Does Testosterone Cause Acne

(Last Updated On: August 3, 2018)

The question should be what doesn’t testosterone cause? It is the male super hormone that turns a civilized man into an animal. But let’s get back to reality and the question at hand. Does testosterone cause acne. It has been believed that acne is caused by bacteria, sweat, and other factors. Some will tell you that junk food will cause acne. Others will tell you the cause for acne has several factors. But there is some validity that testosterone can cause acne. It is definitely a major cause of acne. In fact, it is the source for many different kinds of acne. The male hormone that is called androgen.

There are glands in the human body that produce sebum which is an oily substance. The sebum carries the dead skin cells through the pores and out of the body. When there is too much sebum produced it clogs the pores. The pores get clogged and acne will appear. Testosterone produces an excessive amount of sebum so it is a primary source for generating acne in the male human body. This fact is supported by an article published in Medical News Today. The article was written in 2009.

Teenagers and acne are synonymous with one another. The reason for this is because in male teenagers the testosterone goes crazy especially during puberty. So if testosterone runs wild you better believe the acne will be right behind it. In reality, the hormone runs wild in every which way in those young teenage years.

Testosterone and Life Changes

Testosterone and Life Changes

Women hit certain points in life and the pimples will pop up from nowhere. The two big life events when pimples will show up is during pregnancy and before the menstrual cycle in women. The little bit testosterone women do produce is responsible for this acne. The hormone levels change radically in women during these times.

Dairy Controlled Testosterone

You can control the testosterone levels through your dairy consumption. According to a book written by a Harvard school doctor and a nutritionist you can manipulate the testosterone levels in your body. By eliminating dairy foods out of your diet you can improve the appearance of your skin. Many dairy products are made from the milk of pregnant cows. This milk contains many hormones which the human body converts into a substance like testosterone. The body may know the difference between this duplicate testosterone and the real testosterone. The body will produce excessive sebum oil because of these hormone-like substances. You know the result-more acne. But this may not be valid because the hormones are testosterone-like. What makes it possible that they would overproduce or even produce sebum oil at all?

Sugar Controlled Testosterone

Sugar Controlled Testosterone

The authors of the same book say you can control acne by controlling sugar intake. The logic is that if you decrease the consumption of sugar that the production of insulin will decrease. If insulin increases it is a hormone that has a range of effects on the body. One of these effects is the ramping up of the hormone androgen which in turn increases sebum production. Excessive sebum oil clogging the pores acne is right around the bend. So, sugar would indirectly contribute to the manufacture of acne in the body. This seems like a hypothetical long shot that cutting down the amount of sugar consumed would reduce acne. The authors of this book have no studies to support these theories as there really is no working proof that either of these premises is true.

Medication Controlling Testosterone Levels

Medication Controlling Testosterone Levels

There are some medications that can limit the production of acne. One of these drugs is spironolactone which inhibits the production of testosterone and this drug is produced by Aldactone. The drug, according to their website, the drug is a liver and heart failure drug but it improves acne in men and especially women.

Another drug Cyproterone acetate sold as Androcur or Cyprostat, which is supposed to inhibit the production of testosterone by blocking the cellular sensors for the hormone. The drug treats hypersexuality, cancer, benign prostatic hyperplasia, and prostate cancer. And it is able to reduce acne. How this is done remain a mystery.

This is an unlikely one but birth control pills are able to control acne. The pills can control the production of sebum because most pills contain estrogen and progestin.

Estrogen is the hormone that controls sebum production and can reduce acne from appearing on the face. How it is supposed to do this is unknown because the process was not explained on how this eliminates testosterone.

Testosterone or not to Testosterone

Testosterone or not to Testosterone

Testosterone is the hormone that develops and defines the sexual characteristics of the male It also can help with dry skin. Women also produce very small amounts of testosterone. The adrenal gland is the manufacturer of this hormone. This hormone helps in stimulating sexual drive and reproduction in the male.

In and of itself testosterone is harmless at normal levels. The problem arises when testosterone is developed excessive amounts. It builds up in the pores and finally blocks them. This is a prime breeding ground for acne-producing bacteria. This is why it is so important to keep the pores open and sebum oil production at normal levels.

