Dermatology research has come a long way and there is much that we now understand about acne progression, it can however be a lot to be across. This mixed with so many voices in the skin space, making the best choices for your skin healing can be complicated Here are six outlined common misunderstandings around acne and hormonal acne treatment that will hopefully save you some grief allowing you to make the best choices for your personal acne management.
The Pill will Regulate Your Hormonal Acne
The pill cannot regulate your hormones, it simply takes over your hormonal system
functioning while you’re on it. Synthetic oestrogen and progestins that are not the same as our natural hormones and halt ovulation and the production of our own natural forms of the hormones. This is not hormonal regulation; it is hormonal suppression. Forms of the pill that improve our acne or PCOS symptoms while we are taking them work by suppressing androgen production. Unfortunately, this kind of suppression can then create an over correction of surging androgen when you withdraw. We call this issue post pill acne and spironolactone runs the same risks. Some forms of contraception’s such as mini pill and Implanon, hormonal IUDs actually behave like androgens in the body, and this can bring on an acne presentation. This is a gentler androgenic effect then the post pill acne
presentations and won’t happen to all individuals, but those who have been susceptible to acne should be mindful.
Going Vegan for Acne
Keeping your diet bolstered with loads of anti-inflammatory colourful plant foods is always going to be a big focus for acne and health at large. As is removing cow dairy products which hugely aggravate acne. Veganism for those wanting to make an ethical diet change may be the right fit. However, going vegan or vegetarian as an acne treatment is not advisable. The removal of animal products for a short-term gut and liver cleanse can be helpful for some. It is also definitely possible to resolved acne on a purposed vegan diet that focuses on protein and healthy fat intake while supplementing, where nutrients could be lacking.
The crux here is that blood sugar regulation and insulin sensitivity is important for acne healing. When we eat solely plant based it can be more challenging to include enough protein for blood sugar regulation and we naturally tend to gravitate toward higher grain and starch consumption to feel satiated. This doesn’t mean that you can’t have good insulin sensitivity and blood sugar regulation on a vegan diet, just that for some it can take more focus. Concentrating on eating as much plant produce as you can including vegetables, pulses, nut and seeds and some fruit, then including high quality animal products in moderation is the best way to approach an anti-inflammatory acne diet. This will however depend on an individual’s preferences and belief system.
Acneic Skin Requires Heaps of Exfoliation
The skin barrier is so important, over exfoliating with harsh actives too regularly can cause the skin barrier to become compromised leading to inflammation, higher lipid loss (skin feels oiler) and larger sebaceous glands. What’s tricky here is that many acne sufferers already have a compromised skin barrier to begin with. Aim to keep your exfoliating products to skin therapists advise and remember less can be more when it comes to acne exfoliation. Internal treatments with zinc and vitamin A can also be used to aid in natural skin exfoliation regulation.
All Hormonal Acne can be Assessed Through Blood Work
I see many hormonal acne sufferers who are told they do not have hormonal imbalances because their blood tests show normal Testosterone and or DHEA’s levels. These androgens can be involved in acne progression, however, are not the only androgens or most common androgens involved in hormonal acne. We can observe symptoms of androgen excess and still count them as valid evidence of the pathology. Look for jawline/ chin or cheek breakouts and or temple hair loss, extra hair growth, especially darker courser hair and] weight gain around the middle.
Just because the hormones we can test for on a blood test aren’t raised does not mean you are not experiencing skin breakouts, hair loss, extra growth
or weight gain due to androgen excess. Androgen excess can thoroughly be assessed through a urine test for those with access to such testing, unfortunately a general practitioner won’t generally be using such testing.
Believing Oil or Sebum is the Enemy of Acne
Our sebum or skin oils have so many amazing functions in maintaining skin homeostasis including maintaining a healthy skin barrier, skin microbiome, antioxidant UV protection, anti-inflammatory effects and obvious skin lubrication. So many acne products can be aimed at decreasing oil production. The focus should be on ensuring nutrition is correct with plenty of omega-3 and some omega-6 support alongside hormonal balance for those with elevated androgens.
This ensures sebum does all the things we want it to and doesn’t clog up our
Natural Skincare is Always Good for Acne
I love clean skincare, but so frequently see natural skincare packed with oils that are too clogging for acne prone skin. I advise using just 0 comedogenic rating oils where active acne breakouts are present. Some of these include rosehip, hemp and argan oils. Beef tallow may be lovely for dry skin but it’s also generally too clogging for acne prone presentations.