Hormonal Acne: Do These 5 Things

Nikki Butler

Nikki Butler

Hormonal Acne is so unfair, right?

Hormonal acne is complex and there are a number of factors that can affect what’s going on for your skin. The most common triggers for acne are hormonal imbalances, food intolerances, and believe it or not – stress! I am a firm believer that this is one of the biggest reasons why we are seeing an increase in adult acne. 

It’s not just our female hormones that contribute to hormonal acne, there are other hormones that play a part too. Cortisol, your stress hormone, can cause absolute havoc – as it kicks all other hormones out of balance, as your body is trying to keep you safe!

Insulin maintains your blood sugar levels. Another hormone that’s impacted by stress, lack of sleep, and nutrition – to name a few!

And then, of course, we have our female hormones, and these can become problematic during any hormonal changes. From puberty to pregnancy, taking contraception medication and then, later on, perimenopause and menopause. That’s without taking into account medical conditions such as PCOS or endometriosis. A quick note here – your medications and other medical conditions can also impact your hormones and your skin too. It’s a lot, I know! Let’s look at some things you can do…

1. Reduce stress to improve hormonal acne

If you’re wondering how stress affects hormonal acne, then wonder no more!  

Your stress hormone, cortisol can wreak absolute havoc if it’s out of balance.  Cortisol is your ‘fight/flight/freeze’ response when you’re in danger. That’s right – danger! Expect in modern society, we have a malfunctioning ‘danger’ trigger and many of us live in a permanent state of low-level stress – with micro stresses occurring throughout each and every day.

The problem with high cortisol levels is that it has a huge impact on your hormone levels. It interferes with your hormone balance and increases inflammation in your body. Don’t underestimate stress! It can cause an imbalance in our sex hormones and insulin resistance, and it’s so commonly ignored. 

Reducing your stress levels will help to bring the rest of your body back into balance. It really is super important. I know this can be easier said than done. Check out my blog on Skin Stress, for some top tips HERE

2. Treat hormonal acne from within

The first thing I’d recommend is a gut biome supplement. 70% of your immune system is in your tummy, so carefully balancing the bacteria in your gut will boost your immune system, as well as improve your skin. This can help reduce inflammation, and therefore reduce acne breakouts.  

Food intolerances are very often a factor when it comes to breakouts.   Food intolerances cause inflammation in your body and your body does its best to get rid of the ‘toxins’.  Any food allergy will show up on your skin, in reality. It may be acne, or it could be dermatitis, rosacea, or sensitivity. Some clients also experience swelling or rashes. Keep a diary and make note of any triggers you find. 

By working to reduce inflammation from the outside in, you can help balance your hormones and reduce breakouts. You can download my Inflammatory Skin Guide, via the button below. 

3. Sleep Easy

Another one you might not expect, in the fight against hormonal acne! But sleep is the time that your body is repairing and regenerating, and this includes balancing your hormones and removing toxins and fluids from your body. 

Research has shown, for years, the impact of not getting enough sleep. Our cortisol levels shoot up, our insulin levels are thrown, our thyroid hormones can go into disarray and our sex hormones are all over the place. It’s more than just beauty sleep, your sleep is essential for your body to rebalance. 

I know it can be hard to get sleep, especially if you have children or a job that doesn’t allow for regular, good sleep. But where you can try and aim for 7-9 hours of sleep a night.  I used to be a chronic insomniac, in my corporate days – barely getting two hours a night. You CAN overcome it, it just takes some reprogramming and changes to your routine.  Check out this book called Why We Sleep, by Matthew Walker, if you’d like to know more about sleep. 

4. Products for hormonal acne

One of the biggest mistakes I see people make with products for hormonal acne is that they are using harsh products – and usually many different products.

One of the first things I’ve done with clients that have hormonal acne is to move them off of the harsh products, and onto a sensitive, calming, and healing skincare routine. 

Using harsh products often makes acne breakouts worse. This is because using multiple acids and scrubs damages the natural barrier of the skin, causing inflammation, and allowing bacteria to enter the skin. It can also make you incredibly sensitive to products and UV damage – all of which is adding to the problem.

It is rare that I have ever had to offer treatments to someone with hormonal acne. By changing their products to a gentle routine that will strengthen the skin and protect it, it’s created incredible changes. If you are looking for treatment, the LED Light Therapy + targeted peels can help, or IPL skin rejuvenation. My advice is to try and balance your hormones first and repair your skin with gentle products, before investing in treatments, as they are often unnecessary. 

If you would like help to get your hormonal acne under control, please get in touch, or you can book a complimentary Zoom consultation via the button below. 

5. Balance your hormones to reduce hormonal acne

This might sound really obvious, or not – but balancing your hormones is the key to getting your hormonal acne under control. I have worked with so many women that had tried multiple treatments and skin care, to no avail. The reality is, nothing will work if we don’t address the root cause.

I often refer my clients to their GP, or a hormone GP specialist, where we suspect a hormone imbalance. Sometimes it’s as simple as a change in their pill, or it might be starting HRT.  If you don’t wish to balance your hormones through medication, there are some amazing alternative practitioners that can help you. I highly recommend Dr Sam Watts, a fantastic Ayurveda doctor – who has a wealth of knowledge and experience in this field. I can also recommend a private hormone GP specialist, if you need one – just click on my Little Black Book.  

Bringing it all together

The truth is, there isn’t a quick fix to hormonal acne. We need to look at this from an inside-out and outside-in approach. As a nutritional therapist, I will always help you focus on looking after your skin from within – as foods can make a powerful difference. Download my guide above, which has lots of advice on foods to help you. 

By focusing on the areas I’ve covered in my blog, you can help to balance your hormones internally, whilst looking after your skin from the outside too. 

I know how upsetting hormonal acne can be, as I suffered with this in my 20’s. Please don’t worry, there are lots of things you can do to help get your skin back under control.  

You can also download my Ultimate Skin & Scar Guides, via the button below.  Not only will you get some great skin advice, but the Scar Guide will help you look after your skin when it’s healing from an outbreak. You can also take my Skin Quiz here, for personalised, immediately actionable advice! 

I really hope you’ve found my blog on hormonal acne helpful. Please reach out if you’d like any guidance. 

Do you have acne scarring? Please don't worry!

Please don’t worry if you have acne scarring – this is something I can help you with. Hormonal acne outbreaks can leave scarring behind, which may include discolouration and visible scarring. 

Both target skin care and radiofrequency microneedling combined, are superheroes when it comes to treating scarring. I have treated a lot of acne scarring over the years, helping my clients to feel happy and confident in their skin again. Many have tried more aggressive treatments, such as fractional laser – with limited results, but radiofrequency microneedling has been a game changer for acne scars. So much so, that I actually sold my fractional laser!

The downtime for treatments is very low, so please don’t worry that having treatment will mean you have to hide away for weeks after. Please get in touch via the button below, or you can book a consultation online. 


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