How to Get Rid of Hormonal Acne?

Natural acne treatments that get rid of acne need to take into account the many underlying causes of acne. One reason topical acne treatments and remedies don't work is because teenagers have an upsurge of various hormones which affect oil secretion as well as secondary sexual characteristics. The cause of hormonal acne sometimes lies in the biochemical pathways of hormones and other cell signaling molecules.

Hormones are chemical messengers that different body glands secrete into the blood stream so that they are carried to the areas in the body where the chemical information is needed for proper cell function.

The symptoms of hormone-related acne include but are not limited to:
1) Premenstrual flare ups of acne
2) Excess hair growth on the body
3) Weight gain and other metabolic issues (eg: trouble losing weight)
4) Hair loss on the head

There are four processes that take place in the skin for acne symptoms to occur. These are increased oil production, increased skin cell production, multiplication of the bacteria "propionibacterium" correlated with acne and inflammation. These processes are affected by hormones in the body. How get rid of hormonal acne, a multi-pronged approach is needed that uproots the underlying inflammation which creates the necessary environment for acne to persist.

How to Get Rid of Hormonal Acne with Natural Treatment

how to get rid of hormonal acne
Eating foods that are refined carbohydrates (ie high in the glycemic index) trigger a hormonal cascade that leads to increased oil production as well as increased cell production in the skin. One of the easiest ways to address inflammation is through the diet. One dietary change would be to find low glycemic index (or complex carb) alternatives for your favorite refined foods so that fluctuations is reduced.

The hormone insulin is secreted by the pancreas and is involved in blood sugar regulation. But there is a spike in levels of insulin secreted when we eat foods that are refined sugars (white bread, pasta, cookies, cakes, pizza, pastries). This spike triggers a second hormone insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) which in turn stimulates a third class of hormone (androgens) which increase oil production (this includes sebum in the skin) leading to acne breakouts. Switching to a low glycemic index is helpful in avoiding the pitfalls of wildly fluctuating hormones. Sprouted grain bread and sweet potato (for real!)  are examples of low glycemic index foods that taste great.

Some human studies have shown that androgens increase IGF-1 levels in the blood while IGF-1 also increases androgen levels which leads to a vicious cycle that ultimately increases sebum production.

An underlying hormonal imbalance know as PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) in women often presents with the symptoms of acne and underlying hyper-insulinemia, insulin resistance and hyperandrogenism. These patients are often also overweight. Laboratory tests often indicate that these patients have high levels of androgens, IGF-1, and low concentration of sex hormone binding globulins (SHBG) which reduce levels of androgens in the blood.

However, it is important to clarify that while many women with PCOS have acne, not all women with acne have PCOS.

Natural treatments for hormonal acne can target not only excess oil secretion but also the underlying inflammatory cascade that sets the stage for the downstream effect of acne. The presence of inflammation may explain why the aspirin mask (a crushed tablet of aspirin made in to a paste with a few drops of water) applied to acne works to reduce swelling temporarily. However the underlying inflammation cannot be addressed with topical treatments.

The first step to treating hormonal related acne is to establish whether there is a hormonal imbalance. To do this you need to talk to your doctor about getting lab testing  done to establish the baseline for your hormones. Before making any changes that may affect your health, check with your doctor. This article is written as information only. It is not meant to diagnose, prevent or treat any kind of symptom or condition.