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What treatments are effective for hormonal acne?
By: Dr Magnus Lynch

Whilst hormonal factors can play a role in both males and females, the term hormonal acne is usually reserved for acne affecting women due to fluctuations in the female sex hormones. It fluctuates according to the menstrual cycle and acne lesions often affect the chin and jawline. It can also be precipitated by a change in hormonal contraception, for example switching from a combined (containing oestrogen and progesterone) oral contraceptive pill to a progresterone-only pill or coil.

The combined oral contraceptive pill (OCP) can be an effective treatment for women. Forms of the OCP, such as Yasmin, that also block male hormones (androgens) are particularly effective. Risks of the contraceptive pill include irregular periods, nausea, weight gain, breast tenderness, high blood pressure and blood clots. The progesterone only pill 'minipill' can in some cases exacerbate acne and in this situation changing to an alternative form of contraception may be advisable. All forms of contraceptive pill require ongoing monitoring and for this reason are prescribed by your general practitioner rather than a dermatologist.

Spironolactone is another option for women. It works by blocking male hormones and reducing sebum production. It is essential that you do not become pregnant whilst taking this treatment and it must be used with effective contraception. Other potential side effects include breast tenderness and high blood potassium - the latter requires blood tests for monitoring.

Tags: acne  hormonal acne 
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