REVIEW – December 2005

Acne vulgaris in girls from the perspective of the gynecologist


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Acne affects 80% of young people at some time between the ages of 11 and 30 years. It also has serious psychological effects, which tend to affect girls more than boys and can last well beyond the teen years. Acne drugs include topical agents (comedolytics and antimicrobials) and systemic agents (oral antibiotics, hormonal therapies and isotretionin). All oral contraceptives (OC) may improve acne by supression of ovarian androgen production and by increasing sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG), which additionally reduces levels of free androgens. Among hormonal therapies are lowdose OC which, in addition to improving acne, provide many other shortand longterm benefits. Combination OCs offer an additional tool in the management of acne but do not represent firstline therapy or monotherapy.