Using Oral Contraceptives To Treat Hormonal Acne
If youre prescribed an oral contraceptive to treat your acne, this will often contain ethinylestradiol along with norethindrone, norgestimate, or drospirenone. Together, a combination of these ingredients can clear up your acne by targeting the hormones that are causing it. This can be particularly helpful when your hormones are reaching peak levels e.g. during ovulation.
However, if you have a history of breast cancer, high blood pressure, or blood clots, oral contraceptives might not be a suitable option for you. Equally, if youre a smoker, this treatment isnt recommended.
Ways To Eliminate Hormonal Acne
If learning how to get rid of hormonal acne seems complex, heres your wrap-up.
If youre experiencing hormonal acne, theres no need to endure the breakouts. Visit an Epiphany Dermatology location near you to find the best treatment plan for your skin.
Lifestyle Changes And Natural Treatments
While small changes to your lifestyle and hygiene habits usually wont be enough to deal with severe acne outbreaks, making a few modifications to the way you take care of your skin can usually help to improve mild to moderate hormonal acne.
From a hygiene and skincare perspective, you can:
Avoid scratching, scraping or picking pimples. This can open pimples to the air and allow bacteria to enter into the pore, increasing your risk of dealing with an inflamed and infected acne lesion.
Wash your face no more than twice daily, unless you need to after excessive sweating. Excessive washing can irritate your facial skin and make acne outbreaks more severe. Try to limit your facial washing to twice a day, usually after youve been active and sweating.
Avoid harsh, chemical-laden face washes. Unfortunately, many over-the-counter facial washes are packed with chemicals that can irritate your skin. During an acne outbreak, its best to avoid exfoliating face washes and other harsh skincare products.
Limit your makeup usage. During an outbreak, its best to completely avoid using any makeup that isnt water-based. We know this is practically impossible, so just try to limit your makeup usage to occasions when you really need it.
From an environmental perspective, you can:
From a natural treatment perspective, you can:
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What Gets Rid Of Hormonal Acne
Before you get downtrodden about the finicky nature of hormonal acne, remember that its pesky, but perfectly normal. So normal, in fact, that there are many methods to help treat it.
Most people with hormonal acne have tried over-the-counter treatments to no avail. If they arent working for you, you may need to seek the help of a dermatologist, who can offer prescription hormonal acne treatments. In general, its a good idea to see your dermatologist if you have deep or cystic pimples, because they could be a marker of something more serious, such as a thyroid condition or abnormal hormone levels, says Dr. Jegasothy.
If youve stumbled across natural treatments for hormonal acne, like using certain essential oils or other home remedies, Dr. Rodney says theyre not really legitand can sometimes make the situation worse. She recommends trying one of the hormonal acne medications or treatments listed below instead:
The hormonal acne treatment pyramid starts with good over-the-counter cleansers. When choosing yours, look for alpha7 or beta hydroxy acids, such as glycolic, lactic, or salicylic acids8. As you wash your face, each of these ingredients helps exfoliate the skin by unclogging pores to varying degrees of intensity. Finding the right kind that works for you might take some careful experimentation, but the La-Roche Posay Effaclar Medicated Cleanser and the Paulas Choice Pore Normalizing Cleanser are two derm-approved face washes for acne-prone skin.
What Is The Best Medication For Hormonal Acne
The most common topical prescription medications for acne are:
- Retinoids and retinoid-like drugs. Drugs that contain retinoic acids or tretinoin are often useful for moderate acne.
- Antibiotics. These work by killing excess skin bacteria and reducing redness and inflammation.
- Azelaic acid and salicylic acid.
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Does Hormonal Acne Go Away
If you have hormonal acne now, know this: Youre not doomed to live with it forever. All forms of acne, including hormonal acne, can improve over time as your body adjusts to hormonal or physiological changes, Dr. Rodney says. However, in many cases, its a chronic problem that will be tough to get rid of without personalized treatment.
How To Treat Hormonal Acne
“Preventing hormonal acne might seem like a tall orderit is caused by your hormones, after all but there are a few things you can do, says Love. It requires some lifestyle changes. These breakouts are coming from an imbalance of hormones in the body, so you need to get to the root of the cause to determine the right hormonal acne treatment. Ahead, dermatologists share their best tips for how to help treat hormonal acne.
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The Purifying Face Mask
Ideal for those who suffer from cystic acne or blind pimples, this 100% vegan face mask is infused with bamboo charcoal, green tea leaves and organic tea tree oil to draw out impurities and refine the look of pores. It also smells like a day at the spa, so that’s always a win!
Try: The Body Shop Himalayan Charcoal Purifying Glow Mask, $35 at The Body Shop
Standard Therapies Are Not Effective In Hormonal Acne Treatment
Treatment of this condition is often more difficult to achieve than other forms of acne. Topical medications are rarely effective in controlling hormonal acne and are generally not effective. By the time most women come to the Advanced Acne Institute they have already seen other doctors and have been given a variety of standard therapies without success. Some have taken oral antibiotics with only initial improvement.
