Hormonal pimples: How they occur and what you can do about them

Hormonal pimples are a very special kind of unwelcome guests: They always come at the wrong time, they stay far too long and they always manage to spoil your good mood. The fact is, for many of us, hormone-related acne and blemishes don't end when we hit puberty, or even begin to appear in our 20s. But there is light at the end of the tunnel. In this article, I'll tell you how to spot hormonal breakouts, where they're coming from, and what really works to stop adult acne.

Hormonelle Pickel und was dagegen hilft

Photos of Ron Lach and Laura Mitulla

What are hormonal pimples?

The term "hormonal pimples" usually means blemishes in adult women that are triggered or influenced by a hormonal imbalance. Bad luck for us, because: These pimples, blackheads and deposits appear exactly when our hormones are going crazy anyway:

  • in the second half of the cycle
  • after stopping the pill
  • in pregnancy
  • with the onset of menopause

Fact is: All forms of acne (including teenage pimples) are related to hormonal changes in the body. This is why the term «hormonal acne» is actually somewhat misleading. Some dermatologists therefore consider "cyclical acne" to be more appropriate in adults.

How do I know if I have hormonal acne?

Often you can already recognize hormonal impurities by their appearance: Often it is not (only) the well-known - and passionately hated - blackheads and unpleasant pimples that are involved, but Underlays. They can be, but do not have to be, flammable. Inflammatory cysts are visible as bumps on the skin's surface and can be quite painful.

These 5 signs still indicate hormonal pimples:

  • Your puberty is long over.

According to statistics, hormonal acne mostly affects women between the ages of 20 and 50. And quite a lot - so you're definitely not alone with this problem. At the age of 30 to 39, every third person is said to be affected by flare-ups1. Other studies show that between 12 and 54% of women suffer from breakouts2.

  • Your chin and the lower half of your face are often affected by blemishes.

If the cysts and pimples mainly appear on the chin, in the jaw area and on the lower part of the cheeks, this can be a sign of hormonally induced pimples2. There are many sebaceous glands around the chin. If these (stimulated by hormones) form more skin fat and dead skin cells are not removed quickly enough, these are the perfect conditions for clogged pores, bacterial growth and pimples. However, the underlays can also occur on the forehead, back, chest and shoulders

  • Your breakouts come at regular intervals.

In surveys, up to 85% of women state that their acne breakouts regularly worsen around menstruation1. The hormones are to blame. When androgens such as progesterone rise in the second half of the cycle while estrogen levels fall, progesterone briefly becomes dominant. This stimulates sebum production - ideal conditions for the unloved period pimples.

  • Your lifestyle lacks balance.

I know it and you probably know it too: the well-known vicious circle of too much stress, too little sleep and unhealthy nutrition. Studies show that simple carbohydrates such as white flour can affect our hormonal balance and promote acne through their effect on insulin levels 3. If stress also comes into play, the stress hormone cortisol also ensures increased oil production in the sebaceous glands3. Unfortunately. Because that means: The next outbreak of acne is not long in coming.

  • Squeezing pimple doesn't work.

Hormonal pimples can appear as normal blackheads and small blisters filled with pus3. But with hormonal acne, you're also dealing with bumpy cysts that sit under the skin. This inflammation lies deep below the surface of the skin. Therefore, if you try to express them, you only distribute the accumulated sebum and pus in the surrounding tissue instead of releasing it to the outside.

Has popping your pimples already become an addiction? How to get rid of this habit, we tell you in our article Squeeze pimples - How to manage to pick less.

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What to do against hormonal pimples?

If your hormonal acne is very stressful for you or the inflamed cysts are severe, a visit to a dermatologist or dermatologist you trust makes sense. However, mild forms of hormonal imperfections can often be treated effectively with just a few changes in your care routine. This helps against hormonal pimples:

Rethink your grooming routine.

The basic care has to be right: Good basic care, which is primarily based on mild but thorough cleansing and moisturizing care, creates optimal conditions for healthy skin. Active ingredients and treatments only come second.

