Stores & Services
Find a Sephora

Happening at Sephora

View all


From makeovers to personalized skincare consultations

Free Classes

Get inspired, play with products & learn new skills

Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
Post in Skincare Aware

Hormonal Acne

Hi guys! I’ve been getting what I believe is hormonal acne on my chin area. I’ve tried lactic acid and niacinamide but they didn’t really work. Any suggestions for products? Thanks!

Re: Hormonal Acne

There are a few directions to take depending on how much acne you get and how sensitive your skin is.  BHA will actually help more than any of the AHAs (lactic acid, glycolic acid, mandelic acid, all of which exfoliate at the skin's surface).  Salicylic acid (a BHA) can penetrate through oil, meaning it will clean inside your pores where nasty little clogs like to get infected and create lumpy hellzits.  It may be as easy as using a product like The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Anhydrous Solution Pore Clearing Serum 1 oz/ 30 mL  or one of the BHA products from Paula's Choice.  


Differin is a prescription strength retinoid that recently became available over the counter and it works really well for clearing deep pore clogs.  It does cause some clogs to push their way to the surface early in a phenomenon called "purging" that means your skin will look worse before it looks better.  You can clear these zits up more quickly by using benzoyl peroxide gel, and you can actually mix it with your Differin which basically creates the product Epiduo Forte.


Retinols are a kind of complicated way to go to get your pores clear, and in my experience it makes more sense physically and financially to go with a prescription retinoid, tretinoin.  The easiest and cheapest way to do this is using a monthly telemedicine service like Curology that prescribes and then mixes you a combination of tretinoin and a topical antibiotic (usually Clindamycin) and sends you a bottle every month or two.  Because health insurance doesn't cover acne meds (at least not in the US except in very rare circumstances), it actually costs less to use a service like this than to have to plonk down $150 for one and however much for the other and hope you got the right prescription strength the first time around.  You also have unlimited access to a dermatologist for all your questions, freak outs, advice needs, etc. without having to wait three months for an appointment every time you want to talk.  Retinols (the non-prescription option) and prescription tretinoin will probably also involve some purging, but for me it wasn't nearly as bad as with Differin and it will be more mild if you also use BHA to keep your pores clearer.


If all of those are more than you want and you just want to know what to put on a zit, benzoyl peroxide should kill the bacteria.  Otherwise, it depends on how much acne you really get, how well your skin heals versus omg everything scars! and how much money and time you have to spend.  In any event, BHA will clear your pores and get rid of blackheads, so start there and you may find it's all you need.  I myself suffered two or three scars a month for like a billion years and they really add up!!


Good luck!

Re: Hormonal Acne

Thank you so much for the information!! I think I will start at with the SA you recommended as I’ve had my eye on it for a while now and see how it goes. Thanks again 🙂

Re: Hormonal Acne

@laibanoaman  If it's cystic acne (bumps deep below the skin surface that never come to a head), you should ask a dermatologist or your primary care doctor about cortisone injections to treat the cysts. A doc might also recommend oral meds for this kind of acne. 

But if your acne does come to a head, a retinoid and benzoyl peroxide are the gold standards. Azelaic acid can also kill acne-causing bacteria. And you can try salicylic acid (BHA) to help unclog pores. 

Re: Hormonal Acne

Great, thank you!! 

Conversation Stats
  • 4 replies
  • 5 Hearts Given
  • 3 Contributors