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What triggers acne in women?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
For women, acne is not just about an over-production of sebum. There are other factors such as hormonal changes and medications that can result in the formation of acne as well.

Many things can trigger acne in women:

     • Hormone changes during puberty. During puberty, girls have an increase in male sex hormones called androgens. This increase causes the glands to get larger and make more sebum.
  
     • Hormone changes as an adult. The menstrual cycle is one of the most common acne triggers. Acne lesions tend to form a few days before the cycle begins and go away after the cycle is completed. Other hormone changes, such as pregnancy and menopause, improve acne in some women. But some women have worse acne during these times. Stopping use of birth control pills can play a role as well.
   
     • Medicines. Certain medicines, such as those used to treat epilepsy and types of depression.
  
     • Make-up.
  
     • Pressure or friction on the skin. Friction caused by bike helmets or backpacks can make acne worse.
 
     • Family history. If other people in your family have acne, there is a greater chance you will have it.

This answer is based on the source information from the National Women's Health Information Center.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.