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Have you ever found yourself battling persistent acne, struggling with excess facial hair, or hair loss? Let me guess, you have also tried a lot of acne treatments and products and they don't work? If so, the culprit behind these frustrating skin issues may lie within your body's hormonal balance, particularly concerning the levels of androgens. Androgens, often dubbed as male hormones, have significant influence over both men's and women's health, impacting everything from fertility to mood regulation. However, when these hormones veer off balance, they can wreak havoc on the skin, manifesting in a variety of dermatological challenges.

Understanding Elevated Androgens

Before diving into the intricate ways elevated androgens affect the skin, let's gain a deeper comprehension of what they entail. Androgens represent a group of hormones, including testosterone, dihydrotestosterone (DHT), and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), with testosterone being the most well known. Traditionally associated with male characteristics, androgens are produced in the testes in men and the ovaries and adrenal glands in women. Nevertheless, both genders produce androgens, albeit in differing quantities.

The Impact on Skin Health

Elevated androgens can induce a spectrum of skin-related issues:

Acne: Heightened androgen levels increase sebaceous gland activity, leading to excessive oil production. This can cause clogged pores and result in acne, which is frequently concentrated in the central facial region. Women with PCOS often experience hormonal imbalances, including elevated testosterone levels, which contribute to the development of acne. Additionally, insulin resistance associated with PCOS can further exacerbate acne by increasing androgen production and stimulating sebum production.

Hirsutism: Excessive androgens can over-stimulate hair follicles, prompting the growth of thicker, coarser hair in areas typically less hairy in women. This condition, known as hirsutism, often translates into unwanted facial or body hair growth.

Alopecia: In women, androgenetic alopecia can manifest as thinning hair on the head, particularly at the crown, due to the androgenic effect on hair follicles that leads to a reduced hair growth cycle and finer hair.

Acanthosis Nigricans: This condition involves the development of rough, darkly pigmented areas of skin, often in folds such as the neck, groin, and underarms. It's frequently associated with insulin resistance, another consequence of elevated androgen levels.

Insulin Resistance: High androgen levels are implicated in the development of insulin resistance, a condition where the body’s response to insulin is diminished. This can manifest as acanthosis nigricans and contribute to further skin problems

Hidradenitis Suppurativa: This chronic skin condition, characterized by lumps under the skin, typically in the armpits or groin, has been associated with androgen dysfunction. Elevated androgens may exacerbate the inflammation and lead to more frequent and severe outbreaks.

Hidradenitis Suppurativa Condition, Treatments and Pictures for Teens -  Skinsight

Causes of Elevated Androgens

Several factors may contribute to the increase in androgen levels, including: 

-Stress: Chronic stress can disrupt the balance of hormones in the body, including androgens.
-Contraceptive Pill Withdrawal: Coming off the contraceptive pill can cause temporary hormonal imbalances, including spikes in androgen levels.
-Physical Activity Levels: Both physical inactivity and overactivity can affect hormone levels.
-Chronic Inflammation: Persistent inflammation within the body can influence hormonal activity and androgen production.
-Hormonal Imbalances: Imbalances in other hormones can affect androgen levels.
-Diet: A diet high in inflammatory foods and refined carbohydrates can contribute to hormonal imbalances, including elevated androgens.
-Androgen Sensitivity: Some individuals have a heightened sensitivity to normal amounts of androgens, which can exacerbate symptoms.
-Tumors: Although rare, tumors on the adrenal or pituitary gland can lead to increased androgen production.
-Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia: This inherited condition can cause the adrenal glands to make excess androgens.


