One thing that still amazes me in my herbal practice is how many women come to me because they are suffering from adult acne and can’t seem to find any relief. Of all the symptoms that wreak havoc in women’s lives when they are struggling with hormonal issues, it seems that adult acne is at the top of the list when it comes to symptoms that are frustrating and demoralizing.

Do You Have Adult Acne? 4 signs that point to your hormones

If you are struggling with adult acne, I want you to know that you are not alone. Your concerns are real and valid. Wanting clean skin is not something to be dismissed as a matter of vanity, and it doesn’t make you superficial if you feel like your acne takes away your confidence.

You deserve the support that really works to help you improve yourself. The first step is to learn as much about your symptoms as possible so that you and your specialist can get to the bottom of it.

I want to give you some clues to help you determine if your adult acne is related to fluctuations in hormones. Here are some tips on how to get started with a hormonal balancing regimen. Please remember that this article is only a starting point and that you will get the best results from working one-on-one with a professional who understands these topics.

How to tell if adult acne is related to hormones:

  1. The frequency of acne breakouts.
  2. The location of your acne.
  3. The shape, size, feel, and appearance of your acne.
  4. How you respond to your acne treatments (or don’t respond).

As you read, ask yourself if any of these clues apply to you. If there is more than one “yes,” your adult acne most likely has a hormonal component.

Frequency of appearance of acne

Acne, which has a hormonal component, often flares at predictable times due to the cyclical nature of hormones during the phases of the menstrual cycle. For many women, the week before the menstrual cycle is the time when symptoms are elevated. Some women experience characteristic outbreaks during menstruation, or even ovulation.

Location of acne

Acne found under the cheekbones and on the jawline is often more likely to be related to hormonal problems than acne on the forehead or bridge of the nose. Pimples around the mouth are said in some face-reading traditions, that they are connected to the reproductive system, and I have had many clients with PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) who have small pimples just below their lower lip at the time ovulation.

Shape, size, feel and appearance of the grains


Hormonal acne tends to be deep, cystic, and tender to the touch. You may feel a sensation of pain or pressure where you have a pimple, even when you are not touching, or you may feel pain with gentle pressure as you wash your face. This type of acne is likely to leave a scar, especially if you try to relieve the pain by “popping” the pimple. It may not respond at all to topical creams or healthy acne products and may even show signs of being dry or flaky, although a pimple can be felt just below the skin’s surface.

Response to treatment

If your acne improves or worsens with hormonal birth control, that’s a good indication that hormones are behind the problem. Similarly, if topical treatments don’t seem to work, there’s a good chance it’s because the problem isn’t coming from the surface of your skin, but from hormonal changes that affect your entire body – including your skin.

How to treat adult acne

If you think you may have hormonal adult acne, the best thing to do is talk to a specialist. Your OB / GYN may be helpful (or more effective) than your dermatologist. Another way is to get any necessary tests to check your hormonal balance.

If (like many of my clients) you get all the evidence in fact and nothing seems wrong, or if you don’t want to take hormonal birth control as a skin treatment, this is a good time to consult with an herbalist.

Herbs to treat adult acne

An herbal specialist can work with you and your doctor to support the body’s natural systems for proper detoxification and removal of adult acne. For most of my clients, just a few lifestyle tweaks and a few tailored herbs to help support the liver and digestion are enough to create serious change.

Diet to treat adult acne

In the meantime, eat lots of veggies (especially those from the Brassica family, like broccoli and cabbage), drink plenty of water, cut down on processed foods, sugar, and dairy, and being very kind to your skin will help get you in. In the correct way.

No matter how difficult it may seem, don’t give up. Hormonal adult acne is a great warning sign that it’s showing you that your body needs some support and attention, but it’s not a curse. With the proper gentle care, skin and hormones can find their way back into balance.



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