Male Hormones Acne

Written by Ben Bunting: BA, PGCert. (Sport & Exercise Nutrition) // British Army Physical Training Instructor // S&C Coach.


Acne is a common skin condition that can affect people of all genders, but it is often associated with hormonal changes.

In particular, male hormones, such as testosterone, can play a role in the development of acne.

Understanding this link can help individuals find effective treatments and develop skincare routines to combat hormonal breakouts and regain their confidence.

Even though acne is usually associated with teenagers, both men and women can experience hormonal acne throughout their lives.

Triggered by fluctuations in hormones like testosterone, this form of acne causes sebaceous glands to produce more oil (known as sebum) that clogs pores by trapping dead skin cells leading to acne breakouts.

Hormonal acne typically manifests itself with papules, pustules, nodules and cysts - a more serious form that may require medical intervention for scarring and scarring as well as scarring from severe cases that require medical intervention as scarring is likely.

The Role of Male Hormones in Acne Development

Male hormones, specifically testosterone, play a significant role in the development of acne.

Testosterone stimulates the production of sebum, an oily substance that can clog pores and lead to the formation of acne.

Additionally, testosterone can increase the size of sebaceous glands, making them more prone to becoming blocked.

This hormonal imbalance can result in increased acne breakouts, especially during puberty when hormone levels are fluctuating.

Understanding the role of male hormones in acne development is crucial for finding effective treatments and developing a skincare routine that targets hormonal breakouts.

A recent study demonstrated that men who had more than 24 ng/mL of androgens (testosterone, DHT and DHEA) in their system had an increased risk for hormonal acne.

Other causes of hormonal acne may include stress, poor diet and certain medications; but for some individuals the hormones themselves are responsible for creating this problem.

As well as avoiding over-the-counter and prescription medications, there are other things you can do to lower your chances of hormonal acne.

Understanding the Different Types of Acne

Acne is a common skin condition that affects many individuals, regardless of gender.

However, understanding the different types of acne can help in determining the most effective treatment approach.

The two main types of acne are non-inflammatory acne and inflammatory acne. Non-inflammatory acne includes blackheads and whiteheads, which are caused by clogged pores.

On the other hand, inflammatory acne includes pimples, papules, pustules, and cysts, which are characterized by redness, swelling, and sometimes pus.

By identifying the specific type of acne you have, you can tailor your skincare routine and treatment options to effectively address your skin concerns.

Testosterone, a naturally-occurring androgen hormone produced by the ovaries and adrenal glands, also contributes to acne development.

Cells within the skin's sebaceous glands produce testosterone from dehydroepiandrosterone sulphate or DHEAS precursor.

Once produced, testosterone receptors on skin cells convert it to active forms that stimulate sebum production.

As androgen levels such as testosterone rise, skin becomes more delicate and produces excess sebum that clogs hair follicles leading to blackheads and whiteheads forming, as well as irritating the skin and leading to inflammation which in turn results in red and tender bumps commonly known as pimples.

Inflammatory acne is the most prevalent form of hormonal acne. This form consists of papules, pustules and nodules that become inflamed, painful and filled with pus. Raised red skin may occur anywhere on your face, shoulders chest or back; symptoms can often include facial redness.

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Effective Skincare Routines for Hormonal Acne

When it comes to treating hormonal acne, having an effective skincare routine is crucial.

Start by using a gentle cleanser to remove dirt, oil, and impurities from your skin. Look for products that contain ingredients like salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide, which can help unclog pores and reduce inflammation.

After cleansing, apply a lightweight, oil-free moisturizer to keep your skin hydrated without clogging pores.

Additionally, incorporating a targeted treatment, such as a spot treatment or acne serum, can help reduce the appearance of breakouts.

Remember to be consistent with your skincare routine and give it time to work. It may take a few weeks or even months to see significant improvements, but with patience and the right products, you can effectively manage hormonal acne and regain your confidence.

Hormonal Acne Treatments: From Topical Solutions to Medications

When it comes to treating hormonal acne, there are various options available, ranging from topical solutions to medications. T

opical solutions, such as creams or gels containing ingredients like benzoyl peroxide or retinoids, can help reduce inflammation and unclog pores.

These can be applied directly to the affected areas of the skin. In some cases, a dermatologist may prescribe oral medications, such as antibiotics or hormonal contraceptives, to help regulate hormone levels and reduce acne.

You may start with a prescription retinoid. These products accelerate and regulate cell shedding within oil glands to limit how much bacteria feed off of it and therefore decrease inflammation. Anti-inflammatory and topical antibiotics may also help treat redness and swelling associated with hormonal acne.

Women suffering from severe hormonal acne that does not respond to other treatments may find relief with isotretinoin (Accutane).

Unfortunately, however, this potency acne medication comes with side effects including dry lips, increased sun sensitivity and muscle pain which may last several weeks or months while taking it. Furthermore, it should not be taken by pregnant or breastfeeding women.

Remember, consistency and patience are key when it comes to managing hormonal acne, and with the right treatment plan, you can achieve clearer, healthier skin.

Lifestyle Changes to Manage Hormonal Imbalances and Acne

In addition to topical solutions and medications, making certain lifestyle changes can also help manage hormonal imbalances and acne.

One important factor to consider is diet. Consuming a balanced diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins can support overall hormonal balance and promote healthy skin.

Eating high-glycemic foods causes insulin levels to skyrocket, stimulating IGF-1 and androgen production that may increase sebum production and inflammation - potentially leading to an overproduction of sebum that worsens hormonal acne symptoms or causes new ones.

Reducing inflammatory foods such as saturated and trans fats, alcohol consumption, sleeping well and exercising regularly are all proven strategies for decreasing hormonal acne.

But severe diets or prolonged cleanses should be avoided to avoid increasing stress and aggravating skin problems further and making symptoms of hormonal acne even worse.

Regular exercise is another crucial aspect of managing hormonal imbalances and acne. Engaging in physical activity not only helps regulate hormone levels but also improves blood circulation, which can contribute to healthier skin.

Lastly, managing stress levels is essential.

High levels of stress can disrupt hormone production and trigger acne flare-ups. Incorporating stress-reducing activities such as meditation, yoga, or hobbies into your daily routine can help maintain hormonal balance and promote clearer skin. 


Hormones have long been known to cause acne in teenagers; but many don't realize that testosterone hormones may also contribute to men having acne outbreaks.

That is due to testosterone increasing sebaceous gland activity in skin pore openings causing blocked pores that lead to breakouts of acne.

Testosterone is an essential and natural sex hormone, helping regulate libido, build muscle mass and produce sperm.

But too much testosterone can also be harmful. Testosterone and other androgens produced by ovaries and adrenal glands increase sebaceous (oil) gland activity on skin surfaces leading to clogged pores that could result in acne breakouts.

Acne is most prevalent and severe during adolescence; however, it can strike at any age. Adult acne often stems from fluctuations in androgens.

Anabolic steroids taken to enhance workouts may contribute to hormonal acne in men, as they artificially increase testosterone levels.

Other causes for hormonal acne in men include stress, diet high in sugar or foods high on the glycemic index as well as hair products like gels or pomades that clog pores.

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