Main content
Acne hormones and lifestyle choices: The biology behind acne

Acne hormones and lifestyle choices: The biology behind acne

Acne is a common skincare concern that can affect many of us throughout our adult lives – from our teenage years, through pregnancy and even later in life. But what causes acne to develop and are there any ways that you can help to reduce it? Here we take a look at some of the most common causes of acne and the solutions to try.


There are a number of myths about acne and, contrary to popular belief, acne isn’t caused by poor diet or hygiene. The NHS advises that most of the biological reactions that trigger acne occur beneath the skin and so far, research has not found any foods that cause acne. This isn’t an excuse to eat badly, however, and a good well-balanced diet is always good for your overall health.


Hormonal changes play a key role in the development of acne so it’s important to understand how these change throughout our lives. In puberty, our bodies create greater levels of testosterone to help maintain muscle and bone strength which can cause the glands on the skin to secrete more sebum. This blocks the pores, creating congestion and often leading to breakouts and acne.

Later on in our adult lives, periods and pregnancy can also create quite significant changes in our hormone levels which can lead to acne breakouts. Many women find that they’re more prone to a breakout before their period arrives, or during the first three months of pregnancy when hormone levels change rapidly. Other conditions such as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome can also have a similar effect on the skin.

Can birth control help with acne?

According to the NHS, hormonal therapies or the combined oral contraceptive pill can be an effective way of treating acne in women. This is due to the way that the pill reduces the circulation of androgens which help to control sebum production. Contraceptive medication must contain estrogen and progesterone to improve acne so speak to your doctor if you are considering taking it for this reason.

Solutions and treatments

In order to find the right solution and treatment for your skin, it’s advisable to visit your doctor or dermatologist. A professional will be able to help you confirm whether or not you do have acne and, if so, how severe it is.

More serious cases of acne will require stronger treatments prescribed by a healthcare professional, while milder cases can often be improved with products from your pharmacy. La Roche-Posay’s Effaclar range, for example, is specifically formulated for the needs of blemish-prone skin and has a number of products to help improve it – no matter the cause.

Effaclar Duo+ is one of our most popular anti-blemish moisturisers that’s formulated for the needs of both adults and teenagers. Its dual-action gel formula uses ingredients such as Lipo Hydroxy Acid & Salicylic Acid to help reduce the appearance of blemishes and blackheads while controlling shine and helps reduce the appearance of marks. It should help your skin appear clearer.

Discover the full Effaclar skincare range for blemish-prone skin

Featured Product

Still unsure?

Spotscan+ skin analysis Spotscan+ skin analysis




2 minutes

Discover Spotscan+
Orientation message
For the best experience, please turn your device