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An ongoing review of topical anti-androgens for oily skin

Hi everyone. I'm re-posting my recent blog post here because I thought it might interest my fellow oily peeps. Check out my blog for backstory and more info.

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My new regimen includes 4 cups of Tradional Medicinals Spearmint Tea/day. I brew them for a long time in boiling hot water and squeeze the teabag into the tea before drinking, just like the box says to.

Topicals:

I ordered EVERYTHING that I saw written about on these boards.

Effaclar K from La Roche-Posay (Zinc PCA)

Tangerine anti-shine treatement from Sana Fela (Nobiletin)

Garden Botanika clarifying lotion (zinc pca, green tea)

Solvere acne clearing toner (witch hazel, zinc pca, salcylic)

Clearogen (BP 2.5% and Saw Palmetto)

Skin Actives T-Zone and Acne Cream (Nobiletin, zinc pca, green tea, saw palmetto)

First I tried each product to check for irritation and greasyness.

-Solvere acne toner was fairly irritating (stingy) and left my skin sticky and red. Did not like.

-Garden Botanika didn't have a matte finish on me, and so I decided only to use it at night if I do use it.

All the others did not irritate my skin and had a matte finish. I like the way each one of them felt on my skin.

Now: to find out which of any of these work! (Reminder, on my face I have oily skin but NOT acne. I'm testing for effectiveness against oil only.)

I decided to just go for it and use the products by skin actives because they have the greatest number of active ingredients in them. So far, I have seen MAJOR reduction of redness/flushing. My skin is pale and not red and ruddy for the first time in my life. Wow. That alone is worth a lot to me. I will let you know if that continues.

I may be seeing a slight reduction in oil, but it's too early to tell for sure. I'll only consider these things effective if I get a major and consistent reduction in oil, as measured by how many times a day I need to blot to keep my mineral makeup from sliding off of my face. I've been doing the treatments for about 4 days now.

I also ordered topical spiro 5% (from Dr. Lee's hair loss site) and the Nizoral shampoo to try washing my face with (also has topical anti-androgen.)

I'll keep posting my results. I'm determined to try every option for my oil and to share my results with y'all. I think I'm a good lab rat because I'm older and my skin has been oily for so many years, we can be sure if it gets better it's not due to adolescence ending!

Stay strong my oilies!

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I also ordered topical spiro 5% (from Dr. Lee's hair loss site) and the Nizoral shampoo to try washing my face with (also has topical anti-androgen.)

Dr. Lee undoubtedly sells a lot of his 5% spiro cream to us hairloss sufferers, but I hope you don't get your hopes up too much by expecting it to reduce your oiliness very much! I personally don't consider topical spiro to be a particularly good antiandrogen. It's fairly mediocre in that role, I would say. In fact, I even remember reading a small study in a medical journal that found _no_ reduction in oil in some test subjects who used a topical spiro cream.

What would work better, I believe, would be some of the experimental antiandrogenic drugs and chemicals that you read about in the journals, like RU58841 or 17a-propylmesterolone. But not by ANY stretch of the imagination are those substances commercially available; getting your hands on either of those substances would be frightfully difficult, and horrendously expensive.

The use of Nizoral shampoo appeared to reduce the size of sebaceous glands in the scalps of test subjects by about 19% in one famous French study, but assuming that the same thing happens when you wash your face with it, even thatmay not be enough really to make a noticeable difference in your case.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news.

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Thanks for the ideas and info, Bryan. You may be a bearer of bad news, but what I'm looking for is accurate information, so even bad news is helpful if you have that to offer!

I did see those new topical anti-androgens talked about on the hair loss forums, which is where I went to look up anti-androgens.

I did see some posters there saying they were using RU. Is that the substance you are talking about? Do you know where anyone is getting it?

Also, do you have any perspective on the various "active ingredients" I'm trying, such as zinc pca, nobiletin, saw palmetto used topically and spearmint tea taken internally?

Thanks for any info you and others here have to offer.

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I did see those new topical anti-androgens talked about on the hair loss forums, which is where I went to look up anti-androgens.

I did see some posters there saying they were using RU. Is that the substance you are talking about? Do you know where anyone is getting it?

