Hormonal Acne in Women
Teenagers are not the only ones to suffer from acne. According to Geoffrey Redmond, MD, from the Hormone Help Center, if acne is bothersome to a person, it is best not to wait to "grow out of it." This condition is very likely to continue to last into a person's thirties and forties. Dr. Redmond states that he has treated 63-year-olds with acne problems. Unfortunately, many people fail to understand what causes the acne that plagues them for life.
According to the Mayo Clinic, "Hormones likely play a role in the development of adult acne." The Mayo Clinic goes on to state that "people with hormonal imbalances due to diseases such as polycystic ovary syndrome experience more problems with acne." Acne.org states that women also see hormonal acne flare-ups during the natural cycles in their lives such as menstruation, pregnancy and menopause.
Dr. Redmond states that acne is an androgenic disorder. In other words, the effects of hormones called androgens set off acne. He states that testosterone plays the biggest role in acne. Men and women both produce testosterone. He states that testosterone stimulates the sebaceous (oil-making) glands in the skin. Acne.org advises that when excess testosterone stimulates too much oil production, pores clog and trap the oil inside. Bacteria begin to grow in the trapped oil, causing the body's immune system to respond. Dr. Redmond advises that the immune system response is what causes the redness, swelling, pus-like fluid and scarring that are associated with acne.
Acne Skin Care
Dr. Redmond states, "Good skin care is particularly important for women with acne. However, good hygiene, though it will help to control acne, is unlikely to take it away." He goes on to state that even though poor hygiene is not a cause for acne, good hygiene will help it. He suggest using a skin cleanser at least twice a week and to apply an over-the-counter preparation with benzoyl peroxide daily.
Prescription Acne Treatments
Dr. Redmond lists a variety of prescription medications that are common for people with acne. Topical treatments such as Retin-A and Differin make the surface protein of the skin less sticky. There are also topical and oral antibiotics. Dr. Redmond states that erythromycin is the most suitable antibiotic for women. According to Acne.org, low-dose birth control pills often help reduce acne in women.
Hormonal Acne Treatments
According to Dr. Redmond, the first step to take when a woman does not respond to typical acne treatments requires determining the specific hormonal factors causing her acne. The treatment given depends on the results of this testing. Treatment usually involves lowering free testosterone levels and protecting oil glands from this hormone. He goes on to state that no matter what acne treatment a woman uses, it will take weeks to have an effect. He advises a woman to prevent outbreaks from happening by using acne treatments all of the time, no just when acne appears.
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