Updated: Aug 16, 2022
Perfect skin is possible!
We all want flawless glowing skin. Here is some advice to get to the root cause of your skin blemishes and how to clear it up.
Skin disorders can be very frustrating and lead to decreased self esteem. There is a wide range of skin disorders and it is best to have your specific skin disorder diagnosed by your Physician. The most common of these conditions include Acne, Eczema (atopic dermatitis), Rosacea, Seborrheic Dermatitis. I will address these causes over a couple of blogs, starting with Acne today.
The good news is that there are many things within your control that you can do to improve your skin.
You are not alone, more and more adults are reporting acne. Acne causes can be multi-factorial. If we thoroughly investigate the cause of acne, me might often find that skin issues might be related to food sensitivities, food allergies or hormonal imbalances. Acne includes blackheads, whiteheads, nodules (tender collections of pus deep in the skin that discharge to the surface of the skin) and cysts: deep nodules that fail to discharge contents to surface. Large deep pustules are cysts that contain inflammatory compounds that break down adjacent skin tissue, leading to scar formation.
One of the root causes of cystic acne is often hormones.
Hormonal acne is any acne that occurs due to hormonal fluctuations. It’s common during puberty, because androgens, a group of hormones that include testosterone and other “male hormones,” naturally increase production during this time. But hormonal acne can happen any time there are fluctuations in hormone levels, which is why so many women notice acne increase days before their menstrual cycle. I recommend keeping a journal to document your menstrual cycle as well as acne severity/ appearance of new lesions.
Causes of hormonal acne
The most common cause of hormonal acne is an excess amount of androgens and increased systemic inflammation. Both can lead to an increase in sebum production, and this is where the major problem starts. Sebum is oil produced by your skin via the sebaceous glands, also known as the oil glands. It serves to protect your skin and lock in moisture. However, if its production increases above normal limits and your skin cell turnover rate remains the same, your pores will quickly become clogged. When this happens, the sebum cannot leave the pore, so as a result it becomes inflamed and a pimple forms in its place. Since most of your oil glands are located on the face, chest, back, and shoulders, these areas are most prone to hormonal breakouts.
Androgens are one of the major hormone-related culprits when it comes to acne. They are produced by the ovary and adrenals and have been specifically linked to many forms of acne. Androgen production can increase for a few different reasons:
Women with Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome have higher than normal levels of androgens in their system. Therefore acne, when paired with a few other symptoms, such as an irregular menstrual cycle, serves as a strong indicator of the syndrome.
During menopause, hormones are constantly in flux. Women most commonly experience a decrease in estrogen paired with an increase in testosterone. Since estrogen directly combats the effects of testosterone, and levels are low during menopause, there’s nothing to put up a defense against the sudden spike in testosterone. As a result, testosterone levels will continue to increase along with sebum production.
-Your monthly menstrual cycle
When you have your period, your levels of estrogen and progesterone are at their lowest, both of which are shown to reduce sebaceous gland activity. With neither of these hormones around to balance the testosterone lingering in your system, you’ll likely experience more breakouts around this time of the month. Keeping track of your menstrual cycle will help you notice the relationship between your cycle and acne breakout.