It’s about 10 days before your period and bam! A new pimple…right on schedule.You decided to go off the pill or remove your IUD. Sure enough—you start breaking out.
Do you know YOUR primary acne trigger? Still struggling with an unsure self-diagnosis?
We created a short quiz to help you Discover YOUR Complexion Triggers
You just became pregnant … or your PMS symptoms have started ramping up. Now you are suddenly getting acne when it was not much of a problem before.
While acne itself is a genetic condition, one of the most common acne triggers is hormonal imbalances. Hormonal acne typically appears on the jawline, chin or lower cheek. It can often appear red and inflamed and cause some amount of pain.
How do hormones affect acne?
Hormonal acne is caused by high levels of hormones called androgens. There are several different androgen hormones but the most common is testosterone. While androgens are thought of as male hormones, they’re actually found in both men and women.
When your hormones become unbalanced, your body starts producing more androgen. These androgens bind to receptors in your oil glands, which cause the gland to produce more oil. This oil becomes food for P. acnes, the bacteria that triggers acne.
Who do you turn for help?
Hormonal acne is challenging to treat. Over-the-counter remedies aren’t enough, so many people turn to dermatologists. And why not? They’re experts in skin, right?
First, dermatologists have limited time. Typically, 15 minutes is about all they can spend to examine and evaluate your skin, let alone the hormone imbalance that’s triggering your acne.
Second, dermatologists prescribe skin meds. It’s what they know best. That means a one-size-fits-all approach of antibiotics and/or topical prescription creams like Retin-A (which contains pore clogging ingredients). They may also prescribe Accutane, a popular medication for acne. But Accutane can have some serious side effects.
And while these medications may offer some improvement, it rarely lasts.
Another medical option is an endocrinologist, a medical doctor who specializes in treating hormone imbalances.
An endocrinologist will subject you to a battery of tests to measure your hormone levels and determine the specific hormonal factors causing your acne. Treatment usually involves lowering free testosterone levels by prescribing birth control pills or Spironolactone. However, many birth control pills are acne-triggering—which is the last thing you need!
What about alternative healthcare professionals?
If you prefer a more natural approach, you may be considering alternative healthcare professionals like naturopaths or acupuncturists. These practitioners have a wealth of knowledge when it comes to balancing your hormones naturally and they may be able to get you heading in the right direction.
Naturopathic doctors diagnose, prevent and treat acute chronic illness in a holistic manner. They focus on treating the underlying issues of health problems rather than just symptoms.
For hormonal acne, naturopaths recommend such herbs as Vitex and Maca which help relieve PMS and menopause symptoms. They may give you Rhodiola and Siberian ginseng to deliver extra support to your adrenal glands
They may also tell you to apply tea tree oil to your skin, since it has natural antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. However, tea tree oil can sometimes cause itching, stinging and irritation in people with acne.
Acupuncturists follow the practices of Traditional Chinese Medicine to relieve pain and promote healing. In Chinese Medicine, hormones are part of an individual’s “essence.” When essence depletes, you experience symptoms of hormone imbalance.
Using fine needles and applying heat or electrical stimulation, the acupuncturist places points on parts of the body that can restore essences, such as the kidneys or liver. They may also place points in the ear area to help relieve acne inflammation.
But when it comes to acne, here’s what these other treatments are missing…
While these alternative treatments may help promote healthy hormone balance, they won’t deliver everything you need to clear and control your acne for good.
One reason is that these practitioners aren’t acne specialists. They have little training in the myriad interconnected ways that genetics, hormones, gut health and diet affect your skin.
Another is that these professionals don’t have enough time in their busy day to allow for a longer, “whole person” approach to care. You also have to make several appointments to get results. These repeated appointments cost hundreds of dollars each – and aren’t always convenient to arrange according to your schedule.
What can you do instead?
The future of office visits is here—and available everywhere
It’s called telemedicine, and it’s a virtual visit with a healthcare provider
via video conference on your phone, tablet or laptop. Telemedicine has actually been around for over 20 years. But thanks to high speed Internet, it’s now reaching the medical mainstream.
Five reasons why telemedicine is the next big thing in health care:
- Better access to specialists
You can live anywhere—even in a remote location several times zones away—and still receive access to the specialist you need. There’s no need to drive long distances or invest a lot of time and energy to visit a doctor’s office.
- No time off work
You can schedule your appointment during a lunch break, or before or after work. You just need to find a place that offers sufficient privacy. Even your car can work as a great visiting room when it comes to telemedicine!
- No transportation costs
Since you’re visiting your practitioner via the Internet, you don’t spend a dime on gas, parking or public transportation. Plus, you don’t have to worry about running into traffic jams or parking problems that can make you late.
- No child care issues
Let’s face it: scrounging around for a babysitter to take care of your child so you make your doctor’s appointment is difficult, expensive and impractical. Telemedicine solves this problem by allowing you to see your doctor in the privacy of your home at a time that’s convenient for you and your family
- No more wasting time in the waiting room
A video visit means that your appointment starts at the allotted time. No more showing up at an office and waiting 30 minutes or longer before your practitioner is available to see you.
Telemedicine has helped thousands of patients all over the world receive access to specialized care when they couldn’t get it otherwise. Thanks to video conferencing, it’s easy and convenient for clients to receive evaluation and treatment―as well as support and encouragement every step of the way.