It’s easy to identify hormonal acne: They are huge, painful, normally appear around the jawline, and make you feel like mini volcanoes are about to erupt inside of your face.
Whether you’re 17 or 37, facing puberty or adult acne, hormonal and cystic acne can occur in anyone. Unlike your good old typical acne that can disappear overnight with the right spot treatments, hormonal acne are more stubborn, as they are directly linked to a woman’s menstrual cycle, fluctuations of hormones that can come along with periods of high stress, or even when you eat certain foods.
How To Treat Hormonal Acne
Everyone’s skin is different and reacts differently, so it might take some trial and error before you find what works best for you. Without professional help, there may be no way to completely prevent hormonal acne from happening, but here are some easy, “at-home” things you can do to keep them in control:
1. Use skin care acids: No thanks to hormones, oil production can go into overdrive and, mix it up with dead skin cells, it's the perfect recipe for acne. This is where skin care acids can come in! Products with salicylic acid, like the COSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid, work by removing excess oil and helping to exfoliate dead cells from the skin surface, ultimately keeping your pores clear.
Related article: Exfoliation Explained: Physical vs Chemical
If your skin can’t tolerate strong acids or BHA, using a gentle exfoliating toner like the Son & Park Beauty Water can also help. Personally, when I feel like it’s almost that time of the month, I either clay mask more often, or amp up my exfoliating game to three times a week to make sure my skin is at its best condition to fight away any acne-causing bacteria and dead skin cells.
2. Patch it: Pimple patches can be absolute life-savers when it comes to hormonal acne. While they won’t make your cystic acne disappear overnight, they can really speed up the healing process, and keep your dirty hands and fingers from touching it and making it even more inflamed. I swear by these when it comes to treating any sort of acne, and hey, hundreds of 5-star reviews don’t lie.
3. Have a good, solid skin care routine: Always double cleanse, tone, moisturise and apply sunscreen! Just making sure you have your basic routine down to a pat will really make sure those hormonal acne will disappear faster than you can say Some By Mi AHA BHA PHA 30 Days Miracle Toner (we love this product, but gosh, what a mouthful!). Having a good Vitamin C serum like the Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop on standby is also great to keep any post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation away!
4. Lifestyle changes: It doesn’t matter if you have the perfect 10-Step Korean skin care routine, when your body is under increased pressure, or if you’re constantly feeling exhausted and worried, those pesky hormonal acne will inevitably show up. Whether it’s substituting your Chinese takeaways to a healthier poke bowl, taking yoga classes, or just popping on a soothing sheet mask before you sleep, do whatever it takes to make sure your body and mind are always in good shape too!
5. Watch your diet: I know nobody wants to hear this, but caffeine, sugar, and dairy can cause hormonal imbalances. Boo, we know! But cutting out or minimising dairy intake was what worked the most for me when it comes to preventing those painful, cystic acne from staying longer than it needed to. It may not be the same for everyone, but try removing potential dietary triggers to find out the root cause of the issue.
There’s honestly plenty of ways to go about treating hormonal acne, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Some have even seen drastic changes on their skin after trying out birth control pills, being on roccutane, or by simply cutting out coffee from their lives. It’s all about getting to know your own skin and body, what it likes, what it doesn’t, and what will work best for you.
What are your best tips when it comes to handling hormonal acne? Share them with us!