Human bodies produce oestrogen and progesterone hormones as well as androgens like testosterone, albeit in varied quantities. While female bodies produce more oestrogen and progesterone, the levels of androgens are comparatively higher in males. Abnormally high levels of androgen is the result of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) and manifests itself through various symptoms like irregular periods, excessive growth of hair on the face, neck, upper back, and stomach (hirsutism), hair thinning, acne, and infertility. PCOS can also occur due to various other factors like family history, insulin resistance, high testosterone levels, to name a few.
Some other symptoms of PCOS are stress, dead skin cells in pores on your skin, hormonal changes, and the presence of bacteria. Irregular periods can make the lining of the uterus thick, leading to other health conditions as well. PCOS may cause cysts to grow in the ovaries, leading to a health condition that is known as PCOS. However, everyone among the menstruation population does not develop cysts in the ovaries.
What Is The Connection Between PCOS & Acne?
PCOS is the most common endocrine disorder among the menstruating population who are of the reproductive age. In medical parlance, PCOS is also referred to as hyperandrogenism because androgens are one of the major factors behind PCOS acne. The health condition makes the glands under the skin create an excessive amount of oil, known as sebum. Excessive buildup of sebum and dead skin cells inside hair follicles, which traps germs beneath the surface. This, in turn, results in inflammatory conditions like acne and pimples.
Causes Of Acne Due To PCOS
There are several factors that can cause Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Acne, although the health condition might not show any symptoms. However, people with high levels of androgen are likely to have a flare-up of acne a few days before their periods.
5 PCOS Acne Treatments
PCOS cannot be treated through home remedies and consulting a gynaecologist is the only way out. The doctor can treat the acne breakout from its roots. Below are some PCOS acne treatments your doctor may prescribe.
Minor breakouts caused due to PCOS can be treated with ointments with sulphur, salicylic acid, and benzoyl peroxide. However, they are usually effective for treating mild PCOS acne only.
2. Oral Contraceptives
Your doctor may prescribe birth control pills to treat hormonal imbalance, which is the root cause of your acne breakout. However, women over 35 who have a medical history of hypertension, blood clots, and breast cancer, are usually not prescribed these pills.
3. Other Oral Medications
The doctor may recommend other medications that include components like zinc, turmeric, garlic, copper, vitamins A and C, and bromelain, an enzyme made from pineapples.
OTC (Over The Counter) retinoids may help you treat wrinkles and fine lines, and also maintain an even skin tone. Acne formulas are another option, although they are usually meant for teenagers. However, if OTC retinoids are not effective for your PCOS acne, you need to visit a doctor, who is likely to recommend oral prescription medications or for topical application. Oral retinoid is often the preferred choice between the two because retinoids increase the sensitivity of your skin to the sun’s UV rays. In case it is recommended by your doctor, you have to use sunscreen also, to protect your skin from hyperpigmentation and even cancer.
5. Anti-Androgen Drugs
These medications lower testosterone levels. Although androgens are present in higher levels in males, women too have lower quantities of this hormone. A rise in the levels of androgen among the menstruating population is one of the primary factors behind PCOS acne, like we have discussed earlier. Hence, anti-androgen medications may be recommended to keep androgen levels in check.
Dietary Modifications To Control Acne
Treating PCOS acne requires medical intervention, and changing your dietary habits alone is not effective enough. Here are a few tips you need to keep in mind for your PCOS acne diet.
- Junk and fried foods are a strict no-no because they lead to excessive oil production on your skin, to prevent PCOS acne scars.
- Chocolate may also have a similar effect on your skin and should be avoided.
- Avoid the intake of potatoes, white bread, desserts, and red meats.
- Include foods that naturally treat inflammation like spinach, walnut, tomatoes, almonds, berries, and turmeric.
- Ask your doctor to prescribe you medications.
6 Tips To Manage Hormonal Acne
Here are a few home remedies for PCOS acne, along with other tips, that will help you hormonal acne.
- Wash your face twice a day, especially after sweating profusely. However, don’t wash your face more than twice a day because that will rip your skin of its natural oils.
- Don’t scrub your face because that is likely to aggravate your skin condition.
- Rinse your face, especially the affected area, with lukewarm water.
- Don’t touch your face or squeeze the acne.
- Apply a non-abrasive cleanser with clean fingertips rather than with a cloth.
- Avoid stepping out into the sun as that may aggravate your PCOS acne.
1. Can PCOS cause acne?
Yes, the rise in the levels of androgen, which lead to PCOS, can cause acne or worsen an acne condition. Treating the hormonal imbalance can also treat acne effectively.
2. What is the treatment for PCOS-induced acne?
Acne usually worsens during the time of periods. Dermats may prescribe oral contraceptive pills to treat the condition. See a doctor if you have been suffering fromPCOS-induced acne.
3. How long does it take PCOS-induced acne to clear up after treatment?
The time span for the treatment for PCOS-induced acne to start being effective varies from person to person. However, it takes 2 to 3 months for the acne to clear up. The medications for such an acne condition may have side-effects. Hence, it is advisable that you consult a doctor rather than self-prescribing medications.
4. What are treatments available for PCOS-induced acne, apart from medications?
Other than medications, the natural way to treat PCOS-induced acne is lifestyle changes and a regular skincare routine.
PCOS acne can be treated with ease with OTC medications or prescribed drugs, in case it is severe. Also, follow the dietary tips and other hacks to manage the health condition that we just discussed, to keep it in check.
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