Hormonal acne can be challenging to treat. Unlike normal acne, hormonal acne presents as deep cysts, commonly around the jawline area. Dermatologists manage this persistent variant with prescription creams, tablets, chemical peels & lasers. Treatments are effective in over 96% of cases.


  • Hormonal acne presents as deep pimples around the jawline
  • The onset in later than normal teenage acne
  • A precise skincare routine can improve many cases
  • This form of acne is more challenging to treat compared to teenage acne
  • Lasers can speed up resolution of deep cysts & pimples
  • Anti-hormone medications can predictably manage this subtype of acne

Hormonal Acne Treatments  at a glance

Best outcomes: 1- 4 months
Procedure time: 3- 10 minutes
Duration of results: Months – Permanent
Back to work: Immediately
Recovery: 0-1 day
Anaesthetic: Not required
Your specialist: Nurse, dermatologist
How much: $




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        What is the difference between normal acne & hormonal acne?

        Unlike normal acne, hormonal acne is deep. It presents as blind ended pimples on the face, predominantly around the jawline, but can affect the neck & trunk. This form of acne is predominantly seen in females.

        How do dermatologists manage this condition?

        Dermatologists can effectively treat acne. In many cases we place it into remission. We prescribe-

        • Creams such as retinoids & anti-inflammatories
        • Tablets including anti-hormones & acne medication
        • Lasers, BBL Forever Clear & LED Phototherapy
        • Chemical peels including salicylic acid & retinoic acid

        When to see an expert?

        Consider seeing a specialist if you have-

        • Acne that is scarring
        • Persistent acne that does not respond to normal treatments, see below
        • A family history of acne that required specialist intervention
        • You require fast & effective control

        Our nurses offer a FREE consultation service. Alternatively, book a consult with a dermatologists. Consult fee applies.

        How to treat acne scars from hormonal acne?

        Our team can assist you with a scar mitigation program. Simple steps that you can take include acne patches, as this reduces your picking.

        LED, red-light lasers & retinoic acid peels are some of the many ways we address early scars.

        Established scars can be erased with microneedling, radiofrequency, Fraxel lasers & CO2 lasers.

        Our expert team will assess your scar type & prescribe you an appropriate course of treatments.

        What types of chemical peels are good for acne prone skin?

        Salicylic acid peels are best. They range from 10 to 30%. BHA peels exfoliates the skin, reduces blackheads & penetrates into the sebaceous or oil gland.

        Retinoid peels are excellent for acne prone skin, especially if there is evidence of scarring. This can be performed as a peel or delivered more efficiently with lasers.

        Can BBL Hero Forever Clear & light phototherapy treat hormonal acne?

        Yes, but this is the exception rather than the rule. 

        As hormonal acne cysts are located deep in the skin, the blue light from BBL Hero Forever Clear, does not reach the oil glands. Lasers with a longer wavelength such as Prima, & Perfecta have deeper penetration & are more effective.

        Lasers are used by dermatologists as adjunctive treatments, namely, to speed up clearance of acne spots & to reduce scarring.

        What is the best treatment for PIH or post inflammatory hyperpigmentation scarring?

        The best way to remove dark marks quickly & effectively from hormonal acne is with a pico laser. This laser targets brown marks & mild low volume loss atrophic scars. 2-3 sessions spaced 4-6 weeks apart will do it.

        Our team also adds- pigment inhibitors, niacinamide, & the most powerful vitamin for PIH, L-ascorbic acid.

        Book a FREE consultation with our nurses to see what treatment is best. *Fee deducted from procedures.

        What is the best solution for red marks left from hormonal acne?

        Vascular lasers work best. They target red spots left from outbreaks (known as post inflammatory erythema). 2-3 sessions are recommended over a course of 8-12 weeks.

        We use longer wavelengths in comparison to BBL Hero. Longer wavelengths can penetrate deeper, giving better results.

        What DIY treatments are there?

        A simple DIY home program for acne, including hormonal acne is-

        AM: Salicylic acid wash 2%, antioxidants, SPF 50+

        PM: Salicylic acid wash 2%, spot treat with benzoyl peroxide gel, or azelaic acid 15-20%

        Acne patches can be added if you pick. You can buy hydrocolloid patches from most pharmacies. They cost between $4- $6 a box.

