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Connection Between PCOS and Acne: Causes & Treatment

We are right with you when you say popping pimples is a grossly satisfying business; and there’s lots of them to pop when you are suffering from PCOS.

Sweet sixteen, sassy seventeen, edgy eighteen, naughty nineteen have all passed. You are right to be a little wary if what has stayed with you from the past era is your acne.  If your periods make a grand entrance every… two-to-three-ish months and you spend your nights worrying about the extreme bloating, cramps, mood swings and backache your next periods will bring, you definitely have a situation at hand.

You might be suffering from PCOS, a symptom of which is hormonal acne. Read on because we’re telling you why you’re getting pimples during periods and how to get rid of PCOS acne.

What Is PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome)?

PCOS is a hormonal condition occurring in women during their childbearing years. The excess production of the male hormones, androgens leads to an imbalance. This imbalance leads to symptoms such as menstrual irregularity, excess hair growth, acne, obesity, depression, etc.

Does PCOS & Acne have a connection?

Period acne or period pimples usually show up before your periods or during the same week. It usually clears up or improves when you are through with the period week.

Just before your periods, the level of estrogen and progesterone drop. It triggers the sebaceous glands in your skin to produce more sebum, your skin’s natural hydrator. When sebum is produced in excess, your pores get clogged and breakouts happen.

Is acne a symptom of PCOS?

Hormones can also increase the production of acne causing bacteria leading to premenstrual acne. Acne in PCOS is a hormone-induced side effect.

PCOS acne looks like inflamed, red, bump-like pimple. It usually shows up on the lower half of your face, like your chin, cheeks, neckline, and jawline. Pus developing in these pimples is one of the most obvious PCOS acne symptoms.

PCOS, Hormones & Acne

Hormonal imbalance is at the heart of PCOS. To produce the right amounts of estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone your body needs a go-ahead from the pituitary gland. PCOS disrupts these signals which make things tricky.

In absence of these signals from the pituitary gland, there is an increased production of testosterone as compared to estrogen and progesterone. This is what ultimately leads to you breaking out.

Causes of Acne

You can have acne, not just from PCOS but because of various other reasons too, such as:

  • Stress
  • Not washing your face regularly
  • Medications
  • Using comedogenic products or make up on your face
  • Bacteria and hormonal activities

What are the various treatment options?

Popping a pimple might almost be equivalent to therapy for some, but what might not be cute are the scars, skin trauma and inflammation you will have to suffer from later.

We would strongly recommend controlling the urge and giving these remedies a try:

  • Birth control pills – If your acne is really severe your doctor might prescribe birth control pills. Tell your doctor about any other medications you might be taking and be sure to discuss possible side effects
  • Anti-Androgens Medications – Anti- androgens medications will help both your acne and excessive production of sebum.
  • Weight loss – We do not want to be your typical Indian aunty who claims losing weight can cure everything from heart disease to cancer, but it does help if you have been experiencing acne. In obese people, studies have found that the male hormones, insulin, growth hormone are all raised, all of which are risk factors for acne.
  • Practice good skin hygiene – How to treat PCOS acne naturally? Maintain good skin hygiene! Start with the basics, wash your face twice every day. Avoid touching it as much as possible. Cover your face to protect it from pollution when outdoors. Change your pillow case at least once a week.

You should always take advise from a doctor before starting any remedies for PCOS acne on your own. If you’re suffering from really serious cystic acne, don’t even dare look up home remedies on Google. Go straight to a dermatologist or a medical professional who can help you.

Does diet affect acne?

There are no studies to back such claims. Junk food on its own can’t give you acne.

Experts, however, agree that certain foods can cause inflammation in your body leading to your PCOS symptoms becoming worse. These include:

  • Red meats
  • Sugary foods and beverages
  • White bread

Foods such as turmeric, tomatoes, berries, etc. are naturally anti-inflammatory.

A PCOS acne diet paired with lifestyle changes might yield visible results. If not, ask your doctor to prescribe PCOS acne supplements

Dealing with acne can be tough. Sometimes, you might be frustrated or things might seem bleak. Give it some time and be patient. Remember to be kind to yourself no matter what. :)


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