Select a treatment to
get started

How To Deal With Bad PCOS Breakouts: Treatments & Solutions

Want to understand the causes and treatments for PCOS acne-- we've got your back. PCOS affects an estimated 5 million American women.

Read on

Wondering how to combat PCOS-related acne? We’ve got your back. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) affects an estimated 5 million American women and is described as one of the most common causes of female fertility problems.

PCOS can cause a long list of hormone-induced symptoms -- one of the more common being acne. In this article, we highlight everything you need to know about PCOS acne and how to treat it.

Does PCOS cause acne?

In short? Yes, it can.

In those with PCOS, ovaries might become enlarged and may develop many small cysts which can affect fertility and menstruation. One of the hallmark signs of PCOS is the presence of excess testosterone. In medical terms, this is what’s called hyperandrogenism.

Hyperandrogenism, whether it is PCOS-related or not, is linked to causing moderate to severe facial acne.  

In a 1983 study, researchers found that women with acne had significantly higher levels of testosterone in their bloodstream versus those without acne. In addition to causing acne, excess androgens (including testosterone) may result in unwanted hair growth and male-patterned baldness.

Read more: Everything You Need to Know About PCOS Hair Loss

Why does testosterone cause acne in some?

When you have PCOS, you might hear a lot of talk about excess testosterone. But why does it cause such problems? When it comes to acne and PCOS, testosterone and other androgens can play a major role.

The rise in androgen levels (testosterone) can cause:

  • A considerable increase in facial oil and sebum production, which increases the risk of clogged pores and pimples
  • The colonization of acne-causing bacteria Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes)
  • Disruption in the skin cell shedding process

These side effects of high androgen levels can contribute to a higher risk of developing acne. While the severity of acne is determined by many factors, the first domino to fall in this case is excess androgens which are common in those with PCOS.

Learn more: The Link Between Testosterone & Acne

How to treat PCOS-related acne

Often, when it comes to hormonal acne, a mix of lifestyle changes, diet factors, and topical medications are required.

The treatment of PCOS requires the help of a physician, so make sure you have a physician that is working in your corner. Let’s go over 5 things you should consider when trying to treat PCOS acne.

#1 Cleanse your face twice a day with a gentle cleanser

Keep sebum production in check by making sure you’re gently cleansing away the excess in the AM and PM. Gently sloughing off excess oil and dead skin cells will keep these substances out of your pores!

#2 Tretinoin can help keep your pores clear

Skip the OTC medications and head straight for prescription retinoids like tretinoin. Tretinoin may help keep your pores clear and is an effective acne treatment. This prescription clears out blocked pores and also acts as a comedolytic, stopping pore clogging from happening in the first place.

Learn more: How does Tretinoin work for acne?

#3 Rebalancing might require oral contraceptives

Often, birth control is recommended to women with PCOS and higher levels of testosterone as it may help regulate hormones.

#4 Eat a menstrual cycle savvy diet

Alisa Vitti used to deal with PCOS, now she’s a functional nutritionist and Author of WomanCode: Perfect Your Cycle. After healing her own PCOS she says you can correct hormonal imbalances by eating to support the current phase of your hormonal cycle. She’s coined this The Cycle Syncing Method.

#5 Add the use of topical antibiotics

Because high levels of testosterone have been linked to the proliferation of acne-causing bacteria Propionibacterium acnes, topical antibiotics like Clindamycin might be prescribed.

Learn more about Clindamycin for acne

#6 Ask your doctor about anti-androgen drugs

The anti-androgenic treatment spironolactone is often used to control androgen levels in those with PCOS. It is also used as an effective treatment for hair loss and acne.

Strut Health treats hormonal acne online

Our Strut Acne Formula utilizes both tretinoin and clindamycin to help keep hormonal acne at bay.

If you’re dealing with PCOS acne, our compound prescription formula might be able to help.

If you would like to see if our formulas can help reduce your acne, complete a questionnaire-based online doctor's consultation to see if our acne treatments are right for you.

If our doctors find you’re a good candidate, we’ll ship your prescription right to your doorstep. Prescription acne medication has never been so easy.

Free shipping
Free follow-up care
Cancel anytime, no fees
Free online MD visit

Related posts