Understanding the causes and treating acne Understanding the causes and treating acne

Although it is a multifactorial condition, it affects men and women differently. Are hormones responsible?

Advisor Óscar Rosero, endocrinologist

Buying lots of facial creams, trying homemade remedies, and trying to hide it with makeup are some of the things you do when you are desperate to make it go away quickly. Without a doubt, acne is a skin disorder that can be quite uncomfortable and even affect self-esteem and personal confidence, but some measures can take make the condition worse. Professional and all-inclusive treatment is necessary because each case is different.

Endocrinologist Óscar Rosero explains that both the presentation and the approach to this condition is different for men and women. “So far it has not been specifically determined if it is a hormonal disease. However, hormones do interfere, more frequently in women from the point of view of age as well as menstrual cycles,” he states.

This is how the classic acne of adolescence exists, acne related to ovulation or the menstrual period, and even that of menopause. Another recurrent, hormonal type of acne is associated with polycystic ovary syndrome, which is related to insulin resistance and varies from mild to severe. “This syndrome is accompanied by other characteristics such as changes in the menstrual cycle, oily skin, greasy hair, hair loss, and increased body hair,” clarifies the specialist.

Lifestyle matters

In some cases, a healthy diet and lifestyle will impact the evolution of acne. “There is no point in using the most expensive and advanced treatments if we do not solve our internal metabolic environment,” Rosero reiterates.

Therefore, the recommendation is to opt for a joint treatment: dermatologist, endocrinologist, and include the nutritional aspect. “There are foods that have been identified as generators or perpetrators of skin damage, including milk,” states the specialist. Likewise, added sugar should be avoided in all its presentations, as well as hydrogenated vegetable fats used in the bakery and pastry industry. This is in addition to maintaining adequate hydration. “We’ve been told that diet doesn’t make acne worse, but experience has shown us that it does. Not so much the hormonal part, but rather the response of the glands at the skin level,” the endocrinologist points out.

The specialist indicates that, from a hormonal point of view, women are more complex than men because they have monthly cycles, which cause physical and mental changes. “This forces us not to fight with hormones, but rather identify them. The idea is that the woman knows herself and deals with her cycles in the best, knowledgeable way,” states Rosero.•

Consultations for acne are usually more frequent in women, states the specialist.

Hormones at work

These vary according to the woman’s stage of life, so all-inclusive and differentiated treatment is required, according to age.

  • Intrauterine stage: in the initial phase of growth, the girl receives a hormonal load from her mother.
  • Pre-adolescence – adolescence: the hormones allow for the arrival of the first menstruation and begin to organize the cycle.
  • Maturity: ovarian function is regulated.
  • Menopause: the ovarian function decreases and the follicles dry up.
  • Senescence: all cycles have passed.