The Truth about Stretch Marks

Stretch marks are long, narrow scar-like streaks that develop on the skin. They usually occur when the skin cannot resume normal form after a period of being stretched or shrunk quickly. This includes:-

  • A growth spurt during puberty
  • Pregnancy
  • Weight gain
  • Bodybuilding- Rapid development of muscle mass

Stretch marks result from:-

  • The tearing of the dermis (middle layer of skin).
  • The normal production of collagen (which makes up the connective tissue in our skin) being disrupted when the skin is overstretched.

Stretch marks can also be called striae, striae distensae (SD), striae atrophicans, and striae gravidarum.

There is some evidence to suggest that genetics can sometimes play a role in susceptibility to stretch marks. 

Approximately 75% of women experience stretch marks from pregnancy.

Early stretch marks are usually red or purple. Over time, stretch marks lose their colour and become white or silvery in appearance. 

Although less common, stretch marks can also be caused by:-

  • Certain Medical conditions: such as Marian Syndrome, and Cushing’s syndrome. Marfan syndrome can cause decreased elasticity in the skin tissue, and Cushing’s syndrome can cause an over production of a hormone (cortisol) that leads to rapid weight gain and skin fragility.
  • Prolonged use of corticosteroid creams and ointments (such as hydrocortisone)- which can decrease levels of collagen in the skin.
  • Also -people who have to take high doses of oral corticosteroids for months or longer.

Nutritional deficiencies can contribute to stretch marks. Especially low levels of Zinc, Vitamin C and Essential Fatty Acids. A diet high in processed foods can often cause a deficiency in these nutrients.

Foods that can help

A diet high in essential fatty acids (EFA’s) help maintain a healthy skin cell membrane. Fish rich in EFA’s include salmon, sardines, mackerel (& other oily fish). Certain nuts & seeds, avocados, and flaxseed oil are also good forms of EFA’s.

Vitamin C is an important nutrient for the development of collagen. Vitamin C is found in many fruits and vegetables. Eg Citrus fruits such as oranges and lemons, berries, cherries, papaya, peppers (capsicum) kale, broccoli etc.

Protein is required to make Collagen. Good sources include lean red meat, fish, chicken, eggs, dairy & lentils.

Zinc is also important for collagen production, as well as skin repair and healing. Zinc rich foods include nuts (especially brazil nuts), fish, meats (such as beef, lamb, pork & turkey), eggs, dairy, quinoa and legumes. These zinc rich foods are important to help keep your skin healthy.

Vitamin A protects skin health and also encourages the formation of new skin cells. Liver and cod liver oil are excellent sources Of Vitamin A. Other good sources include bright orange vegetables and fruits (such as carrots, sweet potatoes, mangos and apricots) and leafy greens such as spinach and kale.

What else can help

Staying hydrated

Drinking enough water can help keep our skin supple and hydrated. As does applying topical hydrating and moisturising products. Soft hydrated skin tends to be more elastic and does not to develop stretch marks as easily as dry skin does.

Hyaluronic acid

According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD),  two large studies showed that applying hyaluronic acid to early stretch marks made the stretch marks less noticeable.

Retinol 

Another study showed that people who applied a good strength Retinol cream every night for 24 weeks had less noticeable stretch marks. Those who didn’t apply the cream saw their early stretch marks grow. Other studies have found similar results.

Sunless self-tanner

While tanning can make stretch marks more noticeable, a good quality sunless self-tanner can camouflage stretch marks.

The following procedures can decrease the look of stretch marks:-

  • Fractioned Laser Therapy – helps stimulate the skins collagen and elastin. There are various types of laser therapy. C02 Laser Therapy is another. See more here
  • Skin needling .  See more info here
  • Chemical peels – resulting in peeling off the top layers of damaged, dead skin to activate new skin cell production. 

Other

Oder stretch marks that are white or shiny silver in appearance, are much harder to treat. On the other hand, if they are redish or pink in colour, there is a better chance of improvement.

 Victoria Isherwood (Registered Nurse / Dermatology)

Is It Possible To Have Glowing Skin after 50?

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Changes in our SKIN after 50 predominantly occur due to

  • The multiple effects of hormonal fluctuations
  • A shrinking skeleton
  • Decreased collagen production
  • Accumulated sun damage over the years
  • Repetitive facial expressions over the years (causing lines and wrinkles to become etched in).