Can Hormonal Acne Cause Scarring
Many individuals with deep, painful cystic and nodular acne know that it can cause significant scarring. However, Dr. Stigall told us, generally, hormonal acne does not cause scarring, unlike teenage acne, but it certainly can, especially if manipulated. This is why its crucial that you do not try to pop any blemishes at home!
Exposed Skincare Basic Kits
Best overall hormonal acne treatment
This skincare kit includes products with a range of ingredients commonly used to treat and prevent acne, including benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, glycolic acid, sulfur, and azelaic acid.
The products also contain natural ingredients that aim to soothe irritated skin, such as green tea, aloe vera, and passionflower and sage extract.
The company states that the kit is suitable for people with all skin types, including people with sensitive skin. It recommends using the products as part of a morning and evening cleansing routine.
The cleanser and tonic come in 4-ounce bottles, and the serums come in 1.7-oz containers.
The company offers a 1-year money-back guarantee.
The basic kit costs $59.95.
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What Questions Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider
- How severe is my acne?
- What lifestyle changes should I make to prevent hormonal acne from forming?
- What are the side effects to my acne treatment?
- Can I take this treatment if I become pregnant?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
It can be frustrating to see breakouts on your skin as an adult, considering they are most frequent among adolescents. Talk with your healthcare provider if your acne is persistent and they will be able to offer advanced treatment options to eliminate pesky pimples.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 09/10/2021.
How To Get Rid Of Hormonal Acne With Natural Remedies
Some people also find that mild hormonal acne can be treated using a plant-based treatment. These treatments are often free of any of the side effects that the prescribed options come with, but they might not be as effective.
At present, the amount of research that has been carried out on these natural acne treatments is lacking, which means there are no proven remedies. Therefore, you should always speak with your dermatologist or doctor before going ahead with a treatment to make sure it wont affect the medication you are taking.
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What Helps Get The Best Results
When taking hormonal therapy for acne, it helps to:
Give the medication time to work
Take the medication at the same time every day
Use everything on your acne treatment plan
Keep all follow-up appointments with your dermatologist
Contact your dermatologists office right away if you experience signs of a serious side effect, such as cramping in your leg or arm
Hormonal therapy is an option for many women with stubborn acne, but its not always the only option. A dermatologist can tell you what can help clear your stubborn acne.
ReferencesCarol, R. Hormonal therapies serve as key adjunct acne treatment. Dermatol World. 2012 May . 2-6.
Ebede TL, Arch EL, et al. Hormonal treatment of acne in women. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2009 2: 1622.
Harper JC. Use of oral contraceptives for management of acne vulgaris. Practical considerations in real world practice. Dermatol Clin. 2016 34:159-65.
Kim GK, Del Rosso JQ. Oral spironolactone in post-teenage female patients with acne vulgaris: Practical considerations for the clinician based on current data and clinical experience. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2012 5:37-50.
Plovanich M Weng QY, et al. Low usefulness of potassium monitoring among healthy young women taking spironolactone for acne. JAMA Dermatol. 2015 151:941-4.
Zaenglein AL, Pathy AL et al. Guidelines of care for the management of acne vulgaris. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2016 74:945-73.
What Is Hormonal Acne And How Can I Treat It
- Reviewed By: Julie Lamonoff, CNM, OBGYN-NP, Shannon DeVita DNP, FNP-BC, CPNP-PC
Everyone tells us that acne is supposed to go away after puberty is over. In an ideal world, this would be true.
In our world, acne breakouts can and do happen well into adulthood. If youve noticed your acne flaring up around the same time each month , you may be experiencing hormonal acne.
Read on for a breakdown of what hormonal acne is, why it happens, and what you can do to get rid of it and get back to your life.
- Hormonal acne happens when hormone fluctuations create the perfect storm for clogged pores.
- The good news is hormonal acne is usually treatable.
- Treatments range from over-the-counter cleansers to prescription medicine to topical creams.
- There are things you can do at home to help prevent breakouts.
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What Are The Causes Of Hormonal Acne
Hormonal acne is essentially caused by fluctuations in hormone levels. The hormones that influence hormonal acne are estrogen and progesterone , testosterone , and cortisol .
The causative hormonal changes typically occur around the time of your menstrual period, when you start or stop using hormonal birth control, during or after pregnancy, and during perimenopause and menopause. Less commonly, it can be triggered by certain medical conditions such as polycystic ovarian syndrome . Genetics also play a role in hormonal acne one study found that 67% of women in the study group with hormonal adult acne had an acne family history.