  • Deep-acting facial cleansing

Intensify your evening facial cleansing in the second half of the cycle with the Oil Cleansing Method. It frees your skin from existing blackheads and prevents new deposits. Take a few minutes for the oil cleansing and massage your face lovingly, it's worth it. Not only is your skin clean and well cared for afterwards, the facial massage also creates space for a mini break from everyday life. Especially in the second half of the cycle, when many women also have to struggle with mood swings, this moment of self-care can have a very beneficial effect.

  • Soothing moisturizer

The care products that you leave on your stressed skin should be fmoisturizing and mild. As already mentioned above, the focus in basic care should not be on fancy active ingredients to combat impurities (e.g. salicylic acid), for the first time the moisture balance of the skin must be right. We recommend our FIVE face serum, which hydrates your skin with rose water, hyaluronic acid and glycerin. Use it alone or with rather dry skin together with the FIVE Face Oil Balance, which locks in the moisture from the serum and additionally nourishes your skin.

If excessive sebum production is causing very shiny skin on your face, you can try not to use facial oil or facial cream in your routine. Instead, use only the oil-free FIVE face serum, which provides your skin with long-lasting moisture without leaving a sticky film.

The hydrating serum contains the moisture boosters hyaluronic acid and glycerin, as well as soothing organic rose water.

Rely on targeted additional care

Have you found a basic care routine that gently brings your skin back into balance? Then the most important step for relaxed skin in harmony has already been taken. But sometimes your skin needs more. That's why I recommend that you supplement your basic care with effective additional care if necessary.

  • Preventive facial peeling

From the second half of the cycle, use a mild peeling two to three times a week in the evening. This removes sebum and skin flakes that accumulate in the pores and prevents calluses, which can develop into pimples. Mild enzymes, such as the Santaverde enzyme peeling, are suitable for peeling.

Classic peelings with small abrasive grains also work, but should not be used on inflamed pimples and skin areas. You can find instructions for a DIY peeling in my article Make your own peeling.

  • Soothing Healing Earth Oil Mask

Healing clay definitely belongs in the "Oldie but Goodie" category. And it is (still!) a real insider tip against hormonal pimples and impure skin. There's a good reason for this: Healing clay acts like a kind of magnet that simply pulls dead skin cells and excess sebum out of your pores.

This is even shown by studies: In a pilot study published in 2012, scientists from the University Hospital Zurich and the Berlin Charité had 133 subjects with impure skin and acne have a 2 to 3 times a week over a period of six weeks Apply healing earth mask with jojoba oil4.

At the end of the examination period, a reduction in impurities, discoloration and pustules by 54% compared to the original skin condition was observed. Pretty convincing, right?

My tip for an effective DIY mask against acne and hormonal pimples: Mix a heaped tablespoon of healing earth powder with a teaspoon of water and a teaspoon Face Oil. Let the mask dry on your skin for 15 to 20 minutes and remove the residue under lukewarm water with circular movements. Tip: Sensitive and dry skin types should not leave the mask on for so long, but wash it off as soon as it dries.

The balancing FIVE face oil for oily skin prone to impurities contains sebum-regulating organic jojoba oil and antibacterial organic oils from black cumin seeds and grapefruit peels.

  • Use creams with retinol

Retinol is a form of vitamin A that is often used in acne therapy1. Because you're killing several birds with one stone. The active ingredient boosts cell regeneration and ensures that dead skin cells are removed before they can clog your pores and promote bacterial growth2.

And they can do even more: their cell-regenerating effect also ensures fewer wrinkles and a more even skin tone (bye, pimple marks!).

Unfortunately, there are also a few catches:

  • If you are using retinoids for the first time or if you have sensitive skin, dryness and irritation can occur.
  • Are you pregnant or planning to become so soon, retinol is taboo. In this case, I recommend that you seek medical advice.

