Saw Palmetto (Really!) Works for Hormonal Acne in Women

Saw Palmetto is a wonderful herb that has shown from many testimonials its effectiveness to treat and prevent the occurrence of hormonal acne.

How hormonal acne works:

Everybody, male and female, has both male and female sex hormones, such as estrogen and testosterone (as well as others) in their bodies. Men usually have more male sex hormones, and women usually have more female sex hormones. Sometimes an imbalance can occur for various reasons, and the body produces an excess of the opposite sex hormones, or the body doesn’t produce enough of the right sex hormones. This article focuses on women whose bodies are producing excess testosterone. Signs that this is occurring are common symptoms such as: frequent acne outbreaks (at any age) that usually occur around the chin, sides of the face, and hairline; excess hair growth (and thicker hairs in parts of the body other than the scalp and the pubic region) and moderately thick hair growing in places it normally shouldn’t in women (such as the chin, stomach, chest, etc.); and irregular periods, to name a few.

The role that this plays in acne specifically is that testosterone actually turns into dihydrotestosterone (a more potent or powerful male sex hormone) in the body, which is responsible for sebum (oil) production in oil glands. If you have an excess amount of these hormones, then you’ll have oilier skin. This oil production, no matter how clean you keep your face, will still clog the pores from the inside, before it even has a chance to surface due to the amount of oil being produced, and create pimples.

Saw Palmetto is an herb which decreases the amount of testosterone in the body, and reduces the occurrence of testosterone becoming dihydrotestosterone. I have read many success stories from women using this treatment. I myself have been using it for acne for a few (about 4) weeks now, and I must say I have seen pretty dramatic results. I was breaking out with new pimples almost every day! 😦 Within a week, I had no more breakouts, just a rare blemish every now and then. I take two 450 mg capsules a day, one in the morning, one at night, with a full glass of water. Try this out girls, you won’t be sorry! No harsh chemicals, no side effects, all-natural cure that works! Not to mention, pretty easy on your pocketbook as well (especially compared to chemical stuff that doesn’t treat the underlying problem!) Also a much better alternative to birth control pills…but don’t get me started on those things!

*I also wanted to add that I use 100% pure glycerin soap as a wash, twice a day (upon waking and before bed), and in the morning, I follow the wash with a ground (basically powered) whole oat and honey scrub (grind the oats in a blender or food processor until fine, there will be a few chunks, similar to the texture of cornmeal. Use about 2 tbsp of ground whole oats, and 1-2 tsp. honey. Mix with a little water and apply to your face in a gentle circular scrubbing motion. Use a warm wet washcloth and gently remove oat mixture, rinsing the cloth periodically. Follow with a cold water rinse.) Removes dead skin cells (which can lead to acne forming) and lightly moisturizes. It leaves my skin smooth and generally great feeling!

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36 Comments

  1. Margarita said,

    April 21, 2013 at 9:54 am

    Thank you!

    • K said,

      April 21, 2013 at 10:43 am

      You’re welcome, I hope it works for you if you try it! 😀

  2. adrina said,

    April 21, 2013 at 11:17 am

    Hy. Very,very interesting 🙂

    The first step to curing acne is knowing what type of acne you have. This information gives you precious insight to what may have actually triggered the acne outset. Once you know your acne trigger, you are one step closer to removing the acne activator and living acne free.
    There are numerous types of acne, which could explain why it is so cumbersome if not seemingly impossible for the acne sufferer to find a cure. Looking at the list below, you may be surprised discover that you acne is not caused by stress, but your new bottle of designer perfume.

  3. Nikki said,

    June 5, 2013 at 1:45 pm

    Hello,

    Very interesting! I’ve been taking 50mg of Spirolactone for over a year. While my skin has cleared and looks amazing, I also gained 15lbs. Ugh! So, now I am looking for a more natural cure. I heard about Saw Palmetto, and it’s benefits for hormonal acne. My question is why the high dosage? I read two 160mg, twice a day. I’m just curious. Also, would you mind sharing the brand you use?

    Thanks!

    • K said,

      June 11, 2013 at 3:06 pm

      Nikki – I use such a high dosage because that is what works for me. I have tried smaller doses with no visible results. I recommend you start with what feels comfortable, and gradually work up from there if need be. Lately I’ve been using Nature’s Bounty brand, but to be honest, I don’t think that brand is that important, as long as it’s the real deal. 🙂

      • Nikki Stevenson said,

        June 11, 2013 at 3:11 pm

        Did you have any side effects from that high a dosage? Specifically weight gain? I am now trying to lose that weight, and dont want anything to interfere with that. Thanks so much for the info, it is much appreciated.

