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Females & Adult Acne -- Hormonal Treatment

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I'm a 22 year old female who has just recently suffered a lovely breakout unlike any other previously experienced. In the past, I've been on minocycline, doxycycline, septra (or bactrim), and solodyn. For the most part, they've all proven to be either ineffective or eventually became ineffective and did not produce permanent results. Septra does work, but I feel uncomfortable being on it for an extended period of time.

So, I break out and look...not quite the same. I visit the dermatologist who immediately informs me of Accutane and gives me pamphlets galore describing the drug isotretinoin. It scares the hell out of me at first. Then I look in the mirror and pull it back out, do a massive amount of research, and decide to move in the Accutane direction. We probably have the same story, so I won't embellish.

I've been reading books on skin lately, and today I decided to pick up a few books on hormones. It can't help to be informed, right? We know that hormones can affect our acne, and hormones can affect the way that we deal with stress. More stress means more acne, and if we can't deal with the stress due to hormones, hello uncontrollable acne. So, what happens when we control the hormones? Is this the key to uprooting (bad choice of words) acne? This is what I'm thinking. At least, I hope I am not just disillusioned with my fear after reading some fellow posters Accutane logs. Yeah, I want to avoid the initial breakout. Yeah, I am scared of losing my hair and limping around, bald and acne-ridden. This mental picture explains why depression ensues. But, hopefully I am not just grasping at straws here.

The book I'm reading is by Geoffrey Redmond, M.D. and is titled "The Hormonally Vulnerable Woman." It discusses that a non-androgenic birth control pill can reduce testosterone levels by half (thereby reducing acne blemishes by roughly half). Yet, for some of us, reducing our acne by half is still not going to cut it. So, he continues this hormonal treatment with the addition of a testosterone blocker like spironolactone. He claims that this is where the substantial progress is made. Testosterone, while good for sex, wreaks havoc on our hair and skin, making it oily and greasy. Basically, gross. Blocking it decreases these affects in a more comfortable and safe manner than Accutane, or so says Dr. Redmond. He notes that it clears 90% of acne cases in 2-4 months depending on severity.

IN ADDITION, he says that Accutane is not effective or as dangerous as its reputation describes. BUT, in some cases where hormonal treatment is ineffective, Accutane is necessary. When combined with a testosterone blocker, the initial breakout is severely lessened, and Accutane can be taken at much lower, safer dosages thereby minimizing the uncomfortable side affects. The problem, he explains, is that few doctors are familiar with this type of treatment, so you must find one that is or one that is open-minded. And by doctor, obviously he means a GYN and not a Dermatologist.

Basically, this doctor believes that this treatment is the next step after oral antibiotics and before Accutane.

So, my question is: Has anyone tried this route, heard of it, or have any general information on it at all?

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I realize now that I just posted this in the Accutane Log section which was not my intention.

I've moved the topic to the more appropriate Adult Acne Section and unfortunately cannot figure out how to delete this one. My apologies.

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