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I was interested to talk to you as I see that you are a hormone expert.
I have had acne since I was 12 years old (I'm now 34). I know for a fact that my acne is hormonal as it clears up totally when I am about 5-6 months pregnant and stays clear until after I give birth. Just to be clear - pregnancy is the ONLY thing that has ever had any effect on my skin. I have tried every medical and alternative therapy under the sun. My acne is not caused by stress or diet and I don't have any food allergies or intolerances.
I gave birth to my daughter 10 weeks ago and my acne is starting to return just as it did with my son. Obviously I am devastated :(.
I was just wondering which hormones cause my acne to clear up during pregnancy and is there any way to emulate the actions of those hormones when I'm not pregnant?
I am breastfeeding and expect to continue so for the next couple of years.
Any help you can give me would be hugely appreciated.
I'm sorry to hear about your acne problem, this certainly does sound hormonal and I'm sure it is quite distressing to have it return so soon after giving birth :(.
During pregnancy many women notice that their skin looks and feels fabulous and their hair seems healthier - this is due to the hormones of pregnancy. In your case I suspect the marked improvement in your skin is caused by an increase in progesterone which is manufactured by the placenta after 3 months and also by a raise in estrogen. Hormonal acne such as you have described is often caused by an excess of androgens - while pregnant the increase in these other hormones tend to override the androgen excess resulting in beautiful clear skin for the duration of pregnancy.
The good news is there are herbs that have a progesterogenic effect and used in combination with other herbs are usually quite helpful in clearing up hormonal acne and balancing hormones. The unfortunate news is that while you are breastfeeding it is best to avoid these herbs as they have a direct effect in your hormones and may have an impact on your milk supply.
But never fear there are many ways to manage hormonal acne while you are breastfeeding and when you have weaned your baby in two years time you can use these progesterogenic herbs if you need to.
I would reccomend seeing your local naturopath - preferably someone with experience in hormone treatment and postnatal care, and have them develop a management plan that will help clear your skin and support you in the postnatal period.
Some of the options available to you at the moment are;
Zinc - have your naturopath test your zinc and supplement accordingly, zinc prescribed by a professional at the right dose has been found to be as effective as traditional antibiotic therapy (which I would not reccomend for you at the moment due to it's effect on gut flora etc)
Herbs - there are other herbs which are effective for acne which can be used safely at this time. This will probably be a tincture or tea made of different herbs selected to help clear your skin.
Vitamins - B6 has been found to be particularly effective for hormonal acne as it helps to regulate hormones as does B5. B group vitamins should be given as a group in combination with other vitamins and minerals - your practitioner can reccomend the best one for you.
Fish oils - are not only very beneficial for your bub but will help reduce acne. Beware - oils aint oils! these should be prescribed by your practitioner as there are alot of fish oils available on the market that are simly not at a high enough dose to have an impact.
Your naturopath will be able to take a full case history and design a manageble treatment protocol to help to regulate your hormones and clear up your acne. This is best done by a professional as trying individual herbs or nutrients without professional guidance may not have enough of an effect to get the results you want. So while you may have tried everything to no avail - having a a carefully prescribed combined approach should get the results you want.
I'm sorry that there is no 'quick fix' to this problem, I'm sure it has caused you much heartache over the years - but rest assure you can get great results with the right treatment :yes:
Wishing all the best!
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