    Exploring Treatment Options

    Fortunately, an array of treatment avenues exists for managing elevated androgens and their subsequent impact on the skin:

    Conventional Medications: You can be prescribed medications aimed at regulating hormone levels and ameliorating skin health. These may include:

    • Spironolactone: Originally utilized as a potassium-sparing diuretic, spironolactone also exhibits anti-androgenic effects, making it beneficial for addressing conditions like acne.
    • GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide-1) and GLP-2: Semaglutide? Wegovy? Zepound? GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide-1) and GLP-2 are part of the incretin hormone family, which are known for their role in regulating insulin secretion and glucose homeostasis. The influence of these hormones on androgen activity is complex and multifaceted. HEAR ME OUT! In the context of reproductive health, GLP-1 receptor agonists (GLP-1 RAs) have been studied for their impact on conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which is often characterized by elevated androgen levels. Preclinical models have demonstrated that GLP-1 RAs like exenatide can reverse polycystic ovary morphology, improve ovarian function, and increase the expression of SIRT-1, a protein that promotes insulin secretion and sensitivity. These effects can lead to improved conditions within the ovaries, skin health, as well as decreased inflammation and oxidative stress markers.

    Diabetes Patients Also Struggle to Access GLP-1 Agonists | MedPage Today

    Plant-Derived Therapies: Recent research has shed light on the potential efficacy of certain plant-derived compounds possessing anti-androgenic properties:

    • Saw Palmetto: Saw palmetto acts to inhibit the irreversible conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a form of testosterone that can lead to hair loss, acne, and oily skin. It's a promising supplement for women dealing with androgen-related skin issues.
    • Pygeum Africanum: Compounds found in pygeum africanum have also been shown to influence testosterone metabolism, further supporting hormonal balance and skin health.
    • Pumpkin Seed Oil: Rich in essential fatty acids and zinc, pumpkin seed oil provides the body with nutrients crucial for maintaining optimal hormone levels, thus aiding in the management of androgen-related skin concerns.


    Supplements to Consider:

    • Fish Oil: Utilize a potent dose of EPA/DHA, essential omega fatty acids that support overall skin health, highly anti-inflammatory, regulates oil/water balance of the skin barrier, and can help regulate hormone levels. Use a 2:1 EPA to DHA ratio, at least 1gm daily to be effective. 
    • Comprehensive B Vitamins: Potent blend of Vitamins B2, B6, B12, can harmonize sex hormones and improve hormone-related issues, and aid in the elimination of excess estrogens and environmental toxins.
    • Adaptogens: A blend of adaptogenic herbs and nutrients to support adrenal health, balance stress hormones, and optimize energy levels, can contribute to overall hormonal balance.
    • DIM: Utilize a bioavailable form of diindolylmethane (DIM®), a compound found in cruciferous vegetables, which may help regulate estrogen metabolism and support hormonal equilibrium.
    • Vitamin C: Vitamin C formulas supports a healthy immune system and helps maintain healthy skin, collagen, and connective tissues.


    Embracing Comprehensive Skincare

    Achieving and maintaining healthy skin involves a multifaceted approach, encompassing both medical intervention and diligent skincare practices. I often turn away people who do not align with my methodology nor do I overpromise/sell skincare. By understanding the intricate interplay between hormones, lifestyle and skin health and exploring diverse treatment options, you can embark on a journey towards clearer, more healthy skin with me.

    Remember, skincare is not a one-size-fits-all. Be patient, stay informed, and trust in the guidance of who you choose to work with, as you navigate the path to healthier skin. With dedication and perseverance, you can improve your overall health. To upgrade your skin journey, reserve a consultation


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    Mojca Jensterle, Andrej Janez, Eric Fliers, J Hans DeVries, Eda Vrtacnik-Bokal, Sarah E Siegelaar, The role of glucagon-like peptide-1 in reproduction: from physiology to therapeutic perspective, Human Reproduction Update, Volume 25, Issue 4, July-August 2019, Pages 504–517,

    Reiner J, Berlin P, Held J, Thiery J, Skarbaliene J, Griffin J, Russell W, Eriksson PO, Berner-Hansen M, Ehlers L, Vollmar B, Jaster R, Witte M, Lamprecht G. Dapiglutide, a novel dual GLP-1 and GLP-2 receptor agonist, attenuates intestinal insufficiency in a murine model of short bowel. JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr. 2022 Jul;46(5):1107-1118. doi: 10.1002/jpen.2286. Epub 2021 Nov 18. PMID: 34705281.

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