Testosterone Acne

Testosterone acne is a common problem affecting many people. Acne is caused by several things like clogged pores, sugary drinks and in this case, testosterone. Changes in hormone levels is the main reason for acne problems. Chief among the hormones that cause acne is testosterone.


Testosterone is a male sex hormone. Being an androgen, it can cause acne with excess stimulation of the oil glands. Androgen also changes your skin cells lining your hair’s follicles. The change to these skin cells makes them sticky which increases the chance of pores being clogged and producing acne. The human body’s endocrine system has 10 types of glands. The function of these glands is to release hormones that help promote and regulate the body’s processes. One gland, the adrenal, produces androgens.

How Does Testosterone’s Cause Acne?

While it is normal for the body to produce acne, when there is excess testosterone, issues can develop. Excess androgens in your body can activate sebaceous glands that will produce more sebum in response. Sebaceous glands are underneath your skin and are the base of your hair follicles. When too much sebum is created, an oily substance that should normally serve to keep your skin soft and flexible, instead clog your pores with dead skin cells, dirt and oil. When bacteria get into the pore, a pimple will develop.

Signs of hormonal acne:

  • It is occurring after your teenage years
  • Occurs because of high levels of stress
  • Instead of blackheads and whiteheads, you have painful cysts
  • The acne is around your chin and jaw area
  • Acne flares up once per month (likely due to menstrual cycle)

Foods and drinks that cause acne:

  • Excess meat
  • Egg whites
  • Sugary foods
  • Alcohol
  • Skim milk
  • Energy drinks

The Ways Testosterone Affects Men and Women

Testosterone levels always trend toward being higher in men than women. Because of this disparity in testosterone levels, women are more susceptible to adverse reactions when their testosterone levels increase. This susceptibility is displayed in the form of acne. Many women tend to have breakouts just before they come on their period. This is due to the first part of the menstrual cycle increasing levels of estrogen. As the menstrual cycle continues, during the latter half, progesterone increases in production. Progesterone creates testosterone and your skin responds to that with acne developing.

Steroids, Supplements and Disorders

Many men and women set out to live a better life by taking their health seriously. They begin going to the gym and exercising to bring about the changes they desire to see in their body. However, in their quests for self-improvement, some take things too far. When steroids are introduced to the body, they greatly increase testosterone past natural levels. Breakouts are much higher when using steroids because they are synthetically produced. When steroids are abused by young men or women seeking the changes to their appearance that steroids can provide, health issues like acne and far worse can occur.

Some men seek to feel more like men be it by having more muscles, increasing their sex drive or being able to grow a beard. The feeling of inadequacy that comes from being unable to attain one or all of these things is what leads men to take testosterone supplements. These supplements make many promises to get them whatever their desires are, but there is little to no mention of the side effects. Physiologically, younger men will experience more facial and back acne in addition to oily skin.

For women, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a common reason for testosterone acne. Because of this syndrome, testosterone caused skin and hair changes occur in the form of acne. Although androgen is widely considered to be a male hormone, adult women have levels of androgen in their blood as well. Women’s androgen levels equate to only a tenth of what is contained in men’s blood.

How Do I Know if I Have Hormonal Acne?

Hormonal acne is best prevented by ensuring that all surfaces that come into contact with any area of your skin are very clean. The following items are examples of things that should be cleaned thoroughly to prevent acne breakouts:

  • Hats
  • Makeup brushes
  • Towels
  • Bed sheets
  • Your own hands

The location of the acne is a good indicator of determining whether it is hormonal or not. If it is located on the lower area of your face, it is hormonal. This kind of acne can appear as blackheads or whiteheads, but more commonly in the form of painful cysts.

How Can I Treat Testosterone Acne?

As discussed, there are a variety of treatments for eliminating testosterone acne. Many people would like to simply get medication and have their symptoms go away quickly. However, the side effects of many medications outweigh the benefits of acne removal that are promised. Healing your acne in a natural way tends to be the safer choice. Some of the natural options to choose from are:

1. Consuming the proper foods

You should lower your saturated fat consumption and replace those with more foods like fish, nuts, seeds and leafy greens. Increasing your fiber intake decreases blood testosterone levels as well. Eating more alkaline foods like, fruits, vegetables and whole grains will reduce the acid in your body and help to clear up acne. Lowering milk and acidic food consumption is another way to reverse the effects of acne.

2. Take the right vitamins and herbs

Two herbs that are great for helping to get rid of acne are Omega-3 Fatty acids and vitex.

3. Reducing your stress level

Changing the situations you place yourself in as well as how you respond to stressors in your life is a critical part of limiting acne breakouts. Under stress, the body naturally produces more testosterone and this leads to a higher likelihood of breakouts.

Last Reviewed:
June 24, 2018
Last Updated:
June 21, 2018