Question: PCOS and Acne - What's the Connection?
What is Acne?
Acne occurs when debris, oil and dead skin cells become trapped within a hair follicle. Pimples
are examples of non-inflamed acne. Bacteria can invade the clogged follicle and cause redness, swelling and inflammation. This is known as an inflamed breakout. While non-inflamed acne is quite common, inflammation does not occur in every case of acne.
PCOS and Acne
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
(PCOS) occurs when there is a hormonal imbalance, namely an increase in androgen
(testosterone) production. High levels of androgens are known to increase the amount of oil produced by sebaceous glands, which contributes to acne.
Dealing with Acne
Numerous options are available to treat and manage acne. In addition to routine skin care and traditional acne treatments such as salicylic acid
and benzoyl peroxide
, there are options specific to women with PCOS which address the high androgen production. Birth control pills
are used most often to treat PCOS-related acne. Speak to your doctor about his recommendations.