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Post in Acne-Prone Skin

Please help?


 anyone have a cure for hormonal acne? I feel like I keep spending and spending money on products that don’t work? Anyone had any real success with getting rid of hormonal acne? I’ve already tried all the usual suspects (Paula’s choice bha, etc) anyone have a skincare routine? My skin is very, very dry as well.


Re: Please help?

I went To a dermatologist who prescribed me two rounds of antibiotics. It worked like a charm!!! 



Re: Please help?

Hi Rell,
This is what has worked for me in the past!

  1. Salicylic acid cleanser
  2. Toner- to get rid of any left over gdirt or oil on the skin that would lead to a clogged pore that would cause acne.
  3. Some type of active ingredient that fights acne or fights acne & moisture skin at the same time.
  4. Drink water & eat less processed food & cut back on sweets & dairy & alcohol intake.
  5. Wash your face & body as soon as you get home after working out.
  6. Wash bed linen & pillow cases & scarves & face towels regularly!
  7. maybe switch to clean or fragrance free detergent that might be effecting your skin idk.
  8. Switch out mask regularly
  9. Here is an affordable brand --- I bought the PHA toner since I have sensitive dry skin & am a deep color as well. CERAVE face washes are also good & I plan on using the light blue retinitoid cream to fight acne as well.
  10. ---
  11. ---

Re: Please help?

I’ve had success with using Differin Gel and Drunk Elephant products as well as taking DIM supplements by Smoky Mountain Naturals (estrogen metabolism support). I also saw a Naturopath who started me on supplements specific to my body’s  needs.


 Most people would recommend seeing a dermatologist but unfortunately I haven’t had any good experiences with dermatologists.  All they did was prescribe really intense topical treatments that destroyed my skin barrier and caused really bad reactions that took me a good month of using nothing but moisturizers and slathering my face in it multiple times a day in order to get my skin back to a normal state. This is one of the reasons I recommend seeing a Naturopath instead. They’ll try get to the cause of the hormonal acne rather than prescribing harsh topical treatments that may or may not be necessary. I know this is not the case for everyone but I would highly recommend doing alot of research before choosing a dermatologist.


 Good luck!

Re: Please help?

100% agree with @Beadshopgirl. Diet is the biggest factor affecting my acne. Eliminating/reducing dairy and sugar makes a huge difference for me.


But good quality products and consistency are also important. It can take months for a new product to really start working. And when you have dry skin, applying a good moisturizer after your products twice a day is important. I’ve had luck with Clinique products.

Re: Please help?

@Rell1999  Have you ever seen a dermatologist or your primary care doctor about your acne? That's the best way to get a proper diagnosis and personalized treatment plan. For instance, you might actually have a skin condition that mimics acne. A doctor can assess your skin and offer effective options. 


A derm or other doc can also help with your very dry skin. What's your current skincare routine (brands + product names)? Has your skin always been very dry, or did that start after you used a certain product? Is it painful (stinging or burning) and flaky? I'm no medical doctor (to my knowledge no BIC member is); I'm just someone with mostly-dry combo skin who's worked with a dermatologist to get it under control. I don't want to recommend any products without knowing what you currently use. 

Re: Please help?

I’ve always had dry skin. Only went to the derm for my back acne because that was before I started breaking out on my face. I’m using cerave acne cleanser in the small long tube and sometimes rotate with their cream to foam cleanser. I was using st Ives apricot scrub and I might go back because it actually was bringing the pimples or whatever they are to a head. The next morning puss would be poking out of them. But they keep forming in the same area over and over again plus I heard the st Ives wasn’t good for your skin so I went back to Paula’s choice. It made my skin look glowy but does nothing for the acne/rash or whatever it is. I just bought the dr gross treatment planes and used the first one tonight. Also bought some acne cream from inkney. So far all of did was just make my skin really more dry. I’m going to give them both some time though. I also bought some peel from the ordinary I haven’t used yet.

Re: Please help?

