Yes, it’s real. Being on a progestin only contraceptive like the Mirena IUD can trigger hormonal acne. Yes, the type of acne that can hound you even though you’re in your 20s, 30s or 40s etc and even though you thought you had said goodbye to acne forever. Yes, the type of acne that shows up as pesky red uncomfortable bumps of your chin and jawline. Yes, the type of acne that can leave a little blemish – maybe a pink or dark spot – even when it goes away. Yes, the type of acne where maybe you have one bump that just keeps coming back — like a bad teen movie sequel – Parts I, II, III and more.
So what should you do?
You could have your physician remove your IUD and that could help your hormonal acne. However, that’s not a practical option for everyone. After all, there’s a reason you chose to have it placed in the first place. There are practical benefits to having an IUD after all.
You could also see your dermatologist. Most of the time, we are able to “treat through” the hormonal effects of the Mirena IUD. We can tailor your acne treatments to your acne. This may involve a medication called spironolactone which helps address hormonal acne. We may use other meds in combination with spironolactone or even choose a different med all together.
So in short, don’t despair! If your Mirena comes along with a tag-along called acne, it may be time to see your dermatologist (or get your Mirena removed)!
Differin (adapalene) gel is now available over the counter. This is great news since it means you no longer need a prescription for it. Also, the prices over the counter (e.g. at your local Walgreens or CVS) have been quite reasonable. Or you can purchase online also.
So what is Differin (adapalene) used for?
Differin is marketed for acne. It can be used in combination with other products or on its own depending on the type of acne you have and the severity of your acne. It is also particularly good for comedonal acne (eg whiteheads or blackheads) which other types of medications might not address.
Differin is also a topical retinoid and as such it may be helpful for reducing appearance of wrinkles, and helping with skin texture and pigmentation issues. (You may have heard of using retinols for anti-aging.) There are a lot of topical retinoids out there though so definitely consult with your dermatologist if you’re wondering whether Differin is right for you.
Are there side effects to using Differin?
Any medication has potential side effects. Most commonly, people will report dryness, redness, or flaking. This is actually to be expected to a degree. We recommend spacing out use to every other night or mixing with some moisturizer if you need to. Your skin tends to get used to the medication after a month or so. You may also need to take it easy on other products you are using (eg benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid which can also be drying and irritating)
Also, if you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant, you should discuss with your obstetrician before using this medication (it is still a medication after all!) Many/ ?most will recommend that you stop your topical retinoid.