How to Treat Hormonal Acne Naturally
Like with any other skin affliction, there's no one-size-fits-all way to treat hormonal acne. You can go the medication route, make lifestyle changes, or dabble with lasers and light therapy. Everyone is different and skincare is hyper-personal, so how you choose to treat your hormonal acne is entirely up to you (in other words, there's no right or wrong way of going about it). With that said, there's nothing wrong with wanting to treat hormonal acne naturally. To get the full lowdown, we tapped three board-certified dermatologists for their expert insight on what causes hormonal acne—and how to get rid of it using natural remedies. Keep reading for everything you need to know.
What is hormonal acne?
Acne is caused by a combination of factors including—but certainly not limited to—excess sebum production, clogged pores, inflammation, and bacteria buildup on the skin. In some folks, however, hormones are the main culprit. As Joshua Zeichner, M.D., board-certified dermatologist in New York City, explains: "Hormonal acne refers to breakouts that occur in women around the time of their menstrual cycle, as the fluctuations in hormones stimulate oil glands, leading to acne flares."
What causes hormonal acne?
While any menstruator can have hormonal acne (even without abnormal hormone levels), Marisa Garshick, M.D., board-certified dermatologist in New York City, says it can be associated with certain medical conditions, such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). "Hormonal acne typically occurs on the lower third of the face, often affecting the jawline and chin, but can also contribute to breakouts on the chest and back," she explains. "Typically it appears with deeper, cystic breakouts, which may be stubborn and cyclical."
There's no one best treatment or cure-all for hormonal acne, so Dr. Garshick tends to suggest a combination of therapies. "It's important to also treat other potential causes of acne with a retinoid as well as benzoyl peroxide," she says. "But for the hormonal component, it's often most effective to treat with certain oral contraceptive pills or spironolactone, a blood pressure medication that can be safely used off-label for the purpose of treating hormonal acne."
How to Get Rid of Hormonal Acne Naturally
However, if you don't want to opt into medications, there are a variety of ways to treat hormonal acne naturally, from certain bacteria-fighting essential oils to prioritizing stress reduction. Here, the experts weigh in on the best natural treatments for hormonal acne.