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While hormonal and cystic acne is common in teenagers, they take different medications. Some are topical, and some are oral. All these medications come with several side effects also.
And here, acne patients ask the most common question: “Can acne medication cause irregular periods?”
Well, the answer is-Yes, acne medication can delay your periods. However, it depends on what type of treatment you get for your acne. While some acne medications can cause PCOS, others may not impact regular menstrual cycles.
Some acne medications can destroy the balance of your hormonal level and mess up your menstrual cycle. Various types of acne medication available can cause irregular periods. You will find over-the-counter acne medications, but before taking them, you have to know how acne medications work.
This article will discuss how acne medications can affect your ovulation cycle and sex hormones. Keep reading to discover the types of acne medications and their effects on overall health and the menstrual cycle.
What Is Acne?
Sometimes the dirt and oil can clog your skin’s hair follicles, leading to bumps on your face known as acne. Acne is a common skin condition for various reasons, such as lack of sleep, dirty skin, excessive oil production, diet, environment, hormonal imbalance, etc.
Our sebaceous oil gland is connected to the hair follicle of the skin. When our skin starts to produce excessive oil, it attracts more dirt. The hair follicle becomes blocked with oil and dirt, and a pimple develops beneath it. Acne-causing bacteria grow when your skin is in bad condition, or your hormonal level is not balanced.
Acne is a chronic skin condition that not only appears on the face but also appears on body parts such as the shoulder, back, arm, hip, etc. Acne also appears in different forms, such as blackheads, whiteheads, bumps, cysts, and filled with pus. Every year, acne affects 50 million people in the United States. Most people get acne and pimples during puberty because their hormones change frequently.
Teenagers suffer from acne before their period and adults before pregnancy. However, many topical and oral acne medications are available that can cure it completely. Some acne medications can delay your periods, depending on the person and the medication.
Types Of Acne Medications
Dermatologists offer strong acne medications when over-the-counter remedies are ineffective. Several types of acne medicines are available that cure acne by increasing the estrogen hormone in the body. Some medicines cause small cysts in your ovary, leading to polycystic ovary syndrome.
Two types of medications are available for acne: oral and topical. Oral medications are consumed orally, and they cure acne internally. However, topical medications are applied to the skin and do not operate internally. Here are the types of medications that you can take to get rid of acne permanently:
Topical medications take time but are still effective in eliminating acne. Most people prefer topical medications over oral medications because it’s cost-effective. The most common topical acne medications are:
Retinoids are a type of chemical that emanates from Vitamin A. You can find retinoids in both strong and mild versions. Mild retinoids are available over the counter, but strong retinoids are often prescribed by doctors as strong medicine for acne. Retinoids come as a lotion, gel, or cream formula.
As a beginner, you must use a lower concentration of retinoids. As your skin adjusts to the retinoids, gradually increase the concentration. As a beginner, use retinoids three times per week and avoid active serums on the day of application.
2. AHA, BHA, and Salicylic Acid
AHA, BHA, and salicylic acids are other over-the-counter products that you can get without prescriptions. AHA and BHA are also known as glycolic acids. Both salicylic acid and glycolic acid work as exfoliators on the skin. They work on the skin by dissolving blackheads, whiteheads, and dirt.
Salicylic and glycolic acid are available as wash-off or leave-on cosmetics in gel, serum, and cream forms. You can use these acids two to three times per week.
3. Benzoyl Peroxide
Benzoyl peroxide also comes in a lotion, gel, wash-off, and leave-on form. Benzoyl peroxide is best for stubborn acne and hormonal cysts. As a beginner, you should use benzoyl peroxide at 2.5% and gradually increase it to 5% and then 10%. 10% Benzoyl peroxide is the most effective, but if you have sensitive skin, then you should keep the percentage at 5%.
Oral medications are the most effective and work faster than topical medications. These are the types of oral medications.
Dermatologists may recommend antibiotics for both severe and mild acne. Tetracyclines (minocycline, doxycycline) or macrolides (erythromycin, azithromycin) are frequently used as the first line of treatment for acne. These antibiotics are given for a short period to get rid of pimples and acne.
2. Anti-androgen Pills
An increase in androgen will cause acne and pimples on your face. That’s why dermatologists recommend getting anti-androgen pills to control the level of androgen in your body. The drug named spironolactone is a pill for acne that blocks the androgen production of the body. However, painful periods and breast tenderness can occur as side effects of the anti-androgen pill.
Most people know about isotretinoin as an effective oral medication for acne. Isotretinoin is effective but harsh acne medication which has so many side effects. You have to take isotretinoin for three or six months, of course. Liver dysfunction, birth defect, and nose bleeding can be the severe side effect of isotretinoin.
Another acne medication, also known as therapy, is a beneficial acne treatment. Here are other acne medications.
1. Chemical peeling
Many dermatologists recommend chemical peeling for severe acne. Chemical peeling requires a repeated chemical solution on your face. After two to three days, the upper layer of your skin starts to shed, and new smooth skin comes.
