Cystic And Hormonal Acne Dos And Donts
March 27, 2020 by Organic Elements Spa
If youre dealing with a breakout of stubborn acne, its hard to think about anything else. Having clear skin allows you to feel confident, comfortable, and like you can take on the world. But if your persistent skin issues are getting in the way, dont stress. It is possible to treat your skin with the right products and care. Learn more about how to treat cystic and hormonal acne with these acne dos and donts.
What About Apple Cider Vinegar Aspirin Or Face Masks For Acne
Topical treatments will sometimes reduce the number and severity of pimples or zits. These treatments are not addressing the root cause of the problem, though. As a result, they only work temporarily while you are using them. Sometimes these harsh chemicals will leave your skin dry and irritated.
I can help. Book an appointment here or call the Toronto clinic for more information on naturopathic remedies for acne at 416-481-0222.
Dr. Pamela has been in practice as a naturopathic doctor in Toronto since 1999. She has been the recipient of numerous Best Naturopath in Toronto awards. She is registered with the College of Naturopaths of Ontario.
Dr. Pamela Frank uses a natural treatment approach that may include acupuncture, herbal medicine, nutrition, diet, vitamins, supplements, and other natural remedies to restore balance and provide long-term resolution of almost any health problem.
Follow These Tips To Balance Blood Sugar To Balance Your Hormones:
1. Eat the RIGHT type of food:Add more healthy fats, high quality protein and carbs with fiber – these foods digest slowly which keeps blood sugar balanced. If you feel shaky after eating, try adding in more protein or fat to balance the meal.
Example of a hormone balancing meal: unstuffed cabbages full of grass finished ground beef , sprouted brown rice and veggies with 1/2 avocado .
2. LIMIT quick digesting carbs: Limit sweets, refined flours and other processed foods that are full of quick digesting carbs. These foods digest fast which leads to a sharp increase & spike in blood sugar before making you crash.
Examples of quick digesting carbs to limit: white bread, sweets, cereal, jasmine rice, bagels. Opt for whole foods instead of processed foods!
3. Eat at the RIGHT time: Eat a large breakfast and MAKE TIME for your meals! Dont wait until you are starving for your next meal – listen to your body. If you wait until you are starving it will only cause your blood sugar to crash when your body is depleted from lack of food. And then when you finally eat a large meal, it leads to a spike in blood sugar – this is how we get those high spikes and low dips that are a blood sugar imbalance! Focus on meal timing and schedule lunch on your calendar if you need to.
4. Eat ENOUGH food: Listen to your body & fuel your body with enough food. Restricting food or skipping meals leads to huge swings in blood sugar and will only harm your hormones.
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What Questions Should I Ask My Doctor
You may want to ask your healthcare provider:
- What causes cystic acne?
- What is the best cystic acne treatment?
- What are the treatment side effects?
- How can I lower my chances of getting acne cysts?
- How can I prevent scarring or other complications?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Its tempting to want to touch or pick at painful, swollen acne cysts. But cystic acne is more likely than other zits to scar or develop infections. A dermatologist can offer suggestions to prevent cystic acne. This doctor can also treat painful acne cysts, lowering the chances of scarring. Antibiotics and topical creams are effective cystic acne treatments.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 08/25/2021.
Adult Acne: How To Get Rid Of Hormonal Acne Naturally
If youre someone who suffers from hormonal acne, chances are youve tried numerous home remedies for acne but may not be getting the results you hoped for. Thats likely because this type of acne can be complicated to treat, considering it occurs for reasons beyond having clogged pores, which is often the case with other forms of acne.
How can you stop hormonal acne? One of the first steps is working on balancing your hormones, such as by eating a nourishing diet, managing stress and getting enough sleep.
The next layer in your treatment plan is using the right types of cleansers and topical products. That means those that help clean and soothe your irritated skin without worsening symptoms.
The good news? Youre not alone if youve developed adult-onset acne, since this affects most people at one point in their lives or another based on a variety of factors.
Also Check: How To Fix Acne Scars
What Is The Prognosis Of Cystic Acne
Immediate resolution of the acne, even with the best and most effective treatments, is unlikely. The skin cells have a six-week life cycle, and it usually takes a number of weeks before optimal results may be reached. The prognosis for eventual control is good, although there will always be some remaining scarring long after the condition has been treated or gone into remission.
Can Tea Tree Oil Help Cystic Acne
If you have mild acne, there is data out there that shows that tea tree oil can be helpful. With cystic acne, when someone is looking to treat it naturally, I always mention that just because something is natural doesnt mean that its necessarily good for you. With tea tree oil, some people are allergic to limonene, a compound thats found in it. This allergy can cause contact dermatitis in addition to their acne. So again, if someone has true cystic acne, they need to see a dermatologist or their healthcare provider first.
Read Also: What Foods Should I Avoid For Acne
Laboratory Tests In Patients With Suspected Hormonal Acne
For patients signs of hyperandrogenism, failure to respond to conventional therapies, and with irregular menses, endocrinal evaluation is required at the early menstrual phase . Other hormonal treatments such as oral contraceptives should be terminated and stopped 1 month before laboratory investigations to avoid false results.
