PCOS and Acne | Symphony Natural Health

Your HPAO-axis (Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Adrenal-Ovarian) is command central for hormone production, including estrogen, progesterone, and androgens (testosterone, 5-dihydrotestosterone (DHT), dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), and androstenedione (A4).

It is normal for women to produce some androgens, because you need them for mood, libido, and bone health. In fact, all your hormones work together like a finely tuned orchestra to produce harmony and health. But when your hormones, especially your insulin levels, are out of balance, one of the obvious and upsetting symptoms is acne.

Insulin resistance is one of the root physiological imbalances in most, if not all, PCOS. This is where your pancreas needs to pump out more and more insulin in response to high blood sugar levels. But, higher than normal levels of insulin and Insulin-like Growth Factor (IGF) increase your production of androgens while simultaneously inhibiting your liver’s ability to produce sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG).

SHBG binds tightly to estrogen, dihydrotestosterone (DHT), and testosterone and carries these three hormones throughout your blood. The critical hormone in the trio is testosterone, and SHBG controls the amount of testosterone your body tissues can use. Low levels of SHBG allow too much testosterone to enter your cells.

The rise in testosterone/androgen levels triggers your body to makes excess sebum, an oil that stops your skin from drying out, and this clumps together with dead skin cells that clog up your pores. When a bacteria known as Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes), becomes involved, it triggers an inflammatory response from your immune system. All of a sudden, you’ve got pimples that are red, swollen, and sensitive to the touch.

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