What Causes Acne
Normally, there are a variety of reasons why an individual may suffer from acne. Things like stress, medications, cosmetics, over-washing your face, an allergic reaction or being exposed to industrial pollutants have all been linked to causing acne.
However, for women with PCOS, while these reasons may also be behind your acne, it is generally acknowledged that hormones and insulin resistance are the more likely culprits.
Because women with PCOS usually have elevated androgen levels, their production of DHT is increased and this in turn leads to acne.
It is also common for women with polycystic ovary syndrome to be insulin resistant. And insulin resistance not only prevents you from ovulating, but also increases your androgen levels, again elevating your DHT levels, thereby inducing acne.
Figuring out how to treat acne isn’t an impossible feat. There are many different types of acne products available over-the-counter or by prescription.
While these can be helpful to reduce the appearance of your acne, they will not permanently get rid of your acne. Because elevated androgen levels are the culprit behind acne in women with PCOS, it is necessary to treat this problem in order to see a more long term acne solution.
Two of the most common ways acne is treated in women with PCOS symptoms is through the use of spironolactone (sold under the name of Aldactone) and birth control pills. Both types of medications require a prescription.
Although spironolactone is actually a blood pressure medication, it has been found to be effective at reducing the appearance of acne either on its own or in combination with oral contraceptives.
Spironolactone is designed to block aldosterone hormones, which raises your blood pressure. However, aldosterone is chemically similar to testosterone, therefore spironolactone is also able to block testosterone. This lowers your androgen levels and helps relieve acne symptoms.
Similarly, the birth control pill also helps to lower your levels of testosterone thereby improving the appearance of acne. If oral contraceptives are not enough to improve your acne, though, using them in combination with an acne medication or incorporating some acne skin care steps into your daily regime may help.
If you have an insulin resistance problem, it is likely that you will be prescribed Metformin. This medication can also help with acne treatment as it regulates your insulin levels, which will help to normalize your hormones and lower your androgen levels.
However, metformin as well as birth control pills, spironolactone and other acne medicines, do have side effects. If you are considering taking a medication, it is important to discuss all the possible side effects with your doctor first.
Also, keep in mind that all medications will work differently in each woman. Some women may find that a particular drug is very helpful while another may find that it does nothing or even worsens their symptoms.
You may need to try a few different treatments for acne before you find the one that is right for you.