Some of the typical skin changes that occur during this period of estrogen decline:-

  • Dryer (and sometimes itchy) skin
  • Thinning skin
  • Decreased elasticity
  • Sensitivity
  • An increase in rosacea and other inflammatory skin conditions
  • Increased  pigmentation (äge spots”)
  • Lines and wrinkles & volume loss.

Fortunately, there’s lots we can do for healthy skin after 50 

Cleanse GENTLY

Cleansing is an important skin care step at every age. However, as we get older our skin becomes more delicate and drier. So we need to use a cleanser that is right for our skin. Choose either creamy formulas or cleansing masks -rather than harsh foam or gel cleansers (which can strip moisture away and compromise our delicate lipid barrier).

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate

Oestrogen stimulates the production of oils in our skin and also our skins ability to hold moisture. So when oestrogen production diminishes  – dry and sometimes itchy skin becomes a common problem.

Although ‘Dry’ and ‘dehydrated’ seem like two words which describe the same thing;- there is a big difference when it comes to our skin! To put it simply, dehydrated skin lacks water and dry skin lacks oil / lipids.

In relation to skin care, hydration means increasing the amount of water in our skin cells, which results in a healthy, smooth and plump complexion. When our skin doesn’t have enough moisture, it gets scaly, rough and dull.

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Moisture and hydration skincare products do different things. A moisturiser tends not to hydrate the skin. Instead it forms a barrier to prevent moisture from escaping. A hydration product on the other hand – actually brings water to the skin. So, it is important that we give our skin the right combination of hydration and moisture.

If you are not using a serum now YOU SHOULD. Most contain effective anti-aging ingredients not typically found in other products such as cleansers, toners, moisturizers,or facial oils.

You Still Need SPF

The maintenance of Melanocytes (cells that manufacture the pigment Melanin) is under the control of estrogens. During menopause, the number of melanocytes in the skin is therefor reduced (due to a decrease in estrogen). Less melanocytes, means we produce less of the protective melanin. Our skin therefore becomes more prone to sun damage.

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Although a lot of the damage was caused by the amount of sun we got in our 20s, 30s, and 40’s, it’s still vital to protect our skin from further damage. So include a broad-spectrum SPF as part of your daily skincare regime.

Sunscreen for anti-aging

Hit the Brown Spots

Pigmentation äge spots” on the face, hands, and chest can look more obvious around menopause. Help prevent them by using sunscreen every day. Already got spots? See here

Clean up your DIET and consider your GUT

Eating foods rich with antioxidants can help your skin from the inside out. See more here regarding skin boosting super foods to increase in your diet and here for foods to avoid. Also consider:- Omega-3’s

Consider your Mental Health 

Our mind and skin are very much connected. This is now being referred to as Psychodermatogy.

Constant stress increases the production of our stress hormone ‘cortisol’. This then triggers inflammation and can also throw off other hormones in our body.  Increased inflammation is not good news for inflammatory skin disorders.

Stress can also disrupt the balance between the good and bad bacteria in our gut. As we know, our gut health can also cause havoc with our skin. See Gut Article

Take time during your day to reduce stress levels. Try yoga, meditation, pilates, going for a walk, reading OR any other stress-reduction techniques – to help reduce cortisol levels.

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Get Moving

Exercise helps keep our skin healthy and vibrant. The multiple benefits of exercise include:-

  1. Increased circulation, including blood flow. This
    results in oxygen and nutrients being delivered to
    our skin.
  2. An increase in blood flow, also helps waste products 
    to be carried away from our skin.
  3. Endorphins (our feel good hormones) are produced. This subsequently helps reduce stress levels and cortisol. This can result in an improvement of acne, eczema and other skin conditions.

Upgrade your Skincare regime

  • Upgrade your Skincare Regime / Products – to suit your changing skin conditions. Visit the Solution Tool for further advice regarding which skincare products will best suit your individual skin concerns.

