What Hormonal Acne Looks Like and Ways to Check

Category: Hormonal Acne

Do you find that your acne flares around the same time of your cycle each month? Is it painful red papules, pustules, and deep cysts that mostly appear around your chin and jaw? Did going on hormonal birth control partially or totally clear it up?

If you answered yes to any of the above, then it’s highly likely that your acne is caused by a hormonal imbalance.

Hormonal acne is typically caused by excess oil production and changes to the sebaceous glands that make them more sensitive to male hormones. This type of acne often appears as large, cystic type acne that stays trapped under the skin. Learn more about the causes of hormonal acne here.

But it can also be lots of smaller pimples that come to a head or have a red bumpy texture.

Typically, the sure sign that your acne is hormonal is it appears around your jaw, chin, cheeks, temples and neck but can also be located on your chest, back and shoulders.

How can you check if your acne is caused by a hormonal imbalance?

Test your hormone levels!

Read here: Why testing your hormones is critical if you want to eliminate hormonal acne

There are a few different ways to test your hormones, but we have found that the below methods are the most discerning and accurate ways to pinpoint acne causing hormone imbalances –

  1. Saliva hormone testing

Testing your hormones via saliva hormone testing is easy and insightful. By collecting samples of your saliva at home on day 21 (in a 28-day cycle) of your cycle it allows us to see whether any of your hormones are out of balance and are the cause of breakouts.

The hormones tested are testosterone, estrogen, progesterone, DHEAS and your stress hormone cortisol. Doing the test on day 21 helps us be able to fully understand how your hormones are interacting with one another.

  1. Blood testing

Blood testing can give additional insight into what hormones are affecting your skin.

It’s very important to test them on the right days of the month so that we’re able to understand what is happening. The hormones below are best tested around days 2-4 of your cycle:

  • Luteinizing hormone (LH) and Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH). These two hormones are responsible for successful ovulation but excess LH can trigger excess production of acne causing male hormones
  • Prolactin. This hormone if in excess can suppress ovulation and suppress the important female hormone progesterone
  • Sex hormone bunding globulin (SHBG). This hormone can bind up important female hormones making less is available to suppress the acne causing effects of male hormones
  • Fasting insulin. This checks if you have blood sugar dysregulation. Too much insulin causes the ovaries to overproduce acne causing male hormones

Confused about which testing to go with? Read this article.

Now, testing your hormones is the first step to fixing hormonal acne. The second and most important step is to have an experienced practitioner interpret your results for you and guide you on what supplements to take so you can correct your hormone imbalances and clear up your acne.

That’s where we can help you. We have the expertise and experience from working with over 1000 women with hormonal acne to know what to test, what the test results mean and what supplements to take.

To discover how to get our help click here.

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Comments 7

    1. Post
  1. Esther


    Thanks for the article! I have had bad acne for two years and I would like to get my hormone levels checked through a saliva test but my period is very irregular. When would be the best time for me to do the test?

    1. Post
      Hayden Keys

      Hi Esther,

      We have lots of patients who have struggled with irregular periods. It would be best to book in for an initial consultation to discuss your history so that we can work out a time to test for your individual needs.

      To schedule a consultation you can use this link https://apps.kitomba.com/bookings/happyhealthywellbein (times in the schedule are for Sydney Australia, not your local time).

      Happy and Healthy Regards, Gabrielle

  2. Maria

    Hi if you are able to do consultations internationally on Zoom, are you able to then help book tests with any local contacts you may have (if any in the UK)? I’d love to talk to your specialists but it would be better if you could then refer me specifically for the tests I need directly without extras. Thanks!

    1. Post
      Hayden Keys

      Hi Maria, yes we have accounts with lab companies in the UK so you will be able to get testing done locally while consulting with us internationally. There is also a company in the UK that sells the brands of supplements we use in our clinic here in Australia.

      To schedule a time to talk with me or Margaret click this link https://apps.kitomba.com/bookings/happyhealthywellbein (times in the schedule are for Sydney Australia).

      Healthy regards, Hayden Keys

      1. Maria

        Thank you for your response. And could I ask what are the approximate/average prices for further testing I may require? E.g. blood/saliva? Thank you.

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