If there were any parts of being a teenager that you just loved, acne was not one of them. Eighty per cent of teenagers get acne and then patients have come in and told me about the absolute joy of experiencing acne again and spontaneously well into their 30's. These ladies often present with concentration of lesions along the jaw line and chin, the acne is often pustule.
There are many hormones involved in the pathogenesis of acne - including androgens such as testosterone and dihydrotesterone, pituitary hormones, and also increased insulin levels. Increased insulin levels are accompanied by a diet often high in refined sugars - the high insulin levels stimulate androgens from the ovaries that in turn increase the size and secretion of sebaceous glands, worsening acne.
In most cases, where there is hormonal acne, there will also be menstrual symptoms too (oh the fun never ends! ;)) and this is how your naturopath will start to gather the information necessary to correct your hormones.
Here are some tips you can do via your diet if you are experiencing hormonal acne:
- You will need to modify your diet to decrease refined sugars to keep your insulin levels in check. Start gently and replace replace replace. This is the key to success with diet changes, instead of eating chocolate every day, every second day replace chocolate with almonds or walnuts and work your way towards a wholefood diet
- Herbs such as chaste tree can help to increase hormones that decrease sebum production. Your naturopath can make a herbal mix for you because you need to watch medication interactions.
- Organic soy products such as edamame beans, tofu, tempeh and miso soup help to increase sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) http://jn.nutrition.org/content/132/3/570S.full that stops strong acting androgens from increasing sebum production.
- Green tea consumption also increases SHBG. Green tea is also a great anti-oxidant and anti-microbial both actions that help production of healthy skin cells.
- Healthy zinc levels are required for normal functioning of sebaceous glands in our skin. Zinc also transports Vitamin A, a very important healthy skin vitamin, to maintain our epithelial layer. Zinc helps to regulate hormones and is essential in tissue healing. Get more zinc from: eggs, seafood, nuts, legumes, miso, tofu, mushrooms, meat and pumpkin seeds.
Again, it is so important to see your naturopath and get to the cause of the problem and get a personalised health plan. It's important to note if you are on the contraceptive pill, some herbs can interfere with hormones so please see a professional if this is the case.
To health and happiness!
Further reading here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3969667/