Acne after using Progesterone Cream

by Suzanna Hamilton
(Chapel Hill, NC)

I'm 42 and have never had the "typical" female issues until this past summer. I was diagnosed with Endometriosis and began having mild hot flashes.

After being told by my OBGYN my hormone test showed I was no longer ovulating, I began using Progesterone Cream (1/2 inch twice per day), this was in October 2009. Prior to using the cream, my skin had become somewhat dry around my jaw area. Growing up I tended to have normal to oily skin. However, about 2 months after using the Progesterone Cream, I noticed my skin became oily and acne prone along my jaw line, forehead and my neck area just below my jaw. For no apparent reason, I also came down with a severe case of thrombosed hemorrhoids. I have always been regular, etc. I'm very healthy, exercise regularly, take the recommend vitamins for someone in Peri-menopause, drink tons of water and use an all organic skincare line.

I've read Progesterone causes the male hormones to elevate which can cause acne as well as due to the way Progesterone cause veins to swell, too much can cause hemorrhoids. If this is true, has anyone else experienced this and what did you do? I cut back on the amount of Progesterone Cream I was using (1/2 inch once per day) and began using Estro 500 cream as well (1 inch once per day). The hemorrhoids eventually went away. I was told estrogen helps control acne. My skin has gotten a little better, however, I continue to have some problems. I have read on blogs some women have had the same problems with Progesterone Cream.

Your feedback would be appreciated.

Comments for Acne after using Progesterone Cream

Click here to add your own comments

Mar 05, 2010
Acne after using Progesterone Cream
by: Wray

Hi Suzanna. Endo is an oestrogen dependant problem, often aromatase inhibitors are given to suppress the excess oestrogen, but these do have adverse side affects, please see this. It does respond to progesterone, which suppresses the high levels of oestrogen, but a high level of progesterone is needed to do this. Unfortunately progesterone initially increases oestrogen in the body, which can make the symptom worse, and introduce other symptoms too, please see here.

It's oestrogen dominance you are suffering from now, it does pass, usually in a few days, sometimes a week or two, it really depends on how severe the symptom is, and how much oestrogen is present. As you have endo you have a high level. Progesterone doesn't raise male hormone levels, in fact it suppresses them. Androgens tend to rise in peri-menopausal women as the excess oestrogen most of us have, due to lowering progesterone levels, is converted by aromatase into androgens. Incidentally progesterone is excellent for piles, both men and women have used the cream to rub on them. I have not heard of oestrogen helping acne. It is an excitatory hormone, involved in mitosis, whereas progesterone inhibits mitosis. Progesterone normally helps acne, as I said the symptoms you have now are due to excess oestrogen caused by the progesterone initially. You might like to see this before you continue with the oestrogen. Take care, Wray

Aug 25, 2013
Progesterone cream natal kokora r
by: Ana

I too used a progesterone cream and it totally broke me out badly! I had good skin before and now it's bad my skin is super oily seriously when does this get out of your system this is too much for me. I'm treating it but it's gotta go I hate deali g with problem skin in my late 30's really never again!

Sep 02, 2013
by: Feather

Hi Wray, yes I have also noticed that I am breaking out in spots, which I rarely get if ever (even as a child) my skin has always been really good.

I guess it will be a case of waiting for things to balance out?


Sep 02, 2013
by: Wray

Hi Feather, Ana too, I see I missed your post. Progesterone can do that, although it's not directly responsible, testosterone is, see here. In stimulating oestrogen, testosterone is too. At least 100-200mg/day should be used, but it also depends on other symptoms. Much more might be needed. If too low a level is used it can and does cause problems. If bound to SHBG (sex hormone binding globulin) testosterone becomes inactive, progesterone raises levels of SHBG, see here, so preventing the rise of free testosterone. It's the free testosterone which has such an affect on us. Take care Wray

