How I Cured My Adult Hormonal Acne

Acne FreeAs you read in my previous post – Acne Treatments That Didn’t Work – I had bad acne, and it wasn’t going away, no matter what I tried. After two years of the acne, I was 30 and I’d had enough! The last Dermatologist I visited in LA gave me a prescription for Differin cream, which again, didn’t work. A few months after moving to Las Vegas, I went to yet another Dermatologist. I asked him for a prescription for Yasmin BCP. I had done my research, and this pill seemed really promising because it was supposed to be good for acne, and hair loss (remember I was also combating that), and it wasn’t supposed to make you gain any weight! Perfect! I started on that, and after about two months my acne started to go away (I think the acne got a little worse before it got better). I also noticed the pill improved my mood (but maybe that was just because my acne was going away). I knew the pill would help my acne, but I had initially hesitated taking it because of my issues with hair loss. But remember, when I was on the Ortho Tri-Cyclen, I still had acne, so I needed to take further measures.

The new Dermatologist switched me from Differin cream to Differin gel, and I don’t know if that made any difference or not. Random note: I use the .1% Differin, but notice they now have a stronger .3% version. Interesting. Well the good thing about Differin is that is has NO side effects on me at all. It doesn’t dry out my face or make it oily. It’s expensive, though. Oh, yeah, and so is the Yasmin, since there’s no generic for it, but it’s worth it!!!! At the same time, I had just finished reading Don’t Go To The Cosmetics Counter Without Me – Paula Begoun which talks about all of the major skin care products on the market. The book helped me narrow down which products were worth using (for acne and for wrinkles), and it taught me even more about what actually works for your skin, and what is crap (a lot of products!) You should check out Paula’s website: Cosmetics Cop. Also at the same time, I found the fabulous MakeupAlley which lists products and has viewer reviews. It’s extremely helpful to see what “real” people have to say about products, and whether or not they work or cause their skin to breakout, etc. Finally, the last key to my product research came when I discovered several websites that listed product ingredients that can cause your pores to clog and your skin to breakout. I will make a separate post about these sites and the ingredients because it’s a long list! So guess what, almost EVERY single moisturizer or acne product I owned contained ingredients that were alleged huge pore cloggers! WTF? It turns out (from my estimate) 75% of the products on the market will possibly clog your pores, if you are acne-prone. Even acne products, and non-comodogenic, oil-free products contain these ingredients! Why? So that you will mess up your skin even more and buy more products?? I don’t know. Also, a lot of the acne products I used dried out my skin even more, making me need even more moisturizer, and making the acne worse.

Here is the “acne safe” morning regimen I follow:
– Wash my face with Philosophy Purity Made Simple cleanser. This is a great cleanser because it hydrates as it cleanses, so my skin doesn’t feel parched. If I travel to somewhere humid, I use Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Anti-Blemish, which is a little more drying.
– Apply Paula’s Choice Skin Recovery Super Antioxidant Concentrate or Olay Regenerist Deep Hydration Regenerating Cream. Sometimes I mix in a pinch of Philosophy Hope And A Prayer topical Vitamin C powder. I need antioxidants, and peptides to fight against wrinkles!
– Apply Clinique Moisture On-line. Remember I live in Vegas and have super dry skin. When I go to Hawaii, or somewhere else humid, I don’t need as much moisture!
– Mix Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Cream For Face – SPF 55 with Maybelline Pure Makeup Nude (nude). I know I am diluting the sunscreen, and I need to research how much this effects its SPF.
– Put on Maybelline Instand Age Rewind Under Eye Concealer (medium) on any spots (I’m not crazy about this concealer, but it’s fine), and then put on Neutrogena Healthy Skin Pressed Powder (medium) with a powder brush. It’s a very light, non-cakey powder.

Here’s my night regimen:
– Use the same cleansers as the morning.
– Apply Differin .1% gel. I used to rotate this with TxSystems Afirm 3x, a strong retinol, but it’s drying, so it sometimes makes my face flaky. I am pretty sure the Differin also works similarly to Retin-A as a wrinkle-reducer/preventor, but I haven’t found any studies comparing the effectiveness of Differin to Retin-A.
– Apply Dove Energy Glow Night Cream. Sometimes I use Burt’s Bees Marshmallow Vanishing Creme, but I think it clogs my pores, so I just use it around my eyes. I don’t love these creams, but haven’t found anything better.

Specialty products:
– If I feel a breakout is coming, I’ll use Paula’s Choice 2% Beta Hydroxy Acid Gel in the morning, instead of the antioxidant serum. Paula says that Salicyclic Acid needs to be at the proper ph level to work, and supposedly a lot of products are not effective because of the wrong ph.
– If I do get the rare pimple, I’ll dab it with Paula’s Choice Blemish Fighting Solution and TxSystems Afirm 3x.
– Once a week I use the fabulous Philosophy The Microdelivery Peel. Even though the Differin keeps my skin exfoliated, this is gentle enough that it makes my skin look great, and it’s not irritating at all
– When my face feels especially dry, I’ll use Paula’s Choice Skin Recovery Treatment Mask.

