PCOS: When acne is more than just spots…

 Now I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that adult acne is one of the more frustrating (and embarrassingly overt) symptoms of PCOS. I have struggled with acne since my teen years and after trying what seems like everything and anything to subdue it I’m sad to say it continues to plague me as I move into my thirties later this year…

I have been fortunate, in that I have not suffered with acne as severe as some peoples, however it has been an ongoing battle that continues to flare up and require regular measures to try and keep under control (I’ll never leave the house without some form of foundation or cover up on), I’m having a bit of a bad spell with it currently so I figured it would be the perfect opportunity to discuss how PCOS affects our skin with acne.


File 12-02-2016, 23 56 18

A pretty unflattering close-up of me make-up free and my back during a prolonged (seems like forever) bad spell…

So how can you tell if that break out is more than just puberty, stress or that time of the month?

  • There’s some sort of pattern and/or cycle: If your acne gets worse when you’re premenstrual (or would supposedly be due on if you are lucky enough to have some form of regular periods!) that’s linked to your hormones for sure.
  • You get breakouts in specific areas: It’s been said that acne along and below your cheekbones, on your jawline and neck is more likely a sign of hormonal issues than breakouts across your T-zone. Or you may find that there is no real logic and you feel covered in spots which is just as frustrating!
  • The type of spots: There are fundamental differences between casual breakouts and hormonal acne; this can be seen in the shape, size, appearance and feel of the spots (as gross as that sounds). Hormonal acne is often deep, cystic and sensitive – so you’re likely to have bright red, painful and stubborn spots that tend to start off like mini mountains and take a while to actually appear as full spots. Annoyingly this type of acne is prone to scarring if you try to get rid of them by succumbing to picking and popping – I’m not the best to advise here, but try to resist!
  • Nothing seems to help: So you’ve scoured the drug stores and the beauty counters to try every new, improved or tried and tested spot formula, acne treatment and clear skin miracle cure but nothing seems to have an impact! Topical treatments don’t tend to help with hormonal acne so that’s when your doctor is likely to try and help you by suggesting birth control (in my case it was Dianette and Yasmin pills) or more stringent acne medication (such as spironolactone).

So it would seem that the best way to try and combat the acne side effects of your PCOS battle ties in with the lifestyle changes you make to help manage your condition – drink lots of water and improve your diet in the hopes of working towards a visible improvement.

**I’m by no means a medical professional and am merely sharing my own experience and research with you – if you have specific questions or want further advice I would recommend speaking with your GP, hormone specialist or dermatologist.**



5 thoughts on “PCOS: When acne is more than just spots…

    • littlemissmagickal says:

      Thank you – your post is interesting and I’m glad those things have worked for you, frustratingly I’ve tried them all too and the hormones just make it too difficult to shift! The search will continue… 😉

  1. iwannabeamommy2 says:

    Thank you for your post! I suffered with acne for all of my teen years until I finally began birth control. Since coming off of birth control, my acne has been reminisant of my days as a teenager (I’m also in my thirties). I had no idea that my acne was related to PCOS until doing research online. ARG. I am at a loss when it comes to my acne.

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