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How to Deal With PCOS Acne

Updated: Dec 7, 2022

PCOS is a hormone problem that isn’t noticeable from the outside, but what is noticeable is the acne breakouts that come as a result of PCOS. Acne is a troubling skin problem that usually goes away once puberty has ended but it continues to be a problem for people with PCOS. Why we call it a problem is that it can affect self-esteem and mental health. We believe that acne and acne scars don’t make anyone less beautiful but if a solution is what you are seeking you are at the right place.

pcos acne

What is PCOS and what are its symptoms?

Androgens are the male sex hormones; they are also produced in the women’s ovaries but only a small amount. In some cases, ovaries can produce a large number of androgens, we call that condition polycystic ovary syndrome also known as PCOS. Another reason why someone can have PCOS is insulin resistance because it is also a factor in increasing the androgen hormone production in the ovaries. Since it is not something you can understand by looking from the outside you may not understand how common it is, it affects %6 to %12 percent of the women of reproductive ages in the USA all through their lives. Also, it is common among women with ovarian cysts, not all of them have PCOS but a majority of them do.

PCOS is a syndrome that affects women's hormones and may lead to many common symptoms, such as missed periods, irregular periods, excess body hair, oily skin, baldness, and infertility. In many cases irregular and missed periods are the tells of PCOS, it is what makes women go to a doctor to figure out what is going on.

Is acne a symptom of PCOS?

Acne is often related to PCOS because the skin is a window that reflects what's going on inside the body. Acne is related to testosterone and estrogen levels, as well as the gut microbiome and level of inflammation. In the case of PCOS, androgen hormones cause the skin gland to create sebum which is the main cause of acne. Sebum is created in the sebaceous glands, it resembles oil. You might start thinking that sebum is a bad thing we need to get rid of but that is not the case. Its job is to moisturize and protect your skin from the environment, lack of sebum could cause your skin to be overly dry and crack. Not only on your skin that is the thing that makes your hair feel oily which may not always feel like a good thing and can make you feel like your hair is dirty.

PCOS acne can be seen on the various parts of your body including your face, neck, shoulders, and back. The acne that is not on the face is harder to get rid of since it is easier to apply products on your face. Other than acne PCOS can cause other issues such as type 2 diabetes, depression, obesity, and cardiovascular problems it also plays a big number in infertility issues. Ovaries producing access androgen is called hyperandrogenism and this is also connected with acne as well as hair loss and another type of hair problem where it grows in places that it shouldn’t. So, women with PCOS have other major problems on top of the acne issues, here is where we come in to help you take that load off your shoulders. There are two types of ways you can treat PCOS acne: lifestyle changes and medication. Everyone’s body works differently so one thing that is a solution for you may not work for someone else with PCOS.

pcos acne

How to treat polycystic acne with lifestyle changes?

Healthy changes you do to your lifestyle can make you win your battle with PCOS acne.

Determine if you have polycystic ovary syndrome acne, diagnosis is key

Here is an interesting suggestion for you. Ask yourself this question: Is your acne really caused by PCOS? If not, maybe you should seek other ways of treatment. So first things first go into the root of your problem, it would be best for you to see your doctor about it before trying to get rid of your acne.


Poor sleep has many negative side effects one of which is acne problems. Not having a good night’s sleep can increase levels of inflammation and stress hormones, which lead to more acne. Also getting a good stretch of sleep is essential for overall health and happiness, both mentally and physically. Acute stress can lead to an increase in inflammatory markers, which can cause acne to flare up. Another thing you should keep in mind is that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to mitigating stress, so find what works best for you.

If you want to increase your sleep quality you can try not looking at your phone one hour before you go to bed, not eating dinner after 7 pm also no sugar before you sleep.

Try a PCOS diet to treat PCOS acne

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help to keep acne at bay and one of the ways to do so is a PCOS diet. This helps to treat acne by addressing the root causes of PCOS because the diet is one of the many factors that can contribute to PCOS acne. A PCOS diet is helpful in treating acne because it helps to regulate hormone levels. To have a special diet that will be helpful, you can see a dietitian that is well-informed about your situation. Don’t forget to drink lots of water throughout the day to stay hydrated and reduce inflammation.

pcos acne exercise


Acne may be caused by other factors, such as stress, which can lead to an increase in inflammatory cells. Exercising can help reduce stress and improve overall skin health. You can select an exercise you are interested in that will make both you and your body feel better.

Makeup and skincare

The key to treating PCOS acne is to wash your face with warm water and a mild facial cleanser twice a day, use moisturizer regularly, choose makeup and skin-care products that are gentle, and avoid touching your face. A good moisturizer and cleanser that balances the sebum on your face can help reduce PCOS acne.

Stress Management

Acne is a response to stress and can be caused by various external factors, you could be stressed about work, school, relationships, things that are going on in your life and so much more reasons. Stress is an inevitable part of our lives but keeping it under control is the best thing we could do for our bodies. There are many ways to do stress management, breathing exercises, journaling and meditation can be some of them. Of course, a good night’s sleep is also an important factor. If your acne breakouts happen during the times you are stressed maybe it is time for you to find a good way to manage stress.

pcos acne medication