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Estrogen Dominance Treatment Making Acne Worse?

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#1 4Fours

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 05:56 PM

I have seen many women on here reporting great gains with progesterone supplementation, for Estrogen Dominance. For me, it's been the exact opposite and I'm really frustrated. About 2 years ago, I started seeing a naturopath. I mostly started seeing her because of depression and headaches. I also told her my skin was a concern, and she put me on zinc, a multi with iron and iodine, vitamin a, as well as a bunch of other supplements. Also, she had me take whey protein every morning (I am a vegetarian), and started treating me for progesterone deficiency and low thyroid. In April my skin got way worse than it ever was.

In June, I changed my diet and everything cleared up entirely within 2 months. I was allergic to cow's milk (casein and whey), so taking the whey protein every morning was contributing. I also cut out gluten, along with many other foods I tested reactive to. After 3 months, and per my doctor's instructions, I started reintroducing foods one at a time and seeing if I could tolerate them. I thought I was fine, but then a month into reintroduction I started to break out again. Since the skin doesn't show problems right away, I don't know what it was that I was still reactive to. So, for about 2 and a half months now I have taken out everything that I am reactive to again, but it's not helping this time. In fact, it feels like my acne is worse (more cysts). I don't know if I've developed new allergies, or if it's one of the other things I'm being treated for that is making my acne worse.

My derm told me my acne was hormone related because it's mostly around my mouth. A couple weeks ago he prescribed Differin and Aczone, and what I am experiencing now might be just the IB. I've been getting several cysts at a time, mostly around my chin area. I also break out between my eyebrows, along my hairline and sometimes large pustules on the apples of my cheeks. I started getting deep pimples on my neck and upper back, which I never had before. I don't get acne on my the sides of my cheeks, on the cheekbone area. The skin in the areas that aren't broken out are in pretty good shape.

In December my naturopath lowered my progesterone dose, acknowledging that it was probably contributing to my acne. It got a little better, but my depression came roaring back, so I had to go back to the original dose. She also prescribed a niacinamide and azelaic acid gel, but it made my skin so oily and red. The spots I put it on would burn, and I usually have very non-sensitive, resilient skin. So I couldn't use that. Zinc makes me sick to my stomach, Vitamin A gives me migraines…. I feel stuck. I might have to choose between clear skin and being depressed. I have a follow-up on Monday, and I will get my hormone tests back, but I'm not hopeful that it will show anything that I can't tell her.

Anyway, this is long winded. I've been posting on here for a little while but haven't made a "this is my story" thread yet. Has anyone treated estrogen dominance, only to find that it made their acne worse than it was to begin with? Or if estrogen dominance has helped you, what method of treatment did you use?

Edited by 4Fours, 22 February 2012 - 06:43 PM.


#2 *`*~ABG Fairy~*`*

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 07:27 PM

She is right about breakouts around the chin area being related to hormones. You say you eat a mostly vegan diet in your signature--is this a high-nutrient diet? Instead of taking Vitamin A capsules, which are dangerous, have you considered beta-carotene rich plant foods like leafy greens? Leafy greens, especially of the cruciferous family, are great at helping to balance hormones and take up excess estrogen (you might also look into DIM). My green smoothie thread (link in my signature) talks more about all of this. Adding blended greens to your diet might do you a world of good, and when you blend them, you get about four times the nutrients, because they cell walls are blended down so thoroughly.

I hope something works out for you. I know it's frustrating to try so many different things, but keep it up--at least you're making great strides towards health! :)

#3 4Fours

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 07:41 PM

Yeah, I do eat a lot of leafy greens. I get a local organic box of fruits and veggies delivered once a week, and I juice a lot of them. I stay away from raw cruciferous vegetables because they are bad for the thyroid, which I already have a problem with. I eat pretty healthy, my naturopath is happy where my nurtients and vitamin levels are. But like I said, it's 2 steps forward, one step back with my acne.

I stay away from the vitamin A because of the headaches, but I was closely monitored by my doctor when I was taking those. I might ask her about the anti androgen approach, I don't really understand it even though I've been researching it recently. I doubt my doc will think it's a good idea because we are trying so hard to regulate my hormones. I don't want to throw a monkey wrench into it, but this progesterone is just killing my skin.

