What can I do about hormonal acne?

“Acne” refers to any clogged pore: bacteria and oil build up create a raised blemish. We call it “hormonal acne” when that clogged pore is caused by the body overproducing sebum, the oil that comes from the sebaceous glands in the skin’s middle layer. This overproduction results from changes in your body’s hormonal balance.

So, there are two main ways to prevent hormonal acne:

One is to focus on keeping your skin clean and oil-free, so that the pores don’t clog up even though sebum is being overproduced.

The other is to try to balance the hormones that are telling your body to create all that oil.

You may not be surprised to learn that the first way—keeping the skin clean—is a bit easier. Adjusting a hormone balance involves talking with a provider and can have many other side effects. Also, there are some natural fluctuations in hormones, like those that occur as a result of family history, near one’s period, or during pregnancy. In that situation, there are some treatments your provider could prescribe, including oral birth control, spironolactone, and others.

And for you gentlemen out there, hormonal acne doesn’t discriminate. It can affect you, too, and in some ways, it can be worse. Changes in testosterone levels increase sebum, and while men don’t experience a monthly cycle of hormonal shifts, there are other things that impact testosterone: exercise, stress, age, (AKA life) and more. Throw in some facial hair or regular shaving to the mix — which can trap bacteria and oil even more —  and your hormonal acne can feel like a nightmare!

Let’s focus on what we can control: fighting that oil and bacteria!

The best way to clear oil from your skin is with a good cleanser, and our Clarifying Cleanser is made to do just that. It’s infused with a whopping 2% salicylic acid that will specifically decrease sebum production as it penetrates deep to that middle layer. 

Men, we’re looking at you, too. Thoroughly cleansing that beard is a must for your skin.

To clear away the dead skin that ultimately combines with oil and bacteria to clog a pore, Mini Peel Pads are here to save the day. Use them every other morning for a while to give your skin a chance to get used to the exfoliation of these powerful little pads, then increase to a daily morning use to maximize your results.

In the fight against bacteria on the skin, there are three major ingredients that do it best: Benzoyl Peroxide, Glycolic Acid, and Retinol. Our Acne Control Serum has micronized versions of both Benzoyl Peroxide and Glycolic Acid, and it’s clinically proven to decrease sebum production by up to 70%! 

As for Retinol, we already know it’s important for anti-aging purposes, but it’s also a game changer for those with acne. The best Retinol for acne is a Gentle Retinol — our providers consider it a must for helping our acne patients. But don’t go overboard! You need to start slowly and build up your skin’s tolerance until you’re eventually able to use it nightly. 

Finally, as you apply all these useful products, your skin will naturally need some rehydration. Though we want to decrease that sebum production, stripping the skin of too much moisture will result in even more breakouts. (It’s all about that balance!) That’s why it’s critical to include the B3 Hydrate at the end of daily skincare routine — but before you put on SPF — which leads us to... 

Even when we’re focusing on a particular issue like acne, sunscreen is still a must for everyday skincare. Our Oil Free SPF is super lightweight and will keep your skin protected from UV rays without undoing any of the anti-oil work your Clarifying Cleanser, Mini Peel Pads, and Acne Control Serum are doing.

Interested in all of the above? You’re in luck: our Acne Prone Regimen includes five of these products to make your life easier! You get a 10% discount for ordering them as a bundle, and as an added bonus, you can save even more if you subscribe to receive the regimen every few months.

While some elements of hormonal acne may feel out of your control, minimizing oil and debris on the skin can make a huge difference! And if your hormonal cycle is still giving you trouble, book an appointment with our specialists to design a regimen that works for you. (This may include your provider prescribing doxycycline or other oral medications to manage your acne from the inside out.) Your Mint & Needle team is here to help!