Our bodies cannot function normally without hormones, but we can all agree that sometimes they can be a real headache. According to Medical News Today, testosterone is the main cause of acne, especially in teenagers. As young bodies develop, testosterone levels increase to support male development while building muscle and increasing bone density in females. Although these changes are necessary, they usually cause acne breakouts. The sebaceous glands are very sensitive to testosterone, and when this hormone fluctuates, the glands react by producing more sebum, which results in clogged pores.
Another hormone associated with hormonal acne is estrogen. When levels of this hormone begin to decline during menopause, it can trigger flare-ups. Cortisol, also known as the stress hormone, is another culprit, board-certified dermatologist S. Manjula Jegasothy told Self. “Women who are prone to monthly hormonal fluctuations, which are quite steep, and have periods of acute stress, are preparing for a ‘perfect storm’ to get a hormonal acne breakout,” she explains.
In short: fluctuating hormones will almost always manifest as breakouts or acne, and doctors assume that’s because altered hormonal ratios act as stimulants for the sebaceous glands. Additionally, if you have medical conditions that cause constant hormonal fluctuations, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), you are more likely to suffer from hormonal acne in your lifetime.