Some people have a naturally oily skin type, but there are several other factors which can lead to a greasy complexion including genetics, aging, stress, climate changes, and the ebb and flow of key hormones. If you’re wondering what hormones cause oily skin, keep reading to learn all of the details.

If your skin has suddenly become oily when it usually is not, consider whether you’re in a stage of your life when fluctuating hormones may play a key role. For example, menopause or pregnancy could cause an imbalance and negatively impact your skin.

In this article, we’ll explain the impact of specific hormones on oily skin, and provide you with some methods for improving the condition with lifestyle changes, skincare products, and key ingredients. 

How Do Hormones Cause Oily Skin?

Our skin contains sebaceous glands which are responsible for the production of oil called sebum. Even if your skin is normally quite balanced, these glands have receptors that respond to the release of sex hormones, leading to the overproduction of oil when levels are too high. 

During times when hormones increase like menstruation, puberty, pregnancy, and menopause, oily skin may develop. This is because the hormones bind to the receptors in the sebaceous glands to cause excess oil release. The result may be an increased likelihood of acne breakouts.

What Hormones are Responsible for Oily Skin?

The sebaceous glands are most powerfully influenced by androgens, which are male hormones like testosterone that also exist in women. Produced by the adrenal glands, levels are high during puberty and also increase during menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause. This boosts sebum production and may cause or exacerbate oily skin and breakouts.

While generally speaking higher levels of estrogen have been found to suppress sebum production, the research is not completely clear. Fluctuations in estrogen levels during or before menstruation may at times increase the release of oil.

Studies indicate that the elevation in progesterone levels after ovulation and during the second week of your menstrual cycle may increase sebum production, which could clog the pores and lead to acne.

Ways To Improve Your Oily Skin Condition Caused By Hormones

If you’re experiencing unexpected oily skin, hormones may play a key role. It’s important to know that there are a number of methods you can use to decrease its impact. In this section, we’ll provide you with some lifestyle, skincare, and medical solutions that can help lessen oily skin and promote a healthy, balanced complexion.

Following a Proper Skincare Routine

One of the most effective ways to reduce an oily complexion is to build a strong skincare routine and follow it consistently twice daily, morning and evening. The Solvaderm collection contains a number of key products which can help reduce oil production and keep your skin in optimal health. 

Your routine should include a gentle, non-comedogenic cleanser like Dermpura followed by a powerful toner like Maxatone to remove any excess oil as well as dirt and dead skin cells. Both products can help unclog the pores to prevent breakouts and balance the complexion.

If you have oily skin, exfoliate once or twice a week with a rich serum like Glowpeel which gently cleanses the skin, further unclogging the pores and promoting cell turnover for a fresh, healthy appearance.

Use a powerful moisturizer like Infusoderm to keep dryness at bay, as it can lead to excess oil production. This is a rich formula that deeply hydrates, refreshes, nourishes, and brightens the complexion. During the day, add a powerful SPF sunscreen to protect from the sun’s harmful rays which can cause damage and lead to excess oil release.

Control Your Diet

Your food intake can have a significant impact on the quality of your skin, so it’s important to make healthy choices. Follow a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, fish, and lean meats. 

There are also key foods that you should exclude from your diet. When it comes to oily skin, sugar is a major culprit as it causes inflammation which can lead to excess sebum. In addition, fried foods and too many dairy products can cause oily skin, and alcohol dries out the complexion, creating added sebum production. 

Manage Your Stress

High levels of stress cause your body to release the hormone cortisol, which leads the sebaceous glands to produce excess sebum. For this reason, keeping your stress levels in check is extremely important in managing oily skin. Consider methods like improving your work-life balance, practicing yoga, taking a course in meditation and mindfulness, or seeking out social support more frequently. 

Consult an Expert

If your oily skin seems to be a problem you can’t solve on your own, seek out the care of a dermatologist. Your physician will assess the reasons for your hormonal oil production and suggest appropriate treatment. This may include topical medications like retinoids or benzoyl peroxide, pills like isotretinoin, or oral antibiotics.

If your oily skin tends to flare up during menstruation, the doctor may suggest that you take oral contraceptives to balance your hormone levels. Excess sebum production during menopause may benefit from hormone replacement therapy if it’s suitable for you.

Ideal Skincare Ingredients That Can Help You Control Oily Skin

When you’re building your skincare routine, make sure to include products that have some of the following key ingredients. Research supports their benefits in controlling oily skin due to hormones or other factors, so they can balance your complexion and prevent breakouts. 

Salicylic Acid 

Salicylic acid is a powerful beta hydroxy acid that exfoliates the skin, removing dead skin cells and excess oil to unclog the pores. It also breaks down the excess sebum on the surface of the skin to prevent a greasy complexion. 

Products with salicylic acid include the clarifying deep cleanser Rejuvoderm, which gently exfoliates the complexion, hydrates, and promotes elasticity and firmness, and Zeroblem, which soothes the skin and removes excess oil.

Glycolic Acid

This gentle alpha hydroxy acid is also included in Rejuvoderm. It removes the top layer of skin cells, leaving fresh, healthy skin underneath which is more balanced in terms of oil production. 

Glycolic acid unclogs the pores and slows sebum release, making it the ideal ingredient for your routine. Glowpeel is a powerful exfoliating, dermal resurfacing serum that contains glycolic and other potent fruit acids.  


Retinoids are Vitamin A derivatives that exfoliate the complexion, unclog pores, and promote cell turnover, revealing a fresh layer of skin underneath that is less prone to excess sebum production. To experience the benefits of this powerful ingredient, add an anti-aging night cream like Suvoderm to your evening routine to keep your complexion fresh, hydrated, and oil-free while you sleep. 

Vitamin B3

Another key ingredient in Suvoderm is Vitamin B3, or niacinamide, which improves skin hydration to prevent dryness that could lead to excess oil. There’s evidence that it can slow sebum production and keep the skin in optimal balance. Consider adding a rejuvenating serum like Ace Ferulic to your skincare routine to benefit from the potency of Vitamin B3.


Question #1 - How do you stop hormonal oily skin?

If you experience oily skin due to shifts in hormone levels, there are lifestyle, skincare, and medical solutions to help control the condition. Follow a healthy diet and avoid food and drink that contribute to excess oil production, like sugar, excess dairy, alcohol, and anything fried. 

In addition, implement methods to keep your stress levels in check and follow a consistent skincare routine twice daily. You may also consider making an appointment with a dermatologist for prescription medication and other treatment options. 

Question #2 - Is oily skin caused by a hormonal imbalance?

Some people have a naturally oily skin type, and there are a number of other possible causes of a greasy complexion, including genetics, stress, changing weather conditions, greasy hair, hormonal imbalance, and foods high in sugar.

Bottom Line 

Shifts in hormone levels may lead to excess oil production at different points in your life, which could make you more prone to breakouts. In this article, we have provided you with all the information you need concerning what hormones cause oily skin, how to control excess hormonal oiliness, and how to promote a balanced complexion.

Explore the Solvaderm collection to build the optimal skincare routine for decreasing oil production, unclogging the pores, preventing breakouts, and keeping your complexion hydrated, radiant, and healthy. 

Melissa Feldman

Melissa Feldman

Melissa Feldman lives in Toronto, Canada and works as an independent research writer. She has undergraduate degrees in both Teaching and Psychology, and a Master’s degree in Immigration. Melissa is skilled at writing compelling articles and producing academic, marketing, and creative content. She writes about a range of lifestyle topics, including health, fitness, beauty and nutrition. She has more than two decades of experience reviewing and editing publications intended for both public and professional audiences.

Written by Melissa Feldman

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