Female Acne Issues


Several studies have analyzed hair follicle chemistry and serum (blood) chemistry to determine differences in androgen, testosterone, dihydrotestosterone, lipases, 5alpha-reductase, etc. levels between men and women, men with and without acne and women with and without acne. While these tests have determined males have more testosterone than females, there seems to be no "smoking gun" regarding irregularities between those with or without acne, with one important exception.

Females with acne have significantly higher serum androgen levels than their female counterparts without acne. Since androgens target the skin, it would be logical that higher serum androgen levels would translate into higher skin levels and folliclular androgen levels. The above research was published less than two years ago and we are unable to find subsequent research to confirm or elaborate on these findings, at this time.

Research on SAHA syndrome [seborrhea, acne, hirsutism (excessive body or facial hair) and alopecia (the loss of hair)] in women reveals higher levels of dihydrotestosterone within the skin and confirms that in many cases women with acne (who are known to have higher serum androgen levels) also have higher skin and follicle androgen levels. Therefore, effective treatment of female acne must include a comprehensive method of down-regulating testosterone and dihydrotestosterone.

It is noteworthy that seborrhea, acne and alopecia can all be related to classic systemic zinc deficiency. Zinc deficiency in the skin promotes the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone and promotes the production of sebum and then free fatty acids. Females with moderate to severe acne have zinc deficiency, compounded with elevated androgen activity (hyperandrogenism).

While we find little written material on androgen induced acne, practical experience has taught us it is more common on the chin and along the jaw-line. Bacterial control and keeping the follicles open are important aspects of treatment, but two products become important in correcting zinc deficiency combined with controlling the over abundance of androgens.

In mild, moderate and severe acne Green Tea Poultice is important for its zinc content and also the additional ingredients that block testosterone conversion. The Skintactix regimen may provide nearly total acne control with the exception of the beginning of the monthly cycle. Going into this period be sure to use the Green Tea Poultice in the AM as well as the PM, as per the instructions. There is additional information on the Acne & Milk page, along with the notation that reducing dairy intake the week prior to the monthly cycle can reduce (or eliminate) the volume of new infections.

Antibiotic Use:

Research published in February 2004 by the University of Washington of 10,000 females found that females who had used antibiotics approximately 500 days or more at any time over an 18 year period were twice as likely to get breast cancer as females at large. Previous studies have show frequent or extended used of antibiotics may be damaging to the body's immune system. Long-term control or maintenance of acne with antibiotics may involve risks and may be less desirable than effective topical products, having no side effects.

Yeast infections can arise from the use of antibiotics. Antibiotic use can lead to an overgrowth of yeast (Candida albicans) which thrive in digestive tracts without natural levels of friendly bacteria. The result is vaginal yeast infections, thrush and oral yeast infection. These digestive conditions can be corrected by eating yogurt, cottage cheese, buttermilk, sauerkraut, etc.

Hormone Supplementation:

The development of adult onset acne following the initiation of hormone supplementation or significant modification of an existing program may be caused by the dosage. Speak with the physician about this subject and modifying the dosage so it does not cause acne.

Pregnant or Nursing:

Without going into a complex explanation, pregnancy causes significant increases in serum (blood) hormone and androgen levels. These changes can manifest in the skin in the form of acne (or elevated degrees of acne), pigment (such as pregnancy mask or melasma) and various forms of inflammation.

Each of these conditions has relationships to the mineral content of the skin and while pregnant or nursing it is important to discuss balanced nutrition and the use of dietary supplements with your physician.

The first three months of pregnancy usually have a greater stimulatory effect upon acne than the following six months. There can be another increase in acne one to two months following birth, as hormones change again to a more normal level.

Salicylic Acid Use During Pregnancy or Nursing:

All Skintactix acne products featured in this website are safe for use during pregnancy and nursing. Topical application of salicylic acid has not been reported to cause problems during pregnancy or nursing, but studies in animals have shown that salicylic acid causes birth defects in animals when given orally (by mouth) in doses about six times the highest dose recommended for topical use in humans. Therefore the FDA has established guidelines of a limit of 2% salicylic acid for topical products and pH (acidity) no less than 3.0. Skintactix Gentle Follicle Exfoliator and Green Tea Poultice each contain 0.2% (two-tenths of one percent) salicylic acid, or one-tenth of the FDA allowable guideline. Glycolic Exfoliator contains 1% salicylic acid in a product with a pH (acidity) of 5.5. Thus, the pH is too high to cause penetration into the skin and the salicylic acid content is half of the FDA allowable guideline.

Planning Ahead:

For people with moderate to severe acne it is wise to get acne under control prior to pregnancy. Maintaining or controlling acne during the pregnancy and nursing will then be much easier