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The Low-Down on Hormonal Acne: Save Your Money!

Woman smiling after receiving laser treatment for hormonal acne

I hope everyone had a great Christmas and New Year’s celebration. We had a great Christmas celebration at ReNue. Thank you so much for visiting my blog and supporting ReNue over the years. I am very grateful for all of you. I want to kick off the New Year with the exciting topic of hormonal acne. I see so many people trying to treat this type of acne with topical skin products. I would venture a guess that the average female spends more than $2,000 on skin products before coming to one of our Airdrie, Downton Calgary, and Seton dermatology clinics for help. Truthfully, you would do much better to spend that money on laser treatments to reduce scarring as a result of the acne once we help you get control of the situation.

What is Hormonal Acne?

There are likely many versions of hormonal acne, but we will define it as the acne women experience that can be related to subtle hormonal imbalances. This acne is often deep and cystic in nature and can leave scars or pigmentation marks. It often occurs in the chin and jawline region.

The most important point is that there is no cure for this type of acne. Our treatment strategy focuses around controlling outbreaks and limiting scarring until the condition resolves. Sadly, this sometimes doesn’t occur until menopause. But while menopause may sometimes be the ultimate cure, we have to do better than that.

When Topical Treatments Disappoint

Hormonal acne does not respond well to topical treatments, despite what many women are erroneously told. It is an internal body issue that needs an internal or oral solution. Topical treatments such as medical grade skin products, peels, microneedling, and lasers can be very helpful in reducing the appearance of marks, but they do not play a role in curing hormonal acne. They are great treatments once the acne is under reasonable control, but only to help refine the complexion.

Effective Solutions

Hormonal acne treatments that are effective include medications such as spironolactone (Aldactone), birth control pills, and Accutane.  Everybody has an option that makes the most sense for them, but these are the only tools we have available, even in the cosmetic world. Occasionally a short course of an antibiotic by mouth can give some temporary improvement, but this is not usually the first treatment we suggest.

Hormonal IUDs and Acne

One other interesting point is that hormonal IUDs, such as Mirena, often make acne worse. They have become extremely popular and are great for contraceptive options, but in women who suffer from hormonal acne, they need to be used selectively. I think they make things worse for 2 reasons:

  • Mirena only contains progesterone, which does not help acne.
  • Many women go off of their birth control pills and move to Mirena.  They don’t realize that the birth control pill was helping their hormonal acne because they have been on it since their teen years.

I have seen a few people respond to dietary and lifestyle changes such as reducing stress, restricting dairy, eating healthier and drinking more water. This does not commonly help, but doesn’t hurt and is generally good advice anyway.

Your Hormonal Acne Solution

Everything starts with a complete consult, good honest advice, and realistic expectations. You can save a lot of money and avoid a lot of frustration by seeing us at ReNue before spending thousands on skin products and aesthetic treatments that are unlikely to help until control is gained. One of our key missions at ReNue is to place people in control of their skin-related issue. We are here to help and the consults are free. Learn more about what you can expect in this blog post.

If you would like to learn more about treating hormonal acne at one of our Downtown Calgary, Airdrie, or Seton dermatology clinics, please contact us online or call (403) 454-1244 to request a consultation.

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