Summary of the issue

Hormonal acne

Hormonal acne first appears in puberty (80%* of teenagers are affected to varying degrees) and can recur or break out in adulthood, especially in women. But fortunately, hormonal acne can be treated. Here are some keys to understanding and calming your hormonal acne.

What is hormonal acne?

What is hormonal acne?

For girls and boys alike, acne usually starts in puberty. The cause is hormonal upheaval, which causes the skin to produce more sebum. It can be difficult for sebum to flow through the pores: the small holes that drain it away. The skin then becomes oily and acne can appear on the face, back, shoulders, neckline, etc.

Hormonal acne usually disappears after adolescence. But sometimes it persists, returns or is triggered in adulthood. Hormonal acne is less talked about, and yet a quarter of adults are affected by it, the vast majority of whom are women. 

What are the different stages of hormonal acne?

There is not one but several types of acne, which can come one after the other or present at the same time.

The prerequisite for acne in adolescence is hyperseborrhea, when the skin produces too much sebum due to hormonal changes. At this stage, the skin is simply oily.

Under the skin, a microcomedo can start to form, where the excess sebum thickens and changes into a kind of horn that clogs the pore. Invisible at first, it then becomes a comedo which will first be open (a whitehead) and under the effect of the oxidation of the sebum in contact with the air, it becomes black (a blackhead). This is called retentional acne.

If left untreated, the next step is inflammatory acne. This is the result of the infection of a pimple by the proliferation of the bacterium Cutibacterium Acnes. These blemishes take the form of papules (large, hard, red pimples), sometimes topped by pustules (containing a purulent liquid).


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I've noticed that if I don't clean my skin regularly every day, then I always get pimples that come back, and I can't do anything about it, and then it's too late. It especially happens the week before my period.

Ambre, 16 years

Hormonal acne for men and women

Hormonal acne affects men and women, but not at the same time or in the same areas.

In women

Periods, pregnancy, menopause... Female hormonal activity fluctuates for a long time, and this is a major reason why hormonal acne persists. Pimples tend to be inflammatory and often appear just before a woman's period, especially on the lower face (around the chin and jaw).

In men

Although men are not spared from hormonal acne in puberty, their skin problems generally regress and disappear in adulthood once their hormones have stabilised. When pimples persist, they are mostly located on the back and neck.

What treatments are available for hormonal acne?

What treatments are available for hormonal acne?

Once you’ve ruled out other possible causes of acne, such as the use of certain cosmetic products, it’s time to take action! There is a whole arsenal of treatments available for hormonal acne, both in adolescents and adults. Local treatments with anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties, oral antibiotics, hormonal treatments... Your dermatologist will be able to tell you how to effectively treat your hormonal acne and adopt an appropriate daily skin care routine. 

What about the pill? Some forms of contraceptive pill are good for your skin, but others can cause spots. Ask your gynaecologist for advice.


Some treatments that are prescribed to treat hormonal acne irritate and dry out the skin. The skin therefore needs to be rebalanced.

The downfall of some topical treatments for hormonal acne is that they strip the skin. The skin therefore needs appropriate care to make up for this. This starts with gentle cleansing and make-up removal using a soap-free cleansing cream. Thermal spring water with anti-irritant properties can also be sprayed on the face. Cleared of tap water residues, the skin is ready to receive a soothing cream that will restore skin comfort.

The right things to do to soothe hormonal acne

The right things to do to soothe hormonal acne

Gentle, gentle, gentle is your mantra! This is how you can create the conditions to (finally!) get rid of your hormonal acne, whether you’re a teenager or adult. A gentle approach is achieved through developing good skin care habits (don't rub cotton pads too hard against the skin, and don't pop your pimples), as well as through the choice of products you apply to the skin. The words "non-comedogenic" or "acne-prone skin" will help guide you.

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