Woman pointing at face in mirror

Hormonal acne swings through our neighborhood once a month for many, although sometimes it decides to stick around. Treating it can feel frustrating and expensive since many typical acne treatments don’t affect your hormones. 

Instead, treating it naturally, using supplements to heal you inside out, is one of the best suggestions for those who suffer at the swollen hands of hormonal acne.

What is Hormonal Acne?

Hormonal acne is a physical reaction your body takes on when it recognizes an imbalance in one or more hormones. Sometimes, you won’t even notice anything else is different for you, until a pimple starts to grow.

Women more commonly suffer from hormonal acne than men because of their hormonal changes during their natural monthly cycle. Estrogen is one of the primary hormones that, when unbalanced, becomes a trigger. Some of the other guilty hormones include:

  • Androgens
  • Insulin + growth factor 1
  • Melanocortins
  • Progesterone
  • Glucocorticoids
  • Pituitary hormones

Pay attention to the location of the breakouts as well. They can teach you something about what causes them. Knowing that and eliminating the problem is a solid step to quickly get rid of it.

What are the Causes of Hormonal Acne?

Although it can be simple to say that a hormonal imbalance is the root cause of this kind of acne, it is actually much more multifaceted. 

Hormonal acne causes include a genetic predisposition to certain hormonal swings or excesses, fluctuations during a month or other cycle, inflammation, and bacterial colonization.

Woman squeezing spot

Keep in mind that some factors that can cause hormonal acne are not just inside of you. Stress can cause a shift in hormonal balances, causing breakouts during or after periods of intense stress levels.

Certain illnesses and their treatments are also capable of causing this acne. Certain organs and systems in your body are required for accurate moderation, such as the pituitary glands, ovaries, and adrenal glands.

Pregnancy can cause hormonal acne, as well as going on and off, or changing birth control brands or methods. Menopause and puberty also see large spikes in times of hormonal breakouts.

The Signs of Hormonal Acne

Hormonal acne, or Acne vulgaris, is not the same as any other type of acne. These differences are why treating it topically can be so much more difficult and scream-worthy. Hormonal acne must almost always be treated from the inside out to provide effective results.

How do you identify whether or not you are suffering from hormonal acne? Think through these factors and see if any of them define your situation:

  • Oily facial skin is evidence of excess sebum production. This process is heavily influenced by the hormones in your body. Oftentimes, teens notice this factor more than adults, but if it continues into adulthood, you know that something is off.
  • Notice areas of inflammation. Your face is not meant to have random areas of inflammation. Too much swelling that isn’t in response to an injury is very indicative of hormonal acne.
  • Cystic pimples are another more obvious sign. They cannot be removed manually like many blackheads and whiteheads. They literally need to be treated from the inside out. If they pop up quickly, it can signify excess androgens.
  • Ingrown facial hairs indicate that the top layer of skin cells becomes abnormally sticky and ends up clogging your hair follicles. If this happens, it is often due to hormonal imbalance.
  • Recurring pimples in the same place can be another sign that your acne is hormonal. Typically it is combined with another symptom as well.

The Most Effective, Natural Supplements to Manage Hormonal Acne

We are trained to wash our face from the time we are little kids. When we reach our teenage years, products are thrown at us and on us to treat any small sign of a red spot. It is no longer intrinsic to think that perhaps what we are taking into our bodies shows itself on the outside.

Your diet is a crucial factor in the way you look, not just in fitness or weight, but somewhat surprisingly the health of your skin. Without the right diet, the systems that regulate your hormones cannot function properly.

If you don’t want to change your whole diet around, or simply don’t know how to incorporate some of these specific compounds into it, try taking supplements. Supplements allow you to take in the daily amount needed to better regulate your body, not just your acne. There are some that are more important than others, though, when it comes to your facial skin.


Foods high in zinc

Although the exact reason hasn’t been established, many studies have found that taking zinc supplements can improve acne. 

In several studies measuring the degree of improvement in patients who took zinc supplements, 38 out of 48 participants saw an 80-100% reduction in their acne. This decrease came about after they took the supplements three times each for eight week.

Scientists have found that there is a link in the increase in hormonal acne when the zinc in the blood is low. Meat commonly contains zinc, along with beans, nuts, and certain types of seafood.

The exact amount of zinc that you should take every day hasn’t yet been pinpointed for the best results. However, taking the supplements multiple times a week seems to be when people start to notice the most impact. 

Vitamin B6 and B12

The B vitamins are key for developing healthy metabolic systems. They help to moderate hormones that increase stress and the symptoms of PMS. The combination of both of these B vitamins is the most beneficial to get a double punch of hormonal health and balance.

It is best to get the vitamins established in your system. However, the prime time to take these supplements is the week before you would start to notice PMS symptoms flare. They help calm emotions along with calming any facial evidence.

