Adjunctive therapies plentiful for adult female acne patients

August 1, 2011

Adult women comprise a growing percentage of the patient population that dermatologists see with acne, and today, many treatment regimens are available and customizable to each patient's needs, according to Diane S. Berson, M.D., president, Women's Dermatologic Society, and assistant professor of dermatology, Cornell Medical College, New York.

Key Points

New York - Adult women comprise a growing percentage of the patient population that dermatologists see with acne, and today, many treatment regimens are available and customizable to each patient's needs, according to Diane S. Berson, M.D., president, Women's Dermatologic Society, and assistant professor of dermatology, Cornell Medical College, New York.

Women also tend to have more chronic acne, even if it is low-grade or the occasional breakouts, than adult men, she says.

"Some of the treatments that might be intended to dry (women's) acne might exacerbate other issues, such as dry or sensitive skin," Dr. Berson says. "Dermatologists have to tailor the therapy to their skin type, be sensitive to the fact that they have to use medications that won't exacerbate these issues and might also be compatible with their makeup."

Treatment for adult women with acne is the same as with any other patient group; however, the vehicle often is different.

"We usually start with a combination regimen, including a topical retinoid and a topical antimicrobial. What makes the treatment, say in adult women, different from that in adolescents is the vehicle or the formulation I choose to prescribe. I will treat with a retinoid and antimicrobial, but I might choose a more hydrating, less-drying vehicle in a woman with drier, sensitive skin, and use a more drying vehicle in an adolescent with oily skin," Dr. Berson says.

If a patient is exhibiting more inflammation, Dr. Berson says she prescribes an oral antibiotic, and for patients with severe recalcitrant cystic acne, isotretinoin is prescribed.