Progesterone Pimples

Zee Zit

Not long ago I blogged on the subject of “Zapping Zits” which initiated a fair amount of conversation both on Facebook and between Chloe (my research friend) and me. In talking about our shared affliction and our cures we discovered that we both take quite high doses of bio-identical progesterone (not progestin) for about 16 days per month. Chloe had noticed that her outbreaks of spots were occurring pretty regularly on the days she took progesterone. That made me think about the timing of my issues and I realized that I was getting “zee zits” at that time as well. At the risk of reader boredom I decided to do a little research in regard to bio-identical progesterone and your skin to see if we were on to something.

First some basic information. What does progesterone do in a woman’s body? Progesterone (essentially translating to “pro” gestational state) is essential for preparing and maintaining the uterine lining for a successful pregnancy. If fertilization does not occur and the egg does not implant, progesterone levels begin to fall, assuming a “regular” cycle, menstrual flow begins at day 28. Progesterone is made in the adrenal glands and has qualities of both androgens and estrogen. In the best scenario, natural progesterone competes with androgens, particularly when estrogen levels drop at ovulation, helping prevent androgens from exerting their effects upon the skin.

Why should a female worry about taking progesterone at all, especially if it is going to mar your face and cause you irritation every month? There are a variety of very good reasons. Progesterone in the body has multiple functions:

  • Prepare the endometrium for implantation of the fertilized ovum
  • Insure survival of the fetus in the uterus
  • Prevent water retention
  • Help use fat for energy at the cellular level
  • Serve as a natural anti-depressant
  • Create a calming effect on the body
  • Help eliminate sleep disorders
  • Help keep insulin release in check and maintain even blood sugar levels
  • Prevent overgrowth of the endometrium
  • Prevent breast tissue overgrowth
  • Maintain sex drive
  • Maintain normal blood clotting parameters
  • Protect against fibrocystic breasts

Now that the basics of progesterone have been covered we can set about to answer the question: Why do some women who take progesterone have trouble with spots and some don’t?  There appear to be several possibilities.

Some researchers pointed out that weak eliminative organs – such as the liver, kidneys and the intestines can cause skin problems like acne. The skin being an eliminative organ, if the liver is not performing at its peak, and if the kidneys and intestines aren’t either, then a lot of the elimination will have to take place through the skin …and when that happens, acne, rashes, and other skin conditions appear. So if your liver isn’t at its best you will eliminate toxins through your skin.

If you think your low functioning liver is exacerbating your hormonal skin issues cleansing your eliminative organs is recommended. Jon Barron provides an entire pharmacopia for challenged livers in his kit of organ cleanses (I like Jon Barron’s approach and the quality of his products although I have never tried this particular kit). You could also take herbs like milk thistle and dandelion root on a daily basis to support your liver. If you have actual acne, supporting and cleansing your liver may be called for especially if you regularly take products like Advil and Tylenol or drink soda and alcohol daily.

If a clogged liver plus progesterone has the possible effect of causing acne and rashes, what if what you are experiencing is just one or two spots that recur monthly? That is not acne, it is more likely a simple pimple, zit, spot, whatever name you choose. As I stated previously, some experts say that bio-identical progesterone can have an androgenic effect on a woman’s body and cause an over-secretion of oil. Researchers also point out that progesterone naturally causes some fluid retention which may cause the pores to swell and close up and voila! You have zee zit.

I also found several articles from a more holistic approach stating that bio-identical progesterone causes a kind of cleansing within the body as it is closely associated with a woman’s menses. This cleansing causes toxins to escape via the body’s largest organ, the skin. While for some women progesterone causes a zit or two some women report that spots will clear up when they apply natural progesterone cream to the inflamed area.

In the end I conclude that it is entirely possible that when a person  is suffering from the occasional spot on their mug   it could very well be due to their fluctuating progesterone levels. I suggest taking a holistic approach to the problem. Clean up your diet. Keep your skin free of petroleum products and unnecessary chemicals. Try some of the natural remedies suggested in “Zapping Zits“.

This is a certainty: maintaining optimal progesterone levels is essential. When next the dreaded spot erupts you can rest easy knowing that when the new moon appears and progesterone levels decrease your zits may be zapped naturally.

Until next week,



6 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Greenscribe on 14:03 at Tuesday, May 23, 2017

    I post menopausal and using progesterone cream to balance estrogen dominance. My face is breaking out (chin) EVERY TIME I use the cream. I’m miserable! I’m gluten free, organic, take milk thistle (Dx’d with Hashimoto’s). I brush my skin with organic cleansers. What do you suggest?


    • Posted by Kris on 14:30 at Tuesday, May 23, 2017

      Ugh, it is tough. I quit using progesterone after awhile and I never have break outs now. If you don’t mind the smell organic live apple cider vinegar massaged in to the areas might be helpful. It would be slightly acidic but also with the probiotics it might just help control the break out. There is also a probiotic soap by Dr. Ohira available at iHerb (you can use a coupon code YAN884 and get a first time discount). I never wash my face with soap but in the area that is breaking out you could use the probiotic soap and see if it helps.
      I think with estrogen dominance if nothing worked I would still use the progesterone for the anti-cancer effects.Let me know what works for you and I will share it here.


      • Posted by Greenscribe on 14:49 at Tuesday, May 23, 2017

        Thanks for your reply. But I don’t think it’s a matter of probiotics (I take them as well)- it’s DEFINITELY from the progesterone cream. I put the progesterone on at night (after I clean my face) and in the morning the pimples appear. It’s AWFUL! I can’t imagine how terrible it would have been as a teenager- but as a 65 year old it’s still miserable and difficult to disguise!

      • Posted by Kris on 16:04 at Tuesday, May 23, 2017

        It’s not the probiotics in your gut it is something about probiotics on your skin. If you go to iHerb and look for his soap and then look for comments, people use it for eczema and other skin eruptions. It is also a very gentle soap. My only complaint is minor, it is very dark in color.
        In regards to the vinegar, my homeopathic doctor (who is also an medical doctor) at the time suggested a long massage on the area with the apple cider vinegar, once or twice a day.
        I did have two more thoughts. Have you tried charcoal masks? Or other masks meant to help with facial skin? I never have but I have read comments from people who have and they seem very positive. Also Suzanne Somer’s books often talk about hormone imbalance and things you can do to help your body. If it were me I would check out one of them and see if you can find any helpful advice regarding breaking out like a teenager after menopause.
        In the end, it is the hormone imbalance creating the problem, so you could decrease the amount of progesterone but otherwise perhaps try to get in touch with your teenage self, something most of us in our 60’s don’t really want to feel anymore.

  2. Posted by KRISTIN on 0:36 at Sunday, October 2, 2016

    Help! Im pregnant and absolutely dying from this cystic progesterone ance same occurrence years ago on Implanon from the testosterone oil build ups. Left nasty scars can’t imagine 9 Mos of this when I’m at 6 weeks! Any treatments/medications safe during pregnancy??!! Please let me know thank you! …. so bad ill already need microderm abrasion treatments for the scars.


    • I feel your pain and unfortunately have no particular answers. Let me ask around and see if someone has experienced progesterone cystic acne. My pimples were probably similar to cystic acne but they never developed in to a problem; just an irritation.
      If it were me I would do facial toners with apple cider vinegar daily plus facial skin brushing. Teresa Tapp explains skin brushing in a e-format and you can buy it at When one is pregnant everything becomes so much more complicated but I wouldn’t think that skin brushing would detox so severely as to harm one’s fetus.


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