Other Reasons for High Testosterone levels

Other Reasons for High Testosterone levels

Anabolic steroids are muscle enhancing drugs that build muscle mass faster than normal this will increase testosterone levels. Acne on its way
Adrenal issues if any issues with adrenal glands form, like cancerous tumors, they will go crazy and produce way too much testosterone. The potential for acne is here too.

Supplement Power Vitamin D and zinc have supposedly been linked to high testosterone production. Garlic and Korean red ginseng can produce excessive levels of testosterone. These causes may be suspect as there really is no research to prove these claims are true. The above-mentioned supplements (except Korean red ginseng) are supposed to help the body not hinder it. Acne may are may not be produced depending on if these supplements can really affect testosterone levels. This seems highly unlikely though.

Thyroid Function is connected to Hypothyroidism which causes the thyroid hormone to be lacking in the body. If this happens the testosterone levels will either flare up too high or drop to dangerously low levels. In the case of the excessive testosterone levels, the acne will come.

Carbs are to be blamed for increased blood sugar levels. The blood sugar levels increase more insulin is produced. When the insulin increases in the female body the ovaries produce more testosterone. More testosterone we know what the outcome could be. Again, this may be true or just a theory. Currently, there may be no studies to support this hypothesis.This sound very lacking for scientific support.

The Big Diet is a major cause of testosterone level manipulation. Take tuna for example supposedly because it is high in vitamin D content it can boost testosterone levels. One helping of tuna can boost testosterone. This all hinges on if vitamin D can really raise testosterone levels or not.

Oysters are rich in zinc which is said to increase testosterone levels. But is zinc really a manipulator of zinc levels in the first place?

Banana Blitz true a banana contains potassium, vitamin B, and bromelain but do the big three really activate increased testosterone levels? If they do than bananas are a big source for increased testosterone levels. But this is a little hard to swallow because bananas are so healthy to at. This is the writer’s first time to hear that bananas can increase testosterone levels.

Red Meat is a master influencer of testosterone levels increasing. It contains high amounts of protein and amino acids. It also has a nice share of zinc it. So, red meat is said to be a major contributor to high testosterone levels because of the previously mentioned compounds.

Again is red meat really a threat for higher testosterone levels and what about protein? It seems like red meat which can be healthy for you can be a contributor to high testosterone levels. Protein? How can one of the building blocks of life be bad for you because it can cause increased testosterone levels? Frankly, the protein being a catalyst for higher testosterone levels is hard to comprehend.

Signs of High Testosterone Levels

Signs of High Testosterone Levels

One sign of high testosterone levels is depression. Depression is accompanied by loss of appetite, trouble sleeping, and loss of weight. This may be a primary cause of testosterone levels being too high. Another obvious sign is if you have frequent acne flare-ups this is a good reason for testosterone levels being high.

But the true and tried level to find out if testosterone levels are too high is to have your hormone levels measured. This is done by a blood test and then the doctor checks for androgens in your blood. If you are above normal levels in androgens then your testosterone levels are too high. Other factors showing that testosterone levels are too high are anxiety, aggression, and depression as was mentioned before.

If you lower your testosterone levels you will get rid of your acne. It is that plain and that simple. Before you bark on an adventure to lower your testosterone you should consult your doctor. You do not want to get your testosterone levels too low. If you do it will affect your sleeping habits and you will gain weight. Also, if you and your wife are trying to have a baby you can forget it. Your doctor can give you some practical options to lower your testosterone levels in a healthy and balanced weight.

Women naturally have low levels of testosterone in their blood but if they get too high they can be lowered. Exercising is a great and healthy way to lower testosterone levels. Just the natural course of exercising will lower overall levels of androgens and testosterone levels.

Soybeans and Lima beans are a suggested way to lower testosterone levels. They contain high levels of estrogen but be careful eating too many of these beans. Increased levels of estrogen will counteract high levels of testosterone. But the danger is if you get too much estrogen in your body it could be as unhealthy as having too high levels of testosterone levels.

Testosterone Levels are Naturally Different in Women and Men

Signs of High Testosterone Levels

The levels of testosterone are vastly different in men and women Except for puberty testosterone levels will always be higher in men than women. Women are very sensitive to hormonal changes. If the testosterone levels slightly increase in women their faces will breakout with acne excessively.

