Menopausal Acne

Hormonal acne is typically associated with puberty, but 25% of adult women will continue to get acne well into their 30s, 40s, and 50s. It’s even possible to get acne for the first time as an adult. Dermatologists call this “adult-onset acne” and it’s most common among women going through menopause.

Unlike during puberty when acne appears on the forehead, nose, chin, and in the T-zone, menopausal acne typically forms on the lower part of your face. This includes the bottom of your cheeks and around your jawline. Like other types of hormonal acne, one of the defining characteristics is deep tender bumps or cysts that don’t come to a head.

What Causes Menopausal Acne?

Fluctuating Hormones

Hormonal changes during perimenopause and menopause are at the root of this problem. 

Estrogen levels decline during menopause, which can throw off the delicate balance of androgens (male-type hormones that all women have), and in particular testosterone. While estrogen declines affect the skin’s ability to ward off acne, the relative increase in androgens can lead to oily skin and clogged pores, resulting in breakouts.


According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), while stress cannot cause acne, stress may worsen existing acne. This is because stress can affect a person’s hormonal balance and skin’s immune function. A stressed body releases a hormone called cortisol which can lead to worsening acne.

Skincare, Cosmetics and Haircare

Many cosmetic, skincare, and even haircare products can cause acne.  This makes it very important to look for products that state they are “non-comedogenic”, meaning non-pore blocking, such as Finlay+Green’s skin-revitalizing moisturizer.

Don’t share your products and be sure to wash your brushes and applicators regularly, and make sure to remove your makeup before you go to bed.

Ultraviolet Light

Contrary to popular belief, exposure to sunlight can trigger and worsen acne. Sun may appear to temporarily improve the way the skin looks and make acne less obvious, but ultimately  UV light exposure will encourage the body to produce even more oil than before, resulting in a higher chance of acne. Additionally, the sun’s ultraviolet rays can darken acne and make it last longer.

Hormonal Acne Treatment

The good news is that there are various treatments available depending on the severity of your acne. Visit your doctor to determine the best approach for your specific case.  Often a dermatologist will prescribe two or more treatments. Topical therapies should be chosen with care as they can cause dryness and irritation in older women.


While the effects of menopausal acne can be deeply distressing and have a negative impact on your quality of life, it’s important to know that there are treatment options available. Always seek your doctor’s advice before starting any course of treatment.


NOTE: This blog is intended for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice. It should not be relied on as health or personal advice. Always seek the guidance of your doctor or other qualified health professional with any questions you may have regarding your health or a medical condition.