of the body and in particular of the skin because they will fight against skin inflammation, moisturize the skin and optimize healing.

  • Work on your “zenitude”: yoga classes, sauna, hot baths, massage, walks in nature, breathing exercises, mindfulness meditation... in short, everyone has their own way to relax and better manage their mental workload on a daily basis .

  • And do not forget to practice regular physical activity which will also allow you to relieve your stress but also to evacuate toxins from your body.


Adaptogens are particularly effective in managing stress. Our La Beauté formula improves the condition of the skin and ourLe Féminin formula reduces the loss of estrogen during menstrual cycles.

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