The wait is over: Winlevi, the revolutionary new topical cream for the treatment of hormonal acne, is finally available. The prescription treatment, which was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in patients 12 years and older last summer, is the first of its kind to eliminate stubborn hormone surges.
“It’s exciting, late and innovative; we haven’t had a new acne molecule in a very long time,” says Corey L. Hartman, MD, Birmingham-based certified dermatologist, of the new topical cream. .
How does Winlevi work?
The twice-daily formula, also known as 1% clascoterone cream for the active ingredient of the drug, targets androgen receptors in the skin, which reduces sebum production and sebum build-up. Androgens – hormones that increase inflammation and sebum production – are a powerful force behind hormonal acne episodes, while clascoterone helps limit their effects near rashes and surrounding tissue.
“When you reduce the level of sebum on the face, you reduce the risk of trapping dirt that can cause inflammation and trigger more acne,” says cosmetic chemist Ginger King. “Winlevi doesn’t work to kill [acne] like other over-the-counter products that contain benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid, but it’s a more preventative measure against specific hormone-triggered acne. “
Who can use Winlevi?
The cream can be used for all skin types and genders and is a convenient alternative to oral medications like spironolactone, which is reserved for women assigned at birth due to their specific androgen production. “The topical is ideal for people who don’t want to take a pill, who haven’t had complete success with the pill, or patients who have side effects from taking Spironolactone,” says Dr. Hartman, noting that it might even be useful for patients who have had multiple episodes of Accutane, an oral medication targeting acne, and who are not seeing results due to the contribution of hormonal surges.
What are the side effects of Winlevi?
In clinical trials conducted by Cassiopea, the pharmaceutical company behind the drug, demonstrated reduction in acne lesions and was well tolerated when applied to the skin twice daily. The most common side effect, which occurred in 7-12% of patients, was mild erythema or temporary redness of the skin. (Other potential side effects include burning, itching, and peeling.) And after a longer-than-expected wait period, the dermatological community is anxiously waiting to have Winlevi in their arsenal.
Dr. Hartman notes that while this doesn’t directly conflict with other skin care products or specific ingredients you might have in your routine, you can get rid of any other treatment specifically targeting acne that you could use while you are using Winlevi.
“We are always delighted when we expand the arsenal of products available,” says Dr. Hartman. I’m sure someone has identified a need and got down to work to formulate this hot new topic that can answer.
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