Androgen Medications And Acne

Acne is a common skin disorder most commonly affecting teenagers. It can also affect older adults and menopausal women. Certain medications can also cause acne, especially a specific type of acne known as cystic acne.

If you have gynecological conditions such as fibrocystic breast disease or endometriosis, a condition of the endometrium that can cause severe menstrual cramps and infertility, your doctor may have prescribed medications known as androgens. Here is a brief overview of androgen medications and which acne treatment options may be best for you.

Androgen Overview 

Androgen medications can dramatically diminish estrogen levels while spiking testosterone. They are effective choices in the treatment of cystic breasts and proliferative diseases of the endometrial tissue. These disorders are often spurred on by high circulating estrogen levels, however, when androgen medications suppress estrogen productions, breast cysts often regress, and endometriosis symptoms usually improve.

Androgens, while effective in treating the aforementioned health conditions, can cause significant side effects. They include profuse sweating, fatigue, cessation of menstruation periods, hair loss, and cystic acne. Androgen-related acne is caused by an increase in sebum production, however, once the medication is discontinued, acne often resolves.

While acne may improve after you stop taking your androgen medications, you may develop hyperpigmentation on your face from where the acne cysts once were. Hyperpigmentation from cystic acne often causes reddish or brown patches of skin, and while they will fade over time, it may take weeks or even months. 

Acne Treatment Options

If you develop cystic acne or hyperpigmentation as a result of taking androgen medications, make an appointment with your dermatologist to learn about effective acne treatment options. Treatment options include microdermabrasion, laser therapy, and chemical peels.

While medical treatment is usually the best option for eliminating androgen-related cystic acne, there are certain things you can do at home to help improve the appearance of your complexion. Make sure you wash your face multiple times a day with warm water and soap. Androgens can cause excessive oil production, and if the oil is not removed as soon as possible, facial bacteria will multiply, exacerbating your existing acne.

If you take androgen medications to manage a gynecological problem, talk to your physician about cystic acne treatment options. If your acne becomes disfiguring or painful, your doctor may decide to lower the dosage of your medication or prescribe a different drug that is less likely to cause dermatological side effects.