How To Deal With Hormonal Acne During Menopause

Find out what causes menopause acne and 3 things you can do in order to prevent it and hopefully stop it completely.
Menopausal acne; woman looking in the mirror, woman after a shower

As if hot flashes, mood swings, and weight fluctuations aren’t enough, menopause can also toss hormonal acne our way. And it’s more common than you think — studies have shown that as much as 26.3% of women in their 40s and 15.3% of women aged 50 or older experience acne. So, what causes menopause acne? Can anything be done to prevent it or stop it in its tracks? Keep reading to learn more about hormonal acne during menopause, what causes it, and possible treatments you can try.

What Is Menopausal Acne?

Laser Treatments for Acne Scars

Menopause often comes with a ton of skin changes, and this includes acne. This form of hormonal adult acne typically appears on the lower part of the face, around the bottoms of cheeks and jawline. For most women, this may include blackheads, whiteheads, small pimples, and cysts deep under the skin.

As menopausal women encounter changes and imbalances in hormone levels, our skin is usually taken by surprise, and acne appears. Unfortunately, hormonal changes, genetics, and stress can all be causes. And just like in high school, it can be pretty difficult to narrow it down to a single culprit.

Are Certain Hormones Responsible For Acne In Menopause?

Estrogen definitely has something to do with menopausal skin changes. It’s responsible for maturing our bodies at puberty and keeping our bones strong. So it makes sense that as our estrogen levels decline at menopause, it will bring on some skin changes. Estrogen also stimulates collagen and oils — that’s typically why most of us experience dry, itchy skin as our estrogen levels drop.

Any fluctuation in hormones can cause hot flashes, mood swings, and, yes, acne issues, specifically:

  • Skin inflammation
  • Oil production in the pores
  • Clogged cells in hair follicles
  • Production of bacteria called Propionibacterium acnes

A Skincare Regimen To Battle Menopausal Acne

First, be sure you wash your face at least once a day. Pick a mild soap that won’t dry your skin out, and be sure and moisturize with cream (if your skin is very dry) or a light moisturizer. If you’re currently dealing with breakouts, pick a cleanser that contains salicylic acid to help unclog pores.

As tempting as it may be, do not pop or pick at your face. This will inevitably lead to scarring. You’ll also want to be sure and avoid tanning and apply plenty of sunscreen before stepping outside.

Now that your skin is changing, you need to accept the possibility that your faithful skincare products may not work like they used to. Go through your shelf and toss out any expired products. In the future, you may want to avoid oil-based cosmetics and choose mineral or water-based products.

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3 Possible Menopausal Acne Treatments


If you have mild menopausal acne, it’s possible to treat it with topical retinoids. The good news: many creams, gels, and lotions are available without a prescription. However, you may have stronger chances of achieving clear skin with a prescribed product. Just remember to religiously apply sunscreen, no matter what time of year, because retinoids will increase your risk of sunburn.

Prescription Options

Prescription options can effectively treat menopausal acne, so if you’d like to weigh your choices, schedule an appointment with a dermatologist.

Treatment options for perimenopausal and menopausal acne include:

  • Antibiotics, androgen blockers like spironolactone, or a low dosage of severe acne medication such as Accutane;
  • Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) can relieve many symptoms of menopause, but there are some risks. Many medical professionals won’t prescribe HRT for acne alone, but if you’re also dealing with other issues, you may want to ask.

Changing Your Diet

woman eating a salad

Get ready to feel like a teenager again. Changing your diet may actually have an effect on how your skin looks. That means maybe avoiding your favorite ice cream or cheese because dairy and foods with a high glycemic index are notorious for causing skin breakouts. Other foods with a high glycemic index include:

  • white and whole wheat bread
  • white rice
  • breakfast cereals and cereal bars
  • cakes, cookies, and sweet treats
  • potatoes and fries
  • chips and rice crackers
  • fruits such as watermelon and pineapple
  • sweetened dairy products such as fruit yogurts

The Takeaway

Menopausal acne (and any acne, really) is very unpleasant, but it’s important to remember that it’s temporary. But that doesn’t mean you should just sit down and deal with it! Speak to your dermatologist about possible treatments, switch up your skincare routine, try retinol, or make some necessary dietary changes. Clear skin in menopause is possible!

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Related Article: If you want to achieve naturally glowing skin, exfoliation should be a central part of your skincare routine. And if you’re a skincare enthusiast, you already know that acids are a popular choice for removing dead skin cells and brightening your complexion. Azelaic acid continues to fly under the radar, but that doesn’t mean you should immediately discount the ingredient. In fact, it may be one of the skincare industry’s best-kept secrets to achieving younger, more radiant-looking skin. Read more about azelaic acid and why it belongs in your skincare routine

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