No one takes the saying ‘age is just a number’ as seriously as acne. From teenagers to adults, everyone has at some point fretted over those unwelcomed guests. But for women suffering from polycystic ovary syndrome or PCOS, the problem of acne and other skin issues may be more complicated.
What is PCOS?
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a disease caused due to an imbalance of reproductive hormones that affects girls and women of reproductive age. Hormonal imbalance affects the menstrual cycle and the ovaries may not make or release the eggs as they do in a healthy menstrual cycle during ovulation.
In PCOS, women usually may face two of the following health issues:
- Absence of ovulation may lead to irregular menstrual periods or no periods at all
- High levels of androgens (a type of hormone) or signs of high androgens which may include excess body or facial hair
- Cysts (fluid-filled sacs) on one or both ovaries—"polycystic" literally means "having many cysts"
PCOS and Skin
Whether it is stress, imbalance in hormones, dehydration or a medical issue, our skin is often the first to experience the symptoms. And it is no different than in the case of PCOS.
In India, about 20 to 25 percent
of women of reproductive age suffer from PCOS. Women suffering from PCOS may observe skin issues such as cystic acne
, oily skin and dark patches.
Acne, in general, is caused due to an increase in hormone production including the production of testosterone (a male sex hormone) in both genders. Testosterone directs an increase in the production of sebum.
But women suffering from PCOS have a much higher level of androgen, a type of hormone that signals the body to make more sebum that leads to oily skin and cystic acne.
Therefore, women diagnosed with PCOS have a more difficult time taking care of their skin as the excess sebum makes the topical ingredients less effective.
The high level of androgens can also add to an increase in inflammation which makes the skin more prone to acne. Though there are no hard and fast rules, acne most commonly affects the lower third part of the face.
PCOS-resulted acne may also be deeper and larger than normal and usually worsens during menstruations.
We are all on the lookout for the skincare regime that would help get us the perfect skin - the acne-free, spotless, hydrated, and glowing skin. You may have tried and tested several products and grandma’s secret, but may have been unsuccessful in your quest.
Before jumping off to the next product or regime, there are a few things that you need to keep in mind when it comes to dealing with PCOS-related skin issues.
- Must help in the prevention of formation of clogged pores
- Should lower the production of sebum
- Should control the acne-causing bacteria
Another thing to remember is that it may take more time than normal for your skin to show results.
Topical Steps to Consider
Choosing the Right Products - With thousands of products promising you the best results, finding the right product may sound daunting, especially if you are a beginner.
Look for products that contain:
Azelaic Acid: It has anti-bacterial properties and is anti-inflammatory. The component helps in the treatment of acne, rosacea, hyperpigmentation and dark skin. It is also suitable for people with sensitive skin.
Niacinamide: It is a form of Vitamin B3. It fades hyperpigmentation, boosts hydration, reduces redness, protects from UV rays and is a powerful antioxidant that reduces the appearance of acne.
Experts at SkinQ suggest using products with active ingredients which include azelaic acid, niacinamide, salicylic acid and retinol liposomes. These ingredients help in deep cleaning skin pores, reducing the appearance of acne, whiteheads, blackheads.
Reducing excess oil - One of the most important factors affecting your skin is excess oil formation. Rather than negatively stripping your skin of oil by overwashing your face, begin by hydrating it with a lightweight moisturizer.
Even with oily skin, your skin will need products that will hydrate and moisturize it. Experts suggest using a moisturizer that will help combat issues such as skin irritation, dehydration, anti-aging while repairing and protecting the skin barrier, protecting the skin for free radical damage caused due to the external environment.
SkinQ’s dermatologist-formulated Moisture Balm
is developed from ingredients like Shea butter, Niacinamide, Vitamin E, Sodium Hyaluronate, Hyaluronic Acid and Ceramides that helps retain the moisture and hydrate skin while protecting the skin barriers.
Consistency is key - It is easy to get disheartened when you fail to notice any quick results, but for PCOS-related acne, the time products take to show results are slower than normal. Moreover, consistency will also control the recurring breakouts.
Use non-comedogenic skin products: Avoid using non-comedogenic products, i.e. products that avoid clogging your pores. You might want to look for products with ingredients that include benzoyl peroxide, resorcinol, salicylic acid and sulfur.
Avoid skin products that have ingredients such as isopropyl myristate, propylene glycol-2 (PPG-2) myristyl propionate, acetylated lanolin, ethoxylated lanolin and cocoa butter.
Sunscreen: Sunscreen is the most important part of skincare for all, especially if you are using retinoid topically or have been prescribed oral antibiotics. Finding the perfect sunscreen for you is the one that is non-comedogenic, protects skin from UV rays, and fights off free radical damage at the same time (Vitamin C) for advanced Protection against hyperpigmentation / Melasma.
Food for Thought
Being mindful of your diet is as necessary for you as the products that you use. While the good news is that you don’t need to cut down on your chocolate binge, you need to evaluate your food intake.
There are some foods that can lead to inflammation in the body which can result in a breakout.
Cut down on inflammatory foods: Avoid consumption of red meat, white bread, white potatoes and sugary desserts as these can lead to inflammation in the body.
Food to add to your diet: Tomatoes, spinach, almonds, walnuts, olive oil, berries, salmon and turmeric are natural anti-inflammatory foods.
While the beauty and skin-care industry constitute thousands of products, there are very few products developed to suit Indian skin.
At SKinQ, skin experts after much research and careful analysis formulated products especially for the Indian skin. The dermatologically approved products are designed to combat skin issues commonly noted in people living in tropical climates. In India, the most common skin problems are pigmentation, acne and dullness.