Q: I’m a 19-year-old girl with oily skin. I have acne, blackheads and facial hair. Please help.
Most acne sufferers have a co-existing problem of an excessively oily skin, a condition clinically called ‘seborrhea’. As a scientific correlation, active acne lesions only appear once the underlying oil glands (sebaceous glands) of the skin become overstimulated and start producing extra sebum, which patients refers to as excessive oiliness.
Sebaceous glands activity is determined by two major factors, genetic and androgen activity. The same causative factors can also be jointly involved in excessive facial hair growth, a condition clinically called hypertrichosis or hirsutism – depending upon the thickness and the length of the abnormally growing hair. You could also be suffering from an underlying polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). This will require a complete hormonal blood work as well as a pelvic ultrasound to either exclude or confirm the suspicion of PCOS.
There are a few topical preparations that a dermatologist will be able to prescribe for you based on your condition. You can try this treatment for six to eight weeks.
A couple of clinical acne cleansing facials will also complement the positive effect of the above treatment. If no significant response is noticed, then combining a few weeks’ course of oral antibiotics will be required.
In case this second-line combination therapy fails as well, adding oral contraceptive pills (OCPs) with higher estrogenic influence will be the third step of the treatment strategy.
Use of OCPs can also help in reducing your facial hair growth through their anti-androgenic action. However, if you are found positive for PCOS, then a more specialised treatment has to be planned, prescribed and monitored by a specialist endocrinologist.
Dr Ikramullah Al Nasir is specialist dermatologist and medical director at Dermacare Dubai. Got a problem? Our fantastic panel of renowned experts is available to answer all your questions related to fashion, well-being, nutrition, finance and hypnotherapy. Email your queries to firstname.lastname@example.org.