My Journey With Hormonal Acne

Health insurance has been a big topic of discussion between my parents and me.

I am fortunate that I am still on my dad’s health insurance. But as I approach 29 years old, figuring out what happens next has been a bit stressful to say the least. As you guys know, I’m not sure what’s going to happen after I graduate grad school in 2018. What I do know is there’s a good possibility I won’t be seeking out “9-5-type positions”. Y’know jobs that would actually offer health insurance. I want to give this whole freelancing, girl bossing thing a go. But I also don’t want lack of health insurance to be the thing holding me back from those dreams.

And then Oscar Health reached out to me to to partner on their campaign about open enrollment for health insurance. It’s like they read my mind. While I’m not seeking coverage quite yet, I know this is research I will have to do in the [very near] future.

Some things to know about open enrollment:

  • Open enrollment this year runs from November 1 through December 15 (January 31 in NY and CA!)
  • This is the only time you can sign up for coverage for the year ahead (minus a few special circumstances)
  • Take your time to do your research and select the right plan for you.

Oscar has created as a resource to help you figure out the best plan for you while not overwhelming you with insurance jargon. Be sure to check out the resource to learn more about your options.

So let’s talk about acne. [I promise this relates to health insurance!]

hormonal acne treatment

Growing up acne plagued me. I had the kind of acne that prompted one of my 4th grade classmates to ask What’s on your face. Mortifying.

Pimples were this constant presence in my life — I always had them on my face and on my back. I remember saying a little prayer to my skin leading up to important events in my life like my Bat Mitzvah and prom. Please skin, I beg of you. Grant me this one glorious day of clear skin.

I spent much of high school trying every acne treatment my dermatologist recommended including lots of anti-biotics and harsh creams that dried my skin. I must’ve also tried every blemish cream at CVS in the process.

These things helped a little, but not enough to outweigh the side effects or make a lasting difference.

hormonal acne treatment

In college my gynecologist suggested that birth control might help. I figured why not. Once again, it helped a little but my skin was still far from clear. What gives, skin?

My skin messed with my self-confidence. To begin with I struggled throughout high school and college (hell, does it ever end?) with self-esteem issues. I was not confident in my skin. The thought of leaving the house without make-up on was not an option. I’d even go so far as to airbrush my pimples out of pictures in iPhoto with that blemish tool.

It’s painful (literally, pimples can HURT) to not feel good in your own skin but also feel helpless.

And then I finally had a breakthrough thanks to a new doctor and a new treatment.

hormonal acne treatment

For context this was about 4 years ago. A friend of mine was working as a medical assistant for a dermatology practice. She spoke highly of the doctors and mentioned that they treat a ton of females for acne with great results. My childhood dermatologist had just retired. I knew I needed a new dermatologist in NYC. And they took my insurance.

I’m not going to pretend that I visited this new dermatologist (I go to Spring Street Dermatology for any of my NYC friends) and miraculously my skin was clear. Nah, there’s no magic pill or cream that works that fast. But the doctor determined that I had hormonal acne since it was predominately on my jawline, chin and back. The birth control previously prescribed actually wouldn’t balance this hormonal issue. I was instead prescribed a low dose of Spironolactone as well as creams to apply in the morning and at night. My doctor also recommended an OTC face wash and moisturizers.

It took some time to get the right dosage but I swear it transformed my skin. I still get the occasional pimple, usually when I’m stressed or getting my period. But it’s SUCH a rare occurrence. After spending much of my life waking up and wondering what my skin will look like today, it’s a huge sigh of relief. I no longer worry about it.

Even my hair is different thanks to treatment– it used to be SO greasy that I couldn’t go more than 24-hours without showering. No dry-shampoo in the world could tackle my grease issues.

Sometimes I forget my skin used to be a mess until a friend on mine from childhood will comment on the transformation. And yes, this has happened on multiple occasions.

If you struggle with hormonal acne or think you might have hormonal acne I’m not saying you need to pop some pills and do exactly what I did. But I do recommend seeing a dermatologist to figure out the best plan of attack instead of trying every product under the sun. You deserve to feel happy and confident and radiant in your skin.

hormonal acne treatment

So don’t forget, the deadline for open enrollment is December 15th. Do your research and GET COVERED.

Health insurance isn’t just about the life-threatening ailments, chronic diseases or serious accidents. Without coverage I wouldn’t feel confident in my skin. And I sure as hell wouldn’t have felt comfortable with the above photos that are ALL up in my face.


This post is sponsored by Oscar Health. As always, all opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting Kayla in the City.

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  • Two things: 1. I love Spring Street Dermatology! 2. I have Oscar Health Insurance and it’s great to see they are making an effort to get out the word about Open Enrollment!

  • Thanks for sharing your story with acne. I’ve battled with cystic acne for a few years and finally sought out a dermatologist. My regular physician also mentioned that it could actually be from my birth control as I was on the same one for 3+ years. Now of course everyone’s situations are different and our bodies are too, so sometimes birth control does help but in my case it was flaring it up. Luckily I got on an antibiotic pill to get rid of the acne bacteria and have been doing treatments for the scaring. It’s such a blessing to finally find a solution- so thank you for sharing your story too.

    Nichole / thedailypursuit

    • I so feel you — it can be such a difficult struggle and long road to find the right treatment that works for you — lots and lots of trial and error. So happy to hear you’ve been able to find a solution!