        • K said,

          June 11, 2013 at 3:20 pm

          No side effects at all! I have gained no weight. I think this may be because it it simply limiting the male and not boosting the female hormones. I’m not entirely sure if that is the case, but I do know that I have had no side effects besides clear skin.

  4. Nikki Stevenson said,

    June 11, 2013 at 3:23 pm

    So happy for you. I will start tomorrow. Thanks so much! 🙂

  5. Christine said,

    July 27, 2013 at 12:39 am

    Hi! Can you update us on how its going with the SP? Are you still taking it? Any new aide effects? Results? Do you think it is safe for long term use? Thanks!

    • K said,

      September 12, 2013 at 8:31 pm

      Yes, I am still taking it, and have experienced no ill-effects at all. It is working pretty well for me thus far. I can’t say for sure but I will continue to take it. I don’t see why it wouldn’t be ok for long-term usage (although I am not an expert).

  6. anonima said,

    August 1, 2013 at 11:52 am

    voy a utilizarlo

  7. Shona said,

    September 6, 2013 at 5:23 am

    hi ive read that a 160mg dose twice a day helps this, would the 450mg a day dose be too harsh? my acne is ridiculous, it starts from my cheeks into a despairing pattern of doom on my chin lol. im done with antibiotics, so hoping this could offer some respite.

    • K said,

      September 12, 2013 at 12:10 am

      I am not an expert, so I can not tell you if it would be too much or not. I’d recommend finding a naturopath either in person or online and consult them. I’m sorry I can’t be of more help. :/ I just don’t want to recommend something to you that might end up causing harm. If you haven’t already, start off with the lower doses and see if that works for you. It is not a cure for acne, but it stifles the cause if it is truly hormones that are the culprit. Good luck!

  8. Linda said,

    October 6, 2013 at 1:26 am

    Sounds very encouraging. I’m trying it soon.

  9. Linda said,

    October 6, 2013 at 1:33 am

    Just wanted to add this——I was on Spirolactone for years, and developed third stage kidney disease. Went to a kidney specialist and he immediately cut the dosage of Spirolactone in half. He said it was very hard on kidneys. I was taking 200 mg. a day, and he said he’d be alright with 100 mg. When I went for the next check up, my third stage kidney disease was back to normal numbers for my age. Unfortunately, my oily acne prone skin returned too. I thought I was doomed forever, but now I can’t wait to try saw palmetto.

    • K said,

      October 7, 2013 at 8:49 am

      That’s good news about your kidneys! 🙂 I hope the herb will work for you like it has for me.

  10. Carolyn said,

    October 9, 2013 at 2:35 am

    I have been taking SP for a little over a week now and I do agree with the comment about starting on a low dose and working your way up to what works for you.I saw results as early as 3days into taking SP @ 320mg twice a day 640 daily. Which was half of what I read somewhere else, someone was taking 1300mg a day and it was working for them. So I think it is an individual thing for those who say it didn’t work for them it may be as simple as raising the dose because after I noticed I was getting results I dropped the dose to 160mg twice a day and the oily skin and pimlpes creeped back. So for me I think 640mg works for me. Side effects yes if you don’t have something on your stomach you may find you get nagging headaches

    • K said,

      October 9, 2013 at 8:04 am

      Yes, I agree with you. It treats a hormonal balance, and not everyone will have the exact same imbalance. And I have never noticed the headaches, but I am in the habit of taking supplements with food anyway. Thank you for your feedback!

  11. Krisy said,

    November 7, 2013 at 6:24 pm

    Hi, I was wondering about your comment about Saw Palmetto and birth control. Could you go further in depth on it?

    • K said,

      November 8, 2013 at 7:57 am

      I just used it as an example of an alternative…some women use birth control just as a means to control their hormonal acne, and from what I have read and talked about with my (really awesome) gyn, it’s much better to use natural solutions to correct the problem (in this case, limiting excess testosterone) as opposed to using synthetic hormones. I have taken about 5 different kinds of birth control, and none of them cleared my skin up, they actually eventually resulted in the development of urticaria. My body really did not like those synthetic hormones, and took them as a threat to my body… so now every time I have any sort of hormonal fluctuation (like right before I start menstruating), I break out in hives. I just don’t think that the pill is a very good idea for anyone to use. After-all, I am a proponent of natural medicines. I am not saying that this will happen to everyone (obviously it doesn’t) but for me, the pill simply is not an option.

