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Wonderful ingredients against hormonal acne

4 Jul 2020
by M. Toledo

Many of us are familiar with the menace that’s called hormonal acne. This form of acne shows itself every once in a while, wreaking havoc on your skin. Usually the area around your chin and mouth is the most affected. It’s enough to make you lose all hope… Well, nearly. You want to get rid of your hormonal acne. The sooner the better. But did you know that hormonal acne is the most common form of acne among adults?

I can’t promise you a miracle product that clears up all of your blemishes in one day, but in this blog I will share some wonderful ingredients that actually come very close. They are elemental for treating hormonal acne, keeping sebum production at bay, and keeping those pesky pores from clogging up. The result is a more clear, blemish free skin. The battle against hormonal acne is not a hopeless one! 

Causes of hormonal acne

Hormonal acne, like the name suggests, is caused by your hormones. These fluctuations of hormones are mostly associated with people that are experiencing puberty, but a large percentage of adults are affected by hormonal acne. A variety of factors contribute to this, but the most common factor is your menstrual cycle. Like it wasn’t bad enough already! Menopause and pregnancy are also associated with hormonal acne.

Pimples on your chin

Hormones influence the production of sebum, and increase the amount of oil that the sebacuous glands exude. This means that your pores are more likely to get clogged up, trapping dirt, sebum and dead skin cells inside, causing inflammation and acne. This is the reason that those pesky pimples tend to appear around ‘that time of the month’: the hormones that play a role in the menstrual cycle are interfering with your sebum production.

During puberty, hormonal acne tends to appear on the T-zone; the forehead, nose and chin. However, in adults with hormonal acne, pimples tend to appear on the lower side of the face, around the mouth, chin and jawline area. 

Hormonal acne treatments

Some people choose to take certain types of (hormonal) birth control pills to curtail their hormonal acne, and with success. If hormonal fluctuations are the root cause of your blemishes, then taking oral contraception can be helpful, because some oral hormonal contraceptives cause a more steady release of sex hormones. However, not all women feel comfortable with taking hormonal contraceptives. They can cause unwanted side effects in some, like weight gain, tender breasts and decreased emotional wellbeing. And there are some forms of hormonal contraceptives that can actually aggravate acne. So, even though it's helpful for some, taking hormonal contraception isn’t an 'one size fits all'-solution for everybody. 

And this is where good skin care comes into play! It's good to know that skin care products that are good for treating (hormonal) acne, aren't necessarily marketed for that specific skin care concern. Some in this list are, some aren't. My focus lies on what's in the formula, not what it says on the packaging. What follows is a selection of wonderful skin care ingredients with anti inflammatory properties and calming qualities. Moreover, some of these substances help with managing your sebum production. Enough reason to call these ingredients elemental in a skin care routine focused on improving skin that is suffering from hormonal acne. So you can enjoy a more smooth, more clear skin throughout the whole month. 


Salicylic acid

  • Salicylic acid is also known as BHA which stands for Beta Hydroxy Acid. It’s naturally found in the bark of the willow tree. 
  • When it comes to treating (hormonal) acne, salicylic acid is the holy grail of chemical exfoliants. Unlike its sister substances like lactic or glycolic acid, salicylic acid is the only acid that penetrates deep into the pores, clearing out the gunk that's hiding in there.
  • Salicylic acid helps fight hyperpigmentation: those dark spots that pimples tend to leave behind after they've healed. It evens out your skin tone and gives you a healthy glow. 

Products containing salicylic acid are crucial when it comes to treating hormonal acne and preventing new pimples from showing up. 

Best picks

The Salicylic Acid Daily Gentle Cleanser by COSRX is a foaming cleanser with salicylic acid and tea tree extracts that is mild enough for daily use. It's fragrance free!  Purito’s BHA Dead Skin Moisture Gel contains betaine salicylate, a combination of salicylic acid and the mild moisturizing agent betaine. It hydrates and calms inflamed skin, while minimizing impurities at the same time, making it a great moisturizer for acne-prone skin types. 


Minerals and clays

  • Good examples are clays such as kaolin and bentonite, and minerals like silicium and magnesium.
  • These ingredients are oil absorbers. They help against unwanted greasiness and shine on your face. 
  • Next to these oil regulation properties, minerals like silicium protect the collagen levels in your skin.

It's up to you in which part of your routine you implement a product with these ingredients, like a mask, a treatment or a cream. 

Best picks   

The Jeju Volcanic Mud Pore Clay Mask by Innisfree is formulated with kaolin, bentonite and volcanic ash. It helps with the balancing of the sebum production. Troiareuke’s ACSEN Pore Control Mask contains kaolin and Moroccan lava clay, a high quality soothing clay. It cools and strenghtens the skin.


  • Propolis is a powerful anti inflammatory substance. It's a resinous mixture that honey bees produce by mixing saliva and beeswax with the sap from tree buds and other botanical sources.
  • It contains amino acids, minerals and bioflavanoids, powerful antioxidants with healing properties. 
  • Propolis fights the bacteria that accelerate inflammation, making them very helpful in the battle against hormonal acne. 

Best picks


The Full Fit Propolis Light Ampoule by COSRX is a light weight serum dat absorbs smoothly, without leaving a sticky residu. With 83% propolis-extract. Pure Heals Propolis Softening Toner: a toner that combines the benefits of propolis with the mild exfoliating powers of lactic acid.


Centella asiatica 

  • Also known as cica, gotu kola or tiger grass. It is native to the wetlands in Asia, and is used as a culinary vegetable and medinical herb. Recently, centella asiatica has grown out to be a hype, and not without reason. 
  • Centella asiatica stimulates collagen production and reduces the inflammation that can lead to scarring. 
  • It's loaded with amino acids, beta-carotene, fatty acids and vitamines C, A, B1 and B2. It gives your skin an antibacterial boost; good news when you want to curtail your hormonal acne, or calm existing acne. 

Best picks

The Goodbye Redness Centella Mask Pack by Benton lives up to its name. Say goodbye to inflamed, red skin with this caring, hypoallergenic sheet mask.  Some By Mi Super Miracle Spot All Kill Cream is a powerful anti acne superhero. It's a spot treatment that's simultaneously nourishing, with panthenol and niacinamide. 


This was a selection of some wonderful ingredients that can help to treat hormonal acne. Incorporating products formulated with one or more of these ingredients should give you good results. But, like with all skin care products, it can take some time and dedication before your skin starts clearing up and you notice less inflammation, less new pimples and a smoother, clearer skin. What is your favorite anti acne treatment? I'd love to hear from you!

XXX, Marthe

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