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Individuals with PCOS are more than 2x as likely to develop acne compared to those without PCOS.[1]  The prevalence of acne in adults with PCOS is as high as 76%.[2] In this article, we explore the connection between PCOS and acne.

PCOS is associated with elevated levels of androgens,[3] sex hormones that are produced in the ovaries, start at puberty and play a key role in reproductive health.[4] 

Find out more about PCOS and Androgen Excess.

  • High androgen levels stimulate the skin glands to produce more sebum, an oily substance crucial for skin and hair lubrication;[5]

  • Excess sebum alters Cutibacterium, a type of bacteria protecting the skin from harmful pathogens;[6]

  • Changes in Cutibacterium lead to the buildup of Keratinocytes, special skin cells within pores that maintain the skin’s barrier properties;[7] and

  • Excess sebum and Keratinocytes cause pore blockage, triggering inflammation and, in severe cases, skin lesions.[8]

Beyond hormonal factors, stress and anxiety contribute to acne risk and severity.  Cortisol, a hormone produced during stress, acts as a disruptor, potentially worsening PCOS symptoms.[9] Additionally, lifestyle factors such as fatigue, smoking, sunburn, certain medications, and diets high in carbohydrates or dairy products can play a role in acne development.[10]

 Reviewed by Dr. K, one of Neuraura’s friends and trusted advisors.


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Want to learn more about skin-related symptoms of PCOS?  Check out our articles on skin tags and dark skin patches.

Symptoms – Appearance

PCOS and Acne

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