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Post in Acne-Prone Skin

Skincare routine for Hormonal Acne / oily skin


This is my first time posting here but I’ve reached a breaking point. Im looking for a skincare routine to help spot treat and prevent breakouts. 
I’ve started breaking out more than usual in areas that an esthetician claims is due to hormones.  I have tried so many products for my face. Unfortunately my chest and areas around my ears and cheeks have been fighting to survive. I was using Farmacy products in conjunction with the Sephora clean beauty line (peel pads). In the last two months I started using 100% Pure a local California based company who advertises tea tree oil products to help with Acne. For a while my face cleared but I had minimal breakouts. Lately nothing is working. I’m trying salycilic acid serum, benzoyl peroxide spot treatment, and tea tree face wash / toner and moisturizer plus SPF. I Exfoliate as well once a week- I’ve tried breaking that up and on top of those I use a cleansing balm to take make up off. I feel like it could be due to a shift in my hormones around my cycle but it’s happening more intensely in new areas. 
Looking for recommendations for face wash, mask, spot treatment, moisturizer, toner and SPF for oily and acne prone skin. (With acne scarring and enlarged pores)  Should I do more exfoliating or do more glycolic AHA/BHA targeted products? 

this may be TMI but the acne I have is a combination of cystic and “pea acne” which are teeny bumps with continual amounts of sebum or oil buildup. I know I should seek a dermatologist I just wanted to see if anyone else has had this issue 🙂 Appreciate any info. 

Re: Skincare routine for Hormonal Acne / oily skin

I feel like it’s so hard to find a good skin care routine for oily acne prone skin, but I found an amazing one that works for me that I highly suggest! I work at Sephora so I’ve taken the time to really try almost every product and this is what I found worked for me!

-Murad acne control cleanser

-Ole henriksen oil control toner

-Inkey list niacinamide

-Ole henriksen cold plunge oil control moisturizer or belif aqua bomb 

-Murad oil free SPF

(I sometimes use Murad invisiscar whenever I get scarring from acne but I don’t use it daily)


Night time 

-Murad acne control cleanser 

-Ole henriksen Dark Spot toner 

-Ole Henriksen Dewtopia Serum (I swear this stuff is the best)

-Glow recipe retinol sleeping eye mask

-twice a week I’ll use Fresh’s Black tea sleeping mask (this is really expensive but I swear it lasts for a long time and it’s so good for oily skin!) 

Re: Skincare routine for Hormonal Acne / oily skin

Personally, for me I have experienced the same thing and have minimal time for lengthy processes most days. I have gone from 0 blemishes to 937292 in the matter of days and it stays that way until my hormones regulate themselves. I too have been to esthetician’s and dermatologists and usually derms prescribe topicals like clindamycin or Tretinoin and it works for a while. 

Everyone’s skin is different and there can be varying factors as to why this is happening. It could be combatting your hormones and dietary habits. As well as lack of a stable skincare regimen. 

I am not a professional. 
I can say that I have some insight and recommendations being that I have been where you are. 
What has helped me:

  • cerave liquid to foam cleanser/ cerave salicylic acid cleanser 
  • cerave bumpy skin lotion
  • rose water 
  • pimple patches
  • paulas Choice BHA exfoliating toner 1x a week
  • tons of water
  • Exercise enough to sweat ( sweating releases toxins built up in your skin and once washed after leaves for brighter skin)
  • freezing ice/cucumber slices and rubbing on face morning and night before 
  • AT LEAST 1 gallon of water a day
  • Skin script enzyme mask 1x a week
  • change/ wash pillow case every 2-3 days
  • keep hair out of face while asleep and out and about for the most part 
  • don’t dermaplan or razor your facial hair/skin barrier with active acne it’ll irritate and compromise the barrier of your skin in my experience 

I know this is a lot but it takes time I can recommend an amazing aesthetician who has remarkable results with cystic acne and tough hormonal acne in general. Check out her Instagram she is NYC based. @Miaskinbar on Instagram. Any questions you have about your skin from a licensed professional I’m sure she will answer better than me and my at home experiences through all this. Also don’t forget hun you’re still beaut. 
hope this helped

Re: Skincare routine for Hormonal Acne / oily skin

I was in your place about a year and a half ago. It can be really frustrating as hormonal acne really can't be fully treated with topicals. I recommend seeing a derm to discuss your options. My dermatologist has me on Spironolactone for hormonal acne, a fairly common medication prescribed off-label for hormonal acne in women. I know quite a bit of people on Spiro and have seen a significant impact on their skin (myself included). My derm also prescribed tretinoin (retinol), azelaic acid 15%, and benzaclin for spot treatment. These products have helped me so much.


