Until recently, acne was considered to be a disease caused by oily skin or too much junk food. Scientists and physicians have discovered that certain forms of acne are actually caused by hormonal fluctuations in the body. This means that some types of the disease are not related to hygiene or oily foods at all. Hormonal acne is thought to be caused by abnormal fluctuations in the hormone levels of a person’s body.
Hormonal acne is a completely different form of the disease, but the symptoms are often very similar to standard acne symptoms. Hormonal acne is more prevalent in women than in men and affects about half of the female population at some point in their lives.
To understand hormonal acne, it is easiest to begin with puberty. At the onset of puberty in both men and women, hormone levels increase. These bursts of hormones include one powerful hormone in particular which is called androgen. Androgen is a male hormone that is present in women as well as men. A large amount of androgen released into the blood stream can cause an increase in oil production on the skin. This can help to feed the bacterium that causes acne pustules. The damage to the pores and hair follicles will even lead to scarring if left untreated.
Women are more often diagnosed with hormonal acne because of the hormonal changes that affect women throughout their lives. Pregnancy, menstruation and menopause are all large contributing factors to female hormonal acne. A woman who continues to have the disease after reaching puberty is most likely experiencing an imbalance in hormones which causes acne. This disease is more difficult to treat than any other form of acne. Women are often prescribed birth control pills or androgen blocking medications in order to create a balance in the hormone levels.
Diet can be a factor when treating hormonal acne. Insulin levels in the body can be monitored to see if there are fluctuations which could cause an imbalance. When insulin levels change drastically throughout the day, there is an increase in the production of stress hormones like cortisol.
It is believed that these stress hormones contribute to an increase in acne pustules especially on the face. Patients are often advised to eat foods that are low in sugar and starch and increase their water intake. This approach is believed to help to regulate the hormone levels in the body. Regular exercise is also recommended in order to regulate the hormone levels in the blood stream. Exercise helps to decrease cortisol levels and insulin levels at the same time.
Skin cleansers and topical medications do have some affect on hormonal acne, so they are still recommended by many physicians. Treatment with oral medications and topical steroids are also considered for hormonal acne. A combination of therapies is most likely to improve your acne problem.
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