Acner.org: Acne treatment

Acner.org: Acne treatment

Demulen for Acne

Demulen for Acne

Overview

Acne plagues both men and women, especially younger people in their teen years. While teens suffer most from acne--the American Academy of Dermatology estimates that 85 percent of teenagers will have pimples every year--adult women also get pimples repeatedly during specific times of the month. If you're one of these women, your physician may prescribe Demulen, a form of oral contraceptive, to curb your acne.

Cause

Although many factors combine to cause acne, hormones play a key role, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Male hormones known as androgens are the main culprits. Androgens such as testosterone stimulate the sebaceous glands in the skin, which produce the sebum, or oil, that you often see in oily skin. If your sebaceous glands are too sensitive to androgen stimulation, they'll make too much sebum, which results in oily skin and, in some people, pimples.

Effects

Demulen and other oral contraceptives that contain forms of the female hormones estrogen and progestin combat acne in women by helping to moderate monthly hormonal swings and lower androgen levels, according to the Mayo Clinic. If you have lower androgen levels with fewer hormonal surges, you'll be less likely to suffer from acne, especially just before your period. Demulen hasn't been approved specifically by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for acne treatment, but physicians can prescribe it "off-label" to treat acne. Many view Demulen as particularly effective in treating acne in women.

Time Frame

Demulen and other oral contraceptives do not work quickly to stop acne, according to the AAD. In fact, birth control pills can take up to six months to begin to clear your skin, and your skin might look worse before it begins to improve, due to your altered hormones when you start taking Demulen. Even if your acne flares up while you're on Demulen, you should continue taking it every day as prescribed, because missing doses can reduce its effectiveness.

Cautions

Demulen shouldn't be prescribed for every woman. Women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant shouldn't take any type of oral contraceptive, regardless of whether it's for acne treatment. In addition, women who have a history of migraines, blood clots or heart attacks or certain types of cancer should not take Demulen. If you're over 35 or if you smoke, you should talk to your doctor before taking Demulen or any other oral contraceptive for your acne.

Considerations

Dermatologists don't view oral contraceptives as a first-line treatment for acne in most cases, according to the AAD. For best results with Demulen for acne, you'll probably need to use additional acne-fighting prescription medications such as oral or topical antibiotics or possibly a retinoid, a synthetic version of vitamin A that can help to clear your pores. You may need to try several approaches before finding one that's right for you. But in many women, Demulen can help to clear acne.

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