Bulk Up on Beauty Sleep

Getting enough sleep helps your skin look younger. Lack of sleep can cause hormonal imbalances (and also decrease our metabolisms). It can also increase  flare-ups of inflammatory skin conditions and adult acne. getting adequate sleep helps prevent dark circles under our eyes, and it also gives the rest of our body a chance to recharge.  Aim for 7-9 hours per night.

Sleep and your skinAnd a Retinol serum at night

Retinol (Vitamin A) is clinically proven to make a huge impact on how skin ages. Dermatologists have been prescribing it for decades as the gold standard for promoting skin cell turnover and collagen production. It helps to correct lines, wrinkles, and scarring and can also help with breakouts.

Retinol benefits

Minimize Wrinkled Skin

Wrinkles are formed from a combination of too much sun over the years, hormonal change, repeated facial expressions, a loss of collagen, and thinning skin. Wrinkles are more obvious when our skin is dry. SO use a hydrating serum and a moisterising cream every day.

  • Some people choose to get muscle relaxant injections – these work to prevent the formation of static wrinkles by stopping the signal between the nerve and muscle. The decreased movement in the muscle places less stress on the skin helping to give a fresh and youthful appearance. Anti-wrinkle injections are made from a purified protein that temporarily causes facial muscles to relax, instantly softening lines and wrinkles and reducing the severity of visible wrinkles. Please contact Victoria for more information on Laser Clinics Australia bookings. Or visit the  LCA website
  • Hyaluronic dermal filler injections – once again, this is a personal choice made by some people. A dermal filler helps re-volumise and hydrate the face. Made from hyaluronic gel – a natural sugar already present in the human body. Hyaluronic can help restore fullness and volume in numerous facial areas. Visit here for more details.

Always use an Eye Cream.

The skin around the eye is thinner and more fragile. It requires a different efficacy and mix of ingredients than the skin on the rest of your face does.

Tip – Try keeping your eye cream in the fridge, as the cold cream will help constrict blood vessels to reduce puffy under eye bags in the mornings.

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Make sure your using skin products that suite YOUR skin type

It’s very important to choose cleansers, moisturizers, and a skin care routine formulated for your skin type. If you don’t know yours, find out at What’s Your Skin Type.

Skin Boosting Supplements

  • Certain supplements can do wonders for our skin especially if its a supplement your lacking in. For example Zinc, probiotics (see gut health), and Omega 3’s (which help with inflammation and dryness). See here for more

 

Victoria Isherwood (Registered Nurse)

Victoria Isherwood (Registered Nurse)

 

Keratosis Pilaris – Those annoying tiny bumps that can be found on the back of arms.

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Keratosis Pilaris is a common skin condition that causes patches of small rough raised bumps to appear on the skin. These tiny bumps (that look like pimples) are caused by a buildup of a protein called ‘Keratin’ (and also dead skin cells) at the opening of hair follicles. The condition sometimes gets referred to as ‘chicken skin’.

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The bumps usually appear on the upper arms (most common), thighs, and buttocks. Although less common, they can also show up the face. They are often accompanied with associated redness.

Those with dry skin, are more likely to have Keratosis Pilaris (KP). It may also occur in association with other skin conditions, such as atopic dermatitis / eczema.  KP is usually worse in the winter months, when there’s less moisture in the air. It can often reduce slightly in the summer months.

Although Keratosis Pilaris can occur at any age, it is more common in children and teenagers. It usually reaches its peak prevalence in adolescence and for some, may disappear after the age of 30.

Keratosis Pilaris results from the buildup of keratin which forms a scaly plug that blocks the opening of the hair follicle. Usually many plugs form, causing patches of rough, bumpy skin.

Flare-ups can increase when there is a vitamin A deficiency.

Treatment?

There is generally no 100% cure for this harmless skin condition, however there are ways to greatly reduce the severity and to prevent it from getting worse.

