By Beth Janes
Hormone Havoc: Acne
As an adult, you get pimples along your jawline because pores become ultrasensitive to oil-triggering androgen hormones, says Diane Thiboutot, MD, professor of dermatology at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. As androgen levels rise -- usually right before your period -- skin gets oilier and pores are more likely to clog.
Salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide: Use a cleanser with salicylic acid to dissolve oil buildup within pores and keep them clear. Then apply a cream containing up to 3.5 percent benzoyl peroxide, an antibacterial. Both ingredients can dry your skin, so follow up with a noncomedogenic moisturizer, which won't cause its own breakouts. Try St. Ives Green Tea Cleanser ($6 at drugstores) and First Aid Beauty Blemish Eraser ($16 at sephora.com).
Prescription meds: For more serious cases of acne a dermatologist may prescribe a retinoid cream to reduce oil production, speed cell turnover, and reduce inflammation. Or she could suggest hormonal intervention. Birth control pills are commonly prescribed, as is the diuretic spironolactone. Although officially used to fight fluid retention, the latter also has skin-clearing powers because it may block the androgen receptors, says Dr. Thiboutot.