Double-cleansing has reduced any clogged pore breakouts I was having. I like the Then I Met You Living Cleansing balm, but there are many more affordable options out there. For a face wash, I like gentle washes since I do a lot of acne treatment. I am fond of La Roche Posay and Vanicream cleansers. I would check out the La Roche Posay Toleraine Purifying face wash for oily skin, which helps with excess oil and has niacinamide. If you do want a prestige brand cleanser from Sephora, there is the Fresh Soy face cleanser. Chemically exfoliate 2-3 times a week. I like the Inkey List PHA toner and Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting Glycolic Acid. The Paula's Choice BHA liquid exfoliant is a super popular product. I don't use face masks anymore, and my skin has been fine without it as I exfoliate frequently. I love the Clinique Moisture Surge for moisturizer and have been using it since I was 13 or 14 (I'm in my early 20's now). My skin never gets dry even though I use many drying topicals, and the Clinique will calm my skin down when aggravated. Vitamin C is also a helpful product for any dark spots/hyperpigmentation resulting from cystic/hormonal acne. I don't consider it the most important product, so I use one on the inexpensive side (MadHippie). SPF wise I recommend using a mineral-based sunscreen. For minerals, I like the tinted Australian Gold Botanical sunscreen (daily use) and Supergoop Sheerscreen. I wear the Supergoop Glowscreen under makeup (rare), and I reapply with the Tarte Sea Set & Protect mineral sunscreen. 

Re: Skincare routine for Hormonal Acne / oily skin



I haven't had that exact issue but I have had huge changes in my acne when I had hormonal fluctuations. I hadn't had acne since I was a teenager and then when I went off hormonal birth control all of a sudden my entire face rebelled (for over a year) and I had huge cystic breakouts.

What helped me was a few things...


1) not throwing everything but the kitchen sink at my face

     I know the impulse is to use as much and as strong products as possible to eradicate any acne but I found this just tended to make it worse


2) weekly clay/mud masks

     I started out doing this once a week and when it was particularly bad I would do it 2x/week. you might want to try something like fresh Mini Umbrian Clay Pore Purifying Face Mask 1 oz/ 30 mL or The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Masque the drying properties of mud/clay type products should help with the pea acne you mentioned


3) gentle exfoliation

     I wouldn't use any sort of manual exfoliation because I found this just irritated my skin further, so mostly I would use a chemical peel like Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Mini Alpha Beta® Ultra Gentle Daily Peel for Sensitive Skin 5 Treatments or Herbivore Prism AHA + BHA Exfoliating Glow Serum 1 oz/ 30 mL 


4) double cleanse

     whether you start with micellar water first and then a bubbly/foamy/balm cleanser or whether you just want to wash twice with the same one, it doesn't matter. I would always recommend a good double cleanse so that you make sure you are getting every last trace off your face before you move on to skincare. Since you mentioned Farmacy, I do particularly like the Farmacy Green Clean Makeup Removing Cleansing Balm but I also really like the Youth To The People Superfood Antioxidant Cleanser 


As for other specific recommendations for the products you were asking about, for spot treatments I really like The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% solution (it doesn't look like they sell this at Sephora but you can get it direct from The Ordinary) and for moisturizers, I tend to like something lightweight but nourishing; I've had good results from the Youth To The People Superfood Air-Whip Moisturizer with Hyaluronic Acid 2 oz/ 60 mL and Biossance 100% Sugarcane Squalane Oil 


Lastly, I've found that having a retinol product in my routine greatly helped with getting my face back to a happier state. If you haven't tried them before I would start slow (and definitely make sure you use sunscreen if you start retinol) but the Drunk Elephant A-Passioni™ Retinol Cream 1 oz/ 30 mL is my favourite (although if you pick this one, do start slow, like once a week because it can be quite strong) but also the Herbivore Mini Bakuchiol Retinol Alternative Smoothing Serum 0.34 oz/ 10 mL is really good too


Hope that helps!

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