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Chronic Acne: Hormone Imbalance or Not.

Chronic acne may be a symptom of hormone imbalance … or not. It can be very stressful for those affected by it. Adults, not just teenagers, suffer from this condition.

The first thing to do is find the root cause. A dermatologist should be consulted especially to determine if hormones play a role.

Whatever the cause, acne of any type should not be neglected.

Acne-Breakout
Acne Breakout

Does Chronic Acne Differ From Common Acne?

A chronic condition means it is difficult to get rid of, keeps recurring, or lasting for a long time. Chronic acne, therefore, differs from common acne in that it is more of a nuisance.

Acne, in general, affects a person during puberty. Not everyone is affected in the same way. It ranges from mild to more severe, and may be hereditary. Other factors and stages of life will also contribute to acne breakouts. Pregnancy and emotional stress are examples.

The sebaceous glands are responsible for oil production at the base of hair follicles. Some glands secrete directly through the pores of the skin, which are not attached to hair follicles.

In both cases of acne, the activities of sebaceous glands cause clogging of the pores in addition to debris and grease on the surface of the skin.

External debris includes dirty hands, greasy hair/products and cosmetics, articles of clothing that come in contact with your skin.

Chronic acne is cause for concern. Learn about Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) so you can be aware of all the symptoms associated with it. The chart below shows acne as one of the symptoms.

Polycystic-Ovarian-Syndrome-(PCOS)
PCOS Chart

Let’s Take It From the Top.

So you notice your acne constantly flairs up and wants to reside indefinitely. That’s a problem!

It’s common for acne to affect the face, but other areas include the upper arms, shoulders, chest, and back. For some people, it’s all areas at once. The same treatment may be applied to all affected parts. Scars or black marks are sometimes left in place of the inflamed areas.

Acne manifests itself in different forms. These may be …

  • Pimples or Acne Vulgaris: An eruption takes place in the follicle when there is an excess of oil, dead cells, and bacteria. The body’s defense system, white blood cells, try to protect it against the bacteria. Pus, a yellowish matter, is formed. The farther this happens below the surface of the skin, the longer it takes to heal. Scars are usually the end result.
  • Whiteheads, Closed Comedones, or Milia: These are an accumulation of matter from the sebaceous glands. They are trapped below the surface of the skin and are not exposed to air.
  • Blackheads or Open Comedones: An overflow of oil from sebaceous glands results in the formation of a blackhead. It hardens at the mouth of the follicle causing blockage.
  • Cysts or Cystic Acne: These are pimples which take a longer time to reach the surface of the skin. Cells are destroyed while they make their journey up. Scars are usually left.
  • Papules: Inflamed bumps under the surface of the skin indicate that there is infection in the hair follicles. They can be painful.
  • Nodules: Large painful bumps under the surface of the skin. They are a result of the activities at the lower level of hair follicles.

Apart from the physical symptoms, some conditions are very painful.

In the Middle or No Middle Ground.

One way or another, your goal is to get rid of this abnormality. It may take more time than you expect, but make every effort to minimize it until then.

If your condition is caused by a hormonal imbalance, treatment will go beyond clearing up the physical appearance. Your dermatologist will have recommendations and, hopefully, point you in the right direction. Some solutions are …

  • Oral or topical antibiotics: These are prescribed to attack and destroy bacteria.
  • Birth control pills/Oral Contraceptives: These help to control substances which contribute to causing acne.
  • Laser and light therapy: These are both used to decrease oil production and kill bacteria that causes acne, respectively. They also help to diminish scars.
  • Microdermabrasion and Chemical Peels: These help to diminish scars and are helpful with the overall texture and health of the skin. A dermatologist or licensed esthetician perform these services.
Diamond-Tip-Microdermabrasion-Attachments
Diamond-Tip Microdermabrasion Attachments.

These are only some of the recommendations.

Note: As the PCOS chart in this article indicates, excessive hair growth is associated with the condition. In this case, laser hair removal (different from laser therapy used for treating acne) is one solution.

