Ever wonder why you have breakouts, despite taking good care of your skin? It could be hormone related, particularly if it is cyclical or you have been diagnosed with Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). In both cases, elevated testosterone levels in the pilosebaceous gland of the skin are converted into dihydrotestosterone, a more potent androgen which can cause overproduction of oils in the skin. This combined with surface bacteria invading pores of the skin can create the problem of acne.
Additionally, stress is a contributor of acne due to elevated cortisol levels. Elevated cortisol competes with other hormones in the body and can cause hormone imbalances. For example, progesterone can block some of the effects of testosterone when they are balanced. But, when cortisol levels are high, progesterone is pulled down the hormone cascade to make cortisol, and thus women under stress can become progesterone deficient. With lower progesterone levels, testosterone effects may be more noteably seen in the form of acne or oily skin. This is often why acne breakouts are seen shortly before ovulation or prior to menses. By obtaining adequate nutrition, exercise, and sleep, hormones can naturally balance themselves from within. However, if you find these interventions do not help, it would be wise to talk with your provider. Hormone imbalances over time can cause metabolic problems and insulin resistance, things not apparent to the naked eye. Thus if your acne is resistant to topical treatments- it would be worthwhile to get your hormones checked.
Karsen Delgado, FNP-C is our medical director at Simply Skin & Laser. She specializes in Hormone Balancing. If you have any questions regarding hormones, let us know, she can help.