Our Skincare Experts Tested & Compared the Best of the Best Unsponsored and Unfiltered Review:
2021 Top 3 Cleansers for Hormonal Acne
Our #1 Pick Helps Reduce Breakouts, Shrink Pores, And Hydrate
Disclaimer: This article is not sponsored by any of the brands/products mentioned. We independently research, purchase, test, and compare the best products that meet our standards for pregnant and nursing mothers. Always consult with your doctor.
Most acne cleansers are not suitable for hormonal acne and the needs of mature skin dealing with breakouts. Hormonal acne can take months to clear but by using the right skin care products you can help soothe breakouts sooner.
Acne and our skin’s natural oil production is directly tied to our hormonal health. Although acne is infamously a common mark of puberty, it is also rather common for pregnant and nursing mothers to experience acne, even if they never had acne before. Ironically, some women who struggled with hormonal acne during their teenage years may find that having a baby was the solution to ending the battle with severe acne but still deal with oily skin.
Whether you had hormonal acne and want to keep it away or if you are in the midst of a raging breakout, we understand your frustrations and are here to help.
Our top 3 tested and proven cleansers for hormonal acne are available at Sephora and free of ingredients that could cause more harm than good.
Our #1 pick checks all our boxes and makes us look forward to doing our skincare routine with optimism. Even though it is a powerful product for people with severe hormonal acne, its natural formula is still gentle enough on dry skin that may have a few blemishes.
Which 3 Common Ingredients to Avoid
If your face wash or cleanser leaves your skin feeling tight a few minutes after using it and not applying any other skin care products, it may be causing more harm than good.
Yes, we need a cleanser that will thoroughly deep clean our pores and remove all excess oil but most acne cleansers can trigger more breakouts and oily skin by over-stripping the skin of moisture. By avoiding these 3 all too common ingredients found in the majority of face washes and cleansers in the market, you can easily shop for a gentle yet effective cleanser.
Sulfates: these are cheap and commonly used surfactants or soaps that create a rich lather. Sulfates can be found in laundry detergents and dish soaps. These are strong surfactants and can cause skin irritation to people with sensitive skin(1).
Physical Exfoliants: it is best to use a separate exfoliator and not have physical exfoliating ingredients such as scrub granules, sugar, jojoba beads, etc. in your daily cleanser to avoid over-exfoliating.
Wipes: from cult-favorite drugstore makeup removing wipes to luxurious face cleansing “towelettes”, facial wipes should be used only when they are the only option. Tugging and pulling on the skin causes premature wrinkles, redness and irritation.
Our top 3 cleansers are gentle enough for daily use. They will leave your skin feeling squeaky clean and refreshed but still supple and hydrated, especially our #1 pick.
Treat your self to a face massage while you wash your face by using your knuckles to glide upwards from the jawline to the temples.
2 Ingredients To Look For In A Cleanser
Cleansing is the most important step in clearing acne of any type, and each type of acne reacts best to different formulas.
There are generally 3 different types of acne:
- Comedonal (blackheads and whiteheads): small black or white clogged pores on oily areas of the skin; these can occur on oily or dry skin types.
- Inflammatory (red or white colored pimples): often caused by dehydrated skin that overproduces oil, then the oil causes pores to clog and become infected with the common acne bacteria C. acnes; a few of these pesky pimples are are present in hormonal acne.
- Cystic acne (painful not too visible bumps): these are the most common form of hormonal acne that are caused by similar conditions that trigger inflammatory acne but the infection goes deeper.
While dry skin may only deal with some comedonal acne, those with hormonal acne deal with painful cystic acne around the chin and jawline.
Dry skin with comedonal acne needs a hydrating cleanser with gentle exfoliating ingredients suitable for dry skin such as PHA and lactic acid. On the other hand, oily skin with inflammatory and/or hormonal acne needs a stronger cleanser to thoroughly remove excess oil with acne-bacteria fighting ingredients.
To choose an effective and hydrating cleanser for your face, make sure that it avoids the 3 potentially skin-irritating ingredients mentioned above and instead contains these 2 types of ingredients: acne bacteria fighting ingredients and hydrating ingredients.
Great hydrating ingredients that are compatible in cleanser formulas are hyaluronic acid, squalane, glycerin, and oat extract.
Effective acne bacteria fighting ingredients are tea tree oil and extracts, salicylic acid, neem seed oil, and colloidal sulfur.
Although benzoyl peroxide is a common (yet skin drying) acne bacteria fighting ingredient, studies show that tea tree oil and extracts may be just as effective but much more gentle (2).
To learn more about tea tree oil, check out our article on tea tree oil for hormonal acne here.