If hormonal imbalance is not a factor, precautions still need to be taken. Proper hygiene should be practiced to minimize any further outbreak. Appropriate treatment should also be applied.

The Bottom Line Is …

You need your life back. For too long you’re under the control of a condition that, more often than not, gets the better of you. With chronic acne, what works for one person may not work for another.

It may take trying different products and treatments to find what works. It’s best, however, to give whatever you are trying time to work before moving on to something else.

Here are some other considerations that you can do on your own …

  • Hot and cold compresses to soothe the pain and decrease inflammation.
  • Extractions are best done by an esthetician who is skilled in this area. Injuries to the surrounding tissue and scarring will not be an issue when carefully done.
  • Witch hazel is soothing to the skin to alleviate redness and inflammation. It’s beneficial when applied after extractions to reduce redness.
  • Natural remedies used with precautions just as with prescription or over-the-counter drugs. Tea tree essential oil is considered to be very helpful.
  • Vitamins A and E, and zinc in the diet may be helpful.
  • Drink plenty of water for hydration of the skin.
  • Keep your hands off you face as this is one sure way to transfer bacteria.
  • Avoid squeezing pimples, etc. as this will cause scarring.
  • Never go to sleep with makeup on.

It is an excellent idea to have a regular skincare regimen including cleanser, toner or non-alcoholic based astringent, mask, some type of treatment, and a moisturizer compatible with your skin type.

A scrub can be a part of a skincare regimen; however, exfoliation may cause overstimulation of the sebaceous glands. This will worsen the condition.

I’ve seen cases where individuals kept scrubbing to get rid of acne. Their outbreak became worse. Discontinuation of the scrub and applying a mask twice weekly helped significantly.

It is harder for bacteria to thrive in a clean environment.

What to Avoid

Take time to notice when flair ups occur. Is it around your monthly period, after eating certain foods, during stressful moments? Chocolate was once considered a causing factor. Maybe it plays a role in aggravating an existing condition.

Here are some things to avoid …

  • Greasy foods may worsen an existing condition.
  • Spicy foods are considered to be stimulating to sweat glands.
  • Stress, which usually seem to make any condition worse or result in the onset of several illnesses.
Greasy-foods
Do Greasy Foods Have an Effect on Acne?

Not everyone agrees that foods play a part. You can experiment to see if it does, while taking all other factors into consideration.

Cleaning Up From Top to Bottom

So here’s the thing: Chronic acne in any age group may be associated with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) due to hormone imbalance. If you find that you are unable to control it, you should get medical help to determine the root cause.

A chronic condition stays around for a long time even with treatment. Acne, in general, is caused by overactivity in the sebaceous glands. The secretions cause manifestations in different forms, which may be painful or leave scars. The areas most affected are the face, upper arms, shoulders, chest, and back.

A dermatologist specializes in skin conditions and should be consulted to determine the root cause and recommend a treatment plan. Creams, pills, laser, and a skincare regimen are suggestions. These may help to ease discomfort, prevent bruises and scars, and decrease outbreaks.

Other helpful tips range from personal habits, home remedies, tea tree essential oil to professional skincare treatments by an esthetician.

We also looked at foods and habits to avoid. Most people will agree that although certain foods may not cause acne, they can aggravate the condition.

I hope this short article, “Chronic Acne: Hormone Imbalance or Not,” has helped you in some way. There is a vast amount of information about the subject and related matter. This is just an introduction especially for those who are at a loss and need to be pointed in the right direction.

Feel free to leave your questions and comments below. I will do my best to address them.

Hormone Imbalance: Hirsutism

One common symptom of hormone imbalance in women is hirsutism. This is defined as male-pattern hair growth, superfluous hair growth, among other terms. It is a major cause for concern and a stress point for most people who are afflicted with this condition.

The Endocrine System and Hirsutism

The endocrine system plays a key role in the production of hormones in the body. Each gland within its network is responsible for producing and secreting a different hormone into the blood stream. The bloodstream is their primary mode of transportation to carry out their functions. Different types of hormones regulate different body functions.

