Hormonal acne: treatments and causes

What is hormonal acne?

Hormonal acne is a result of the body producing excessive levels of oil on the skin — imbalances in hormones associated with the menstrual cycle. Hormonal acne is particularly prevalent amongst teenagers and menopausal women but can occur at any point in life. Acne is most likely to have a hormonal basis if it correlates with periods in women and predominantly happens around the jaw area.

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Generally, over-the-counter acne medication will have little effect on hormonal acne. If hormonal imbalances result in acne, specific hormonal acne treatment may be prescribed. The best treatment for hormonal acne is the combined oral contraceptive pill. This pill combines estrogen with progesterone, having a balancing effect on the hormones in the body. Unfortunately, a 3-6 months course of the oral combined contraceptive pill is needed before the effects become noticeable.

Women who only get partial acne or who would be at risk if taking the combined oral contraceptive pill (i.e. smokers) are commonly prescribed Spironolactone. Spironolactone helps to block specific hormonal receptors that cause excessive oil production in the skin.


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