@Rell1999  FYI, when you reply to folks here on BIC, remember to @ them so they'll get notified of your reply. 🙂 


Sounds like you might be using too many exfoliants. I can't tell exactly which products you use... I'm guessing they're CeraVe Acne Foaming Cream Cleanser (4% benzoyl peroxide), CeraVe Hydrating Cream-to-Foam Cleanser, Paula's Choice Mini Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant 1 oz/ 30 mL , Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Alpha Beta® Universal Daily Peel Pads , and The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Exfoliating Peeling Solution 1 oz/ 30 mL ... are those the products you have? You mentioned "some acne cream from inkey": is it The INKEY List Succinic Acid Treatment 0.5 oz/ 15 mL ? Using all those things at once is throwing a lot of salicylic acid (BHA) at your skin. Some folks can handle a high % of BHA daily, but that ingredient can be very drying, especially for skin that's already very dry. 


Using what I think might be your current products, consider these tweaks to your routine: 



  1. Alternate your 2 CeraVe cleansers - Use the Hydrating Cream-to-Foam Cleanser maybe 4 nights a week and the Acne Foam Cream Cleanser on the other nights. That acne cleanser contains 4% benzoyl peroxide. Let that cleanser sit on your skin for a few minutes before rinsing it off, so the benzoyl peroxide has long enough skin contact to do its job. 

  2. Use The Inkey List Succinic Acne Treatment on Hydrating Cream-to-Foam Cleanser nights - Benzoyl peroxide's a diva who likes to be the only star on stage. It doesn't play nice with many other active ingredients. The Inkey List's succinic acid cream contains 1% BHA and sulfur, and I'm not sure off the top of my head if sulfur's one of the things benzoyl peroxide hates. I have no idea if benzoyl peroxide gets along with succinic acid. I do know that BHA + benzoyl peroxide can be quite irritating when layered together on dry skin. So for safety's sake, use this acne treatment only on nights you don't use the benzoyl peroxide cleanser, at least for a few weeks. Then if you want, you can try using it on just one small area of your face on a benzoyl peroxide cleanser night to see how your skin tolerates that layering. 

    I know The Inkey List says you can use this acne treatment in the morning under makeup, which is true—but this stuff smells like sulfur, and you will smell it all day. (I know this from firsthand experience.) So, just bear that in mind. 

  3. Moisturize - You didn't mention a moisturizer... what do you currently use? 


  1. OPTIONAL STEP: wash with CeraVe Hydrating Cream-to-Foam Cleanser - Over-washing skin, especially dry skin, can worsen irritation. If you wash each night, you might not need to wash each morning. I often gently wipe my face down in the morning with a wet plush microfiber cloth (like a Makeup Eraser) and skin cleanser. If I do need a cleanser in the AM, I use a gentle cream or balm cleanser, and usually just on the parts of my face that need it. If you find you need an AM wash, use the hydrating cream-to-foam cleanser you already have or consider CeraVe's Hydrating Facial Cleanser (a cream cleanser that doesn't lather). 

  2. Use BHA 1-3 times a week - Choose EITHER the Paula's Choice BHA Exfoliant or Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Peel pads—don't use them both on the same day. You can alternate them throughout the week, but don't use anything in this category more than 3 times a week. The DDG peel pads also contain AHA which can be even more irritating than BHA, especially if used daily, which is why I wish DDG would stop recommending daily use of this peel. You can easily over-exfoliate your skin with AHAs, resulting in very painful irritation and more acne. So, never use those peel pads daily. 

  3. Moisturize - Can be the same moisturizer you use at night. 

  4. Broad spectrum sunscreen (at least SPF 30) - Apply generously to ALL skin exposed to sunlight (ears, behind ears, nape of neck if exposed, eyelids, neck, etc.) and reapply every couple hours, all year long, regardless of weather or season. Do not rely on SPF foundation as your sole sunscreen—not even cushion SPF foundation—unless you plan to apply the generous amount needed (more than you'd typically apply as just foundation coverage) for adequate UV protection; if you use one of those, always apply a separate sunscreen under it. This is especially important if you use any AHA, which increases your skin's sensitivity to UV rays. But even without AHAs, we should all use sunscreen daily. Do you currently use a sunscreen? You didn't mention one. 