2. Light therapy
Light therapy requires various frequency lights to eliminate pimples. Light therapy can be done without any pain but requires two to three sessions. It’s an effective but expensive acne medication.
3. Laser treatment
With the help of useful laser light, estheticians apply the laser to your pimples to get rid of them. Laser treatments can sometimes be a bit painful, but they are effective.
4. Steroid injections
Steroid injections are injected into your body as a treatment for acne. Steroid Injections are best for cystic acne. It can be a painful procedure, but the result will be amazing. Steroid injections sometimes mess up your hormonal level.
Can Acne Medication Cause Irregular Periods? Based On Types Of Medications
Since some people have experienced irregular periods due to acne medication, asking whether it causes irregular periods is a common question. Scientific evidence also shows that people have seen delays in the menstrual cycle after taking acne medications.
The journal of dermatology and cosmetics released a study in 2017 where 50 patients with severe acne participated to see the effects of oral isotretinoin on sex hormones and menstrual cycle in women. They administer oral isotretinoin at a dose of 0.5 mg/kg/day for three months to women between the age of 18 and 50. After three months, 10% of women developed PCOS and saw a delay in their period.
The isotretinoin increased the level of serum LH, which indicates irregularity in their menstrual cycle. This study concludes that acne medications can cause irregular periods.
Can Chemical Peel Cause Irregular Periods?
Studies show chemical peeling does not cause irregular periods. A chemical peel is an acne medication that happens over 5 to 7 days. A study was done on 30 patients to see whether they experienced irregular menstrual cycles during or after the chemical peel. The result shows that none of those women experienced any kind of irregular period.
Does The Birth Control Pill Cause An Irregular Period?
Birth control pills are another way to get rid of acne permanently. But taking birth control pills can mess up your hormonal level. However, birth control pills do not cause irregular periods. Taking birth control pills will increase the estrogen level in your body. This means it will clear up your acne without delay in your menstrual cycle.
Can Steroid Injection Cause Irregular Periods?
People also inject steroids into their bodies to get rid of pimples. However, steroid injections will affect your hormonal balance and delay your menstrual cycle. Although steroid injections can be effective for pimples, they will cause irregular periods. To avoid irregular periods, choose another method to get rid of acne instead of steroid injections.
Other Side Effects of Acne Medication
The side effects of acne medication depend on the strength of the medicine. If you have severe acne, then you need a strong dose of medication. This strong dose will also cause some severe side effects. Some of the most common side effects of acne medication are:
Dry And Flaky Skin
Most acne medications work by peeling off the upper layer of the skin and exposing new skin underneath it. During this procedure, your skin will be dry and flaky because the medication also stops oil production from your pores. You will experience dry skin if you take Accutane and retinol.
Rosacea, or skin redness, will happen if you take acne medications. It’s because your skin is still getting used to the medication and needs time to adjust. It’s a normal side effect of acne medications.
Antibiotics and other oral acne medications will affect your stomach and bowel movement. As a result, either you will get an upset stomach or constipation. It also depends on what type of food you eat and when you take your antibiotics for acne.
Risk Of Having Depression and Anxiety
A study has shown the link between isotretinoin and attempting suicide because of depression. Although it is a rare and severe side effect of acne medication, you should always be careful.
What To Do to Avoid The Side Effects Of Acne Medication?
Not every acne medication has side effects. You might get some side effects from acne medications if you have sensitive skin. Both oral and topical acne medications contain side effects, and one may experience differences depending on weight, age, and environment. Here is what to do to avoid the side effects of acne medication:
For Oral Medications
Oral medications such as antibiotics and isotretinoin have severe side effects on someone’s body. Antibiotics can upset your stomach and also cause bowel problems. Antibiotics should not be taken on an empty stomach. To avoid the side effects of antibiotics, make sure to eat something first and then take your acne medication.
The side effects of isotretinoin are more severe than those of other oral acne medications. Your nose could bleed, and your liver can be affected by taking isotretinoin. Moreover, you can lose your appetite and experience dry skin, sore throat, and back pain. Make sure to take isotretinoin in smaller doses over a shorter course of time to prevent its side effects.
For Topical Medications
Some strong topical medications are salicylic acid, glycolic acid, alpha hydroxy acid, retinol, etc. You will experience skin purging, dry skin, cracked skin, and irritation. To avoid those, you need to use topical medications once or twice a week, only at night. Moreover, you have to include SPF 50+ PA+++ in your skincare routine to avoid the side effects of acne medications.
Whether acne medication causes irregular periods or not, you should always be careful before taking them. You must consult with your dermatologist before taking any strong acne medications. You may or may not experience a delayed period depending on your body, hormonal level, environment, and medications you take.
All acne medications are safe for your body as long as you don’t take too much of them. If you think your acne medication is messing with your menstrual cycle, you should consult a doctor. Make sure to stop continuing oral acne medications once your acne is gone completely.
Disclaimer: The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a health care professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.
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