Yes, any mention of "RU" on a hair loss forum is going to be a reference to RU58841, one of the antiandrogens I mentioned earlier. RU58841 is probably the most effective topicalantiandrogen ever developed. It was used with great success in some early testing on stumptailed macaques, which are small monkeys that develop a form of male pattern baldness (MPB) that's similar to what occurs in humans. RU58841 has almost certainly been tested on humans, at least by a certain company that bought the rights to that drug. Unfortunately, they've been very sparing about how much information they've been willing to release about its effectiveness in humans! They've hinted that topical RU58841 in humans is probably at least as effective against MPB as Propecia, the current "drug of choice" for that problem. How effective it really is at reducing sebaceous gland activity in humans is anybody's guess, though; it does that very well in laboratory animals (rodents like mice, rats, guinea pigs, etc.), but results for humans have never been released. I think it's safe to assume that it's probably more effective in that regard than topical spironolactone, but that's not saying very much! :)

Those guys you saw on the hair loss forum who were talking about it were getting it from one of two companies in China (yes, I said CHINA): Faith Eagle, or Kouting. I believe the stuff costs $40 per gram from those companies, and that doesn't even include the shipping cost, which is also quite substantial (getting it through Customs may also be a problem, of course). Furthermore, there's yet another problem about this stuff which has always bothered me a bit: the chemical synthesis of RU58841 involves the use of phosgene, the dangerous poison gas used during World War 1. How careful are those Chinese companies at making the RU? What if there are tiny traces of phosgene left in it? Would you want to put something on your skin which _may_ contain traces of phosgene? :) I personally still haven't decided if _I_ would trust the Chinese companies. You're certainly not getting the stuff from an American company that's inspected and approved by the FDA, or any other similar regulatory agency.

Also, do you have any perspective on the various "active ingredients" I'm trying, such as zinc pca, nobiletin, saw palmetto used topically and spearmint tea taken internally?

Dr. Marty Sawaya (a well-known hair loss researcher) has said that topical zinc may interfere with 5a-reductase, which could conceivably reduce the activity of sebaceous glands.

All I know about nobiletin is what I've read on this forum.

Topical saw palmetto has been mentioned a lot over the years as a possible antiandrogenic substance, but I've never seen any sound scientific testing of it. I don't know if it really works, or not.

The same goes for various teas (like spearmint). I've seen guys talk about those with interest, but I don't know if they really work.

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Update:

Small but noticeable reduction in oil. I'm using a lot of things so I'm not sure which is helping. Could be the combination. Over all, I would say this regimen is a TON of work for not very substantial results.

I'm going to keep at it and see if I get better results with more time. If I get results I'll then start eliminating one product at a time to see which product maintains results.

Not the most scientific process on earth I know, but my skin is so consistently extremely oily, I think if something was giving me results it would be pretty obvious.

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Also I just ordered Sebutape to make it all more scientific. This way I can track the results with a testing instrument.

Update:

Small but noticeable reduction in oil. I'm using a lot of things so I'm not sure which is helping. Could be the combination. Over all, I would say this regimen is a TON of work for not very substantial results.

I'm going to keep at it and see if I get better results with more time. If I get results I'll then start eliminating one product at a time to see which product maintains results.

Not the most scientific process on earth I know, but my skin is so consistently extremely oily, I think if something was giving me results it would be pretty obvious.

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Something that I didn't bother to mention earlier in this thread would be the use of topical fatty acidsby humans, as another potential way to reduce sebum production. There is some sound scientific evidence by the researchers Liang and Liao (and others) that certain unsaturated fatty acids can have a significant effect as 5a-reductase inhibitors, when applied topically to living animals. The most effective fatty acid for that specific purpose appears to be gamma-linolenic acid (commonly abbreviated GLA). Another one would be linoleic acid, which is a dietary essential for humans. Another would be oleic acid, which is a common ingredient in many natural oils (more about this very important issue later in this post). Neither of those last two is nearly as potent and effective as GLA, however.

Liang and Liao did a famous study a few years ago in which they applied several different fatty acids (including the ones I mentioned above) topically to hamsters, and measured the changes in their "flank-organs", which are areas on their backs which are extremely sensitive to androgens. The hamster flank-organ test is very commonly used by medical researchers, to test the effects of various antiandrogens and 5a-reductase inhibitors. The fatty acids had varying degrees of effectiveness at suppressing the flank-organs, depending on which specific one it was. GLA was the most effective of all! Interestingly enough, GLA had an effect which appeared to be roughly in the same neighborhood of effectiveness at suppressing the flank-organs (which are masses of sebaceous glands, by the way) of the male animals as castration! There didn't seem to be any obvious irritation in the hamsters from applying those fatty acids to their skin on a daily basis.