When reproductive hormones go off balance, and they sometimes do, one of the symptoms manifested is hair growth on the face (upper lip and chin), chest, and other parts of a woman’s body. These hairs are usually coarse and dark.

Hirsutism

Testosterone and estrogen are the hormones predominantly responsible for reproduction in men and women respectively. An increase in testosterone in woman could manifest as irregular hair growth.

What Causes Irregularities?

Polycystic-Ovarian-Syndrome-(PCOS)As much as we would like to have flawless bodies functioning perfectly, this is not commonly the case. Abnormailties, imperfections, and irregularities occur more often than we care for. These range from mild to severely extreme, sometimes leading to death.

In the case of the reproductive glands, a common cause of hormone imbalance is polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Cysts may or may not develop on the ovaries.

Other signs and symptoms include severe abdominal pain, irregular menstrual cycles, chronic acne, and weight gain. It is common for women diagnosed with diabetes and insulin resistance to be affected by PCOS. Sometimes there are no symptoms at all.

An endocrinologist can arrive at a diagnosis by doing a thorough examination, blood tests, and in some cases an ultrasound.

Chances of Reversal Are …

Chances are, after being properly diagnosed by an endocrinologist, you have a treatment plan ready to turn things around. There is no guarantee of a specific outcome for the treatment of hormone imbalance. Each case is different; your story may be different from someone else’s.

Sometimes there are several things going on in your body at the same time. One thing affects the other, which may interfere with the progress of a treatment plan. External situations also play a role … financial insufficiency and other personal setbacks.

Overall, information is vital. There is a surplus of information, methodologies, devices, and products from many sources. Be diligent in finding the ones that are of value. Ask questions and draw on the support of family and friends.

Fix It If You Can

The choices may be overwhelming, especially since there seems to be no easy fix. After you have all the information you need and have decided that there is a remedy you can rely on, go for it!

Remember, it may take longer than you expect to see the results you want. Get professional help to determine if a particular method is working or is a total waste of time. Bear in mind also that methods may have to be combined for better results.

One example of combined methods is in the case of electrolysis and laser hair removal. While laser may be the preferred method for you, it will have no effect on gray hairs. As a result, this may be combined with electrolysis. It is required that you shave before a laser treatment but not for electrolysis. Your specialist will advise you accordingly.

If you decide that these methods are not for you, here are some other choices:

  • Shaving lasts about one to two days
  • Tweezing is effective for a minimum of two weeks
  • Waxing may last for a minimum of two weeks
  • Electronic devices
  • Topical creams
  • Losing weight is essential, where applicable, and should be combined with any other method.

Beginning to End

So here’s the thing: The endocrine system plays a big role in the body. Its network of glands communicates with various organs in an attempt to maintain order. They produce hormones and secrete them into the bloodstream transporting them to where they are needed.

The reproductive hormones, testosterone and estrogen, regulate the functions of the reproductive organs but sometimes things go wrong. This results in hormone imbalance, which may lead to hirsutism.

There is a good chance that abnormal and excessive hair growth can be reduced or permanently removed. The road may be a long, tedious and stressful one … starting from the first thick, dark, unwelcomed strand of hair showing up in unexpected places.

Take time out to research and find the right solution. Don’t be afraid to ask questions … lots of them if that’s what it takes for you going in the right direction. Get the support you need to help you along your journey.

You may choose to combine methods for a better result. Work with your specialist to ensure you follow proper protocol for each. Regardless of which path you take, be sure to know the difference between what works and what is a total waste of time.

All hope is not lost. Through trial, error, and persistence, relief and peace of mind can be attained. Don’t quit!

I hope this short article has helped you in some way. There is a vast amount of information on the subject and related matter. This is just an introduction especially for those who are at a loss and need to be pointed in the right direction.

Feel free to leave your questions and comments below. I will do my best to address them.