In case of mild acne, an over-the-counter product should be successful, but with hormonal acne, cystic bumps usually appear which are formed deep underneath the skin and out of reach of your conventional topical medications.
In some cases, oral medications will do the trick to balance out hormones and clearing up the skin which includes anti-androgen drugs or contraceptives.
1. Oral contraceptives
These medications contain ethinylestradiol and one of the following:
These ingredients work together, targeting hormones that is a contributing factor in developing acne. Oral contraceptives can be prescribed if you don’t have a history of the following medical conditions:
- High blood pressure
- Blood clots
- Breast cancer
And also, you must avoid taking these if you are a smoker.
2. Anti-androgen drugs
Anti-androgen drugs specifically target the male hormone androgen. Both men and women possess natural levels of this hormone, and too much androgen can contribute to acne problems as it interferes with hair follicles that are regulating the skin cells and increase oil production. While Spironolactone (Aldactone) is specifically used for treating high blood pressure, it has anti-androgen properties, meaning it can impede the body from producing more androgen, therefore allowing your hormone levels a chance to stabilise.
Retinoids are developed from Vitamin A and in case of mild acne, they can be used as topical retinoids for hormonal acne treatments. Many retinoid lotions, creams and gels can be bought over the counter, but you might have to consult your doctor for a prescription-strength formulation, as prescribed drugs are often more effective in keeping your skin clear long-term. Retinoids, however, can increase the risk of sunburn, so make sure you apply sunscreen when you’re using a topical retinoid daily.
4. Natural alternatives
Sometimes plant-based treatment is effective for clearing up mild acne. Natural remedies do not have side effects that are linked with prescription options. Always consult with your doctor before using alternative treatment options.
Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil is known for its anti-inflammation properties; therefore, it can relieve symptoms associated with mild or moderate acne. Many skincare products contain tea tree oil, and it can be used as a spot treatment too. Make sure you dilute one drop of this essential oil to 12 drops of a carrier oil such as jojoba, olive or coconut oil.
Alpha hydroxic acid
Alpha hydroxy acids are mainly plant acids which are derived from citrus fruits and is effective with removing dead skin cells that clog pores. AHAs can also assist with reducing the appearance of acne scars. Be mindful of using sunscreen when you are using AHAs for acne treatment as they increase the risk of sunburn.
Green tea contains numerous health benefits including lowering inflammation in the body. Using a lotion or gel with at least a two percent green tree extract may be helpful in treating acne. For a more universal approach, you can add a few cups of green tea to your daily diet, supplementing your topical skin care regimen.