Based on the results of these and other experiments, Liang and Liao applied for a patent for the use of topical fatty acids in the treatment of androgen-related medical problems. In the patent application, they describe an experiment with a humanthat they had done: they applied a small amount of GLA (40 milligrams, if I recall correctly) every day to the forehead of a male volunteer, and measured his sebum output with a Lipometer, which is an electrical device which measures sebum electronically (somewhat similar to Sebutape, although it obviously works in a different way). After a few days, there was a significant reduction in his sebum output, as measured by the Lipometer. After the cessation of the topical GLA, his sebum returned to normal over a period of another few days, again as measured by the Lipometer.

I mention this interesting experiment with GLA only to show that it's apparently possibleto reduce sebum production, it's just that it's difficult and expensive to do so! Pure GLA is extremely expensive, just like RU58841, and can only be obtained from chemical companies (no, natural oils which contain GLA as an ingredient, like borage oil, evening primrose oil, black currant oil, etc., won't work for that purpose, because thay have their GLA in an altered chemical state which doesn't inhibit 5a-reductase). I mention GLA only to give a little hope to people that maybethey'll eventually find something like this which is practical and affordable! :)

Edited by bryan

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Please can you give us an update? I have been studying oily skin all weekend and am considering products mentioned in "I also ordered topical spiro 5% (from Dr. Lee's hair loss site) and the Nizoral shampoo to try washing my face with (also has topical anti-androgen.)". I am 17, male. Thank you for doing this and I will always read your posts cause you are helping me, please keep posting on this.

Edited by iAcne

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Hi, thanks for the interest in my little experiment.

I do think I'm getting some results, but I can't tell which thing is helping.

I'm washing my face with over the counter Nizoral, although I'm wondering about prescription strength. It isn't to irritating and I think it's worth trying.

I haven't received my topical spiro in the mail yet.

Out of the other products, I'd say my fave combination so far are the acne products from Skin Actives and the anti-shine cream from Sana Fela.

Spearmint tea seems to be helping too, but I think it may not make a difference for males because your androgen levels are so much higher, it might not make a difference. And if it did that means you are fucking with your testosterone levels and that sounds like potentially a bad idea!

Let me know how it all goes for you. I'm in it to win it.

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I found this:

http://www.revivogen.com/ingredients.html
What are your thoughts? If the link gets removed then the product is called "revivogen". Bryan can you give me any insight on these? I will be ordering the shampoo which "oilyoilyoily" is using and the "spiro" thing. Keep on posting updating guys, I really want a normal amount of oil on my skin. Edit: I am actually going to wait on peoples responses to the above product as I might just buy that, anyones opinions are really appreciated and I am emailing them to see if they ship to the U.K, keep strong oily people! Edit 2: I also found a study
http://www.hairsite.com/revivogen-hair-loss.htm
Edit 3: Check this info here
http://www.hairlosstalk.com/hair-loss-treatments/revivogen/revivogen-spironolactone.php
and
http://www.hairlosstalk.com/hair-loss-treatments/spironolactone-topical/index.php

So. I want to buy and apply the Niz (niz shampoo thing) and revivogen to my face in the shower and then use topical spiro after which could last longer if the revivogen fatty acids vehicle can make it slow down a bit (if that makes sense). How would and long would I apply the shampoo's for? and how should I apply the spiro? for how long? do I wash it off?

Still waiting for your responses and apologies if it doesn't make sense cause I might not have enough knowledge of the products yet.

Edited by iAcne

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Hi there. I read about revivogen and many of the active ingredients are the same ones as the skin-actives acne cream, which is actually made for the face and so may be less irritating.

If you have acne on your face in addition to oily skin problems, Clearogen might be a good thing to try. They have a number of these active ingredients that are potentially (but not definitely) topical anti-androgens. Clearogen also has BP 2.5% which is the same as the acne.org treatment. My face likes clearogen, too. After I use it I get short-term irritation and redness which fades, and then results in a real reduction of redness. I still don't know which product works the best for oil. I think probably the Sana Fela anti-shine cream has the most noticible immediate impact, but perhaps not as much cumulative impact.

It is going to be awhile before I can discern which product works best. I need to get reliable repeatable results in order to recommend anything!