There are other factors that could affect testosterone levels like unique body chemistry or your genetic code. Women, please take note that during the first part of the menstrual cycle is dominated by estrogen. The second half of the cycle is when testosterone levels will increase. With This change, acne flare-ups could accompany this change. So, this is why right before the period you may have acne breakouts.

During this period in a woman’s life, they crave sugar. So, they will eat food sources that contain plenty of sugar. This combined with the change in testosterone levels within their bodies will produce a major breakout of acne. So, regulate your sugar consumption and you may be able to control your risk for a massive flare-up of acne.

Men are already at higher levels of testosterone so eating sugars for them would shoot testosterone levels through the roof. Then The acne flare up will surely follow. Especially, if the man or woman is prone to acne anyway.

Making some adjustments to diet and some common sense decisions can help you to get the testosterone levels under control and the acne with it. If you know that certain foods will cause your testosterone levels to spike then stay away from those types of foods and your acne flare ups will calm down.

For a woman, if you know the second part of your monthly cycle will increase testosterone levels and you know you are more inclined to eat foods loaded with sugar be prepared and steer clear of sugars.

Nature is such that when the testosterone levels increase in the body they will activate excessive sebum oil production. Normally the sebum will carry dead skin cells and other foreign matter out of the body through the pores. But as was mentioned before if there is too much sebum flowing through the pores they will clog. And if they clog they will form pimples. We cannot stop these natural processes from occurring in our bodies. But we sure can control the levels of testosterone that is produced in our bodies.If we are able to keep the testosterone levels in the normal range then we can keep our skin healthy looking and free of acne.

Ways to Control Testosterone Levels

Ways to Control Testosterone Levels

It has been proven by research that omega-3 fatty acids can reduce testosterone levels. So what you can do is take omega 3 fatty acid supplements such as EPA and DHA can lower testosterone levels and break the cycles of acne breakouts. Thi is probably the most concentrated and easiest method to get omega 3 fatty acids into your body. You can also consume foods that are high in omega 3 fatty acids. This may call for a total change in your dietary habits.

But changing your eating habits will help you to bring high testosterone levels down to the normal range. Think of the benefits you will reduce the risk of acne breakouts. Let’s face reality no one likes to have their face covered with acne. You can have beautiful acne-free skin.

Females who experience hormonal acne can reduce their testosterone levels as well. This can be done naturally by taking a herb called vitex. This acne in females usually appears along the jawline and chin. Taking the vitex herb early in the morning will be your best for the optimum results. The herb is not a hormone itself but it can indirectly affect testosterone levels in women and lower them. This herb has been successful in stopping acne breakouts in women.

The next way is a universal method that anyone can use. It calls for a change in the diet. It has been proven that if a diet which is high in saturated fat will cause testosterone levels to remain high. If the diet allows for a reduction of fat by just 38% then the testosterone levels in the blood will be lowered. Those levels go down the acne disappears. Eating such foods as with polyunsaturated fats such as nuts, algae, fish, and leafy greens will help get the fat lowered to the desired levels.


There is a definite correlation between high levels of testosterone and acne breakouts. The testosterone as has been mentioned will increase sebum oil production. When this occurs in the body the pores will clog up from too much sebum oil passing through them. This will cause acne to breed and flare up in the affected areas. There are ways that the testosterone levels can be returned to normal levels. If the testosterone levels remain at normal levels the acne spread will stop.

Written by Irina Radosevic MD
Irina graduated from the University of Belgrade, School of Medicine as a Doctor of Medicine (MD) and spent over 3 years working in the Clinical Hospital Center Zvezdara, in the Department of Emergency Medicine. She also undertook a postgraduate in Cardiology from the same University and had previously worked for over a year as a Physician and Nutritionist Dietitian for the Fitness club Green Zone. She eventually left her chaotic but fulfilling job in the ER to pursue her passion of writing, travelling and mountain climbing which has included writing a first aid course for the alpine club of Belgrade. Irina currently works as a VA for PintMedia focusing on medical and travel writing. Feel free to connect with Irina on LinkedIn and FaceBook. Her CV can be seen here.