Hormones: 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 females with acne or females 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 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 severe 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.
Oral contraceptives have been promoted to clear acne in women by suppressing the overactive sebaceous glands and can be used as long-term acne therapy. Oral contraceptives only use in acne treatment is to target excessive sebum production by decreasing testosterone. Since an oral contraceptive targets only one cause, it is generally not the only treatment used to clear acne. However, oral contraceptives should not be prescribed to women who smoke, have a blood-clotting disorder, are older than 35 or have a history of migraine headaches—without the advice of a gynecologist. This treatment option takes time and patients can expect that they will not see results for three months after beginning to take an oral contraceptive. The oral contraceptives that are likely to cause worse acne and hair growth side effects are those pills high in progesterone and low in estrogen content.
In mild, moderate and severe acne Green Tea/Clay Poultice is important for its zinc content and also the additional ingredients that block testosterone conversion. The BION regimen may provide nearly total acne control with the exception of the beginning of the monthly menstrual cycle. Going into this period be sure to use BiON’s Green Tea/Clay 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 menstrual cycle can reduce (or eliminate) the volume of new acne 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 over an 18 year period were twice as likely to contract breast cancer as females at large. Previous studies have shown frequent or extended use 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. This discussion should include minerals and essential fatty acids within the diet.
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.
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.
Product Safety While Pregnant or Nursing: All of BION’s acne products featured in this website are safe for use during pregnancy and nursing. Salicylic acid in BION products is 0.5% or less and the product pH levels are too high to achieve penetration beyond the epidermis. Therefore, this ingredient could not enter the blood system. Do not use vitamin A products while pregnant or nursing. BION acne products do not contain vitamin A, however BiON’s Vitamin A + Antioxidant Complex and Bio-Replenish A.C.E do contain therapeutic levels of vitamin A.