What can help:-

  • Use a gentle soap free body wash (soap can exacerbate dryness). Avoid lathering agents such as sodium lauryl sulphate which dehydrate the skin and strips beneficial lipid layers.
  • Use a ‘gentle’ exfoliator once or twice per week to remove dead skin (without irritating the skin and adding to the problem). A great example is R+F ‘Microdermabrasion Paste’.
  • Topical Retinoids (Vitamin A) help prevent hair follicles from becoming plugged. It also helps with skin cell turnover. However be careful as some Retinol creams are drying. See here for a recommendation.
  • LED or Intense Pulsed Light (ILP).
  • Creams containing salicylic acid, lactic acid, glycolic or urea which help support regular skin-cell proliferation. A good moisturiser will help prevent water loss from the skin (ie dehydration).
  • Laser hair removal
  • Eat anti-inflammatory food such as Omega-3’s found in Salmon, Walnuts, Sea Buckthorn etc
  • Avoid inflammatory foods (non fermented dairy, gluten and sugar).
  • See Gut Health
  • Humidifiers – add moisture to the air, which can maintain the moisture in your skin and prevent itchy flare-ups.
  • Soothe 2 sensitive skin treatment
  • See Skin Supplements
  • Avoid long hot showers which dry the skin out.

More on Vitamin A

Low levels of this vitamin have been associated with inflammation and acne.

Carrots are a source of Vitamin A.  HOWEVER the Beta Carotene (in carrots) needs to be converted into vitamin A in your intestines by gut flora. If you do not have the right gut flora it just won’t happen. See Gut Article. The better absorbed source of vitamin A is from cod liver oil and organ meat, particularly liver.

 

Note:- Women who are pregnant, or breast feeding, or may become pregnant should speak to their treating Doctor or Midwife Before taking Vitamin A supplements or using topical retinoids.

Victoria Isherwood

Registered Nurse

Essential Fatty Acids & Skin Health

Essential fatty acids (EFAs) have many health benefits including SKIN health. This is due to the fatty acids EPA & DHA.

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Essential Fatty Acids – particularly Omega-3’s

  • Help keep the skin moist and strong by reducing the amount of water lost through the epidermis (the top layer of skin).
  • Have anti-inflammatory properties – including the treatment of eczema, rosacea, psoriasis, keratosis pilaris and acne.
  • Help prevent premature aging of our skin.
  • Mental Health benefits (eg anxiety & depression).
  • Heart Health
  • Helps with the management of ADHD.

With most skin conditions, inflammation is a big part of the problem (externally and systemically). Therefore a high intake of EFA’s (particularly omega-3’s) is extremely beneficial.

Since the body doesn’t produce EFA’s, they must be obtained through our diet or from supplements. Good dietary sources include salmon, sardines, walnuts, avacado’s and flaxseeds.

Good EFA supplements include Fish oil, Sea Buckthorn & Krill oil. However keep in mind that there are fish oils and there are fish oils. SO many of the supplements found in our supermarkets are manufactured cheaply and can even be rancid! Choose a reputable company (eg BioCeuticals in Australia) where the fish oil undergoes strict testing to ensure its purity & to make sure it is of the highest quality, using ethically sourced fish free of heavy metals.

Victoria Isherwood

(Registered Nurse / Skin /Dermatology)

Victoria Isherwood (Registered Nurse)

Eczema

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Exactly What Is Eczema?

Eczema (sometimes referred to as atopic dermatitis) is a common condition where patches of skin become inflamed, itchy, red, cracked, and rough. The severity can vary greatly.

Eczema is most common in children and will typically clear as they age. However, they will often continue to have sensitive skin AND eczema will often return again in later life.

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As I’ve explained in previous articles, our skin should act as a protective barrier against external irritants and bacteria. However when the skin is affected by eczema (and the lipid barrier is compromised), external irritants and bacteria are able to penetrate into the skin and moisture is lost . This causes further irritation, inflammation and dryness, which can lead to cracks in the skin, itching, infection etc.

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While the exact cause of eczema is not fully understood, we do know  that;-

Skin hypersensitivity and reactions are often the by-product of hypervigilant immune system skin cells (called Langerhans cells), thrown into overdrive by triggers such as environmental allergens, stress etc.

To put it simply, eczema is caused by inflammation of the skin.

TRIGGERS, which activate and exacerbate episodes of eczema include diet, hormonal, environmental, stress and lifestyle-related factors.

Common triggers include soap, perfume, detergents, stress and change in temperature or weather. Food allergies can also play a part, especially in young children. Individuals will react differently to different triggers.

Other Triggers

  • Hormones: Women can experience increased eczema symptoms at times when their hormone levels are changing, for example during pregnancy and at certain points in the menstrual cycle.
  • Stress: This is not a direct cause of eczema but can make symptoms worse. See mind-skin connection.

