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Herbs for Hormone Induced Acne

Herbs for Hormone Induced Acne Herbs for Hormone Induced Acne Herbs for Hormone Induced Acne

Hormonal acne, a skin condition commonly beginning after age 20, mainly affects women. According to dermatologist Dr. Diane S. Berson, assistant professor of dermatology at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University, "The cause of hormonal acne is most often linked to androgens, which are the hormones that stimulate the sebaceous--or oil--glands and hair follicles in the skin. When the sebaceous glands are over-stimulated by androgens, acne flare-ups can occur." While supporting research on the efficacy of herbal remedies is weak, herbs may offer relief for symptoms associated with hormonal acne. As with any alternative therapy, you should always talk with your physician before trying herbal remedies to treat any disorder.

Milk Thistle

Milk thistle's reputation as a treatment for strengthening and cleansing the liver and gall bladder goes back to the Middle Ages. The herb, which grows wild throughout Europe, helps to produce bile, a fluid created in the liver that reduces fats in the small intestine. According to, "Milk thistle helps remove excess hormones through the stool by stimulating bile production." Phyllis A. Balch, author of the book "Prescription for Herbal Healing," agrees. Balch states,"Increasing the flow of bile helps remove, via the stool, the testosterone byproducts that cause acne."

While milk thistle has yet to be confirmed as an effective treatment for hormonal acne by the scientific community, herbalists have touted its uses for thousands of years. Use milk thistle's seeds to make a tea. Drink 1/2 cup of the tea three times a day. Milk thistle extract has little if any side effects, but women who take birth control pills should not ingest the herb.


Goldenseal, also known as orangeroot, has a long history as a folk remedy for skin infections. The herb contains an active ingredient that provides antibiotic and antifungal effects when used topically to treat hormonal acne. According to "Prescription for Herbal Healing," goldenseal acts as a soothing agent for inflamed tissue, and its antibacterial and antimicrobial qualities help reduce impurities in the skin.

Although no clinical research has yet explored whether goldenseal reduces symptoms of hormonal acne, it may warrant a try. Combine 1/2 tsp. goldenseal root to 10 to 12 drops of tea tree oil. Using a cotton swab, dab the paste onto your affected areas. Rinse off with warm water after 15 to 20 minutes. Do not take goldenseal if you suffer from diabetes, diarrhea or chronic heartburn.

Saw Palmetto

The berries of saw palmetto, an herb traditionally used by southeastern Native Americans, contain polysaccharides, sugars which may inhibit inflammation associated with hormonal acne. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, "Researchers think that saw palmetto may affect the level of testosterone in the body." advises that although no scientific research confirms saw palmetto's efficacy as an herbal treatment for hormonal acne, the herb may aid in balancing male hormonal levels that are related to the condition.

Take 160 mg capsules twice a day. Do not take saw palmetto if you are pregnant, nursing or at risk for hormonal-related cancers.

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