Let me know what you try and how it works for you, especially if you try a new regimen for over 2 weeks. People seem to think they see magic results based on one good day and then don't post again! I am so curious how these things really work over time.

I found this:
http://www.revivogen.com/ingredients.html
What are your thoughts? If the link gets removed then the product is called "revivogen". Bryan can you give me any insight on these? I will be ordering the shampoo which "oilyoilyoily" is using and the "spiro" thing. Keep on posting updating guys, I really want a normal amount of oil on my skin. Edit: I am actually going to wait on peoples responses to the above product as I might just buy that, anyones opinions are really appreciated and I am emailing them to see if they ship to the U.K, keep strong oily people! Edit 2: I also found a study
http://www.hairsite.com/revivogen-hair-loss.htm
Edit 3: Check this info here
http://www.hairlosstalk.com/hair-loss-treatments/revivogen/revivogen-spironolactone.php
and
http://www.hairlosstalk.com/hair-loss-treatments/spironolactone-topical/index.php

So. I want to buy and apply the Niz (niz shampoo thing) and revivogen to my face in the shower and then use topical spiro after which could last longer if the revivogen fatty acids vehicle can make it slow down a bit (if that makes sense). How would and long would I apply the shampoo's for? and how should I apply the spiro? for how long? do I wash it off?

Still waiting for your responses and apologies if it doesn't make sense cause I might not have enough knowledge of the products yet.

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Hi there. I read about revivogen and many of the active ingredients are the same ones as the skin-actives acne cream, which is actually made for the face and so may be less irritating.

If you have acne on your face in addition to oily skin problems, Clearogen might be a good thing to try. They have a number of these active ingredients that are potentially (but not definitely) topical anti-androgens. Clearogen also has BP 2.5% which is the same as the acne.org treatment. My face likes clearogen, too. After I use it I get short-term irritation and redness which fades, and then results in a real reduction of redness. I still don't know which product works the best for oil. I think probably the Sana Fela anti-shine cream has the most noticible immediate impact, but perhaps not as much cumulative impact.

It is going to be awhile before I can discern which product works best. I need to get reliable repeatable results in order to recommend anything!

Let me know what you try and how it works for you, especially if you try a new regimen for over 2 weeks. People seem to think they see magic results based on one good day and then don't post again! I am so curious how these things really work over time.

I found this:
http://www.revivogen.com/ingredients.html

What are your thoughts? If the link gets removed then the product is called "revivogen".

Bryan can you give me any insight on these? I will be ordering the shampoo which "oilyoilyoily" is using and the "spiro" thing. Keep on posting updating guys, I really want a normal amount of oil on my skin.

Edit: I am actually going to wait on peoples responses to the above product as I might just buy that, anyones opinions are really appreciated and I am emailing them to see if they ship to the U.K, keep strong oily people!

Edit 2: I also found a study

http://www.hairsite.com/revivogen-hair-loss.htm

Edit 3: Check this info here

http://www.hairlosstalk.com/hair-loss-treatments/revivogen/revivogen-spironolactone.php

and

http://www.hairlosstalk.com/hair-loss-treatments/spironolactone-topical/index.php

So. I want to buy and apply the Niz (niz shampoo thing) and revivogen to my face in the shower and then use topical spiro after which could last longer if the revivogen fatty acids vehicle can make it slow down a bit (if that makes sense). How would and long would I apply the shampoo's for? and how should I apply the spiro? for how long? do I wash it off?

Still waiting for your responses and apologies if it doesn't make sense cause I might not have enough knowledge of the products yet.

I will definetly look into those creams and report if I buy and use something, I have no active acne which is because of thevitamincure which is topical vitamin a which I think was better at stopping hard waxy oils in my skin but not the thin liquidy oily parts of my face. I am only oily on my nose and about 1 inch to the right and left of it. I don't have time today to read the products now as I have to get stuff ready for school but I really appreciate you and Brian's responses and it's good too know there are people who are trying to do what i'm doing, good luck and thanks again.

Edited by iAcne

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I found this:
http://www.revivogen.com/ingredients.html

What are your thoughts? If the link gets removed then the product is called "revivogen".

Bryan can you give me any insight on these? I will be ordering the shampoo which "oilyoilyoily" is using and the "spiro" thing. Keep on posting updating guys, I really want a normal amount of oil on my skin.

Oh, I'm quite familiar with Revivogen! I became interested in it when they first started selling it to the public, and I've posted a great many things about it on the hair loss Web sites, including the article at the link below.

