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  • Writer's pictureHelena Sergeant

SKIN : Hormonal Acne

Understand Hormonal Acne, the cause & how to treat it.

What is Hormonal Acne?

Hormonal Acne commonly appears around the chin and jawline and are cyst like bumps underneath the skin that are extremely tender and painful to the touch.

Unlike regular spots these do not surface or come to a head and can last for several days or even weeks. Never pick or squeeze them it will only cause scarring.

What is the cause of Hormonal Acne?

Hormonal acne is caused by an imbalance of hormones. London based Dermatologist Dr Justine Kluk explains “Oestrogen and progesterone levels rise and fall over the month and they drop just before your period. This is when the levels of androgens (male hormones) are higher and testosterone (an androgen) makes skin oilier, which leads to clogged pores.”

Clinical Aesthetician Pamela Marshall adds “Androgens send messages to our sebaceous glands to produce oil. Every gland sits in what is called a pilosebaceous unit, which you can think of as a little engine under each of your pores. Inside that engine is sebum, bacteria and skin. When it is told to produce more oil, the pore swells and the contents force their way out.”

How to treat Hormonal Acne

Dermatologist Dr Sam Bunting explains that we need to go back to basics and to simply cleanse, moisture and treat. She explains not use any aggressively foaming scrubs or masks. "The squeaky clean feeling is not to be strived for, it generally winds acne up further."

Ditch your current skincare regime and use a gentle non-foaming cleanser, a hydrating moisturiser for sensitive skin and to treat, an anti-inflammetary agent (Benzoyl Peroxide) and a preventor (Retinoid).

Benzoyl Peroxide is an antimicrobial, which means it helps reduce the amount of acne-causing bacteria on the skin. Less bacteria leads to less breakouts. Benzoyl peroxide also helps keep the pores clear from blockages. It's the most effective over the counter acne treatment available.

Retinoids also referred to as retinoic acid or vitamin A acid. Topical retinoids are available as gels, ointments or creams to be applied directly to the skin. They work by promoting the exfoliation of dead skin cells as well as by boosting the production of new skin cells. The new cells then push dead cells and excess oil out of blocked pores.


As ever, our diets are always linked with our well being and an unbalanced diet can cause havoc with our skin. Try to minimise intake of sugar, diary, bread, pasta, red meat, fried food and trans fats and hydrogenated oils.

Dermatologist Dr Bunting recommends the following products for Hormonal Acne.


La Roche-Posay Physiological Cleansing Gel 200ml £12.00

The soap and alcohol free formula has been tested on sensitive skin and contains a high concentration of the brand's signature Thermal Spring Water. The 100% hypoallergenic product contains minimal fragrance and is non-comedogenic. Use morning and evening.


La Roche-Possay Effaclar H Moisturiser £17.00

Effaclar H moisturises oily skin that feels weak and fragile. It also provides skin with the lipids it lacks to reconstitute the protective hydrolipidic film. Contains Ceramide 5. Use in the morning.

Treat (anti-inflammatory)

Epionce Lytic Lotion £57.50

This gentle treatment contains a mild concentration of Salicylic and Azelaic Acids to unblock the pores and safely remove harmful bacteria and dead cells alongside a blend of botanical extracts including Willow Bark, Shea Butter and Rosehip Oil to balance and nourish the skin. Daily use helps to minimise the appearance of blemishes, inflammation. Use in the morning.

or La Roche-Possay Effaclar Duo £17.00

Specifically formulated for oily, blemish-prone skin. Niacinamide helps to visibly reduce the appearance of spots. Lipo Hydroxy Acid & Salicylic Acid work to unclog blocked pores. Zinc PCA controls sebum to mattify skin and control shine. Procerad helps to reduce the appearance of coloured marks. Glycerin keeps skin hydrated throughout the day. Use in the morning.

Treat (Retinoid)

Avene TriAcneal Expert £17.25

A Vitamin A derivative, has a rejuvenating effect which helps to unblock pores, reduce residual marks and gives added anti-ageing benefits.

An anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory effect to help eliminate and prevent blemishes. Use in the evening after cleansing your skin.


Try and give your skin a break from makeup if you can or if it's necessary use a water based foundation or a tinted moisturiser or BB cream. Don't use anything too heavy and certainly not an oil based foundation that is difficult to remove and may possibly clog your pores. You don't want to aggravate your skin any further. Remember back to basics!

Let me know what your tried and tested go to products are. Please comment below and don't forget to subscribe! x

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