Testosterone : minimal to modest elevations of < 200 ng/dL are suggestive of a benign cause of ovarian or adrenal cause while above this level neoplasia of ovarian or adrenal origin should be suspected.
Androstenedione: secreted equally by ovaries and adrenals and follows a circadian rhythm making early morning samples, the best to analyze.
DHEA: high levels of DHEA > 8,000 ng/dL and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate should raise concern of adrenal tumors, while levels of DHEAS indicate benign adrenal hyperplasia.
SHBG: decreased levels of SHBG lead to free unbound testosterone in excess, resulting in more manifested signs.
Prolactin: elevated prolactin could point out to hypothalamic or pituitary causes for further assessment and investigation.
17-Hydroxy progesterone: elevated in congenital adrenal hyperplasia or nonclassic congenital adrenal hyperplasia due to deficiency or absence of 21-hydroxylase.
Luteinizing hormone : follicle-stimulating hormone ratio: a ratio of > 2 is indicative of possible PCOS.
Fasting and postprandial insulin: overweight and obese patients should be checked for insulin levels.
Cystic Acne Is Most Commonly Found On The Jawline
The sebaceous glands in your skin produce an oil known as sebum. Your face can have up to 900 sebaceous glands per square centimeter, making it particularly vulnerable to blockage. Without your intervention through proper washing, sebum and other bacteria seep into your pores and causes buildups, leading to breakouts. Think about how much product you put on your jawline: shaving cream and makeup, for instance. This is why this area is prone to these types of breakouts.
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What Causes Cystic Acne
Pores in the skin can clog with excess oil and dead skin cells, causing pimples. Bacteria can enter the skin pores and get trapped along with the oil and skin cells. The skin reaction causes swelling deep in the skins middle layer . This infected, red, swollen lump is an acne cyst.
Cystic acne causes include:
- Age .
- Family history of cystic acne.
- Hormone changes during the teenage years and sometimes during menopause, and stress.
Dont Try To Pop It Seriously
Cystic zits literally cannot be popped, since the problem is so deep within your skin. Trying to manipulate or squeeze the cyst will only push the inflammation out further, leading to more severe scarring and a possible infection, says Shari Marchbein, MD, a dermatologist in New York City. Even if it has the tiniest of whiteheads on top, dont trust itthat sh*t is deep, and youll never get it out. You will always make it worse.
Also Check: How To Get Rid Of Acne Scars On Arms
How Do I Treat Hormonal Acne
Based on the severity of your acne, different treatment options are available to reduce sebum production, pimple formation and painful inflammation:
- Blackheads and whiteheads: Topical cream .
- Inflammatory acne: Topical retinoid and/or topical antibiotic and/or benzoyl peroxide.
- Moderate to severe acne: Antibiotic and/or isotretinoin .
- Cystic acne: Steroid injection .
Why Is Hormonal Acne Important
Hormonal acne does not always respond fully to treatment with acne creams, such as topical retinoids, and antibiotics. In some cases hormonal acne does not even respond well to treatment with Isotretinoin . Hormonal acne is more likely to come back after a course of Roaccutane has successfully cleared it.
Besides being stubborn to treat, hormonal acne causes redness for prolonged periods, scarring and pigmentation. Some types of hormonal acne cause a large number of comedones to develop especially on the sides of the face temples, cheeks and jaw line.
Enlarged pores on the nose and cheeks are commonly seen with hormonal acne. Hormonal acne can be really frustrating and cause a reduced quality of life for sufferers.
Hormonal acne can be distinguished from fungal acne on the type of spots and their location. Fungal acne causes smaller spots that are more evenly sized and itchy.
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What Are Causes And Risk Factors For Cystic Acne
There is a trend that if a parent or older sibling had significant scarring acne, you are more likely to develop it yourself. However, a family history of cystic acne is not universal, even in the most severe cases. Elevations in testosterone, either intrinsic to the body or extrinsic through the intake of anabolic steroids, may precipitate or worsen cystic acne. While most combination contraceptive pills will have a therapeutic benefit in acne, the progesterone-predominant contraceptive types such as progesterone-only mini-pills, progesterone implants, and progesterone-eluting intrauterine devices may worsen acne, although these may serve as effective contraception when isotretinoin use for acne is considered.
A variety of home remedies such as baking soda, various masks, apple cider vinegar, and tea tree oil have been recommended for cystic acne, and often one may find testimonials for these remedies online, especially on the web sites selling these supplements or alternative therapies. When put to scientific challenge, they are usually found to be ineffective and may only delay diagnosis and effective treatment.
Although the mechanism is not clear, smoking may worsen acne of all types and is, in fact, one of the three primary risk factors for hidradenitis suppurativa. Most studies have examined cigarettesmoking with the effect of cigars, smokeless tobacco, nicotine patches, and “vaped”nicotine not being as well-defined.
