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Are you ready to kick hormonal acne to the curb?  How would you like an all-natural, safe, and effective way to do it? Look no further than saw palmetto.

What Is Saw Palmetto?

Saw palmetto is a small palm tree native to eastern regions of the United States. Its ripe fruit is used to make medicine.  Its extract is believed to be a highly effective anti-androgen as it contains phytosterols. 

This has been the subject of a great deal of research with regards to the treatment of androgenic alopecia (hair loss), and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).  More people are looking to natural remedies to fix issues they would normally turn to a doctor for. 

If you’ve ever struggled with or continue to struggle with hormonal acne you might already be familiar with medicine designed to control your androgen levels.  Doctors often prescribe Spironolactone to female acne sufferers for its anti-androgen effects.


Along with spearmint and green tea, saw palmetto has been noted to lower androgen levels which can assist in the management of acne.Along with spearmint and green tea, saw palmetto has been noted to lower androgen levels which can assist in the management of acne.Click to Tweet

People have safely used it for years.  Mayans drank it as a tonic.  American Indians used it to treat reproductive system problems. 

European and American medical practitioners used it as well.  For nearly 200 years they treated a variety of conditions with that powerful plant.

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How Does It Help Get Rid of Acne?

Saw palmetto has gained popularity for its ability to help get rid of hormonal acne.  It is considered an anti-androgen.  As a result, it lowers the activity of androgen hormones such as testosterone inside your body.

Androgens activate the production of sebum or oil.  Excess oil can trigger acne breakouts.  Keeping oil in check before it can create a problem is key.  Saw palmetto can help with the hormonal ups and downs associated with monthly cycles and menopause.

Additionally, it can help keep testosterone from being converted to a stronger form of testosterone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT).  Conditions that can benefit from this kind of hormonal balancing act are:

  • acne
  • benign prostatic hyperplasia
  • carcinoma of the prostate
  • hirsutism
  • male pattern baldness
  • polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)


Saw Palmetto & Acne

Saw palmetto contains fatty acids that can benefit acne-prone skin.  It is also packed with vitamins and antioxidants.

It lowers DHT levels to bring down the production of oil.  According to in vitro research, it blocks cyclooxygenase and 5-lipoxygenase pathways. 

Saw palmetto helps lower levels of COX-2 and it promotes an anti-inflammatory environment.  Inflammation is a major player in causing acne. 

So keeping inflammation low in the body is vital.  Inflammation is at the root of many diseases so keeping it at a minimum not only benefits your skin, it benefits your entire body.

Avoid eating foods that promote inflammation.  Remember to stay away from the three whites: white flour, white sugar, and dairy.


Saw Palmetto & PCOS

PCOS sufferers often struggle from acne.  Adrenal androgens are found in higher levels in PCOS sufferers.  Tissues such as the skin and liver convert weaker androgens into the more powerful ones. 

Saw palmetto helps here too because it is an anti-androgen and has anti-inflammatory effects.  In addition to saw palmetto, spearmint tea has been used for many years because of its testosterone reducing properties. 

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Its anti-androgenic properties reduce the level of free testosterone in the blood.  It is widely used in Middle Eastern regions as an herbal remedy.   

How much saw palmetto to take for hormonal acne



What Is the Recommended Amount to Take?

The best dosage of saw palmetto for skin issues like acne has not been established. A single daily dose of 320-500 mg may be effective.

Not all herbal products are created equally.  Look for a product that has 85-95% fatty acids and sterols.  Check with your doctor about the dosage recommendation. 

Not everyone will react the same way to it.  Some have had stellar results and others not so much.  Don’t expect results overnight.  Give it a month and see if it helps your acne situation.  

What Else is Saw Palmetto Good For?

Although there isn’t much evidence to support the use of saw palmetto for a variety of conditions, it has been used for the following:

  • Asthma
  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Colds and coughs
  • Enlarged prostate
  • Increasing breast size
  • Male and female pattern baldness
  • Migraine headache
  • Prostate surgery
  • Reducing bleeding after prostate surgery
  • Sore throat


What Are the Side Effects of Taking Saw Palmetto?

Taking saw palmetto is safe for most people.  If side effects do occur, they’re mild and include constipation, diarrhea, dizziness, headache, nausea, and vomiting.  

Since saw palmetto does act like a hormone, it could have unwanted side effects for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.  Do not use it if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

It seems to lower estrogen levels in the body. Taking it at the same time as estrogen pills might lower the effectiveness of estrogen pills. 

Speaking of estrogen, some birth control pills contain it.  Estrogen’s effects on the body might decrease when taking saw palmetto.

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Taking birth control pills and saw palmetto at the same time might decrease the effectiveness of birth control pills.   Use an additional form of birth control if you take birth control pills along with saw palmetto.

Do not use it two weeks prior to surgery.  It might slow blood clotting and cause extra bleeding during and after surgery.

Be aware that taking saw palmetto along with other medications that slow clotting might increase the chances of bruising and bleeding.  Aspirin, Advil, and Motrin are just a few meds that slow clotting.


Saw palmetto can be an effective remedy for hormonal acne if excess androgens are the cause of stubborn jawline and chin acne.  The best way to know which of your hormones are responsible for hormonal acne is to get your hormones tested.


Otherwise, you could easily waste time, energy and money on a treatment that would not work for you personally.  I wish there was one simple remedy for everyone who suffers from acne, but there isn’t. 

Knowledge is power, so find out what your hormone levels are before you start any program that can impact them.   You can get them tested at a doctor’s office. 

There are companies like EverlyWell that will ship kits to your home so you can test them yourself.  If you find that too many androgens are the cause of stubborn jawline and chin acne give saw palmetto a try.

What do you think about using saw palmetto to treat hormonal acne?



Grant P, Ramasamy S., “An update on plant derived anti-androgens,” Int J Endocrinol Metab. 2012 Spring;10(2):497-502. doi: 10.5812/ijem.3644. Epub 2012 Apr 20,

Reddy V, Bubna AK, Veeraraghavan M, Rangarajan S. Saw palmetto extract: A dermatologist’s perspective. Indian J Drugs Dermatol [serial online] 2017 [cited 2019 May 4];3:11-3. Available from:


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About the Author: Tung Chi