Other things I do to help my skin include washing my face with lukewarm water (no hot water or ice on pimples – FU The Acne Cure book). Then I bought a big pack of washcloths at Target and use a new washcloth every day to very gently pat my skin dry after washing. And from Wal-Mart of all places, I found some fabulous satin (well 100% poly) pillowcases that I make sure to change often. These leave you with no wrinkles on your face in the morning, and they are good for your hair!

After three months of this regimen, I was acne-free (and my skin wasn’t super flaky anymore), and I still am two years later! That’s my “after” picture in this post. I do not believe my acne would be gone if I didn’t do all of the things I do – the pill, the non-pore clogging products, and probably the Differin (I don’t know if it “really” works, but I’m afraid to not use it at the same time). For women that have hormonal acne who don’t want to take the pill (or Accutane) I honestly don’t know what to do to be acne-free. Maybe acne laser treatments (oh yet another post). Also, aside from the Differin, I don’t think the products I use help my acne as much as they don’t make it worse. Once my acne went away, I was left with about 50 red spots where the acne used to be. Luckily I only got one actual scar during the whole process. The saga of the red spots will be left for another post as well. And the saga of the blackheads on my nose will also be left for later.

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61 Responses to “How I Cured My Adult Hormonal Acne”

  1. Arianne Says:

    Hey, i actually just came across your site and you’ve given me quite a bit of inspiration. I wanted to know what do you find to be the most effective product to use on dark marks that are left behind by acne? I’m 21 and indian and I’ve been suffering with acne since i was 12. my whole back, my shoulders and my face have dark unsightly marks on it that won’t seem to fade. additionally it makes my skin look extremely blotchy. it’s gotten much worse recently- I started orthotricyclen-lo and I feel that it has only made my situation worse..not better. I’m at the point where i’m only using a clinique foaming cleanser in the mornings and night. I don’t know what to do anymore- I’ve been on every prescription drug imaginable, including differin gel, doxycycline etcetc. what would you do if you were in my shoes? ideally i’d love to stop breaking out and for these marks to GO AWAY!

    lol thank u soo much (in advance, of course)


  2. Sheryl Says:

    I have been on yasmin for 1 month after a 2 yr break having my 2nd child. I had been on yasmin previously for yrs and had no probs and great skin. I have gone back on it as i have awful spots on my chin and right cheek! They are sore when they come up then turn yellow and eventually dry up leaving a red/purple mark. I usually wash my make up off every evening with dove soap (have done for years)but my skin is now getting dry. Today I bought simple brand cleanser, toner, and light moisturiser and my skin feels nice but the spots/marks left from spots seem redder. Im really starting to feel down about all this, im 30 yrs old and never had spots in my life. Can anyone offer advice? i wear powder (maxfactor creme puff) everyday and have stoped using liquid foundation. I cannot go bare faced! im so embarrassd. will the yasmin work for me as it did before-although sayin that i never had spots before! I can bare it at the moment as long as i knw im doing the right thing…Muchas! xxx

  3. Tina Says:

    Hormonal Acne – I’m on Yasmin pill which helped a bit. It has about 25mg of spironolactone which has anti-androgen effect and that’s why it works on acne. I was also on 100 mg of spironolactone and then reduced to 50 mg. It totally worked. My skin is perfect. But you have to go off it if you want to get pregnant. If you’re on spironolactone, you should be on the pill as well to make sure you don’t get pregnant. Spironolactone totally works on hormonal acne. It can only be used by women.

  4. Christa Says:

    Tina is right, SPIRONOLACTONE is the cure! I spent 20 years trying everything! Yasmin, Accutane, Differin, Retin-a, low sugar/fat diet, exercise, antibiotics, etc. The spirononlactone is $4 at Walmart for every 25mg 30 tablets. It really is like a miracle. It will prevent extra hormones in your body from doing bad things. Your acne will disappear, your skin will be smoother (estrogen helps skin stay smooth and pretty and spironolactone decreases the androgens and that makes the estrogen work better), your body’s oil production will slow down, if you have excess hair anywhere it will decrease, spironolactone is made for high blood pressure and has diuretic effects so most women lose weight (no water retention), your periods tend to be lighter and for many women their moods are more even. It is really the best. If it doesn’t work for you then your acne is not hormone related. It will start working fairly quickly, however it can take up to 4 months to see full effects.

  5. Danielle Says:


  6. Marie Says:

    100% pure aloe vera works great on acne scars. I just started using it. And after the aloe vera dries – put vaseline on so your face doesn’t dry up. The combo works great.

