Natural Approaches to Hormonal Acne

Woman with acne on her cheek

Do you get acne on a regular basis? You may be dealing with hormonal acne.

What Causes Hormonal Acne?

Acne is a common symptom of PMS in teenagers and adults who menstruate, and can occur as a result of hormone fluctuation in anyone. 1 2 Acne can also be a symptom of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). 3 Hormonal acne is sometimes associated with conditions specific to those who are assigned female at birth, such as PMS and PCOS, but those who are assigned male at birth also commonly deal with hormonal acne. 4

Hormonal acne can show up anywhere on the body, but most commonly occurs on the neck, face, back, or chest. 5 If you have acne regularly, try the following simple at-home treatments to reduce blemishes.

Natural Ways to Treat Hormonal Acne

Change Your Diet

Eating a nutrient-rich diet of whole foods has been shown to decrease hormonal acne. 6 7 Focus on foods rich in vitamins and those that have anti-inflammatory properties, and avoid anything highly processed.

Studies show that the consumption of dairy products is associated with hormonal acne in some people. 8 Try limiting dairy products (swap in plant-based alternatives instead) and see if your acne decreases.

Foods rich in omega-3s, such as fatty fish and flaxseeds, may also reduce acne symptoms. 9 10 Try adding more of these to your diet if you struggle with hormonal acne.

Enjoy More of These:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Plant-based milk
  • Fatty fish, such as salmon and mackerel
  • Olive oil
  • Legumes
  • Turmeric
  • Garlic
  • Nuts & seeds

Avoid These:

  • Dairy products
  • Highly processed foods, such as white bread, fast food, frozen dinners, and chips
  • Candy
  • Cake
  • Soda, energy drinks, and other sugary beverages
  • Cookies

Tea Tree Oil

Topical tea tree oil may help to reduce acne caused by a hormonal imbalance. 11 There are many skincare products, such as toners and cleansers, available that contain tea tree oil and may help treat acne.

You can also use tea tree essential oil if you wish. To do this, start with a good quality tea tree essential oil and mix one or two drops with about twelve drops of a carrier oil, such as jojoba oil. It is important to dilute the essential oil in a carrier oil because undiluted essential oils can be very harsh on skin. Once you have mixed your essential oil with the carrier oil, you can gently dab the mixture directly onto acne. Always test on your arm or leg first before applying to sensitive areas.

*Tea tree oil is recommended only for external use and not over broken skin.

Vitamin D

Research shows that those with a vitamin D deficiency are prone to more severe hormonal acne. This is likely due to vitamin D’s anti-inflammatory properties, which may help to reduce acne symptoms. 12 One study found that participants with a vitamin D deficiency who took vitamin D supplements daily for two months had significantly reduced acne as a result. 13

If you are unsure of whether you have a vitamin D deficiency, speak to a naturopathic doctor about your lifestyle and diet. They can help you order lab work to determine if vitamin D supplements may be right for you, and guide you towards the right dosage and the best brands.

NDs are experts in addressing the root cause of skin disorders and may employ a holistic approach including addressing gut health, hormonal balancing, nutrition and supplementation recommendations and topical protocols.


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