Riding the Hormonal Wave
For many females, acne can be caused by Hormonal Imbalances. According to a study by Chaun et al, there is a strong link between Polycystic Ovary Syndrome PCOS sufferers and acne.
One of the outcomes of PCOS is high levels of Androgens which are a group of male hormones that include DHEA and testosterone. It is perfectly normal to have some androgens to help with libido and mood but high levels can result in acne.
One of the causes of PCOS and consequently acne is Insulin Resistance; this is when the body ends up storing too much sugar in fat cells leading to inflammation. High levels of insulin will both increase your sebum production and androgens.
What are signs of Hormonal Acne?
A sure way to determine if your acne is hormonal is if it is the cystic kind. The ones that are deep in the skin layer, blind and can hurt. If they are located around the jawline and chin then this is the next give away.
Do you notice that just before your period is due, your acne can get worse? This can be due to your female hormone levels dropping in particular progesterone and oestrogen, as they have a play in controlling excess sebum.
Sebum is produced from sebaceous glands and is a mixture of fatty acids that can cause acne. They can be controlled by consuming a healthy diet directed at reducing inflammatory foods that trigger acne and encouraging nutrients and herbs that support skin health and balance hormones.
How to stay on top of Hormonal Acne
Zinc is a classic mineral that is so simple but can often be forgotten. It is so versatile and is involved in so many enzyme pathways essential for advanced health.
A few ways zinc helps with acne is by reducing androgen levels, promoting oestrogen levels to create that glowing skin, and reducing bacterial infection. Foods high in zinc are oysters, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds.
If you have been curious as to how your zinc levels are, our qualified naturopaths at Empowered Health test your zinc levels during your initial consultation and will recommend the best form and dose designed for you.
Look out Pimps, Berberine is coming to attack!
If you have been concerned about using antibiotics long term, then meet your new contender Berberine. This bitter constituent found in herbs like Golden Seal and Barberry has is a strong natural anti-biotic, anti-fungal, and anti-parasitic action. A study found berberine to improve acne by 45% in 4 weeks due to its natural anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory actions.
Berberine’s use in hormonal acne, acts on the insulin receptors to stimulate glucose into the body’s cells. This improves insulin sensitivity, which sends a message to the ovaries telling them to stop producing excess androgens, thereby reducing outbreaks of acne.
So if this is all starting to make sense now as to why you may be suffering with acne, and you think your hormones may be a little on the unbalanced side of things, then now is the time to act! Sometimes, you can feel like you have tried everything, but I would urge you to give “one more thing a go”. A naturopath will help treat your skin from the inside out, because acne usually starts internally. By treating the cause, you will treat your acne once, and for all.
Melbourne naturopath Alysia Raftery has a special interest in hormonal imbalances and helps many women with acne issues. To book an appointment with Alysia or to have a 10 min phone briefing about how she may be able to help you, call us on 1300 21 44 25.
Chaun SS et al. 2010 Nov-Dec;15(10):1-4.