How hormones affect skin

Hormones affect acne but having acne is not a sign of a hormonal imbalance. Changes in hormones, such as the specific point in your menstrual cycle (ovulation vs. having your period), pregnancy, or menopause all are normal, yet all can cause dramatic changes in your skin condition.

Female hormone levels change and vary throughout the monthly cycle. These fluctuations do cause acne to flare and diminish depending on the time of the month. The most effective way to treat menstrual cycle acne is to treat the acne itself by applying topical medications, oral antibiotics, or even changing or adjusting a birth control pill since the hormones found in these contraceptives are also related to flare-ups of acne.

Several symptoms can help your dermatologist identify hormonally-influenced acne: adult acne, or breakouts that appear for the first time in adults; acne flare-ups preceding the menstrual cycle; a history of irregular menstrual cycles, increased facial oiliness; Hirsutism (excessive growth of hair, or hair in unusual places); and elevated levels of certain androgens in the blood stream.