Mild cases of eczema can leave the skin irritated, dry, red, scaly and itchy, while the more severe cases can lead to weeping, bleeding and crusting of the skin.

Managing Eczema

For many people, the severity of flare-ups will lessen with maturity, and ‘some’ may completely outgrow it. However, as eczema can come and go throughout life, learning how to manage flare-ups and identifying triggers is the best course of action.

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There are a number of things people with eczema can do to support skin health and alleviate symptoms, such as:

Avoiding external irritants and allergens

Common environmental irritants include:

  • Harsh soaps, bubble baths, some shampoos
  • Wool, nylon
  • Grass and sometimes sand

Common allergens (substances that can aggravate eczema if you are allergic to them) include:

  • pollens;
  • house dust mites;
  • animal dander (small scales from the skin and hair of animals).
  • certain foods.

Note:  an allergy assessment by an allergist will properly identify the allergic triggers.

  • As Overheating can make eczema worse,  therefor try not to have heating too high in winter, bathe in lukewarm water (not too hot), don’t use an electric blanket.
  • Prevent your skin becoming dehydrated and dry (which are two different conditions).
  • Wear cotton and soft fabrics, and avoid rough, scratchy fibers and tight-fitting clothing.
  • Use a mild soap when washing and a non-soap cleanser (such as Soothe gentle cream wash).
  • Gently pat (with a towel) or air dry rather than rubbing the skin dry after bathing.
  • Avoiding rapid changes of temperature and activities (like heated yoga) that make you sweat excessively.
  • learn and avoiding individual eczema triggers
  • Use a humidifier in dry or cold weather.
  • keep childrens fingernails short to prevent breaking the skin when itching.
  • Use an emollient daily to keep the skin moisturised.
  • Wear cool breathable natural fibres.
  • Eczema can get worse when stressed or anxious, so consider relaxation techniques such as meditation. See Mind-Skin-Axis.
  • Check ingredients of skincare products before use.
  • See common skin conditions

Nutrition and skin health

As certain food allergy’s intolerance’s can aggravating eczema, keeping a food diary can help pin point the particular foods that may be causing flare-ups. Speaking to a nutritional professional will point you in the right direction here.

It is important to remember that eczema is an inflammatory skin disorder. Therefore avoiding inflammatory foods can greatly help manage eczema. See gut-skin connection article.

When it comes to healthy eating, certain Vitamins and Nutrients can have a very positive effect on skin health. Some of the key nutrients believed to be essential in maintaining good skin health include; essential fatty acids (EFAs such as salmon, wallnuts or Sea Buckthorn), Zinc, Probiotics, Selenium, Vitamin E (avocados), Vitamin D, Beta-carotene etc. See here for more info.

Everyone is individual and what your body needs, may be different to someone else’s. A nutrition professional can help you understand what foods may be causing your skin issues and guide you in the right direction.

Moisterisers / Emollients

Moisturising is one of the easiest (and most important) measures in protecting the skin barrier. It can also prevent itching and scratching, as well as reduce eczema flare-ups.

As eczema is a chronic condition, it is important to incorporate regular moisturising into your daily skincare routine.  – normally a cream or ointment that softens and soothes the skin. For very dry skin, this should be done twice per day.

  • Avoid moisturisers that contain perfumes which can irritate the skin.
  • Moisturisers should also be applied within 3 minutes of bathing to ‘lock in the moisture’

Rodan + Fields offers dermatologically tested and proven products that are gentle and safe enough to use on childrens delicate skin. Steps 2 & 3 from the Soothe Regimen are two of the products that I recommend. If you are looking for relief and just don’t know where to turn, please feel free to contact me to see if these products are right for you and your family.

Note: emollient is just another word for a moisturiser

Steroid creams and ointments?

Creams or ointments containing corticosteroid are commonly used for flare-ups of eczema. Steroid preparations can relieve itching by reducing inflammation. However it is important to discuss this with a dermatologist as using high-strength steroid ointments or creams over long periods can be associated with  side effects. Short term use intermitted (when required) is a better option.

Anti-itch preparations for eczema

Cold compresses, oatmeal baths, coal tar and pine tar preparations may help to relieve itchy skin.

