Recently I opened up about my year-long struggle with hormonal acne. And while that felt liberating I know that many acne sufferers are more interested in how to actually beat hormonal acne. So today I want to share six actionable things I am doing to keep my skin in check!
Disclosure: Some of the links below are so-called provision links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I can earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
Every month from ovulation I drink 2 cups of spearmint tea for 5 days in a row. (Get organic spearmint tea here!*)
Spearmint tea fights DHT, which oftentimes is the biggest driver of hormonal acne in women. By starting to drink it during ovulation, I prevent the monthly hormonal breakout from happening.
It works so well, I literally have a less greasy face in less than one hour after drinking it!
Secret 2: Beat hormonal acne with supplements
While I have taken and tried others, those are the two I am sticking with, because they work for me.
Secret 3: Beat hormonal acne with BPO, Adapalene, salicylic acid, and AHA
Of course, there has to be a mention of face products. I have to say though that I have been using those for a long time now and they couldn’t heal me. They can just support the healing process and prevent the spreading of bacteria and scarring.
BPO & adapalene for acne
BPO is short for Benzoyl peroxide and one of the greatest helpers for long-term acne sufferers. It works only topically on the skin and kills bacteria. The best thing about it is that you cannot become “immune” to it like with antibiotics. If you combine that with adapalene, a topical retinoid, you have a super-strong combination against acne!
In fact, this study found that combining the two ingredients is significantly more effective in fighting acne than just one of the two ingredients by themselves!
I personally use a product like this one* every 4-5 days as a mask. So instead of leaving it on overnight, I only keep it on for 30 minutes to 1 hour and then rinse it off.
If you are in the US you can buy this product over the counter, and simply order it here!* In the EU, you’ll need to get a prescription for it.
Salicylic acid & Niacinamide for acne
Salicylic acid works as a chemical peeling. Any mechanical peelings or treatments from a cosmetician made my skin much, much worse.
Salicylic acid, on the other hand, has been my trusted helper for years. Niacinamide is more of a recent discovery, but is proven to be effective against several acne symptoms and my experience with it so far is great!
For daily use, I am using Dermasence products from the pharmacy, as they have been recommended to me by my dermatologist. Unfortunately, it is pretty impossible to get them outside of Europe. I use the Dermasence Mousse as a cleanser and Dermasence Phytoclare as a moisturizer. Both contain salicylic acid, and the moisturiser also contains niacinamide.
A great alternative is the Niacinamide from the Ordinary (get it here!*). As with any treatment, you’ll have to use it for a few weeks to see results, but when I tested it, I could see a definitive improvement after about 4 weeks.
AHA for acne
This is the last acronym, I promise!
AHA stands for Alpha Hydroxy Acid and like salicylic acid, it exfoliates the skin chemically.
In order to speed up the healing and getting rid of the scars, I started using The Ordinary Peeling Solution 30ml AHA 30% + BHA 2%* about every two weeks. You could also use it weekly, but I don’t want to overstress my skin with treatments.
You can order it here.*
Secret 4: Beat hormonal acne with cardio
Working out is not a problem for me. But I was never a cardio type. I liked short “muscle” sessions, pushups or something like that. And I thought that cardio was boring.
But during my research about healing acne naturally, I kept reading that cardio is the best exercise ever to balance your hormones. And what can I say, it works!
So now I make sure to sit for 10 to 30 minutes on my stationary bike* a few times per week. It has a table on it, so I can put a book or my laptop there and not get too bored. (You can find a similar one here*.)
Secret 5: Beat hormonal acne by avoiding potatoes
Avoiding potatoes, especially during the “PMS week”, was another huge discovery for me.
I used to think that potatoes are kinda healthy. Only when my boyfriend started getting a little bit into bodybuilding I discovered that for a female with hormonal acne, potatoes are the worst, actually!
In order to help with growing muscle, bodybuilders want to increase DHT – the enemy for hormonal acne sufferers. And guess which food is recommended to increase DHT? Potatoes!
Secret 6: Beat hormonal acne with a specific diet
Yeah, I am sure you can’t hear it anymore. “Eat healthier.” That is very generic advice and can mean very different things to different people. For my specific goal to beat hormonal acne, the following things were essential:
Low Glycemic Index (GI) Diet
A low glycemic diet is extremely helpful in decreasing severity of acne symptoms. Insulin spikes (what you get from eating high glycemic foods) play a big role in causing acne! So eating low glycemic as much as possible is the right thing to do.
If I stray from this, I still break out. Mildly and not comparable to what happened before, but this is so important! Limit or cut out any rice, white bread, sugar, and potatoes. (There are the potatoes again!)
Mung beans and lentils are your friends – and super healthy, too!
Related: 8 low GI snacks for a quick energy boost
Related: Quick & easy recipe: Mung bean hummus (no tahini)
Related: Easy sweet potato brownies: How to make them (sugar-free)
Related: Quick and easy low carb Chai Tea Latte recipe
Getting all necessary Vitamins&Minerals
To make sure I have a healthy diet and everything I need, I follow the checklist of Dr. Greger’s daily dozen.
When I adopted that habit, it gave my skin healing speed a serious boost. People even commented on how much finer my pores were! I assume that was because of all the added greens, beans and berries.
My diet before was okay, I guess. But if you want to beat hormonal acne I really recommend using Dr. Greger’s checklist as a guide for your meal planning. And then top it off with the Capsule Pantry Blueprint* to make your meal planning as fast and easy as it can be!
What are your acne tips?
So these are the 6 most important things I did to beat hormonal acne. Do you have similar ones? Different ones? Let me know in the comments!
*These links are so-called provision links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I can earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.