Hormones and Acne: What is Testosterone? February 01 2017, 0 Comments
Acne is almost always a sign of hormones in the body that are out of balance. A combination of genetics and hormonal issues can lead to a deadly case of acne on your face, chest, and back. There are three hormones that I will write about; estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. Let's talk about Testosterone in this article.
During puberty, our body undergoes a transformation that turns us from juveniles into sexually mature adults (to put it in biological terms). For any animal, not just humans, sexual maturity is reached by overall body growth and development of primary and secondary sexual characteristics, so as to become capable of mating and of attracting mates. In our case, the body controls this stage of development in the body via hormones. Thus naturally, our hormone levels rise dramatically once we reach a certain age. The hormones that majorly deal with sexual maturity are testosterone and estrogen.
Men have much more testosterone in their bodies than women, however, it has the same effect on both. It increases skin growth, which results in more dead skin cells and clogged pores and more sebum or oil on your face. This is why people tend to get acne when they hit puberty or right before their period. This means that lowering testosterone levels (not an option for men as it may result in health problems) is a great way to prevent acne!
There is also a more potent form of testosterone called DHT, which can also cause hair loss, and directly attacks your hair follicles and skin cells causing inflammation (women are much more sensitive to it than men). Acne caused by high testosterone or DHT makes a tell-tale pattern on your face by appearing on your chin and jawline. However, it can appear on your cheeks or forehead too; it depends on your body.
My DHT spikes caused chin acne, but severe cystic acne appeared on my cheeks. The cheek cystic acne could be because of the DHT, or my thyroid, or my gut; who knows! But chin acne is more or less related to the androgen family of hormones. High testosterone or DHT also cause hirsutism or excessive hair growth in females. Estrogen is the opposite, it reduces hair growth! Skipped or irregular periods are another sign of high testosterone.
Insulin also has the same effect in the body; more oily skin and more dead skin cells eventually leading to more acne. So, men can try and manage insulin instead of their testosterone to prevent acne!
So, if you want to lower your testosterone (let's call it T) or your insulin here are some possible methods:
- Regular light exercise is known to bring down T levels (excessive over-the-top exercise will increase DHT levels).
- Reduce your sugar intake, or balance your sugar by eating fiber/proteins along with it (read up on Glycemic Index of foods), thus managing your blood insulin.
- Drink green tea, which can reduce DHT.
- Reduce or eliminate dairy.
- Eat pumpkin seeds, which reduce DHT levels.
- Get your thyroid checked, and try and improve its function; a sluggish thyroid imbalances hormones and causes DHT build-up.
- Don’t orgasm too frequently; orgasming too much causes DHT build-up and also increases inflammation in the body and depletes vital nutrients like zinc. It also slows down your thyroid and depletes vitamin D. This goes for both men and women. Whoever said it was normal to orgasm more than four or maximum five times in a week is giving really bad advice.
- Get some sunshine, and load up on vitamin D.
- Flax seeds contain phytoestrogens, and thus can be used to balance out T levels in women, however, this may just imbalance your hormones further, so proceed with CAUTION. Many people report breakouts with flax seeds.
- Go on birth control (problem returns and worsens once you’re off it, though).
- Take omega-3s, and reduce omega-6’s. This method is a pretty healthy and proven way of balancing hormones. Take fish oil supplements!