  12. Cherie said,

    November 14, 2013 at 8:40 pm

    Ive just started taking Saw Palmetto!I was wondering if your capsules were the powdered form of Saw Palmetto? Because i have the powder form of Saw Palmetto in a 550g capsule. I read success about saw palmetto when they’re in extract form with 85-90% fatty acid and sterol content however i did not buy this.. and i recall looking around health food stores that Saw palmetto is usually in powder form capsules.
    Thanks!

    • K said,

      November 14, 2013 at 11:53 pm

      Yes, I have been using the powdered form, and it is actually working well for me. It seems I can usually find the powder cap form relatively cheap too.

      • Cherie said,

        December 5, 2013 at 5:40 am

        I havent seen much improvement in my skin with the powdered capsule 550 mg. Ive been using it for almost a month now. Maybe i just have to be patient. And i will.
        How long did it take you to see results?

        • K said,

          December 5, 2013 at 12:05 pm

          It took about 3 weeks for me to begin to see results. A few things: this doesn’t seem to work for everyone. It is not an acne treatment, it limits the sebum production, which limits acne. This will only work if you are sure that heightened testosterone levels are responsible for increased sebum production. Again, this doesn’t work for everyone. I had used this before a few years back and after about a month of clear skin, the oiliness came back when I was still taking the herb. After I decided that it wasn’t working, I stopped it. I gave it another chance this year and it is working a lot better for some reason. Excess stress triggers a hormonal chain reaction which leads to more common break-outs. Excess stress on the body, due to iffy diet also causes flareups (because your body is working double time to clean itself internally). Also make sure you are giving your face a light exfoliation each day…sebum is only part of the problem…the dead skin cells combining with sebum clogs pores. This is an important step especially if you are taking supplements including Vitamin A or Biotin, or have a diet high in them. They both encourage excess sloughing of dead skin cells, and when you have excess oils, the dead skin cells won’t simply fall off, but instead stick to the skin and clog the pores.

          • Cherie said,

            December 5, 2013 at 4:44 pm

            Thankyou, i have come to the conclusion my acne is testosterone/androgen based. It has taken me 2 years to narrow down to this. I also have PCOS so the main source of my excess androgens is either from my ovaries or from my adrenal glands. I have low estrogen and progesterone levels. I think stress does contribute to this as im constantly breaking out on my forehead and during certain times of the month like around ovulation and the week before my period it is even worse. i dont have like major problems in my life but i think a constant basal level of stress is always present with me in which ive considered it to be normal.. im not sure what im on about exactly haha. In addition, i find that my skin does get oily especially when it comes to the end of the day. That is why ive done extensive research into saw palmetto and thought it would a suitable treatment for me. Im still going to take it and see how it goes. I have incorporated exfoliation into by routine much more often now 🙂

            I will actually be going to talk to a naturopath today in regards to supporting my adrenal glands and cleansing the blood with some other herbs/ supplements that she reccomends .

            So its been 8 months since your official post, how has your skin been up to date now? Do you not break out any more? Is it completely clear? Do you think saw palmetto is an effective longterm solution for your type of acne?

            Hearing yours and other peoples success stories about saw palmetto makes me determined to not give up! 🙂

            • K said,

              December 5, 2013 at 11:06 pm

              Wow, time flies! The first few months my skin was still a bit splotchy, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as it was before I started the treatment. The past several months, I have been almost completely acne-free, with the occasional blemish every now and then (I suspect the cause was bacterial in those few cases). As of this very minute, my skin is totally clear! Totally improved my self-confidence as I had always had a really hard time with acne (it was bad!). As for long term, so far, so good. I have not experienced any ill-effects from taking it this long. I am not a professional naturopath or anything, but I have done extensive research on this and am testing it on myself. Soooo…what I am saying is that I am only telling you how it has been for me, and that there may be a chance that it has adverse effects on others who take it…I can not 100% say for sure.
              That is good that you are talking with your naturopath about other areas…the more your body is in balance, the more it will be responsive to treatments.
              Girl, I was skeptical about it when I first read about it (a miracle cure for acne and other hormonal issues…really?), after going through so many internal and external treatments, I’d started to lose hope.. but I thought I’d give it a shot anyway…and I am so glad that I did. Actually, I’m glad that I picked it up again to give it another shot after unsuccessful treatment the first go round with it.
              Oh, about having low progesterone and estrogen levels, have you looked into anything that could give them a boost? Perhaps look into Dong Quai. It’s a potent “female” herb that the Chinese have been using for a long time (http://bodyecology.com/articles/nine_benefits_of_dong_quai.php#.UqFMUOLuY1c).
              I really wish you the very best on your healing journey!! ❤ If you'd like anymore information or relation of experiences, I am an open book. 🙂