  7. Abi Says:

    thanks for his information, its very helpful. I have taken 3 courses of roaccutane and I was on dianette and it helped my skin loads but then the doctors said i wasnt allowed to take it anymore. Iv not been on any medication for over a year now and my skin is dreadful, so 2 weeks ago i started on the yasmin, really hoping to see improvements soon :-) may also make a quick doctors trip and pick up some differin xxx

  8. sherry Says:

    does anyone have any insight if dairy causes acne, or the little bumps on the chin like i seem to have on top of the cystic or hormonal acne i have??

  9. Elaine Says:

    I never had acne until I turned 40. The dermatologist had me on cortisone, special moisturizers, toothpastes etc etc. but it was a waste of time money.
    The acne was a problem as I was a rep and I found that my customers would be distracted by my acne ( situated around my mouth ) when I was in meetings with them

    I decided to go on the pill ( for the first time ) as I was in a committed relationship. The doctor prescribed Yasmin and lo and behold my cystic acne vanished. All went well for a couple of years until I landed in hospital with thrombosis ( dangerous blood clots… Its runs in the family….and is affected by hormones ). I was taken off the pill ( post haste ) and two years later my acne has returned.

    My quest now begins to find a solution that does not involve hormones replacements

    If and when I find a program that works I will return to this site and share it with you.

  10. RG Says:

    Hi ladies

    So lovely to find this site… although awful to see how many people acne affects.
    Thank God for Bare Minerals!!!

    Sara… your post about Mexico made me laugh because I’ve just come back from Thailand where I partied every day for a month and lived on buckets and pina coladas and… shock…. beer (only in Thailand lol) and I got little more than 3 spots!!! I think it can only be the sun??? And the fact that we’re relaxing and enjoying ourselves and breathing sea air, rather than being stressed at work breathing in the city smog???

    I also think climate helps… when I got back to the ice labrinth that London is in January, my skin had a heart attack and broke out in the most revolting (and painful) display of cystic acne I’ve had since I was 20 (the only thing that helped then was roaccutaine, but I had to come off it prematurely as it made my cholesterol rise and I have a history of heart troubles in my family).

    My skin has been good / alright for about 8 years now, but I came off Dianette after about 8 years of service and I was SHOCKED that it took me over a year to start ovulating again. Ever since that I’ve vowed to not go back on the pill again because it must’ve put my hypothalmus to sleep… and it can’t be healthy. Also, I’ve never been so slim! Bikram yoga doesn’t hurt, but still, I’ve seemed to have reached whole new levels of sveltness I never thought were possible.

    So for a yr and a half I’ve been ok… few breakouts but nothing unmanagable… but recently (since Jan) I’ve had horendous cysts come up under my jawline on both sides. I’m grateful that they’re reasonably out of sight, but they are not very romantic-friendly at ALL!! And they hurt!!! And they’re just plain ugly.

    At the moment I’m 2 weeks in to a course of minocyclene and I’m coupling it with copious amounts of Quinoderm cream (amazing stuff…not sure if its available in US?) morning and night (sits well under bare minerals which is a plus). I’m quite into chinese herbal products, further to an acupuncture treatment course I underwent at the end of last year, so I cleanse with Anan Aloe Vera wash and use Pientzehuang Pearl Cream (I can’t pronounce it either) to moisturise. The cream is also excellent for reducing acne scars.

    If I’m at home for an evening I also try and sit for a few hours with manukah honey on my face (after cleansing). It is a natural antibiotic/antibacterial and definitely does work and leaves skin feeling so soft.

    On top of this I am also taking herbal supplements that mimick the contents of this amazing formula that is very expensive and impossible to get hold of that I took last year and felt and looked glowing on… (http://www.irenesteinrj.com/asp/int.asp?GeneralID=6) so I take royal jelly, saw palmetto, echinacea, ginseng, probiotic and cranberry (last 2 help with unwanted minocyclene side effects).

    Fingers crossed this will all work soon – so far it does seem to be calming down so I’m hopeful! If there’s no improvement in 2 weeks though I am going to consider roaccutaine again. Hoping it won’t come down to that though. (And yes, patience isn’t one of my virtues).

    Wow, its amazing how much time, money and effort acne takes up!

    Having said all that… if it is the worst thing that is wrong with our lives, I guess we are pretty lucky!

    Love and light and flawless complexions…

    R xx

  11. Elizabeth Says:

    I’m amazed at how many people were prescribed Yasmin. I asked my gynecologist about it when I was breaking out, and she refused to prescribe it to me, She said that the advertising was pretty hyped on there and was causing a lot of problems for women out there requesting it and recommended Loestrin for me instead, which worked well (until I came off of it.) She also said that a lot of people were failing with birth control as an acne medication because they weren’t having their weight factored into the dosage and could cause some other kind of problems like insulin resistance or other metabolic conditions. I hadn’t heard much more about it until I stumbled on this site, but after reading about the blood clots and the organ failure, I’m really curious what’s up with that med,

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