What Triggers Hormonal Acne
Hormonal fluctuations trigger hormonal acne, and these fluctuations can happen because of:
- Hormonal changes
- Lifestyle changes
But its important to note that hormonal acne is not your fault. Seriously. Fundamentally, everyones skin is the sameeveryone has hormonal fluctuations, oil productions, and acne-causing bacteria in their skin that could cause a huge breakout at any time, said Dr. Gohara. The sebaceous glands in some people are just naturally more sensitive to these triggers, causing a larger and more frequent inflammatory response.
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Take A Look At Your Food
I knowthis is nobodys favorite topic. But if your meals currently consist of pizza and cookies and shredded cheddar cheese straight from the bag, all washed down with multiple glasses of wine, you should know youre not exactly helping your hormonal acne situation. The sugar found in sweets can actually spike acne-causing hormones, Dr. Zeichner has said. Think: a spike in insulin, which can cause a hormonal cascade that leads to inflammation and breakouts.
Same thing goes for dairy: Dairy has been shown to have an effect on testosterone levels, according to studies, which can trigger excess oil production that leads to hormonal acne. If you wanna see if your favorite foods are making hormonal acne worse, cut out all dairy and significantly reduce your alcohol, sugar, and refined carbohydrate intake for two full weeks to see if your skin seems at all calmer.
Adult Acne: How To Get Rid Of Hormonal Acne Naturally
If youre someone who suffers from hormonal acne, chances are youve tried numerous home remedies for acne but may not be getting the results you hoped for. Thats likely because this type of acne can be complicated to treat, considering it occurs for reasons beyond having clogged pores, which is often the case with other forms of acne.
How can you stop hormonal acne? One of the first steps is working on balancing your hormones, such as by eating a nourishing diet, managing stress and getting enough sleep.
The next layer in your treatment plan is using the right types of cleansers and topical products. That means those that help clean and soothe your irritated skin without worsening symptoms.
The good news? Youre not alone if youve developed adult-onset acne, since this affects most people at one point in their lives or another based on a variety of factors.
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Creating A Successful Hormonal Acne Diet
Even though the relationship between hormonal acne and your diet isnt fully understood, there are some foods that are thought to help fight acne especially those that help reduce inflammation.
You may be able to induce clearer skin while reducing inflammation by eating plant-based foods that are full of antioxidants. These include blueberries, strawberries, kale, spinach, beets, and eggplant. Equally, you may decrease the inflammation of your skin by eating foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids e.g. fish, eggs, milk, seeds, nuts, grains, and oils.
Furthermore, although eating, you can increase inflammation by eating too much:
What Are The Symptoms Of Hormonal Acne
For teenagers, hormonal acne breakouts will often appear in the same places as typical teen acne: the forehead, cheeks, around the mouth, and the chin. Unlike teenage acne which is predominantly on the upper parts of the face, hormonal acne appears mostly on the lower parts of the face around the mouth, chin, and lower jawline. Though the chin and jawline are the most common locations for adult hormonal acne, the face and sides of the neck may also be affected.
Like teenage acne, hormonal acne will include comedones . Many women with hormonal acne will also have “under-the-skin bumps”, cysts that are not red or visible on the skin’s surface.
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How Can I Treat Hormonal Acne Naturally
Hormonal acne is exactly what it sounds like – acne caused by hormonal imbalances and changes. Hormonal acne is prevalent in women who go through hormonal fluctuations during menstruation and menopause. The standard treatment of hormonal acne includes prescription birth control pills, oral antibiotics, spironolactone, or Accutane prescribed by dermatologists. People looking for natural treatment of hormonal acne should look for treatment creams with salicylic acid , tea tree oil, and green tea extract combined with oral DIM cruciferous supplements to improve hormonal balance.
What Else Can You Do When You Have Hormonal Acne
Follow a low glycemic diet, low dairy diet.
Research suggests that dietary factors such as insulin levels and glycemic index may be tied with acne breakouts and blemishes. Eating foods with a high glycemic index will quickly raise your blood sugar, causing a spike in insulin. This spike will trigger several hormonal reactions that will likely increase sebum production, leading to pimples and other skin woes. Foods with a high GI include processed foods like:
- Sugary soft drinks
Stress causes an increase in cortisol – also called the stress hormone. Cortisol affects the sebaceous glands to produce more sebum – leading to more acne breakouts.
Incorporate probiotics into your daily diet
Probiotics are live microorganisms that provide health benefits when consumed, generally by improving gut health. When undigested foods leak through your gut and into your bloodstream, it can cause disease-causing inflammation and hormone imbalances. Optimizing gut health is a key way to keep hormone levels healthy and synthesize and regulate hormones and neurotransmitters the microbiome aids in regulating estrogen levels. Foods such as sauerkraut, kefir, kimchi, miso, and tempeh are great probiotics sources!
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