Acne Treatment: Hormonal Therapy

Acne is a very commonly occurring skin blemish, which can be effectively managed by acne treatment. Generally, acne affects the areas of skin where there is dense population of sebaceous glands. Acne is caused by bacteria in the areas of accumulated dirt and oil. An acne condition aggravates with an increase in the male sex hormone androgen, because it induces the sebaceous glands to produce more sebum. This is the reason why a lot of adolescents face acne problems.

Why Choose Hormonal Therapy?

Though there are many home remedies and dermatological methods to control the development of acne, they do not work for some people because of the levels of certain hormones. In such cases, androgens like testosterone, dihydrotestosterone, estrogens and growth hormones are found to be the major contributing factor for the acne problems. Androgen is produced in both men and women. This hormone can induce sebaceous glands to produce more sebum (oil-like substance). The additional sebum will mix with dead skin cells and clog the pores on the skin.

The dirt and bacteria get trapped in the pores and infection results in acne. Hormone therapy for acne aims to counteract the effect of androgen by means of estrogen. Thus, it becomes important for certain women to rely on hormone therapy in order to keep their acne under control.

Oral Contraceptives

Oral contraceptives have high levels of estrogen in them, and thus are effective in treating acne for people with hormonal imbalances. This increased estrogen will reduce the production of sebum by suppressing the sebaceous glands. But, oral contraceptives pose potential health risks such as stroke, heart attack and blood clots.

Anti Androgens

There are many anti androgenic substances like flutamide, cyproterone acetate, drospirenone and spironolactone. These substances can also effectively control the production of sebum.

  • Spironolactone – It is a synthetic steroid that can bind with the receptors of androgen and prevents the natural binding of androgens with these receptors. So, there is an inhibition of 5-Alpha-Reductase enzyme, which is required for the biosynthesis of androgen.
  • Cyproterone Acetate – it is an effective estrogen that can influence the oil glands of the skin and thus controls the acne.

This is why hormonal treatment of acne includes medication with theses substances.

Other Hormonal Treatments

There are various other oral hormonal drugs used in acne treatment of women. Oral corticosteroids like dexamethasone and prednisone are used, as they reduce the androgen production.

Side Effects

Though these hormonal therapies are effective in controlling the acne problems, especially in women, there are many potential side effects in this therapy. Women undergoing hormonal therapy for acne are more susceptible to certain types of cancer. Other side effects like mood swings, bloating, abdominal cramps, nausea, severe headaches, depression or anxiety, weight gain or loss, tenderness of breasts and more are experienced, especially with the intake of oral contraceptives. So, it is dangerous to take these hormonal treatments for acne without consulting a dermatologist.

Have specific questions?

All Article Categories

Before & After Photos

Suggested Doctors

Recently Asked Questions