Hormone Regulation to Treat Acne


When you think of hormone regulation in relation to acne then you think of birth control pills. After all, a few birth control brands are being actively advertised as treatments for acne. It is a double treat for women: birth control and acne treatment in one.

A Look at Oral Contraceptives

Oral contraceptives are formulated to prevent ovulation from occurring. This way, it can prevent the release of an ovum. So, no fertilized egg should be able to implant on the wall of the uterus. Oral contraceptives, however, also have a different role to play. They can also act as acne treatments because of their ability to regulate hormones. Oral contraceptives decrease the level of testosterone found in the woman’s body. This is not to say that women with acne have high levels of testosterone; they usually have normal levels of the male hormone. However, further lowering the testosterone levels improves acne conditions. 

Anti-androgenic Progestins

Choose progestins that produce very little androgen or that actually block androgen production. Progestins are sometimes called mini-pills because they are progesterone-only contraceptives. They are more difficult to get used to because you have to take your daily pill at the same time every day for the whole duration of your 28 day cycle. However, you may have to take progestin or the mini pill if you cannot take estrogen for some reason. You may have to take progestins if you are breastfeeding, for one. If you do decide to take the mini pill instead of the combination ones, which are more highly recommended, you may need to have a talk with your doctor about what to expect from the mini pill. Progestins are expected not to work the same way for each person. 

Improvements on Hormone Therapy

The contraceptive pill has been continuously improving since the sixties, in response to side effects that have been discovered through the years. Today’s oral contraceptives are less likely to cause serious side effects. Alesse, for example, contains a very low estrogen dose. So, there is a smaller chance of cardiovascular side effects. Alesse does not even have weight gain listed as one of its side effects. Using it, inflammatory lesions have decreased up to forty six percent, which is a significant increase over placebos’ twenty nine percent. 

Other oral contraceptives that can also be used as effective acne treatments are Ortho-Tricyclen and Diane 35. Both of these brands have been approved as an acne treatment in Canada. Ortho-Tricyclen is approved in the United States.

Possible Side Effects

Even when the formulations of oral contraceptives have significantly improved, there are still some possible side effects that you should be aware of. These side effects include bloating, nausea, weight gain, vomiting, and breast tenderness. Such symptoms are very similar to those that you may experience during pregnancy. There are also other side effects, which could be serious but are pretty rare, such as heart attacks, blood clots, increased blood pressure, and other heart-related conditions. Other rare side effects include gallstones and benign liver tumors. 

Who Should not go Through Hormone Therapy

If you have a history of liver, kidney or heart disease then hormone therapy is not for you. The same goes if you are prone to blood clots or if you are a smoker over the age of 35.