3 Ways To Attack Hormonal Acne

by NIKKI POPE, November 19, 2020

Hormonal acne is a skin problem that plagues many adult women. As the name suggests, it stems from hormonal changes – usually brought about by menstruation, menopause, among many other things.

While hormonal acne is often treated with medications that balance the hormones, they often come with unpleasant side effects. They can burn quite a hole in your budget too.

That being said, if you want to keep your hormonal acne naturally at bay, there are three things you could do:

Follow a Hormonal Acne Diet

You are what you eat, and this holds particularly true with acne. Consuming refined carbs (think pasta, bread, and rice), dairy products, red meats, and sugary sources may make your tummy happy – but they can make your skin angry. These foods – which are collectively known as the ‘Western Diet’ - can stimulate the production of hormones that make the skin oily. They also help promote inflammation, which is another key factor behind hormonal acne. 

Apart from avoiding inflammation-causing foods, it will help if you follow a hormonal acne diet. This dietary regimen features foods that can help you maintain an acne-free complexion.

These skin-clearing sources include:

  • Protein sources such as chicken, eggs, turkey, salmon, shellfish, and tofu
  • Healthy fat fares such as avocadoes, nuts, seeds, and olive oil
  • Vegetables such as broccoli, peppers, kale, zucchini, spinach, carrots, cauliflowers, and beets
  • Starchy sources such as sweet potatoes and butternut squash
  • Fruits such as apples, cherries, oranges, grapefruits, pears, bananas, oranges, and peaches
  • Whole grains such as oats, quinoa, farro, buckwheat, and brown rice
  • Legumes such as lentils, black beans, chickpeas, and kidney beans
  • Dairy alternatives such as coconut milk, almond milk, cashew milk, and coconut yogurt
  • Herbs and spices such as parsley, black pepper, garlic, cinnamon, turmeric, cayenne, and ginger
  • Beverages such as green tea, hibiscus tea, and lemon water

Take Natural Alternatives – Vitamins & Supplements

Apart from following the hormonal acne diet, taking certain supplements for acne  may help you achieve clearer skin as well. Here are some pimple-fighting remedies that you should consider taking: 


Zinc is a mineral needed for growth and development. According to a study, it may help reduce acne in a variety of ways. For one, it may help fight the inflammation that leads to hormonal breakouts. It may also help inhibit the growth of Propionibacterium acnes, the organism that causes pimples. Since low zinc levels have been linked with more severe acne, supplementation with zinc may help maintain pimple-free skin. 





Green Tea

Green tea is a refreshing beverage rich in antioxidants known as polyphenols. They help fight inflammation and infection, both of which contribute to the development of hormonal acne.

According to a study, green tea may help clear your skin by reducing oil (sebum) production. It may also help inhibit the growth of P. acnes, the bacteria that colonize and infect the skin.  

Results showed that those who took 1,500 mg of decaffeinated green tea daily enjoyed significant decreases in inflammatory acne lesions. 


Probiotics are the beneficial microorganisms that live in your gut. They are found in fermented foods, such as sauerkraut, miso, tempeh, yogurt, and kimchi, among many others.

While probiotics are known to improve digestion, they may help you achieve blemish-free skin as well. According to a study, probiotics may help reduce inflammation, which can trigger acne and other inflammatory skin conditions. At the same time, probiotics may help fight P. acnes by producing anti-bacterial proteins. 

Probiotics also help reduce the levels of insulin growth factor-1, a substance that triggers acne. IGF-1 is known to promote inflammation and oil production on the skin. 

Milk Thistle

Milk thistle or Silymarin is a supplement that may help address liver problems, lung disease, prostate problems, depression, and cancer.

Milk thistle also has estrogenic effects, meaning it can mimic the effects of estrogen in the body. This makes the supplement particularly useful for women who have hormonal acne due to menopause. 

Menopause is marked by a cessation in the production of estrogen by the ovaries. To counteract the absence of these hormones, the body increases the production of androgen. These male hormones, in turn, trigger acne by promoting inflammation, excessive oil production, and increased proliferation of P. acnes organisms on the skin. 

With Milk thistle’s ability to balance these hormones, it may help reduce hormonal acne in populations who are at risk. 

Vitex Agnus-Castus

Also known as Chasteberry, Vitex is an herb commonly used by the Chinese to relieve menopausal symptoms. Because of its ability to balance hormonal levels, it is considered a promising remedy for hormonal conditions such as acne and polycystic ovary syndrome.

According to a study, Vitex may help reduce the production of prolactin. This hormone triggers increased production of androgens - hormones that lead to the development of hormonal acne.

Change Your Ways

Apart from eating healthy and taking acne-fighting supplements, improving your habits can help you reduce your hormonal acne. Here are some modifications that will help you maintain a clean and clear complexion:

  • Wash your face regularly, once in the morning and once in the evening.
  • Wear sunscreen daily. 
  • Make use of non-comedogenic (non-acne causing) skincare products and cosmetics. 
  • Don’t apply excessive amounts of anti-acne products on your face. Only use a pea-sized amount of the product. 
  • Manage your stress. Whenever you are stressed out, your body produces increased amounts of cortisol. This stress hormone then tells your skin to produce more oil (sebum). This then plugs your follicles and becomes a breeding ground for acne-causing organisms.
  • Sleep well. Lack of sleep can affect skin texture, moisture, and collagen growth. This is why your skin looks bad whenever you lose sleep. Add to that, sleepless nights can help promote inflammation, which triggers more hormonal acne in the long run. 


Hormonal acne is caused by hormonal changes in the body. While it is often treated with conventional medications, these can lead to severe side effects. To avoid these, taking natural remedies such as zinc, probiotics, green tea, milk thistle, and vitex may help. Add to that, following a hormonal acne diet and changing acne-causing habits may help you maintain blemish-free skin.