How I treated my hormonal acne without the pill

Like many of us, I had acne as a teenager. I tried everything from charcoal face washes to toothpaste and never quite got a grip on it. Luckily, it pretty much disappeared when I went on the pill at around 17 – with occasional breakouts during the inactive pill days.  

That was over a decade ago now, and my skin has been largely under control since then. But earlier this year, I had the misfortune of experiencing multiple pulmonary embolisms – or blood clots in the lung. After plenty of time in hospital, it was discovered that I had a rare clotting disorder, which meant that taking the pill was out of the question due to the increased risk for more clots. What I wasn’t prepared for, at the ripe old age of 30, was how my teenage skin would come back with a vengeance a couple of weeks after stopping. A bit of research indicated that my body was basically adjusting to life without the pill and ramping up hormone production – leading to breakouts of acne, blackheads, and generally unhappy skin.  

Knowing that I’d have to get a grip on this without the help of hormones, I took a multi-pronged approach to tackle the breakouts taking over my chin, jaw, and temples. 

To be clear, this is my personal journey and these are the decisions that worked for me – and I’m not an expert or a professional. As always, you should consult your dermatologist about how best to treat your own skin.

The skincare regime 

The first step was a gentle but cleansing face wash which doesn’t dry out or irritate my skin. I’m one of those people with an annoyingly sensitive face – I get red patches, rashes, and general angriness at almost anything. This aloe face wash from the body shop has honestly been my saving grace for the last three years – I love how my skin doesn’t feel tight or itchy after using it, but it still looks and feels clean.  

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