All acne is annoying acne, but there’s something particularly aggravating about the hormonal zits that pop up on your chin or along your jawline. And while your first instinct might be to run to the bathroom and pop that sucker, we urge you to stop in your potentially scar-causing tracks and listen to the pros. Of course, the pros being the top dermatologists that we called to provide product suggestions, given you’re in this sticky hormonal sitch.
PCA Skin Intensive Clarity Treatment 0.5% Pure Retinol Night
"If your breakouts occur at the same time each month, they pop up in the same spot (typically on your chin or cheeks) and they are deep, cystic, and painful to the touch, you are likely suffering from hormonal breakouts. While a visit to a dermatologist may be in order for a solution, there are numerous things to try first," says a Dr. Suneel Chilukuri, a board certified dermatologist and fellowship-trained Mohs Micrographic, cosmetic and laser surgeon and founder of Refresh Dermatology in Houston, Texas.
He suggests using a product with a retinol. "When using a physician or prescription strength retinoid, you will have improved cell turnover and decreased blockage of your pores. Normal skin takes 26-30 days to shed itself. Acne prone skin may take 30-40 days to have cellular turnover. As a result, your pores get clogged and you will visibly see blemishes. My favorite retinol for acne prone skin is PCA SKIN Intensive Clarity Treatment: 0.5% pure retinol night," he notes.
He says the reason this one gets the A+ from him is because of its unique ingredient combo of retinol and salicylic acid. "The retinol helps to increase skin’s fighting power and cell turnover, while the salicylic acid breaks down oils. Oil production is increased during your menstrual cycle, so this ingredient is an extra fighter to reduce oil production," he further explains.
PCA Skin | $109
Murad Acne Spot Treatment
"For hormonal breakouts, the best thing to do is head to the dermatologist for spironolactone, which is a pill by mouth that works wonders for hormone-driven acne on the chin and upper neck," says Dr. Elizabeth Tanzi, founder and director of Capital Laser and Skin Care and assistant clinical professor at the Department of Dermatology at the George Washington University Medical Center.
However, if you're looking for an at-home solution, she suggests products that have sulfur in them to dry out the cysts and recommends Murad's Acne Spot Treatment.
Murad | $18
GLAMGLOW SUPERMUD Clearing Treatment
If you're a fan of GLAMGLOW products, you know they're powerful when it comes to clearing a breakout. "It contains glycolic, salicylic, mandelic, lactic, pyruvic, and azelaic acid," says Dr. Patricia Wexler, a dermatological surgeon at Wexler Dermatology, of this product. "Great for fighting acne and cleaning pores. The charcoal clay is a great absorbent of bacteria and oils, and it contains several anti-inflammatory ingredients also. It dries up spots quickly, and leaves skin glowing," she adds.
Glamglow | $69
COLBERT MD Intensify Facial Discs
According to Dr. Jessica Weiser, a dermatologist at the New York Dermatology Group, you won't want to miss these exfoliating pads. "COLBERT MD Intensify Discs are excellent for gentle lactic acid-based exfoliation to help turnover skin cells to prevent congestion," she says.
Colbert MD | $70
Tanda Zap Acne Spot Treatment Device
Dr. Patricia Wexler recommends this device for curing a hormonal acne breakout at home. She says it uses LED blue light, sonic vibration, and gentle warmth to kick it to the curb. "When used over the blemish twice daily, it can eliminate the blemish in as little as a day," she says.
Tanda | $22
PCA Skin Acne Cream
If you're dealing with a zit that just won't quit, you might opt for a spot treatment to clear up that particular area. Dr. Chilukuri recommends this tube from PCA Skin. "In addition to containing 5% benzoyl peroxide, it has a mix of soothing botanicals that reduce potential irritation. This spot treatment that should be used directly on the blemish morning and evening," he says.
PCA Skin | $26
Skin Therapy by Dr. Julia T. Hunter Maximal Strength Cleanser
"The skin is the window to your internal health. Acne issues are caused by internal problems and are activated by the inflammation in your gut, which in turn causes your hormones to go a skew," says Julia T. Hunter, M.D., dermatologist and founder of Wholistic Dermatology. "This could also be related to low-thyroid and food allergies."
She says that you can treat flare-ups on the chin with internal and external products used in the AM and the PM, as well as supplemental products to clear up the breakouts.
Among other external products, she recommends her line's Maximal Strength Cleanser, as she says it's toxin and inflammation-free, can be used on sensitive, and can clear oily pores without drying them out. It's made with blue lotus flower extract, which the brand claims has antiseptic properities, as well as zeolite to cleanse.
Skin Therapy by Dr. Julia T. Hunter | $56