Update and future of hormonal therapy in acne

Dermatology. 2003;206(1):57-67. doi: 10.1159/000067823.


Hormonal therapy is an important component in the treatment of women with acne who may or may not have elevated serum androgens. The mainstays of hormonal therapy include oral contraceptives and antiandrogens such as cyproterone acetate, flutamide or spironolactone. Recent research over the past several years has unraveled some of the details regarding the way that the skin and sebaceous glands synthesize and metabolize hormones. The knowledge gained from this work may provide an impetus for future drug discovery in the hormonal treatment of acne and lead to improvements in the care of our patients with acne.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acne Vulgaris / blood
  • Acne Vulgaris / drug therapy*
  • Acne Vulgaris / etiology
  • Androgen Antagonists / therapeutic use*
  • Androgens / metabolism*
  • Contraceptives, Oral, Hormonal / therapeutic use*
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone / blood
  • Estradiol Congeners / therapeutic use
  • Ethinyl Estradiol / therapeutic use
  • Glucocorticoids / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Hyperandrogenism / complications
  • Hyperandrogenism / diagnosis
  • Mineralocorticoid Receptor Antagonists / therapeutic use
  • Sebum / metabolism
  • Spironolactone / therapeutic use


  • Androgen Antagonists
  • Androgens
  • Contraceptives, Oral, Hormonal
  • Estradiol Congeners
  • Glucocorticoids
  • Mineralocorticoid Receptor Antagonists
  • Spironolactone
  • Ethinyl Estradiol
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone