Endocrinological evaluation and hormonal therapy for women with difficult acne



Acne vulgaris is the most common skin condition observed in the medical community. Convention is to treat this condition with a combination of comedolytics, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial topical agents, or if indicated, oral antibiotics or retinoids. In addition to these therapies, hormonal therapy is potentially an option in women whose acne is not responding to conventional treatment or if signs of endocrine abnormalities are present. This paper focuses on the use of hormonal therapy in women with severe or recalcitrant acne. After a brief description of the pathogenesis of acne vulgaris, and the conventional treatment modalities, indications for hormonal therapy are discussed. This is followed by an outline of a suggested endocrine evaluation, and interpretation of the evaluation test results. Various options for hormonal therapy are then described, including a further discussion of oral contraceptives (OCs) in the treatment of acne.