Antihistamines are occasionally recommended to relieve itching that is disrupting sleep. Their benefit is partially due to the sedating effect – they do not completely suppress the itch. Sedating antihistamines (such as Phenergan) are therefore best taken at night.

The mind-skin connection

Some skin conditions, including eczema, have a psychological component. This is a dynamic is referred to as psychodermatology.  See more information here…

Also see

Light Therapy benefits

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Victoria Isherwood (Registered Nurse)

Are Your Skincare Products Eco Friendly?

Enspired by recent Earth Day! 🌏 

Unfortunately not all Skincare products are kind to the environment!

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Testing on animals?

Cruelty free skincare

Many people are surprised to learn that so many of the big name skincare and cosmetic companies test on animals. The good news is that there are some great great companies out there such as Rodan + Fields that are 100% cruelty free.

To find out more about which companies DO test on animals please visit:-

https://www.crueltyfreekitty.com/companies-that-test-on-animals/

The bad list includes….

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Microbeads and our Marine Life

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In bays and estuaries all around the world (including Sydney), there are billions of particles of toxic plastic called microbeads. Sadly these microbeads are killing our fragile marine life!

Unfortunately microbeads are a common ingredient in cosmetic and household products. This includes some facial exfoliators, scrubs and polishes.

These microbeads are incredibly small. So small, in fact, that most wastewater treatment facilities can’t filter them out. The only way to stop microbeads from poisoning our rivers, lakes and oceans is to stop them entering delicate marine ecosystems in the first place.

Microbeads = toxic sponges

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Microbeads function like miniature sponges, absorbing things like pesticide and other chemical runoff. In fact they are often a million times more toxic than the water they’re floating in 😫

Marine worms in our oceans ingest these toxic microbeads. The worms are then eaten by fish and other predators. Then if people then eat those poisoned fish, well… you guessed it, they’re at serious risk of falling ill from the toxic residue too.

To find out more about the devastating effect microbeads have on our marine life please visit:-

http://animalsaustralia.org/features/plastic-microbeads-poisoning-marine-life.php

🐠 Rodan + Fields Microdermabrasion Paste does NOT have these non-biodegradable beads in them. Their product uses sugar and salt to polish and exfoliate the skin (helping to get rid of dead skin cells).

Other positive facts about R+F skincare company 

🌏 The vegetable gel capsules from the Redefine Intensive Renewing Serum and the Redefine Lip Renewing Serum all start to disintegrate when they come in contact with water.

🌏 All the products come in recyclable containers and clearly state on them, “Please recycle.”

🌏 The company aims to empower all women…. even   Mother Nature

🏅 They just received the award (for the 2nd year in a row) of #1 skincare line in ALL of North America!! The  numbers and awards speak for themselves 🥇

If you’re at all curious send me a message, happy to share some info 😊

Victoria Isherwood (Registered Nurse / Dermatology)

What Might Be Causing Your Breakouts

To put it simply, acne occurs when the oil glands (pores) in the skin become blocked with oil, dead skin cells and bacteria.

Our sebaceous glands are meant to produce sebum, which is an ‘oil’ designed to keep the skin lubricated and soft. However, when hormonal changes and other factors cause the gland to produce an excess of sebum (OR thicker than normal sebum) the problem arises. The pore becomes blocked and there is a higher chance that bacteria will multiply, leading to inflammation and acne.

Acne usually starts at puberty when increased levels of certain sex hormones (known as androgens) create an increase in the size and oil production of glands.

Hormonal acne can return again in our 30’s, as our levels of androgen hormones increase. Testosterone (an androgen hormone) stimulates sebaceous glands in women to secrete ‘thicker’ sebum. This can cause clogged pores and an increase the likeliness of ‘adult Acne’.

1FFFF33B-BD2C-4E86-96C4-136F24F81D42Underlying acne factors

What else might be going on??

1) Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)

What is PCOS?

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a condition that affects a woman’s hormone levels. The condition usually effects women between the ages of 15 to 44.

Women with PCOS produce higher-than-normal amounts of male hormones (androgens). This hormonal imbalance causes menstrual cycle irregularities (including missed periods) and leads to other unwanted side effects.