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 07:51 PM

About cruciferous vegetables and the thyroid, I found this quote by Dr. Joel Fuhrman, M.D.:

The Thyroid Connection
Isothiocyanates were in the past considered goitergens (anti-nutrients) that inhibit the uptake of iodine by the thyroid gland. However, this no longer thought to be significant in humans. Nutritional excellence Lastly, while everyone eventually jumps on the “cruciferous vegetables are good for you” bandwagon, let’s not forget H = N/C (Health = Nutrient intake divided by Calorie intake). In other words, besides all of their unique features, green cruciferous vegetables still contain more vitamins and minerals per calorie than any other foods.
Source: http://www.diseasepr...rous-power.html

However, I think eating cooked blended greens is great as well if this is a concern. If you're juicing greens--even better. Are you mostly eating all whole, non-processed foods?

Edit: I wanted to add a link to Alternativista's (an awesome regular here) thread on Good Things for Acne that talks about hormones--she has done some amazing research, and I'm sure you'll find it helpful! http://www.acne.org/...28#entry2574328

Edited by *`*~ABG Fairy~*`*, 22 February 2012 - 07:59 PM.


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Posted 23 February 2012 - 10:18 AM

If you were my client, the first thing I'd have you do is reduce your iodine supplementation. Are you familiar with the work of Dr. James Fulton? He identified iodine as being an especially irritating culprit of acne. Salt, kelp, sea veggies, spirulina, iodine supplements...I know the NDs like to prescribe iodine, so it puts you in a tight spot if you're working closely with one. Also, avoid foods high in androgen hormons (peanut products). I would have told you to get off whey/casseine, and cow products of any kind.

There are also a lot of lifestyle things you may not have thought of (eliminate all fabric softeners!) There's too much to go into here, but to answer your original question, androgen dominance is often linked to breakouts. If you haven't yet, read Dr. Fulton's book Acne Rx. I hope this helps a bit.

#6 alternativista

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 12:39 PM

Where you diagnosed with having low progesterone? High estrogen? Where are you applying the progesterone? I assume it's not synthetic if it's from a naturopath. Are you taking oral contraceptives? Are you taking a thyroid hormone? If so, when did that start and/or has the dosage changed?

And have you tried DIM or broccoli pills which help flush away excess estrogen? What about phytoestrogens which might help by being weaker so they have less of an affect when they bind to receptors? How is your digestion? Did you try taking the zinc with food to prevent the nausea?

And I'm only going on anecdotal evidence gathered from discussions with many people here (and my personal experience) but your breakouts sound like allergic reactions to me. And those do not take 30 days to appear. They often appear within a day or two. I have a suspicion that most if not all cystic acne are inflammatory responses. And breaking out in the same spots over and over as well. I get cysts from most citrus and it appears all along my jawline, neck, temple and hairline. And sometimes on my cheeks. And it seems that different citrus cause breakouts in different places. I've been unwilling to test it on myself, but when I decided to try having a tangerine again after years of avoiding them, cysts appeared at my temples the next day. And for many years, I couldn't have key limes, I would seemingly randomly get cysts on my jawline and neck. Eventually I figured out it was from when I bought key limes to have in water, vs lemons or Persian limes which I don't have a problem with.

I recall others reporting cysts between their eyebrows from members of the Genus Prunus family.

Edited by alternativista, 23 February 2012 - 02:20 PM.


#7 4Fours

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 03:36 PM

Thanks everyone for your input!


About cruciferous vegetables and the thyroid, I found this quote by Dr. Joel Fuhrman, M.D.:



The Thyroid Connection
Isothiocyanates were in the past considered goitergens (anti-nutrients) that inhibit the uptake of iodine by the thyroid gland. However, this no longer thought to be significant in humans. Nutritional excellence Lastly, while everyone eventually jumps on the “cruciferous vegetables are good for you” bandwagon, let’s not forget H = N/C (Health = Nutrient intake divided by Calorie intake). In other words, besides all of their unique features, green cruciferous vegetables still contain more vitamins and minerals per calorie than any other foods.
Source: http://www.diseasepr...rous-power.html


However, I think eating cooked blended greens is great as well if this is a concern. If you're juicing greens--even better. Are you mostly eating all whole, non-processed foods?



Thanks for that info about the cruciferous veggies. I will bring this up with my doc. I think my thyroid is getting on track, so I might not even need to worry about avoiding them "in theory" anymore. I have looked at many of alternativista's links, but they seems to conflict with what my doctor is telling me, so I am really confused. I am going to bring up the anti androgen issue to her on Monday.
I eat a limited whole food ingredient diet. I cook all my own meals from scratch, I almost never eat at restaurants, and limit anything that comes from a bag or box. Lots of homemade veggie and legume soups.