        What are the best skin care ingredients to treat acne?

        Skincare ingredients are best for normal acne. They can be effective in rare cases of hormonal acne. If you would like to give it a go, you can try-

        • BHA or salicylic acid. Concentrations of around 2%. La Roche Posay or Cerave are good brands. Higher strength 5% can be used as a drying agent. The same applies to BPO or benzoyl peroxide.


        • Retinoids – Prescription retinoids are far more effective.


        • Vitamin B or niacinamide is an antioxidant & an anti-inflammatory. This can re-establish skin barrier function that has been disrupted from acne- especially if you pick.


        • Azelaic acid is a great ingredient as it reduces pigmentation, scarring & inflammation.




        Dermatologists can effectively & efficiently manage all cases of hormonal acne. We employ chemical peels, lasers, anti-hormone medications as well as vitamin A compounds topically or in tablet form.

        What natural remedies are there?

        If your acne is non-scarring & if you would like to take your time to try out natural remedies, start off with-

        • An anti-acne diet. More details below. This can be effective in over 50% of hormonal acne cases.
        • Azelaic acid can be classed as natural as it is found in wheat & rye. Use it twice a day.
        • Vitamin B or niacinamide reduces inflammation.
        • Vitamin C creams & serums can reduce post inflammatory hyperpigmentation. 10-20% serums are available.
        • Zinc sulphate is awesome, most health food shops stock this.

        What foods to avoid if I have acne prone skin?

        Don’t underestimate the importance of diet. For this to be effective you must eliminate certain food groups. Unlike a caloric reduction diet, there are no cheat days or days off with an anti-acne diet. Control must be absolute.

        Eat more: organic produce, non-hormone fed meat. Foods high in zinc, vitamins & minerals.

        Eat zero of: sugars, refined carbohydrates & dairy products. Refer to the section on acne diet for a more detailed explanation.

        Dieting can amplify other treatments, including prescriptions. It takes 4-6 weeks before you notice any significant changes, however some patients see the gains within a week or two.


        This is a form of hormonal acne. It is super common, affecting one in fifteen women in Australia. A label of PCOS is given if you fulfill 2 out of 3 criteria which includes-

        • Skin changes; including acne, hair loss, excess hair or hirsutism, dark patches.
        • Hormonal changes including heavy periods &/or abnormal hormonal profiles.
        • Cysts on the ovary on ultrasound.

        What are other causes of hormonal acne?

        Dermatologists may investigate your pattern of acne with blood tests to look for rare hormonal imbalances. This includes-

        • 17 Hydroxyprogesterone, elevated in CAH or congenital adrenal hyperplasia
        • Prolactin levels; elevated in pituitary brain tumours
        • DHEAs
        • Testosterone levels

        What are natural anti-hormone ingredients?

        Natural antihormones include green tea, liquorice, spearmint & saw palmetto. See a naturopath or consult your local health food shop.

        How to stop picking?

        Picking is commonly seen in hormonal acne as the lesions are deep. This often leads to scarring. Effective treatments include-

        1. Acne patches. These hydrocolloid dressings protect the pimple, speed up healing & stop you picking. They cost 5 to 10 cents each. We rate them highly.


        1. Effective treatment of acne. If there’s no substrate to pick, you won’t pick.


        1. Dry up the zit. BPO gel or cream, or 5% salicylic acid. Use once to twice a day.


        1. CBT or cognitive behavior therapy is very effective, so is habit reversal therapy.


        1. Tea tree oil is anti-inflammatory & bactericidal. Beware of contact dermatitis.

        What should you consider when undertaking hormonal acne treatments?

        Hormonal acne can be easily & effectively managed by dermatologists. Things you should be mindful of include;

        Urgency: Most treatments take 2-4 months before working. This includes anti-hormonal medications, tablets & topicals. Lasers & BBL work the fastest.

        Acne scarring: Is a big deal in hormonal acne cases. Prompt & effective treatment & remission will reduce scars.

        Follow ups are needed for prescription medicines

        Adjunctive measures: can help in all cases. This includes good make up practices, skincare & diet.