How to Get Rid of Adult Cyclical Acne

Pimples are caused by hormones, not greasy foods.
Pimples are caused by hormones, not greasy foods. (Image: Pizza image by Franco DI MEO from

Acne affects not only teenagers but many adults as well. Cyclical acne occurs during hormonal schedules. According to Dermatologist Dr. Debra Wattenberg, "Acne presents most commonly when our hormones become unbalanced, specifically during puberty, pregnancy, menopause and when discontinuing birth control pills."

Acne and Accutane

Accutane is derived from vitamin A and is essentially a high dose of that vitamin. It may be ideal for those with adult cyclical acne because, according to, "Accutane works to achieve partial or complete clearance of acne in about 95% of people... regardless of whether they have inflammatory or non-inflammatory acne."

Acne and Birth Control Pills

Young Women's Health suggests that oral contraceptive pills can improve acne. On the other hand, Skin Care Physicians argues that "Some women get acne when they stop taking birth control pills. The pills may have been keeping their acne at bay." If you are discontinuing oral contraceptives, contact a dermatologist for preventative topical treatments.

Topical and Oral Treatments

Because adult cyclical acne flares up during hormonal periods, it can be easier to prevent. Dermatologists can prescribe topical treatments containing benzoyl peroxide, salicyclic and glycolic acid or recommend over-the-counter products. According to Dr. Wattenberg, more aggressive acne may require systemic antibiotics like Tetracycline, Minocin, Erythromycin. Chemical or laser peels are another option.

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