If you were my client, the first thing I'd have you do is reduce your iodine supplementation. Are you familiar with the work of Dr. James Fulton? He identified iodine as being an especially irritating culprit of acne. Salt, kelp, sea veggies, spirulina, iodine supplements...I know the NDs like to prescribe iodine, so it puts you in a tight spot if you're working closely with one. Also, avoid foods high in androgen hormons (peanut products). I would have told you to get off whey/casseine, and cow products of any kind.

There are also a lot of lifestyle things you may not have thought of (eliminate all fabric softeners!) There's too much to go into here, but to answer your original question, androgen dominance is often linked to breakouts. If you haven't yet, read Dr. Fulton's book Acne Rx. I hope this helps a bit.



I have considered iodine being a part of the problem. I watched this video Dan did about the iodine link, so it made me not as sure. http://www.acne.org/...odine-and-acne/ My husband found out that it's not even recommended for people with thyroid issues anymore, so I am going to talk to my doc about taking me off it. I think I prob still need iron supplementation because I don't eat meat. I avoid peanuts, citrus and soy because they cause migraines for me. I tested sensitive to cow's milk (along with 18 other foods) so I don't have any cow or animal products anymore.

My husband had a major health crash 2 years ago at the age of 28. He was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue and we made major lifestyle changes, including filtered shower heads, reverse osmosis water filter, got rid of our vintage dishes because they had heavy metals in them, no perfumes or dye soaps, detergents, no fabric softener, CSA local organic produce, etc. I believe we have made more lifestyle changes than your average bear.

I'll check out that Acne RX book. If I may, what is the difference between androgen dominance and estrogen dominance?


Where you diagnosed with having low progesterone? High estrogen? Where are you applying the progesterone? And have you tried DIM or broccoli pills which help flush away excess estrogen? What about phytoestrogens which might help by being weaker so they have less of an affect when they bind to receptors? How is your digestion? Did you try taking the zinc with food to prevent the nausea?

And I'm only going on anecdotal evidence gathered from discussions with many people here (and my personal experience) but your breakouts sound like allergic reactions to me. And those do not take 30 days to appear. They often appear within a day or two. I have a suspicion that most if not all cystic acne are inflammatory responses. And breaking out in the same spots over and over as well. I get cysts from most citrus and it appears all along my jawline, neck, temple and hairline. And it seems that different citrus cause breakouts in different places. I've been unwilling to test it on myself, but when I decided to try having a tangerine again after years of avoiding them, cysts appeared at my temples the next day. And for many years, I couldn't have key limes, I would seemingly randomly get cysts on my jawline and neck. Eventually I figured out it was from when I bought key limes to have in water, vs lemons or Persian limes which I don't have a problem with.

I recall others reporting cysts between their eyebrows from members of the Genus Prunus family.


I am going in for the new test results next Monday, but last time I was tested I have low progesterone. My estrogen level was normal. The progesterone is administered in an oral tincture that I take twice a day. I was using bio-identical progesterone cream about a year ago, but it made my acne very bad. I will find out exactly what she is using in the tincture for the progesterone supplementation and ask about the phytoestrogens, but wouldn't that be supplementing estrogen, not progesterone? I know I need the progesterone for my depression because when she tried to lower the dose in December, I became crippled with depression. I haven't tried DIM, I am just learning about anti androgens, but honestly I don't understand how it interplays with estrogen and progesterone. Or is mostly the male hormones that it suppresses? I was low on those too, which can contribute to depression, so that may not be an option for me. I am on a ton of supplements that are listed on the blog in my signature. Maca is one of them, that is supposed to help regulate female hormones.

My digestion is great, fortunately I have never had a problem with it. I had her examine and listen to my stomach at my last visit and she said everything was in good shape. My husband has terrible digestion problems, so I know the symptoms. When I do take the zinc, I take it on a full stomach, and it's fine for about 2 days, then on the 3rd day I get sick and dizzy. Now when I feel like I can tolerate it, I take it every 4 days.

I took an IgG allergic panel test in May 2011 and eliminated 19 foods from my diet. For anyone interested, I eliminated: banana, barley, kidney, navy and pinto beans, cheese, eggs, malt, cow and goat's milk, paprika, cayenne, red and chili pepper, tomato (pretty much most nightshades), rye, sunflower, wheat and brewer's and baker's yeast (plus the soy, peanuts and citrus). At first my acne cleared, but when I tried to reintroduce after the recommended 3 months, the acne slowly came back. When I re-eliminated everything again, the acne didn't go away that time and still persists. So it could be that I developed new allergies since May, but I am staying away from the big things and things I know I have problems with. So I dunno…

I really think my acne is hormone related. Since my doc has found this balance with my progesterone for my depression, my acne has gotten worse and I am getting more cysts. I am really just wondering why treatment for estrogen dominance (progesterone) is making my acne worse when some women find that it cures theirs.

