The fastest growing population of acne is in adult females. Some think this is hormonally mediated. Others point to food and lifestyle. In reality, hormones are probably involved most commonly. A study that we published this year showed clear association of acne flares with menstrual cycles in women we surveyed. The good news is that there are several treatments that work well for this specific condition.
A drug that’s been on the market for a few years that I’ve used with great success is ACZONE GEL. This medication is applied twice daily. It dries very quickly so it’s easy to apply make up right over it. Another new topical cream, just approved, is ONEXTON. ONEXTON is applied once daily and works particularly well in female patients (it works in men too, but not as well).
If topicals fail, there are other options. One of my favorite is blue light with or without ALA. This is an in office procedure that works for acne that’s deep underneath the skin. While not approved for acne specifically, I have used it with considerable success. Lots of patients prefer it because it’s a procedure and there is little for them to do at home and there may not be a need to take systemic medication (pills).
But when all else fails, isotretinoin is the treatment of choice. You may know this drug as accutane, but that’s no longer available. My favorite and the newest of all isotretinoin medications is ABSORICA. The reason this drug works so well is that ic can be absorbed on an empty stomach. Other generics require a high fat meal for absorption and therefore may not work as well. This medication is safe, although lab monitoring is required. The most important thing is to avoid pregnancy while on medication, as this drug can cause severe birth defects.
It’s also important to address any scarring or persistent redness or blemishes that may remain as the result of acne. These can be easily treated with lasers such as FRAXEL, and V-BEAM, and fillers such as BELOTERO.
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Reviewed by Dr. Goldenberg