I didn't put The Ordinary's 30% AHA peel anywhere in that routine. Don't try using that product until your skin's used to a routine like the one above. When it's time to try that peel, use it on a morning INSTEAD OF the Paula's Choice BHA Exfoliant or DDG peel pads. And use the 30% peel only once a week, if even that frequently. Some folks can safely use that 30% peel twice a week, and that's great for them! But in your case, consider starting off much more slowly with it. No one should use that peel very often anyway. 

Oh, and you absolutely can use BHA and AHA in the morning. You don't have to use them at night. AHA increases skin's sun sensitivity regardless of the time of day it's used. Even if you use AHA at night, you still need sunscreen in the morning. Good sunscreen usage will help prevent UV damage. 


That St. Ives apricot scrub is notorious for causing micro-tears in skin, which increases the chance of bacterial infection, including the type of bacteria that causes acne. Removing that from your skincare routine is a good choice. 


Also: acne doesn't have to come to a head to be eliminated. The moment I notice acne forming (usually I can feel a bump below my skin surface), I apply the acne treatments that work best for my skin (azelaic acid and BHA) to that area. This often stops the acne in its tracks. I do also use a vitamin A product (retinaldehyde) each night, which helps a bit. If I really wanted to attack acne, I'd switch from retinaldehyde to adapalene (sold as Differin gel in drugstores, and a few other brands make adapalene products) which is very effective but also more irritating than retinaldehyde. 


And: be careful about making huge dietary changes to reduce acne. Cutting sugars seems like a good thing overall, but our bodies actually need some sugar to function. I will say my acne seems to increase whenever I eat more dairy than I usually do, though not all types of dairy have been linked to acne: yogurt hasn't, for instance. Cutting entire food groups from your diet to reduce acne can result in an eating disorder. So, I strongly recommend talking with a doctor before going too far down that road. 


I hope you find a routine that works for you! 

Re: Please help?

@WinglessOne for moisturizers I was using olay reginerist until I found out they used parbens. Now I use the drunk elephant peptide cream. I got the small mini one so I’m thinking of getting First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair® Cream Intense Hydration 6 oz/ 170 g next

Re: Please help?

@WinglessOne @You are right, I have all those products! 🤣🤣🤣🤣 I don’t use them all the time though. So I finally say a little success with the free sample of some niacinmide mask, the next morning I saw a lot of progress. But after a day I see the acne is coming back. I bought the full sized version but it’s not here until tomorrow. But it seems like it will be a temporary relief. I also bought the benzoyl peroxide cream from target. Used it for two days so far. Not a lot of progress but I notice that one of the bumps are smaller. My last try is the differin gel. I will be purchasing on Friday. The plan is to use the CeraVe acne wash or CeraVe cream to foam, toner (I have the paulas choice one for dry skin or sometimes I use a rose water one) and the Benzol cream for the am. In the pm the same thing except use the differin gel.

Re: Please help?

For me, it wasn't about what I put on my face, but what I was eating. I gave up dairy and sugar a year ago, and my skin greatly improved. I also started intermittent fasting.  Sometimes I don't even get any breakouts around my period, whereas I used to get terrible cystic pimples around my jaw every month. Bonus is that I've lost nearly 60 pounds! 

Re: Please help?

Cutting back on sugar was a HUUUUUGE help for my skin too! As far as products go, I also get hormonal acne and have dry skin, I recommend the olehenriksen dewtopia night treatment (keeps my skin good for the most part and has lasted me forever but use a good moisturizer too!) mainly. Other products in my rotation are the herbivore blue tansy mask and for everyday I cleanse my face with the good molecules clarify & cleanse bar (so cheap and effective!!!) and the tower 28 daily facial spray 2x a day

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