Pamper yourself and your skin with real skin & soul food.

We already mentioned the connection between our diet and impure skin above. Instead of the don'ts, it's about the do's. This is what you should eat if you want to fight acne and hormonal pimples effectively from within:

  • Probiotics, aka lactic acid bacteria. They ensure pure, flawless skin and strengthen the immune system - the phenomenal effects of probiotics on our health are hotly debated in research. Studies show that probiotics both block the growth of the acne bacterium Propionibacterium acnes , and can also have an inhibitory effect on the insulin-like growth factor IGF-1, which acts as an acne trigger applies5.

Good sources of probiotics are fermented foods such as pickles and sauerkraut, as well as apple cider vinegar and kombucha.

  • Prebiotics. Together with probiotics, they form a perfect dream team for beautiful skin from the inside. Because prebiotics act like fertilizer for your better half. In order to benefit optimally from the health-promoting effects of good probiotic bacteria, you should therefore integrate the two together into your diet.

Good sources of prebiotics are onions, garlic and asparagus, as well as fruits such as apples, bananas and pears.

  • Complex carbohydrates. Also known as slow carbohydrates, they have one great property in particular: They are made up of long chains of molecules. Our body needs time to break them down and utilize them. This is good for our blood sugar levels. Because after consuming complex carbohydrates, it only rises slowly and flatly. It's different when we eat simple carbohydrates (pasta, flour, sweets and fast food).

    They trigger an unhealthy chain reaction in the body. Simple carbohydrates lead to an increase in the levels of insulin and the insulin-like growth factor IGF-16. This stimulates the formation of certain hormones (the androgens), which in turn stimulate sebum production - this can result in hormonal pimples.

Good sources of complex carbohydrates include brown rice, quinoa, potatoes, oatmeal, legumes, and whole wheat bread.

You can get even more tips on the right diet for clear skin in my article Nutrition against pimples: How to reduce impurities.

Conclusion: With the right strategy, you can effectively fight hormonal pimples!

In this article I have shown you what hormonal pimples are, how you can recognize them and what really helps against hormonal acne in adulthood. Finally, I would like to encourage you and me to accept us as we are. Each of us has flaws, there is no such thing as perfect skin. Treat yourself to conscious self-care on a regular basis, do what makes you happy and integrate skin-pampering care products with soothing ingredients into your daily skincare routine.

Here you can get the FIVE face serum with precious rose water from organic Damask roses and the antibacterial Discover FIVE Facial Oil Balance.

I wish you all the best!


  1. Drawer, Joshua A et al. “Emerging Issues in Adult Female Acne. ” The Journal of clinical and aesthetic dermatology vol. 10.1 (2017): 37-46.
  2. Branisteanu, D. E , et al. (2022). Adult female acne: Clinical and therapeutic particularities (Review). Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine, 23, 151. https://doi. org/10. 3892/etm. 2021. 11074
  3. Bagatin, Edileia et al. “Adult female acne: a guide to clinical practice. ” Anais brasileiros de dermatologia vol. 94.1 (2019): 62-75. doi:10. 1590/abd1806-4841. 20198203
  4. Meier, Larissa et al. “Clay jojoba oil facial mask for lesioned skin and mild acne--results of a prospective, observational pilot study. ” Researching Complementary Medicine (2006) vol. 19.2 (2012): 75-9. doi:10. 1159/000338076
  5. Bowe, Whitney P. , Kober, Mary-Margaret Kober, The effect of probiotics on immune regulation, acne, and photoaging, International Journal of Women's Dermatology, Volume 1, Issue 2, 2015, Pages 85-89, https://doi. org/10. 1016/j. ijwd. 2015 02 001.
  6. Penso L, Touvier M, Deschasaux M, et al. Association Between Adult Acne and Dietary Behaviors: Findings From the NutriNet-Santé Prospective Cohort Study. JAMA Dermatol. 2020;156(8):854-862. doi:10. 1001/jamadermatol. 2020 1602

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