Treatment of Adult Acne in Women: Spotlight on "Hormonal" Treatments

While acne is often thought of as a skin condition that affects teenagers, in many cases it either starts in or persists into adult life.  Adult acne is more common in women, in whom it is estimated that 25% of women in their 30s and 12% in their 40s still experience breakouts. Adult acne may have different features than acne in teenagers and younger women, and in some cases it requires its own approach to treatment.

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Does Hydrocortisone Cause Skin Thinning?

Hydrocortisone is a class 7 steroid; the weakest group of topical steroids available. It would be very unlikely to cause skin thinning when used properly. Steroids are hormones that decrease inflammation in many ways, including by acting on the body’s immune cells. Steroids in ointments or creams have been safely used in the treatment of skin diseases since the 1950s.

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How do I choose an over-the-counter product for my acne?

If you have mild acne that is not causing scarring it is reasonable to try an over-the-counter (OTC) product before seeking medical attention.  Most over-the-counter acne products contain either salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. Acne products are found in drugstores as washes, astringents/toners, medicated pads, lotions, gels and creams.  The product you choose should depend on the type of acne you have and how oily or sensitive your skin is.

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Fungal infections of the nails: Do over-the-counter products work?

Fungal infections of the nails (onychomycosis) typically do not get better with over-the-counter products. These products are generally effective in only a small percentage of people who use them.

The first step in approaching abnormal toenails is determining the cause of the problem.  Only about half of the time are toenail abnormalities a result of a nail fungal infection. 

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