Skin issues are more often the obvious perceptible features of PCOS. Skin is affected in a large percentage of women with PCOS cannot be ignored. If PCOS-related adult skin conditions have been a major concern, a blemish-free complexion is possible with appropriate care and medication. Centre for PCOS and fertility treatment in Chennai can help identify PCOS-related skin symptoms and find ways to get clear skin with PCOS.
Skin manifestations of PCOS
PCOS may not manifest the same skin conditions in all women as it exists in a wide spectrum. PCOS leads to acne and hirsutism in many women because it causes the ovaries to produce more amount of male hormones called androgens. This condition is called hyperandrogenism. Androgens play a significant role in the development of acne or male pattern facial hair. Acanthosis nigricans, a cutaneous sign of hyperinsulinemia, may also be present in PCOS.
PCOS and Acne – Androgens stimulate the glands in the skin to produce an excess of an oily substance called sebum. As the sebum and dead skin cells accumulate and build up inside hair follicles, bacteria gets trapped beneath the skin. This leads to inflammation and the development of acne. PCOS-related acne tends to flare in areas that are usually considered “hormonally sensitive” such as the face, chin, jawline, back, neck, and chest.
Thus, it is understood that acne is the outward manifestation of inner inflammation combined with an elevated level of androgens. Women with PCOS tend to get acne that involves more tender knots under the skin, rather than fine surface bumps. Such lesions more often appear to flare before the menstrual period. Acne due to PCOS takes time to go away.
Topical applications – creams or gels can help with mild breakouts but they usually are not effective enough to treat acne related to PCOS. Retinoid creams can increase the risk for sun-related side effects, so the right usage is advised.
Medications – Because hormonal imbalances and inflammation cause acne in people with PCOS, the best gynecologist for PCOS often prescribes treatments that act on hormones and inflammation. Oral contraceptives in the form of combination pills are known to help stabilize hormone levels through the entire menstrual cycle but may not be suitable for every woman.
Anti-androgen medicines may be prescribed to decrease testosterone levels. Not all women with PCOS-acne have high androgen levels, so the best would be to test the level of androgens before taking medication.
Retinoid formulas are also used for treating PCOS-related acne in teens. Prescription-strength options are advisable for safe administration.
Skincare routine – PCOS-induced acne needs caring for the skin and preventing breakouts through practices such as:
• wash the face twice every day and after sweating
• avoid scrubbing the affected skin
• use nonabrasive agents to cleanse the skin with the fingertips and not a washcloth or sponge
• rinse the skin well with lukewarm water
• use oil-free moisturizer suited for the skin type.
• avoid touching, squeezing, picking, or popping pimples
• avoid comedogenic makeup.
• avoid direct and excess exposure to the sun
Dietary Changes – food habits alone cannot treat PCOS-related acne, but they can be a crucial component of the overall treatment plan. Dietary foods containing gluten and high sodium can cause inflammation in the body. Foods that can contribute to inflammation are red meats, white bread, white potatoes, and sugary desserts. Inflammation can contribute to breakouts, especially with acne related to PCOS.
Certain foods are naturally anti-inflammatory and including such foods as tomatoes, spinach, almonds, walnuts, olive oil, berries, salmon and turmeric can be effective in controlling inflammation.
Hirsutism in PCOS
The presence of coarse hairs in a male-like pattern in women is called hirsutism. Hirsutism can be seen as thick dark hair on the face, chest, abdomen, back, upper arms, or legs. Hair follicles are hormone-sensitive and excess androgens in PCOS can cause some vellus hairs that are soft and scanty to change into darker, thicker, and longer coarse hairs. Hirsutism is very common in PCOS and shows good improvement with medical management. Prompt medical attention at the center for PCOS and fertility treatment in Chennai is important because delaying treatment makes the treatment more difficult and may have long-term psychological consequences.
Self-care methods such as bleaching, plucking, shaving, waxing, and depilation are common temporary methods to remove or reduce unwanted facial and body hair.
Oral contraceptives, Anti-androgen drugs and other hormonal therapies that form a part of medication for PCOS do usually help get rid of unwanted facial hair. Topical applications that control superficial hair growth may also be effective.
Combined with medical therapy, hair removal with longer-lasting methods than self-care methods are best suitable for many women. Laser therapy and electrolysis are popular methods with young and older women for more than just a temporary removal of excess hair on the skin.
Acanthosis Nigricans in PCOS
Women with PCOS have higher levels of insulin in their blood. Higher levels of insulin stimulate skin cells to overgrow, causing patches of darkened skin, more commonly on the back of the neck, underarms, under the breasts, and in the groin area leading to the skin condition called acanthosis nigricans. It appears as diffuse, velvety thickening, and hyperpigmentation of the skin.
Hyperinsulinemia and insulin resistance are the clinical markers for Acanthosis Nigricans in PCOS. Obese and overweight women with PCOS fall under the high-risk group. This being the fact, lifestyle modification and weight management as primary aims in the treatment of PCOS, also help overcome acanthosis nigricans. The goal of therapy is to treat the primary cause where cosmetic resolution of the lesions is taken care of. External applications like topical vitamin D analogs or retinoids may help improve the skin.
Recognition of PCOS and treatment of cutaneous conditions can improve quality of life and psychological well-being. Treatment planning is tailored to each person and depends on the woman’s priorities and symptoms. Seeking care from an experienced and best gynecologist for PCOS in Chennai can establish the diagnosis and tailored treatment.