Just how effective it would be at controlling oily skin is anybody's guess. While there is some sound science behind the use of those fatty acids in Revivogen (I think the use of the azelaic acid and the saw palmetto in the product is far LESS sound), it needs to be thoroughly testedfor how well it can reduce sebum production in the skin. It may do that reasonably well, or not at all. There's no doubt in my mind that Revivogen contains a lot more of the relatively weak fatty acids (ones like oleic acid and linoleic acid) than it does of the super-strong GLA.

Edit 2: I also found a study
http://www.hairsite.com/revivogen-hair-loss.htm

They posted that study a few years ago, and I read it with interest at that time. It's just an in vitro study showing that Revivogen does work to at least some degree, under the conditions of that specific test. Now they need to do an in vivo study on living human beings, before I can believe their claims more completely.

Edit 3: Check this info here
http://www.hairlosstalk.com/hair-loss-treatments/revivogen/revivogen-spironolactone.php

That's the article that _I_ wrote several years ago! :angel:

Edited by bryan

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I've never tried it so this is no recommendation but have you looked into Ifrenel?

I just checked it out (not thoroughly) but they don't seem to show all the ingedients in it which makes me not want it. The research they have seems to make sense, maybe Brian can give a better respons also I would consider this in the future if nothing else works. I have ordered my products by the way which are:

  • Nizoral shampoo
  • topical spironolactone s5 cream
  • revivogen

I ordered Revivogen and Nizoral both of Amazon.co.uk for the U.K and the Spiro from the hairloss website (not Dr. Lee) with $7 shipping which is good for the U.K, I will report how my results are.

Btw oilyoilyoily how do you apply your Nizoral shampoo? Like how long for etc.? also Bryan is there any recommended way to apply the revivogen and Spiro? like how many times a day and how long for? also oilyoilyoily do you apply the Nizoral twice a day? is it irritating?

Thanks for everyones responses and keep them coming so we can beat oily skin.

Edit 1: I also checked out your products oilyoilyoily and I would definetly consider clearogen in the future.

Edited by iAcne

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I have ordered my products by the way which are:

  • Nizoral shampoo
  • topical spironolactone s5 cream
  • revivogen

Please keep us updated on those treatments. I have a list of anti-androgenic treatments I want to try over the next several months and both Nizoral and spiro cream are on the list, so I'm very interested to hear your results.

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I have ordered my products by the way which are:

  • Nizoral shampoo
  • topical spironolactone s5 cream
  • revivogen

Please keep us updated on those treatments. I have a list of anti-androgenic treatments I want to try over the next several months and both Nizoral and spiro cream are on the list, so I'm very interested to hear your results.

I will but I doubt the Nizoral shampoo will do anything.

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My revivogen and nizoral have come and I willl start using them at night only. I will apply them each for 3 minutes and wash them off in the shower, nizoral first then revivogen. On weekends I will apply in the morning and night (school on weekdays and don't want any mistakes to occur by doing it in the morning). I have already been using nizoral for two days at night and I think I have had a decrease but I can't look in a mirror at school and can only see whats on my fingers when I wipe a bit so don't count it as a true.

I will keep posting my results and will not dissapear if it does or doesn't work like other people who leave after they find a cure. Thanks and keep posting guys.

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Are you guys using Nizoral at the 1% or 2% strength?

Edited by Jofo

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Are you guys using Nizoral at the 1% or 2% strength?

I think I am using 1%. 2% is prescription I believe, correct me if I am wrong.

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Are you guys using Nizoral at the 1% or 2% strength?

I think I am using 1%. 2% is prescription I believe, correct me if I am wrong.

Yeah, 2% requires a prescription here in the States but I think you can buy it over the counter in Canada. It says what strength it is on the back of the box under Active Ingredient. I just bought some myself but I'm not ready to use it yet.

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Can anyone report on how long it takes to receive topical spiro from the hair loss website? I live in England btw and anyones delivery time from any country is helpful to me, thanks.

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Can anyone report on how long it takes to receive topical spiro from the hair loss website? I live in England btw and anyones delivery time from any country is helpful to me, thanks.

i have had no improvement so far btw. I am waiting for my spiro which I think will work and will try for atleast 2 months with nizoral and revivogen or until they run out. oilyoilyoily, any sucess? Thanks and keep posting guys.

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