Is Birth Control The Cure For Acne?

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There is an epidemic sweeping the faces of the nation. And it’s not a pretty one. Dermatologists are finding that late-onset, or adult-onset acne, has become increasingly common in women in their 20s, 30s, 40s, and even 50s.

A study presented at the American Academy of Dermatology examined the prevalence of acne in adults over the age of 20 and found that acne affects more than 50 percent of women between the ages of 20-29 and more than 25 percent of women between the ages of 40-49. Also uncovered is that far more adult women are affected by acne compared to similar-aged men. So what’s the cause? Most often, it’s hormones.

Hormones cause excess sebum or oil gland production. Also, skin cells that shed become abnormally sticky and accumulate in, or clog up, your pores. Luckily, hormonal therapies can be used to treat acne safely and effectively, says Chicago, IL, dermatologist Bethanee Jean Schlosser, MD.

Combination oral contraceptives (also known as “the pill”) work to clear acne when used alone or in conjunction with an anti-androgen (the male hormones found in both men and women) such as spironolactone. The oral contraceptives approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of hormonal acne contain ethinyl estradiol plus either the progestin norgestimate, norethindrone acetate, or drospirenone and work together to alter levels and activity of hormones that can trigger acne.

In addition to hormonal treatment, Dr. Schlosser advises that women with acne use non-comedogenic and sensitive skin products in order to reduce the formation of new acne and to minimize skin irritation. She also says to make sure to apply the appropriate amount of topical acne medications (enough for a very thin layer, generally a pea-sized amount for the face) to the skin. Using more medication than is recommended will not produce better results, but may cause more irritation or dryness.

Have you tried birth control pills to clear up your adult acne?

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