B6 specifically accomplishes the goal of acne limitation. It prevents extra inflammation in the skin and limits the production of sebum. The oils on your face will be more balanced and thus create less acne when you take these.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids (Fish Oil)

Omega-3s are an important part of all-around health. They naturally reside in fish or flax oil and are a major part of the Mediterranean diet. As with so many other parts of balanced health, they help to calm skin conditions significantly.

When women take fish oil, either in pills or the liquid form, they consistently report clearer skin that feels softer and smoother. And although this is all about acne, fish oil also helps them grow stronger nails and hair.

There are many celebrities that have touted the positive side of fish fats, especially krill oil because of its antioxidant properties.


Powder supplement

Ashwagandha is an adaptogen, or a non-toxic plant that is said to help the body fight against stressors. These could be caused by environmental stresses, physical stressors, or natural aging stress.

Ashwagandha fights to reduce this strength in our bodies while also helping our body fortify and regulate itself. It helps in the regulation of the adrenal system, essential when it comes to controlling hormonal acne.

Ashwagandha can easily be taken. In a health movement, it started to be sold in a powder form and is easy to add into a smoothie. It can also be taken in capsules if those aren’t a regular part of your diet.

Vitamin A

Antioxidants are compounds that fight against free radicals in your body. They stop you from suffering from a number of illnesses, including acne breakouts. Often, those that suffer from severe acne find that they have low levels of useful antioxidants in their body.

Vitamin A is one of these. It plays a part in limiting the amount of oil that your skin produces so that it doesn’t continue to clog your pores. It also helps manage hormonal acne in other ways, reducing the amount of negative hormones released in the body.

If you decide to try and take Vitamin A, you won’t need to add very much before starting to see the results. People that took Vitamin A supplements for at least three months on a low dose treatment involving 20mg per day found it to be helpful. They also reported that they didn’t suffer from any severe side effects.


Magnesium is one of the micronutrients needed by our bodies. We might only require them in low dosages, but without them, we won’t function properly. It plays a role in fighting inflammation, which is a major cause of any kind of acne.

Consider taking magnesium along with calcium to make a super duo. Calcium supplements help to form a stronger tissue matrix across the body. It works to renew skin and together, they greatly reduce inflammation and healthy skin production.

If you are looking for a specific magnesium supplement, consider chlorella. It is nutrient-rich and derived from green algae. It reduces the stress levels in your body and regulates hormonal imbalances. It also helps to flush toxins out of your system.

Maca Root

Maca root powder

Another potential smoothie booster, this herbaceous plant helps to stabilize hormones. It is especially useful if you tend to get breakouts in or around your menstrual cycle. It works as a hormonal regulator to balance the functions of the endocrine system. 

The maca root is another adaptogen, a plant helping your systems properly deal with stress and adrenal fatigue. It is safe to ingest it daily, especially if this is what you feel would be the best decision. However, it does the most good when taken 7-10 days prior to your menstrual cycle.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E has been shown to be one of the best antioxidant sources. It is not a shield for your body, but better. Vitamin E works with your cells to enable each one of them to build their own shield of health.

Vitamin E boosts your body’s overall immune system and helps to regenerate skin cells. Studies done over periods of 12 weeks and longer found that participants who suffered from acne found significant reductions in facial swelling. 

Vitamin E works especially well when combined with selenium or zinc supplements. The elements complement each other and end up boosting both of the effects. According to most studies, it is best to take around 400 IU each day.

Evening Primrose Oil

Evening primrose oil, or EPO, is another naturally derived supplement that comes from a plant in the Oenethera family. It has been used to cure many ailments for centuries, long before we came around to figure out how to harvest its oils. It has been used to treat sore throats, hemorrhoids, bruises, and other digestive problems.

Scientists have looked into the oil to discover from where its healing benefits come. The plant is high in gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). This GLA happens to be an omega-6 fatty acid that can be found in plant oils. Many people take it as a supplement. If you need it for a bruise, you can also find it as a topical salve.

Not only can EPO help treat signs of hormonal acne, especially if it is cystic, but there has been some evidence of it treating eczema. It works towards improving the top layer of the skin, It isn’t one of the most effective treatments, however it is natural. Depending on whether you use it as a treatment or preventive, it has shown a variety of potential levels of effectiveness.

Hearing from everyone that you need to wash your face every day and apply the right cleaners doesn’t mean that that is the only thing you should do. Each person’s body, notably their face, is different. 

Acne is an expression of something in your personal life, dietary choices, or body imbalance. It should be dealt with by using some introspection. 

If you think you might be lacking some essential vitamins or compounds, look into investing in a blood test. These can tell you where you have deficiencies. It gives extra meaning to the supplements you take, filling a void instead of topping off a satisfactory amount. 

Find out what you need and you will find the most success in your fight against hormonal acne.