Can an endocrinologist help with acne?


I'm a 32-year-old African-American female. I've had acne since high school. I've seen numerous dermatologists, and tried different oral and topical antibiotics, and injections of cortisone. Nothing works for long.


doctor's picture

An endocrinologist can be very helpful in evaluating acne. Skin specialists and primary care doctors often recommend that women with acne that is resistant to antibiotics see an endocrinologist.

Hormonal abnormalities may cause or be a contributing factor to acne. The acne may be a result of increased levels of male hormones, such as testosterone or DHEAS. In some cases, these male hormone levels will be normal, but a woman's body may have an increased sensitivity to testosterone. In both instances, a birth control pill can be extremely useful in treating acne.

An endocrinologist will also make sure your acne is not a symptom of polycystic ovary syndrome, a common disorder in young women. In addition to acne, other related symptoms include:

  • Irregular menstrual periods
  • Excessive body hair
  • Loss of scalp hair

This is an extremely important diagnosis to make since there is an increased risk of diabetes in women with this diagnosis, and prevention is key.

Copyright 11/14/2008 Harvard University. All rights reserved. HHP/HMS content licensing handled by Belvoir Media Group.