I’ve Struggled With Hormonal Acne Forever, & These are the Only Products That Work for Me

I’ve struggled with hormonal acne for years. I still remember the day I got my first pimple – I was 11, and the first out of my friends. I wore the blemish like a badge of honor. To me, it was a testament to my “adultness;” ironically, I couldn’t have been more thrilled. But as time went by, more and more people around me began to get zits, and the magic of my acne was lost. It was also no help that my once beloved blemish began to grow in quantity, size, and painfulness. Before I knew it, I had patches of angry-looking pimples nestled on my cheeks, between my eyebrows, speckling my chin, and dotting my jawline. 

I would love to say that my acne went away with time, that I found an effective way to stop those zits in their tracks... but the truth is, I didn’t. Acne has been a constant struggle for nearly half my life, and beyond the physical pain of my cystic, hormonal acne, I struggled with self-acceptance and finding the beauty in my textured skin. Although I’m still working on building confidence in my skin, I’ve made significant progress in managing my acne after years of testing out different products. Here are the four products that I've come to swear by. 

  1. 1. Kate Somerville EradiKate Daily Cleanser

    Hand with cream

    I absolutely love this Kate Somerville product. It’s formulated with sulfur to combat stubborn acne, an ingredient my dermatologist recommended to me directly. The formula is effective without being harsh, which is often typical of acne-fighting products. In fact, the whole Kate Sommerville line is known for its gentleness! 

    I also love that this product lathers into a very smooth, thick foam using relatively little product. The cleanser is a bit expensive, but I’ve had my original tube for over nine months, even after using it twice a day.

    Sephora, $40; shop now

  2. 2. Supergoop! Mattescreen 

    I've been singing Supergoop’s praises since I first tried their Unseen Sunscreen two years ago, but my favorite product from them is the Mattescreen. The company is known for making sunblock that doesn’t have the greasy, oily texture that most sunscreens do, and this product definitely holds up to that reputation.

    Not only does Mattescreen go on clean, it's also helped me to feel more confident with the redness and visible irritation of my skin; I’ve even stopped regularly wearing foundation. For those who use retinol, salicylic acid, or benzoyl peroxide, these products can make your skin more susceptible to burns and other sun damage, so finding a great sunscreen is an absolute necessity, and this one falls nothing short of perfection in my book!

    Sephora, $38; shop now

  3. 3. Eminence Organics Calm Skin Moisturizer

    My prescription-strength retinol tends to leave my skin feeling dry and tight, especially in the winter months. I have found that one of the only ways to avoid flakes and irritation is by slathering on a thick, rich moisturizer, but I often struggled to find one that didn’t cause me to break out. Enter Eminence Organics Calm Skin Moisturizer. I am in LOVE with this product. It’s very rich, so a little goes a long way, meaning a whole container of this product will last you months. I also love the soothing ingredients, including chamomile and arnica, both of which are known for their healing power and gentle efficacy. 

    Walmart, $37; shop now

  4. 4. CeraVe Hydrating Hyaluronic Acid Serum

    What would a skincare list be without a mention of CeraVe? Hyaluronic acid has been all the rage recently and, to me, this skincare ingredient is definitely worth the hype; don’t sleep on its hydrating powers! I struggled to find the right hyaluronic acid serum that was effective on my ultra dry-skin, but this product is just that. It has a light, gel-like texture in which a pea-sized amount of this product is perfect for your face and neck, without looking greasy. 

    Ulta Beauty, $19; shop now

For me, combatting my acne with the right products was always an uphill battle. For years, I flip-flopped back and forth between cleansers, sunblocks, moisturizers and serums. Now, I feel I've truly found a simple regimen, in tandem with a prescribed retinol, that can effectively manage my breakouts while also calming my skin. Although I'm still working on building confidence in my textured skin, these products have truly gotten me on the right path.