Acne (Hormonal)

During puberty, peri-menopause and menopause sebaceous (oil) glands become more active. Pores can become clogged with sebum, dried skin and bacteria, causing skin to erupt into pimples, red blotches and sometimes inflamed and infected abscesses. Acne normally appears on the face, shoulders, scalp, upper arms and legs, upper chest and back. More than 40 percent of teens seek treatment from a specialist for their acne condition. Hormonal acne break-outs tend to occur during ovulation or the week before menstruation. In those women with hormonally induced acne, when the ovary releases the egg, it often is not able to completely release it. When this occurs, androgens (male hormones) are secreted in excess and women develop acne around the hair line, chin and chest and back. To correct hormonal acne many doctors prescribe birth control pills to stop ovulation. (Today we have 12-year- olds on birth control pills to control acne.) Nutritional supplements can normalize ovulation and eliminate the problem at the source. Even mild episodes of acne can lead to scarring, and scars can be both physical and psychological.

There are various types of skin lesions: a papule is a round bump that may be invisible but makes the skin feel rough like sandpaper. A comedo occurs when an oil follicle becomes plugged with oil, dead skin, tiny hairs or bacteria. An open comedo is known as a blackhead, and a closed comedo is commonly referred to as a whitehead. The temporary red or pink spot after an acne lesion has healed is referred to as a macule, and several together contribute to the appearance of inflammation associated with acne. A nodule is another dome-shaped lesion similar to a papule, but it extends deeper into the skin causing the destruction of tissues that leads to scarring. Nodules can be painful, as can cysts which are filled with liquid, can be severely inflamed and also affect deeper skin layers.

While food choices have been hotly debated as a cause of acne for years, research out of the University of Colorado is confirming that a diet high in refined carbohydrates permanently boosts insulin and thus promotes acne. According to Dr. Loren Cordain, sustained high insulin levels elevate hormone levels, stimulating the production of oil that leads to clogged pores, bacterial growth and acne. High-glycemic foods such as breads, cakes, sugars and soda are major culprits in acne. Although acne is epidemic in our society, it is virtually unknown in New Guinea and

the Amazon where diets focus on fruits and vegetables. Those with acne should be conscious of foods that aggravate the condition. Acne is also associated with low stomach acidity, suggesting incomplete food breakdown and imbalances in the

digestive tract. With the shift between male hormones and female hormones during the menstrual cycle, acne lesions change. Synthetic progestins and estrogens used for menopausal symptoms, supplements of DHEA, endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome and estrogen dominance have been linked to acne. Other drugs such as corticosteroids, anabolic steroids, iodides and bromides are also known to cause acne, as are cosmetics that block pores.
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