If there was a tagline for acne, it would be “making life miserable since forever!” Hits home, doesn’t it? If you are worried about your pimple-prone skin, well past your teenage years, it is important to know who’s the culprit. In many cases, it could be PCOS. PCOS and acne? Yes, you heard that right. In this article, we tell you how PCOS causes acne, how it can be treated and the management of acne.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder common among women of childbearing age. If you have PCOS, your ovaries produce more than normal amounts of male hormones called androgens, which is usually present in small amounts in females.
As a result, your ovaries may develop numerous fluid-filled sacs that prevent the regular release of eggs from the ovaries (ovulation). This hormonal imbalance and unpredictable ovulation lead to irregular menstrual cycles and other symptoms like acne, unwanted hair growth, weight gain, etc.
Want to know more about “PCOS pimples”? Read on.
So how does PCOS manifest as skin-related symptoms? It can lead to:
How does PCOS cause acne? PCOS can lead to acne because it causes your ovaries to produce more male hormones called androgens, which stimulate the production of oil in the skin. This excess oil in your skin along with the dead skin blocks the follicles from which your hair grows and causes acne.
The acne appears in what is known as the “PCOS acne pattern”, usually on the chin, jawline, and upper neck. The acne tends to have larger and deeper lesions than other acne forms and may also resolve more slowly.
You may develop thick, dark, velvety patches of skin under your arms or breasts, on the back of your neck, and in your groin area (between the legs) due to insulin resistance. This condition is called acanthosis nigricans.
If you think you are experiencing the symptoms of PCOS, consult your doctor without any further delay. Inform your doctor about your symptoms, medical history, including your menstrual cycle, and if there are any changes in your weight.
Your doctor will perform a physical examination, a pelvic check, and order blood tests and a pelvic ultrasound to diagnose PCOS.
You need to meet at least 2 of these 3 criteria to be diagnosed with PCOS:
Treatment for acne related to PCOS involves treating the root cause, the hormonal imbalance in PCOS. Your doctor may recommend the following treatment options for PCOS-related acne:
All these medications should be used only in consultation with your doctor.
Insulin resistance and weight gain in PCOS may make your acne symptoms worse. You can effectively manage PCOS by modifying your lifestyle with healthy food habits, and regular
Your diet plays an important role in the management of PCOS and its symptoms. The food you consume is broken down into carbohydrates (sugars), which cannot be taken up by your cells and converted into energy due to insulin resistance caused by PCOS.
This elevates your blood glucose (sugar) levels, which can disturb the balance of hormones in your body and aggravate the symptoms of PCOS. A diet that helps you manage PCOS and can help manage PCOS acne as well.
You need to adopt a balanced diet plan based on whole grains, pulses, lean protein sources, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds in order to manage PCOS and its symptoms.
Avoid foods such as sweets, fruit juices, processed foods with refined carbohydrates, fried food, and red and processed meat as they make it difficult to manage PCOS.
While your hormonal levels in PCOS may be stabilised with medications, diet, and exercise, you can soothe your irritated skin with a few home remedies.
Skincare should be a part of your daily routine. Developing acne with PCOS may be exaggerated due to poor skin care. Here are a few ways by which you can keep your skin healthy:
Consult a doctor if you observe any symptoms of PCOS such as irregular or missed periods, darkened skin, skin tags, anxiety, and infertility issues along with oily and acne-prone skin. You can consult a dermatologist if the acne is not responding to any treatment or lifestyle changes.
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