Here’s Why Women Struggle With Acne More And Longer Than Men

Written by Team BBSep 16, 2023
Here’s why women struggle with acne more and longer than men

Everyone suffers from adolescent acne, right? (Unless you’re a favourite of the skin gods.) But contrary to popular belief, acne struggles are worse in women as compared to men. While men are known to get more intense breakouts when they are younger, more women suffer from acne and what’s worse, there’s no age limit to it for them either.

On average,male skin tends to be thicker, oilier and show a different pattern of ageing as compared to women. It is also noted that while men are more prone to acne scarring than women due to the severity of male acne, women struggle with acne more often and for longer periods. Here are 5 reasons why that happens!


1. Sebum & Texture

5. Birth control and other reproductive factors

Men have tougher and rougher skin texture as compared to women. This is due to the thicker stratum corneum (outermost layer of skin), which also makes their skin better at dealing with external damage. Sebum production in men and women is also the reason why there is a difference in acne patterns. While men have larger and more active sebaceous glands, the quantity of sebum produced is constant throughout their lifetime; women, on the other hand, experience fluctuations, resulting in prolonged struggles with acne.


2. It’s all about those hormones, honey!

5. Birth control and other reproductive factors

The state of our hormones is one of the prime deciding factors in how the skin behaves. Women have a more complex hormonal makeup that constantly varies based on age, reproductive cycle, diet and even stress. From PMS pimples to menopause, acne flare-ups are more common for women because of these hormonal shifts in our bodies. I can count on at least a couple of breakouts every month to show up right on time; a problem men won’t have to face ever. 


3. Adult acne

5. Birth control and other reproductive factors

The largely held misconception that only teenagers get affected by severe acne has been dismissed by many studies. Their findings also point towards more women suffering from adult acne as compared to men. This has been more evident in recent years as pollution, bad lifestyle habits and hormonal shifts have gotten out of hand. What’s worse, there has been a growth in the number women suffering from conditions like PCOS and PCOD, making women more prone to adult acne than men.


4. Product build-up and makeup

5. Birth control and other reproductive factors

Men and women largely differ in their approach to skincare as well. Barring influencers and models, men on average do not slap on tonnes of products or wear makeup, which is where women end up shortchanged. All men need is some post-shave care and they are good to head out the door. No pore-clogging business involved. Societal beauty norms are not nearly as stringent for them as they are for women; the reason why 3-in-one shampoo-conditioner-body wash products are still making their sale targets! Women, on the other hand, use more skincare and makeup products, which if not suited to their skin type can cause acne.            


5. Birth control and other reproductive factors

5. Birth control and other reproductive factors

Reproductive factors have a huge impact on how the female skin behaves. Our cycles present our bodies with many challenges, the surge or drop in estrogen levels both leading to breakouts. Add birth control and other forms of contraception (eg: IUDs) into the mix and you have a tricky bunch of interactions going on in your body, wreaking havoc on your skin!

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