Cystic Acne And Hormones: Oil Production In The Skin
There are three separate layers to the skin, and pores traverse these layers. To adequately protect your body and keep toxins on the outside, the outer layer of the skin must be hydrated and strong.
To do this, pores deliver oil from the bottom layer to the top of the skin. In healthy skin, oil comes up through the pores and oozes onto the surface, lubricating the skin and making it look soft and glowy. Think of it like a well, or a hot spring, or an oil rig.
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What Are The Best Topical Treatments For Cystic Acne According To Dermatologists
As with any acne type, it is best to start a medicated topical skincare treatment right away. A good skincare routine should include a medicated cleanser, treatment cream, and moisturizer with active ingredients such as salicylic acid and/or benzoyl peroxide to help unclog the skin’s pores remove excess oil, and kill the acne-causing bacteria. While many over-the-counter acne products are available, an acne patient must use treatment products in the right formulas and concentrations for their acne severity, skin type, and sensitivities to ensure maximum efficacy while minimizing irritation.
Dermatologist-approved tip: Acne treatment creams should be applied to the entire face to maximize the treatment of existing breakouts and prevent future cystic breakouts.
To find the right acne treatment products for your unique skin, take the free MDacne skin analysis.
Are Levels Of Testosterone And Of Other Androgens Raised In Hormonal Acne
There is conflicting evidence on this though the majority of studies show that elevated androgen levels are are frequent.
A large study from 2013 showed that of 835 women with hormonal acne, 55% had elevated levels of androgens DHEA being the one most frequently elevated. A Turkish study from 2017 of 207 women showed 55% of women with acne had elevations in one androgen. Smaller studies from Brazil and Japan have also showed elevated levels of androgens in adult women with acne.
A Czech study from 2000 of 90 women with acne showed that 81% had an elevated level of at least one androgen. The severity of acne did not vary with the degree of elevation however. However a British study from 1989 showed no elevations in androgens in women with acne.
Our clinical impression is that some women do have elevated androgen levels and hormonal acne may be the only sign of this. Other signs include excessive facial and body hair, irregular periods and hair loss. However, a large number of women have normal levels of androgens and it is believed that these women may just be more sensitive to these androgens. This is the reason they get acne.
The bottom line is routine hormone blood tests may be normal in hormonal acne. Hypersensitivity of the skin means that anti-androgen treatment is still important. Also Testosterone and DHT can be produced in the skin and blood tests would not show if too much of these hormones is being produced in the skin in some people.
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Cystic Acne And The Part Hormones Play
Cystic acne is a severe type of acne where pores in the skin become blocked, which can lead to inflammation and infection. The condition often affects the face, upper trunk, upper arms, and can extend to other areas of the body. “Cystic acne describes deep inflammatory pockets of acne below the surface of the skin. It tends to cause more painful acne lesions which can lead to more aggressive scarring. Hormones are a common trigger for cystic acne and can sometimes worsen things along the chin and jawline in particular,” says dermatologist Jennifer Adams, MD. “There are several different types of acne ranging from the milder comedonal bumps, to papulopustular, to the most inflammatory type called nodulocystic. The more aggressive forms of acne tend to cause more inflammation and affect deeper levels under the skin. Cystic acne tends to refer to those deeper seated zits.”
How To Best Treat Cystic And Hormonal Acne
When you are well into adulthood, there are certain things you come to expect with your skin dehydration, fine lines and wrinkles, even hyperpigmentation. But did you ever think that cystic or hormonal acne was still going to be such a, well,problem?
Unfortunately, no matter your age, breakouts and problem skin are still very much an issue that many want to address. If you want to know why your breakouts are occurring, youll want to read our blog post, “What Causes Acne“. If youre looking for how to treat your problem skin, youll want to read on. While its important to know what youre dealing with, how to treat problem skin is even more vital to you because you want to eradicate breakouts like NOW.
Also Check: What To Do Cystic Acne
What Causes A Hormone Imbalance & Extra Testosterone
1. If you recently came off the birth control pill or IUD, its likely that testosterone is completely out of balance. The pill puts testosterone on mute – thats why people see clearer skin when on the pill, because testosterone production is muted so there is no extra oil on our skin that would otherwise cause clogged pores, blackheads, pimples or cystic acne.
But after those hormones have been on mute for a long time and then they are no longer on mute when we come off the pill, the body doesnt know how to produce & balance them, so theres a huge increase in extra testosterone as the body tries to learn how to regulate.
If you are recently off the pill, continue reading for blood sugar balance and supplements recommendations to regulate testosterone!
2. Blood sugar imbalances: When blood sugar is not balanced, a signal is sent to the ovaries to make more testosterone. What does more testosterone lead to? Extra oil production that causes oily skin, clogged pores, painful cystic jawline acne, oily hair. Our blood sugar should not have dips and spikes like the chart below – it should be balanced and give us consistent energy throughout the entire day. This is KEY! Continue reading to find out how to balance your blood sugar.