Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is one of the leading causes of acne in adult women. Unfortunately nobody really knows why we get it, but we do have a basic understanding of how it affects the body so we can now treat PCOS related acne.
Two things to take note of with PCOS:
- PCOS has been linked to an overactive hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis, which is a trigger in the brain to release the hormones needed in response to stress. So an overactive HPA axis means that your brain is releasing too much of these hormones. This can mean you have way too much cortisol swimming around the body which won’t make you feel that great.
- While it’s not always the case, it is usual for women with PCOS to have insulin resistance and/or elevated levels of the Testosterone group of hormones called Androgens. Unfortunately this is confusing but it is important to realise that if you have PCOS you don’t necessarily have insulin resistance or high levels of Androgens either (although it’s likely).
So to treat PCOS acne we want to target three things – stress, elevated Androgens and the potential of insulin resistance. Luckily, the treating for all three through mindset, diet and supplementation all overlap. So you may find that a supplement you’re taking is helping to target all three areas.
We can lower our stress levels in so many different ways, and really your options are limitless. Take some time to write down all of the activities that you could do to help limit the stress in your life. Diet and supplementation can certainly help reduce stress but the most effective way is through our thought patterns. For the next week make a note to watch yourself for every moment that you feel stressed or anxious, then look at the patterns as to why you are experiencing these emotions. A friend recently said to me that every time he feels stressed he looks at what he is feeling attached to. Just something to think about.
Treating PCOS Acne With Diet
The best way to deal with PCOS acne through diet is to work on lowering Androgen levels if they’re high (which is in most cases of PCOS). This will also help manage insulin resistance.
Stick to a low Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load diet, which is basically reducing the sugars, dairy and simple carbohydrates in your diet. It helps to get educated on what is a high sugar and low sugar food.
In addition, make sure you’re eating plenty of good quality protein (if you don’t eat meat there are plenty of vegan protein sources), fibre, and good essential fatty acids (especially omega-3 and omega-9), such as avocado, coconut oil, fish and/or fish oil, hemp seed oil etc.
Treating PCOS Acne With Supplementation
Many women with PCOS acne have had great success in treating their skin through supplementation. These supplements usually target both high levels of Androgens and insulin resistance. Here are some of the better ones to take: Zinc, Chromium Picolinate, Inositol, Vitamin D, Cinnamon, Saw Palmetto and Tian Gui.
As with all of our health problems, exercise is certainly a great way to help to balance our body back to normal levels.. of everything. If you’re currently doing nothing, at the very least go for a twenty minute walk every day.
If you would like to learn more about good supplementation for PCOS, this is a great article: PCOS Nutritional Protocol.