• Dr. Heather Robinson, ND

Let’s Hear It For The Boys! 3 Reasons for Adult Male Acne That Isn’t Hygiene-Related & What to Do

We talk A LOT about women’s health. Women’s hormones, women’s emotions, women’s skin. Don’t worry guys, we haven’t forgotten about you; in fact there are some things we want YOU to know that is just specific to you. The next four weeks we'll be chatting about sperm, hair loss and emotions so stay tuned. This week though, we will be chatting about acne.

Acne is such a complex concern because there are many different reasons it can be coming up. Not only that, but each person usually has more than one reason as the cause and it's likely not your hygiene routine if you've been dealing with it for year.

I’ve put together 3 reasons why adult men may have acne and what you can do about it today.

  1. Heat: In Traditional Chinese Medicine, there are many patterns that someone can exhibit, one of them being Heat/Cold. Symptoms of too much heat include well, literally feeling hot, inflammation in the body - in this case, likely inflamed skin, constipation (or if there is also dampness, sticky, loose stool) to name a few. I find that this pattern is a cause for acne much more commonly in males than females. To do: Use acupuncture of TCM herbs to help address that pattern. Avoid ‘hot’ foods like pork, sugar, beef, coffee or alcohol.

  2. Dairy: This is common in both women and men, but none-the-less, important to cover. Dairy is extremely inflammatory especially when it comes to the skin (hello all skin conditions). It wreaks havoc on blood sugar which is inherently inflammatory and aggravates those patterns of damp heat that I mentioned above. To do: Avoid all dairy for a couple of months. Really try to completely cut it out because even small amounts can impact skin. Talk to a health professional about gut healing and other ways to reduce your sensitivity to foods.Incorporate anti-inflammatory foods like turmeric, rosemary, fresh fruits and veggies and ensure you’re drinking at least 2L of water per day. Berberine is a powerful antimicrobial herb that works at the level of the gut and balancing blood sugar and has a lot of research for benefitting acne.

  3. Testosterone: Many people think that acne is because testosterone is too high. That is not necessarily true. Most often this issue isn’t with the Testosterone value itself, rather how it is being metabolized. Testosterone can go down two pathways. If it is preferentially going down the 5-alpha-reductase pathway, it will be converted into something called DHT (dihydrotestosterone) which is a potent form of Testosterone which is often the culprit of acne and even hair loss. To do: Incorporate herbs and nutrients that inhibit this pathway to balance the metabolism of testosterone. These include things like Zinc (SO important for male health in so many ways - think prostate health, sperm, hair - more to come in the series), Saw Palmetto, Nettles, or Pumpkin Seeds/Pumpkin seed oil. Using Zinc topically (many Zinc serums on the market now) can be helpful as it works at the level of the skin to reduce DHT.

If you've been struggling with acne and want to seek individual support, reach out to me @ to work together or I can find someone near you to help.


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Disclaimer: Any information on this website is for informational purposes only and are not intended to be used in place of professional medical advice.

Always seek the advice of a qualified health care practitioner with any questions or health concerns you may have.


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