Hormones and Skin and Acne

Hormones, which are present in males and females, are thought to be triggers for acne, but not a direct cause for acne.

Well, that’s confusing and ambiguous. To combat that confusion and ambiguity, let’s dive a little deeper.

When the oil making sebaceous gland in the skin becomes enlarged it makes more sebum; when the sebum is mixed with dead skin cells that collect in and around the pores, it can result in clogged pores forming either non-inflamed acne or inflamed acne.

Hormonal changes related to pregnancy, menopause, or puberty can lead to a greater chance for an acne breakout.

I’m going to outline a few of the most common culprits for acne breakouts:

  • Thyroid Issues
  • Estrogen
  • Testosterone

Thyroid Issues

The thyroid is a gland that sits close to your neck and releases and stores hormones that move around the circulatory system and controls the body’s metabolism.

The gland uses the iodine in food to produce two main hormones:

  • Triiodothyronine (T3)
  • Thyroxine (T4)

These two hormones affect the body’s metabolism, temperature, blood, heart, and nervous system.

If the thyroid isn’t working at its best, problems may begin to show up, which can include acne, loss of pigmentation, or pale dry and brittle looking skin.


Hyperthyroidism is when there is an overproduction of thyroid hormones.

This condition shows up in several ways:

  • Nodules on thyroid glands
  • Graves’ disease
  • Weight loss/gain
  • Nervousness
  • Eye problems
  • Sweating
  • Low energy
  • Sensitive to temperatures
  • Hashimoto’s disease


Estrogen is a hormone that affects both women and men, and helps manage the reproductive system.

Estrogen also helps skin heal and can affect the amount of oil in our skin.

Sometime after the age of 35, there is a natural decline in reproductive hormones, some women experience acne, and skin pigmentation or spots in different places and a loss of elasticity in the skin. This could be because of a drop in estrogen or an increase in an androgen hormone like testosterone.


It’s true. Men have thicker skin than women.

Testosterone production tends to give men thicker skin tissue than women, and can lead to more production of oil, larger pores and more hairs. This intensifies cystic acne and sensitivity.

The testosterone hormone also affects bone, muscle, and the reproductive system. If there is a depletion in testosterone, men can experience hair loss. However, if women have higher levels of testosterone, there is more facial and body hair, and they too are more prone to cystic acne.


I have often felt our skin gives us a heads up into what may be going on inside and there is a tendency to look at only part of the problem.

Remember, skin is your body’s largest organ and it is a reflection of your inner health.