Acne certainly isn’t easy to deal with, but trying to fight hormonal acne makes dealing with whiteheads feel like child’s play. That’s because your hormones are involved (obviously), which means the skin care products you use are only part of the acne-fighting equation. Even though other factors should be taken into account, like what you eat, many acne sufferers want to know if you can spot treat hormonal acne, just like you can with other breakouts…. So we asked the dermatologist the lowdown.
The good news: “You can spot treat hormonal breakouts with an over-the-counter benzoyl peroxide gel to help them dry out,” says Morgan LaBach, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and co-founder of LM Medical. “Sometimes using an over-the-counter lotion with salicylic acid can also be super helpful.” In addition to these two acne-fighting superstars, she also recommends turning to retinol (of course), as well as alpha and beta hydroxy acids to stimulate cell turnover and keep your pores mucus-free while hormonal acne clears.
Even if you use one or a combination of these ingredients, know that breakouts won’t go away as easily as other forms of acne because hormonal acne goes deeper below the surface of the skin.” Whiteheads are a more superficial type of acne flare-up and are more likely to be treated with topical treatments only,” says Dr. LaBach.” Whiteheads and blackheads respond most strongly to retinol.” And her overall top recommendation for a comprehensive fight against hormonal acne is an oral medication prescribed by a dermatologist. She says, “The absolute best treatments are oral medications, oral contraceptives that help regulate hormonal fluctuations in the menstrual cycle, and/or spironolactone, which we use to lower the levels of androgens in the body.” She notes that topical treatments alone cannot completely stop hormonal breakouts.