The beauty industry makes billions of dollars a year from making you feel… unpretty. But you’re so fed up with cystic acne that you’re willing to try any product they recommend. Take my money, you say. 

This fast-acting, zit-zapping paste will transform your skin overnight, they promise. 

So you buy the cleanser that claims to remove all impurities from your face. You line your jaw with the zit-zapper paste – who knows if it’ll work, but it came in really cute packaging! And then you cover it all up with a concealer that visibly brightens and reveals better-looking skin.

But the beauty industry is missing a key fact: all the skin care products in the world won’t uncover the source of hormonal acne. Managing PCOS will.

Discover how hormonal acne in PCOS is different than your average breakout. Here’s how you’ll save money on skin care products… and actually reveal better-looking skin. 

What Are the Causes of PCOS Acne?

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) causes hormonal imbalances in women. Many women with PCOS have hyperandrogenism, or excess male sex hormones. This causes symptoms like hirsutism and acne. 

Anyone can get acne – including infants. For most people, breakouts begin during puberty. At this time androgens begin to surge to support reproductive changes. Androgens cause the oil glands to expand and make more oil. This can clog the pores and lead to acne. [1]

Puberty is primetime for breakouts – but they typically clear with age. Unrelenting acne in adulthood is often the result of hormonal imbalances in women. Hormonal acne is common in PCOS. [2]

For women with PCOS, acne typically shows up later in life and doesn’t respond to conventional treatment. 

The exact cause of PCOS acne is unclear, but experts believe it’s due to excess androgens. Two of the most common PCOS symptoms – hyperandrogenism and insulin resistance – are linked to acne. 

As your lifestyle changes over the years, so does your skin. These are some things that can make acne worse: [2] 

  • Certain makeup or skin care products
  • Use of oil-based hair products
  • Stress 
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Inflammatory foods

Acne is an inflammatory process – and PCOS increases the risk of chronic inflammation. Lifestyle modifications can help keep inflammation at bay. Consider cutting back on junk food and quitting smoking to lower your risk. 

Is It PCOS Acne, or Ordinary Acne?

How do you know if you have acne or some other skin condition? And what makes polycystic ovary syndrome acne unique? 

Dermatologists diagnose acne by looking at your breakouts. They examine the location and type of lesions (pimples, whiteheads, etc.) on your skin and determine the right treatment for you. 

Different factors play into a diagnosis, like your age and how long you’ve been battling breakouts. Acne that is persistent in adulthood is usually a sign of a hormonal imbalance. [2]

Hormonal acne in PCOS may involve: 

  • Nodules and cysts that cause scarring
  • Flare-ups that are worse around the menstrual period
  • A later-in-life diagnosis
  • Resistance to conventional treatment

Talk to a dermatologist if you suspect you have hormonal acne. This can change the course of treatment – and save you lots of money on skin care products.

Symptoms of PCOS Acne

Polycystic ovary syndrome acne often takes a hormonal pattern – along the jawline, chin, and neck.  Lesions may be deeper, larger, and more painful than the average zit. It can also show up on the back or chest. [3] 

Doctors sometimes prescribe antibiotics as an initial acne treatment. PCOS acne often doesn’t go away with antibiotics. [1]

PCOS Acne Treatment

Remember those astringent wipes the beauty industry pushed heavy in the 90s? We were led to believe oily skin should be scrubbed raw and dried out with alcohol. And that raw, red skin was a sign of healing on the way… *Cringe*.

Hopefully, your skin care routine has eased up a little since the days of Big Astringent. Now, dermatologists recommend keeping it simple. For average skin, use a mild cleanser once or twice a day. Changing acne products can be irritating to the skin, so keep a consistent routine. [2]

But treating PCOS-related acne involves more than a good skin care routine, it takes getting to the root of acne-causing hormonal imbalances to find a solution. Getting balanced hormones – and correcting hyperandrogenism – can help. Try a hormone-balance supplement to correct hormonal acne. 

Dermatologists also prescribe medications to treat PCOS-related acne. The two most common are spironolactone and birth control.

Spironolactone is a diuretic, which is typically used to pull extra fluid from the body (by making you pee). It also reduces excess oil and doctors prescribe it for women with stubborn acne. [1]

Oral contraceptives stabilize sex hormones to prevent excess androgens. Birth control for acne should contain estrogen and progesterone. Progesterone-only birth control can make acne worse. [1]  

Tips for Controlling Acne in PCOS

Treating PCOS acne takes a unique approach. Talk to a dermatologist to find the best treatment for your skin (and hormones). Here are some possible ways to control PCOS-related acne: 

  • Keep your skin clean. Keep your skin clean by avoiding touching your face throughout the day. Also, wash your hair regularly to keep oils from your hair away from your face.  [1] 
  • Have a consistent skin care routine. Find a mild cleanser and moisturizer you love, and stick to a routine. Remember to protect your face from the sun – because sunburn can make acne worse. Use at least 30+ SPF when heading outdoors.  [1] 
    • Diet. You may associate eating greasy foods with breakouts – but the real culprits are the ones that cause inflammation. Highly processed, sugary foods have a high glycemic index. They’re broken down quickly, which causes blood sugar to spike and then come crashing down. This is harmful to your hormones and your skin. 

    Dermatologists recommend eating foods with a low glycemic index, including dairy. But research links cow’s milk to increased or worsened acne, inflammation possibly caused by some of the hormones found in all varieties: skim, 1%, 2%, and whole. Many women turn to a dairy-free diet to treat acne, although there’s no evidence connecting any other dairy products, like yogurt and cheese, to the condition. [1] 

    • Hormone balance supplements. Balanced hormones prevent problems related to hyperandrogenism. Try S’moo Ovary Good to keep hormonal acne under control. S’moo uses ingredients like inositol to correct insulin resistance, control testosterone levels, and get that skin our dreams are made of. 

    Acne at any stage is frustrating and discouraging. The timing of PCOS acne is disruptive, and just as in your teenage years, it’s a real confidence-buster. Working with your dermatologist and following these tips to find what works best for you takes time, but the journey to feeling beautiful inside and out again will be worth every step.

    Get Clear Skin with Balanced Hormones  

    Okay, so the beauty industry isn’t all about bad intentions. There’s a time and place for the perfect skin care product… like that night cream you can’t live without. 

    But girl, stop dumping your money into products that aren’t solving hormonal acne! PCOS is a complicated condition – and it’s time to start giving  PCOS acne the attention it deserves.

    Start your journey to clear skin with hormone balance supplements. S’moo Ovary Good corrects hyperandrogenism to prevent PCOS symptoms. Transform your skin by getting to the root of excess androgens – not by buying more products.

    Medical Disclaimer:

    *The content in this article is provided for informational purposes only. This is not intended to prevent, diagnose, treat, or cure any health conditions. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice or consultation. Talk to your doctor before making changes to your healthcare regimen. 


    1. Acne resource center
    2. Sex hormones and acne
    3. Polycystic ovarian syndrome and the skin