By Dr. Maria Sheron
Board certified dermatologist
Are you a woman with stubborn acne despite treatment with topical medications and antibiotics? Do you still have acne after your teens or later in life?
Hormonal therapy may help.
Hormonal acne may flare around menstrual periods and/or develops in a pattern that favors the jawline and neck. If your acne follows this pattern, then you may be a candidate for hormonal therapy. Hormonal therapies, including oral contraceptive pills and a medication called spironolactone, may significantly improve your acne.
Oral contraceptive pills: Many studies have found these medications effective at treating acne and there are some oral contraceptive pills that have been approved by the FDA for treating acne. Generally, these pills are considered safe, however, there are certain women that should not take these medications. You should consult with your dermatologist regarding the appropriateness of these medications.
Spironolactone: Spironolactone is a blood pressure medication that has also been used in dermatology for many years to treat acne, hair loss, and excess hair in women. It works particularly well for the cystic, painful acne that develops along the jawline. We do not use this medication to treat acne in males because of potential side effects. It is generally considered safe for healthy women, however, some laboratory monitoring may be required in certain populations.
Some time oral contraceptives and spironolactone are prescribed together and their effectiveness for acne is increased. When taking spironolactone, you must always use a form of birth control (barrier or systemic) as this medication may cause birth defects.
Like most other acne treatments, these medications may take up to 2-3 months for noticeable improvement. When effective and acne is well controlled, patients may remain on these medications for several years.
If you find that over-the-counter acne medications are insufficient, then talk to your dermatologist. A dermatologist can determine whether hormonal acne therapy is right for you. There are other treatments including topical and oral prescription medications which may be better suited for your acne.
Dr. Maria Sheron is a board-certified Colorado Springs dermatologist. Dr. Sheron treats all skin conditions including adult acne. She is part of Vanguard’s Colorado Springs dermatology practice in Briargate and Broadmoor. Call 719-355-1585 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Sheron in office or online through Vanguard Virtual Visits.
Vanguard Skin Specialists began as a Colorado Springs dermatology practice and now has an additional office in Canon City, Pueblo, and Woodland Park. Vanguard specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of skin cancer, and also offers general dermatology, plastic surgery, and aesthetic medicine.