Adolescent female acne: etiology and management.J Pediatr Adolesc Gynecol. 2008 Aug; 21(4):171-6.JP
Acne vulgaris, a multifactorial condition often conferring significant psychosocial morbidity, affects an estimated 40 million people in the United States. The majority of these individuals are adolescents and young adults. The pathophysiology of the condition is still not fully known, but it is believed to be related in part to excess sebum production, follicular hyperkeratinization, microbial colonization by P acnes, and inflammation. Prior to initiating treatment in a female patient, a hyperandrogenic state must be considered and ruled out through history, physical exam, and laboratory evaluation if necessary. Treatment options are vast and include hormonal therapy among others. Hormonal therapies have long been noted to reduce acne lesions and offer a valuable adjuvant to standard therapy. Hormonal agents are thought to improve acne by blocking the androgen receptor and/or decreasing circulating androgens which leads to decreased sebum production. Hormonal treatment options include spironolactone, other antiandrogens, and oral contraceptives. The use of these agents to effectively treat acne has been demonstrated in several randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trials. Optimal results are often achieved with combination therapy with the goal of targeting multiple pathogenic pathways in acne development.