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Solutions for Hormonal Acne

Solutions for Hormonal Acne

Most people get pimples as teenagers, and hormones likely play a large role in acne development, according to the Mayo Clinic. Hormones stimulate oil-producing glands in the skin to produce too much oil, which then helps to clog pores and feed bacteria. In women, hormone shifts that come from normal menstrual cycles and pregnancy also can cause acne. Fortunately, several treatments exist for hormonally driven acne.

Over-the-Counter Medications

Over-the-counter medications can treat most mild cases of hormonal acne, although only a handful of ingredients have a proven acne-fighting track record. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, products containing benzoyl peroxide tend to be quite effective against acne. It fights bacterial infection. Resorcinol, another common ingredient, can treat smaller lesions effectively, while alcohol and acetone potentially can help to dry skin and alleviate infection. And salicylic acid can unclog pores and stop abnormal skin cell shedding. However, the AAD warns against buying products marked "natural," "organic" and "herbal," saying most haven't proven effectiveness against acne.

Prescription Medications

Prescription medications likely will play a role in treatment for hormonal acne that fails to respond to over-the-counter products, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. If you have moderate or severe acne, your dermatologist might prescribe either oral or topical antibiotics to fight the infection that contributes to your acne. You might also receive topical antimicrobials, including prescription-strength benzoyl peroxide, to fight infection, or you might get a prescription for tretinoin, best-known as Retin-A. Tretinoin promotes new skin growth, which can clear your pores and eventually your skin.

Physical Procedures

Physical procedures used to treat hormonal acne address specific factors that cause pimples and inflammation, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Light and laser treatments, popular acne treatments, target bacterial infection and skin oil production. Light chemical peels, meanwhile, help to draw out pore blockages, preventing more eruptions. And if your acne is severe enough, your dermatologist might recommend surgical extraction for some of your largest lesions. Removing these cysts can reduce your pain and discomfort, and may also decrease the chances of scarring.

Oral Contraceptives

Women have one more option for treating hormonal acne: oral contraceptives. Birth control pills, when taken continuously for six months or more, can help to regulate hormonal fluctuations that cause acne, according to the Mayo Clinic. Three types of pills--Yaz, Estrostep and Ortho TriCyclen--have been approved for acne treatment, but others can be effective. However, the AAD warns that oral contraceptives most likely aren't appropriate treatment for women who are older than 35, who smoke, or who have a history of high blood pressure or cancer.

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