  13. Anastasia said,

    December 4, 2013 at 1:54 pm

    Hi everyone! I am 34 and i have hormonal stuborn acne. I used to take birth control pills, but they interacted with my eyes( not vision, but my eyes were red as being bitten!!). I stopped the pill and now, seven years later acne remembered me back. I started saw palmetto in 320mg extact once a day and it really works!!!! My skin doesnt break out and my previous blemishes are clearing. I consult the treatment with glotherapeutics clear anti blemish treatment cream at night. Hello back beautiful skin

    • K said,

      December 5, 2013 at 12:07 pm

      I’m really glad to hear that it is working for you!! 🙂

  14. Harriet said,

    December 9, 2013 at 1:18 am

    Hi everyone!

    First off, I’m glad to find a blog site that is still current and up-to-date. I’ve been looking into more natural options as far as hormonal acne goes. I’m 28 and I’ve always suspected of having more testosterone. I’m on the pill right now, but have stopped taking it so that I can try SP. I’ve ‘loved’ how you try to do everything that you read from those “suggest health sites” such as speaking to your gyn to see about getting blood test done for hormonal issues. My gyn was like “why?’ it’s not that accurate! ugh. Anyway, I know my body pretty well. I’ve tried 2 different bc’s this year! What sucks about bc is that if you forget to takie it and skip a day that can mess up your hormones really bad! I’m been suffering from hormonal acne since I was a teen. I’ve looked into my old pics of when I was 16 or so! So bad 😦 I’m glad that my parents didn’t put me on any crazy meds though such as Accutane. I wouldn’t have know anything about it back then! My skin as had its moments both good and bad. But I’m wanting just good! haha. I’ve also been using Sal 3 soap, Aztec clay mask (sucks out the soul of blackheads and white heads) and black soap as my skin regimen. Anyway, in case anyone is interested to try out more health stuff. I’ve been drinking “Lily of the Desert’ aloe vera juice too. along with alpha lipoic acid vitamins. I discovered SP was a form of a treatment when I was it was used as a main ingredient along with Zinc! So I bought a bottle of Blue Bonnet Extra Strength SP! 320mg.

    P.S I’ve learned that every 7 eyars or so everybody goes through some kind of hormonal change, you can especially tell with your hair. I use to have REALLY thick hair. It’s relatively still thick, but I’m hoping that SP will give me back my thicker hair that I had when I was younger.

    I’ll post back in a few days to see how it works. I’m going to start off with 640mg day. 1 pill in the am and 1 in the pm.

    • K said,

      December 9, 2013 at 4:23 pm

      Looking forward to hearing your results! 🙂

  15. Harriet said,

    December 9, 2013 at 1:20 am

    Sorry for the typos 😦

  16. Jacqueline said,

    August 3, 2014 at 3:29 am

    I have considered taking SP even though I am still on birth control. Do I have to stop taking BC in order to take SP?

  17. Cin said,

    August 3, 2014 at 6:48 am

    I just started taking SP since 10 days…i notice some side effects and a real bad shedding.. Dont know if its from the SP or from the revita shampoo that i’ve been using since three weeks.
    Jacqueline i’ve read that you cannot use SP and the bcp at the same time.

    Anyone else here with results from the Saw? ( sorry for my bad Englisch)

  18. Cin said,

    August 3, 2014 at 6:50 am

    Ps: i am taking SP for acne and hair loss

    • K said,

      October 23, 2014 at 4:02 pm

      I would actually love to have that side effect as I have too much hair (in my opinion). Alas, I have not had that side effect from SP…but that doesn’t mean that it is not causing it in you. Herbs (and medicines for that matter) have different subtle effects on different people. Like I said, it might not be for everyone!

      • irish said,

        November 9, 2015 at 5:37 am

        I bought Solhar SP and unfortunately I didn’t notice it was 520mg.. would it be fine? I was thinking to take this daily for my hormonal cystic acne.. I just don’t know if 520mg is ok


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