The facts-

In PCOS; many small, fluid-filled sacs grow inside the ovaries. The word “polycystic” means “many cysts.” These sacs are actually follicles, each one containing an immature egg. The eggs rarely mature enough to trigger ovulation (making getting pregnant more difficult).

The lack of ovulation results in estrogen and progesterone levels being lower than usual, while androgen levels (masculine hormones) become higher than usual. This causes a disruption of the menstrual cycle and other side effects.

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The increase in testosterone triggers excess oil production in the sebaceous glands, which creates the perfect breeding ground for infection and acne.

PCOS-related acne tends to flare in areas that are usually considered ‘hormonally sensitive’ -especially the lower third of the face. This includes the cheeks, jawline, chin, and upper neck.

Those with PCOS tend to get acne that involves tender knots under the skin, rather than fine surface bumps. Breakouts commonly flare up before menstruation and can take several days to go away.

Other common PCOS symptoms are:

• Unwanted Hair growth: Due to excess testosterone, more than 70 percent of women with this condition grow excess hair on their face and body.

• Thinking of hair on the head – Due to excess testosterone women can also experience male pattern baldness.

• Weight gain

• Darkening of the skin: Dark patches of skin can form in body creases like those on the neck, in the groin, and under the breasts.

• Headaches: Hormone changes can trigger headaches in some women.

What causes it?

Doctors aren’t 100% sure what causes PCOS. They believe that high levels of male hormones prevent the ovaries from producing hormones and making eggs normally.

Genes, insulin resistance, and inflammation have all been linked to excess androgen production.

Women with PCOS often have increased levels of inflammation in their body. Being overweight can also contribute to inflammation. Studies have linked excess inflammation to higher androgen levels.

Treatment

Treatment for PCOS usually starts with lifestyle changes like weight loss, diet, and exercise.

https://www.healthline.com/health/pcos-diet

2) Rosacea

For some, Rosacea is actually the problem NOT acne. Click here to find out wether you may actually have rosacea.

3) Hormonal fluctuations

As previously discussed, certain hormones rise during puberty. These hormones cause an increase in the production of sebum. This results in hair follicles becoming blocked, forming comedones or “clogged pores.” These clogged pores then commonly become infected and inflamed – AKA acne!

Hormonal adult acne tends to flare up at predictable times during our menstrual cycle. For many women, this occurs the week leading up to menstruation or during. However the menstrual cycle is the time when symptoms peak. Some women may also experience a breakout during ovulation.

Perimenopause is the period (which can last for several years) prior to menopause. During this time, hormonal fluctuations are increased which can lead to acne.

Acne located on the Lower third of the face and along the jawline is often more likely to be related to hormonal issues than acne across the forehead or the bridge of the nose.

Hormonal adult acne is often deep, cystic, and sensitive to touch.

See link to find out what you can do to help

4) Poor Gut Health

see Gut Article

5) Stress

During times of stress, cortisol (the stress hormone) increases oil production which can stimulate acne. The Skin-Gut connection has been scientifically proven.

6) An Inflammatory diet

A high glycemic (GI) diet

Foods that increase insulin levels have a high ‘glycaemic index’ (GI). The glycaemic index is a measurement of how carbohydrates have an effect on our blood sugar levels. Foods with a high glycaemic index break down super fast in our body causing a rise in blood sugar levels. This then causes a spike in the amount of insulin our body produces (in hope to re balance the blood sugar level). This spike in blood sugar and insulin then leads to inflammation.

High GI foods include white carbohydrates (eg white bread, chips, pasta, white rice, potatoes, processed biscuits etc) and of course sugar.

High GI food and acne

SO ….instead switch to low GI food such as non starchy vegetables (swop potato for sweet potato), some fruit, whole grains, nuts, fermented dairy such as yogurt, meat, poultry, fish and eggs.

Non fermented diary (milk) and gluten also cause inflammation in most people.

Treatment

See adult acne article

See gut health

USA or Canadian readers can click here for clinically proven anti-acne skincare products. Australian readers …check back soon as this great product will be available soon here in Auz.

For severe cases of acne or hormonal imbalances please see your healthcare professional or Dermatologist.

🙂 Victoria Isherwood (Registered Nurse -Dermatology)