Sep 05, 2016
Pcos/acne and bio identical progesterone cream
by: Erin

Ok,so im 35 I've suffered with pcos my whole life. In the last 5 years it's been really bad. When I say bad I mean the hair growth in all wrong places and significant loss of hair on head. I will not take the pill any longer, when I was young I took it for about 5 years and looked and felt amazing meaning hair and skin, it was not great for my sex drive tho, I was pregnant thru my 20's and suffered from it but as I stated eaier on after my 3rd baby it's been down hill. I started Aldactone was on it for about 3 months and I ignored every symptom that was screaming you are allergic to this, it worked so amazingly and quickly I was floored, my skin cleared and the texture of my skin was like the skin I envy on women who are hormonally balanced, tight pores, no excess oil and no break outs, I just kept swallowin that pill, my tongue was swollen on it and then around month 3 I was hyperventalateing, I had to get off. Now over the last 2 years my acne has changed from the big cysts to the white puss like pimples, kind of weird it was real bad last spring/summer then I cleared up, I was using topical and bam spring rolled around and same it got real.bad all spring and summer, my hair on my head started to shed, in 6 months I've lost a ton and it's male pattern baldness more less, anyways I could've bet someone a million dollars that when I went into my dr to get my hormones tested be was gonna tell me my testosterone was high, and what ya know it's high. So it leaves me my only choice, to try the bio-idetical progesterone cream. I've been reading on this for years, I haven't come across any other answers except the 3 obvious the pill, Aldactone, and the progesterone cream. So im so scared it's gonna not work or make acne worse. This past month when he gave it to me I started it my period was mia but by day 8 I was feeling super crazy so my mom sguested I skip a day and cut it in half the next day, we'll I skipped tge day and got my period in the middle of the night, so im starting fresh on day 11 as prescribed im now just wondering if I should stay on the 30 or cut in half?? So day 3 I was really broken out it seemed to calm down but then when I actually git my period and stopped using it I exploded, my whole forehead covered, that's not normal for me, please help I'd appreciate any suggestions at this point... so im supposed to use 30mcg a day do you think that's to high, or should I power thru it again and see???

Mar 20, 2018
Breaking Out
by: Janis

Went on-line to see if anyone else is experiencing the same thing that I am.

I started using progesterone cream (again) back in January of this year (2018). At first I did not break out, maybe just one or two pimples. I took a week break the past months as recommended. Well, this month my fact is breaking out like crazy!! Here I am a 59-year woman and my face is breaking out. It's mostly around my mouth area and along my jaw line.

I also did start using Evening Primrose and Borage Seed oils (GLA oil) for weight loss purposes. Is anyone else having problems like this? I usually have very nice fact when I was in my 30's and 40's a friend told me that I had porcelain fine skin. It's very frustrating....I may stop using both the cream and the GLA in order to get my face to clear up.

May 25, 2018
Progesterone Therapy IS NOT For Everyone
by: Anonymous

I am so happy that progesterone has helped many women. My Dr. and I worked with it in many different attempts to help my estrogen dominant symptoms.

All that the progesterone did was:
1- Make me sleepy
2- My me cranky
3- Give my face a rash and then
4- Cystic Acne

I gave this an honest try, different brands, different routes and the last attempt was 4 months (which should have been enough time for some positive effect). Instead it left me with cystic acne that is lingering months later. I love the internet for all it offers but if you are reading this, please know that not everything works for everyone.

All in all, keep searching, the answer for you in out there! Thanks

Jul 18, 2018
How long??
by: KiKi

For the person who posted the last comment ... how long were you using the cream before you decided to stop?

I have been using it for two months now. The first few weeks things were good. Then about a month in I started getting cystic acne. I have gotten this in the past but only maybe one or two a year. Currently, I have at least two or three on my face AT ALL times. Its really bad. Everything I read always says it's not the progesterone cream and give it time. Okay it's been two months with NO signs of improvement. How long do I give it before I say enough? Not to mention I constantly have a headache and my PMS on my last period was off the charts.

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Progesterone faq.

Share this page:
Find this page helpful? Please tell others. Here's how...

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.

Search over 8,400 pages on this site...