Dear Paula,
I would like to ask you about using estrogen cream to treat acne-prone skin. Being a guy, is it an option to use such creams to erase my acne problem?

Emi, via email

Dear Emi,
To put it simply, estrogen is never used for treating acne in men. Estrogen causes men to develop "female" characteristics, and blocking androgens has a whole list of undesirable consequences for men (for women, too, but it is far more serious for men). I think you may find the following study on this subject interesting.

The April 2000 issue of Pediatrics (page 55) included a discussion about three boys (under the age of 12) who had gynecomastia (enlarged, or female-looking breasts) resulting from indirect exposure to a custom-compounded preparation of estrogen cream. Within four months after each child's mother discontinued use of the topical estrogen preparation, each child's gynecomastia and estradiol level returned to normal. This means that if a woman is using a skin-care product with estrogen, it can be conveyed via regular contact with her child. As a word of caution, because custom-compounded topical estrogen preparations are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, there is no way to know how much estrogen a woman is actually absorbing into her system with these alternative treatments nor is there any way to quantify how much is rubbing off on other people. Women who are taking estrogen For men, fuhgettaboudit! Benzoyl peroxide is what you want to be using.

Source: Paula Begoun