How hormonal imbalances can affect your skin

Many women suffer from hormonal acne. Picture: Pexels

Many women suffer from hormonal acne. Picture: Pexels

Published Jan 19, 2024


Skincare is a sensitive subject, especially for those suffering from various skincare conditions.

Some people with clear skin tend to impose and offer unsolicited advice, which can be draining if you’re battling with acne.

I’d like to believe that no one has such perfect skin, but obviously, some people’s skin looks better than others. Many factors can affect the skin, but the most common is hormonal imbalance, which can cause hormonal acne.

Kerri-Lee Taylor, an Integrative Hormone Expert affiliated with IIN and the owner of Kiko Vitals, says to treat acne, one needs to address the root cause of the problem and promote hormone balance.

“Hormonal imbalances, particularly an excess of androgens like testosterone, can lead to hormonal acne.

“These imbalances stimulate the skin’s sebaceous glands to produce more oil, which can clog pores and result in acne break-outs, especially on the face, chest, and back.

“Managing hormonal acne may involve skincare routines, topical treatments, or medication a dermatologist prescribes to regulate oil production and prevent break-outs,” said Taylor.

While hormonal imbalance is known for causing acne, it is not the only root. Often, a woman's reproductive health has an impact on their skin. Conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and premenstrual syndrome (PMS) are also contributing factors to skincare woes.

“PCOS is a hormonal disorder that often involves elevated androgen levels. PCOS can contribute to various skin issues, including acne, excess hair growth (hirsutism), and skin darkening (acanthosis nigricans).

“Women with PCOS may experience persistent acne due to increased androgens. Managing PCOS-related skin concerns usually involves a combination of hormonal therapies, lifestyle changes, and skincare routines tailored to address these specific issues,” Taylor explained.

It is a known secret that most women, even the ones with flawless skin, experience acne a week or two before their periods. It can be annoying, because instead of dealing with the mood swings and the bloating that comes with PMS, you still have to deal with a face that has pimples.

Taylor explained that the temporary acne you experience before your menstrual period is usually caused by PMS.

“During the menstrual cycle, hormonal fluctuations, particularly in the levels of oestrogen and progesterone, can affect the skin. In the days leading up to menstruation, some women may experience PMS-related skin changes, such as increased oiliness, break-outs, or sensitivity.

“Maintaining a consistent skincare routine that addresses these temporary fluctuations can help manage PMS-related skin issues. This may include gentle cleansing, hydration, and spot treatments as needed.”

To address hormonal imbalance, she suggests the following:

Healthy eating: Prioritise a balanced diet of fresh fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. Omega-3-rich foods like fish, flaxseeds and walnuts are helpful. Minimise processed and sugary foods. The key here is to balance blood sugar levels.

Exercise: You don’t have to do vigorous exercises but regularly engaging in cardio and strength-training exercises can help balance your hormones.

Stress management: Practise stress-reduction techniques such as yoga, meditation or deep breathing.

Quality sleep: They don't call it “beauty sleep” for nothing. Getting seven to nine hours of sleep each night helps support hormonal regulation.

Hydration: Drink enough water to keep your body functioning optimally.

Cycle syncing: Pay attention to your menstrual cycle and adapt your diet and exercise routine. For example, focus on restorative activities during your period, while the follicular phase may be better for high-intensity workouts.

If you wish to add supplements to your lifestyle, you can try the Kiko Vitals Hormone Balance, a product formulated with key ingredients that support hormonal well-being.