The treatment for hormonal acne can be different from treatment of other forms of acne. The activities of hormones are very important in the development of acne and in the medications used in treatment of this skin condition. Many women come to the Advanced Acne Institute seeking help for controlling “hormonal acne” through an effective treatment regimen. Hormonal acne treatment targets a type of hormone called an androgen which causes oil glands located within acne-prone pores to become over-stimulated, leading to acne breakouts.
What Is Hormonal Acne?
The truth is that there really is no actual condition called “hormonal acne”. All cases of acne are associated with hormones so treatment of “hormonal acne” often includes many of the same treatments for other forms of acne. When referring to “hormonal acne treatment,” however, acne dermatologists consider certain presentations of acne to be “hormonal acne”. For example, female patients with acne breakouts involving the jaw line and lower face as well as women who tend to have acne flares associated with their menstrual periods can be labeled as having “hormonal acne” and are treated with hormonal acne treatment.
Standard Therapies Are Not Effective In Hormonal Acne Treatment
Treatment of this condition is often more difficult to achieve than other forms of acne. Topical medications are rarely effective in controlling hormonal acne and are generally not effective. By the time most women come to the Advanced Acne Institute they have already seen other doctors and have been given a variety of standard therapies without success. Some have taken oral antibiotics with only initial improvement.
Severe Hormonal Acne Is More Difficult to Treat
In some cases, treatment can be more difficult when hormonal acne is severe. Some cases of hormonal acne become cystic and heal with prominent scars. Cystic hormonal acne can be challenging to treat effectively. The first thing to consider when treating hormonal acne is the existence of an underlying hormonal imbalance. Blood tests are sometimes ordered to check for this possibility. After confirming that there are no hormonal abnormalities, then treatment can be prescribed. Treatments that can be effective include birth control pills, a medicine called spironolactone and Isotretinoin, otherwise known by its brand name Accutane.
Birth Control Pills Are One Form Of Treatment
Combination birth control pills that contain both estrogen and progesterone can often be helpful as a hormonal acne treatment in women. Using a birth control pill is a common starting point in treatment of this condition. Usually this is prescribed by a gynecologist, because it is important to discuss with each patient the risks of treatment of acne with birth control pills. It can take several months before improvement is observed. Therefore, it is important for women to be patient while waiting for observable results. Hormonal acne treatment with birth control pills is not always effective; when birth control pills don’t help, then other treatments are considered.
Spironolactone Is An Effective Hormonal Acne Treatment
One type of hormonal acne treatment is a pill called spironolactone. Spironolactone works by blocking the acne-causing hormones that trigger the acne-prone pores to become overactive and inflamed. Spironolactone can also be effective in treatment of severe or cystic hormonal acne. As long as a woman continues to take spironolactone for hormonal acne, breakouts can be well controlled. However, once spironolactone is discontinued, the acne can reoccur. The goal of treatment is to obtain clear skin and then taper down on the dose to the lowest amount possible to maintain control over acne breakouts. At the Advanced Acne Institute, we have many patients who are very happy with their results on this treatment plan.
Isotretinoin Is The Most Effective Form Of Treatment
When other treatments are tried and don’t work to control hormonal acne, then a stronger option is needed. The strongest treatment option is a medication called Isotretinoin. Also known as Accutane, it is the most effective acne treatment available for all forms of severe acne. This acne treatment is the only one that can result in long term remission of acne even after the medication is discontinued. Sometimes, however, some patients need to take more than one course of isotretinoin before effective control of hormonal acne is achieved.