Are you one of the many women who suffer from cystic hormonal acne? You know, the kind that is deep under the skin. These breakouts are red, painful and usually pop up around your cycle and take weeks to clear up, just in time for your next cycle to trigger another round.
Did you know that adult female acne affects:
- 1 in 2 women in their 20’s
- 1 in 3 women in their 30’s
- 1 in 4 women in their 40’s
It is a misconception that acne only affects teens. In fact, I see more women suffer from adult onset acne than anything else. When I first assess a patient’s skin I am looking for two different types of acne: Cystic and bacterial.
So what’s the difference?
Bacterial acne is P.acne bacteria that lives on the skin and can overgrow and cause pimples. Generally speaking this is fairly simple to treat. We exfoliate the skin, incorporate some p.acne fighting products into your regimen and within a few months your skin is much clearer.
Cystic acne on the other hand is much harder to treat. These types of breakouts happen when oil and dead skin build up deep down in the hair follicles or pores. So what triggers this? It is believed that it is caused by testosterone binding to receptors that cause oil production in our glands. Not all women experience this but those who do are believed to be more sensitive to the way their hormones affect their skin. These kinds of breakouts are happening in the deeper layers of the skin so no amount of Benzoyl Peroxide or Salicylic is going to be able to treat this.
The magic little acne pill! This prescription oral medication surpasses Accutane (and is much safer) in efficacy for adult female acne.
What is Spironolactone and how does it work?
- Spironolactone is a diuretic that is used to treat high blood pressure but has been used off label to treat acne for over 30 years.
- This prescription medication has anti-androgen properties which inhibit testosterone production. It blocks the effect of the male hormones from binding to receptors that can cause oil production in our glands and in turn cause acne.
How can I get Spironolactone?
Spironolactone is an oral prescription that should only be prescribed by a physician. I recommend seeing a dermatologist as they are the most familiar with this drug and the proper dosing for the treatment of acne.
I personally have been aware of Spironolactone for many years and have been referring patients to their dermatologists for this. It is an excellent treatment for cystic acne that just cannot be treated with topical treatments and skin care products alone.