Edited by 4Fours, 23 February 2012 - 03:41 PM.


#8 *`*~ABG Fairy~*`*

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 04:41 PM

I want to bring up the iodine issue again, because I think it is very, very misunderstood today but highly important. Dr. David Brownstein has done an enormous amount of research about iodine, and he believes nearly all in the U.S. are deficient in it and that it's the cause of many health problems. I know many doctors today dismiss it, and I forget the details why, but I do remember that their dismissal is based off of bad science, tests, etc...something along those lines, but somehow, everyone just went with dismissing it (which of course, helps the pharmaceutical companies). Sorry to not have better facts off hand.



This video:explains a lot more about it -- it's quite fascinating. The first 3:10 minutes are worth watching just for Dr. Brownstein's testimony, as an M.D., for why he no longer fully believes in conventional medicine. Dr. Brownstein also has a book about iodine. There are also many articles about it at www.naturalnews.com.

I'm glad you're on Maca--I have always heard great things about it and was actually looking into it just yesterday. A lot of people have gotten great results with balancing their hormones by taking Maca. Traditional Medicinals has some tea for women that also seems to get great results with balancing hormones.

As for your doctor contradicting what Alternativista has to say, I would definitely seriously consider what Alternativista says and the people here on the message boards--and a lot of her information is based on personal experience from people here on the boards. I put a lot of merit into what works for others. I have found that with any doctor I go to--no matter how well respected they are in the alternative field--I always have to play my own doctor in the end. They always recommend things I disagree with. It's crazy! It doesn't mean they aren't helpful though in helping to figure things out.

I want to applaud you and your husband for all the changes you have made! I know it's not an easy thing to suddenly do cold turkey, but it sounds like you two are really working together as a team to improve both your lives--that's awesome. Posted Image

Edited by *`*~ABG Fairy~*`*, 23 February 2012 - 04:43 PM.


#9 4Fours

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 06:25 PM

I want to bring up the iodine issue again, because I think it is very, very misunderstood today but highly important. Dr. David Brownstein has done an enormous amount of research about iodine, and he believes nearly all in the U.S. are deficient in it and that it's the cause of many health problems. I know many doctors today dismiss it, and I forget the details why, but I do remember that their dismissal is based off of bad science, tests, etc...something along those lines, but somehow, everyone just went with dismissing it (which of course, helps the pharmaceutical companies). Sorry to not have better facts off hand.
This video:explains a lot more about it -- it's quite fascinating. The first 3:10 minutes are worth watching just for Dr. Brownstein's testimony, as an M.D., for why he no longer fully believes in conventional medicine. Dr. Brownstein also has a book about iodine. There are also many articles about it at www.naturalnews.com.


I'm glad you're on Maca--I have always heard great things about it and was actually looking into it just yesterday. A lot of people have gotten great results with balancing their hormones by taking Maca. Traditional Medicinals has some tea for women that also seems to get great results with balancing hormones.

As for your doctor contradicting what Alternativista has to say, I would definitely seriously consider what Alternativista says and the people here on the message boards--and a lot of her information is based on personal experience from people here on the boards. I put a lot of merit into what works for others. I have found that with any doctor I go to--no matter how well respected they are in the alternative field--I always have to play my own doctor in the end. They always recommend things I disagree with. It's crazy! It doesn't mean they aren't helpful though in helping to figure things out.

I want to applaud you and your husband for all the changes you have made! I know it's not an easy thing to suddenly do cold turkey, but it sounds like you two are really working together as a team to improve both your lives--that's awesome. Posted Image


Even in this one thread there is conflicting evidence about iodine, ha ha! I use sea salt (non iodized) and don't eat meat, so I think I probably do need to get my iodine from somewhere. I've been the iodine and iron multi for 2 years… so I don't think I am deficient in it, therefore I don't think it's the cause of my issues.

Let me be clear. I am always for a patient being their own advocate. I have two M.D.'s in my family, and am very comfortable disagreeing and debating with doctors. Many times the research I have done for myself has informed my derm and naturopath on which way to go with my care. One of the reasons I am on this site is to research and find what other people find to be true. However, I do trust my doc. She has completely turned around my husband's health, and got me off SSRI's (which I never thought I would be able to do). I don't think people give naturopath's enough credit, even though they are licensed physicians. There are tons of calculations my doctor does with my test results, weighing pros and cons, lots of things lay people didn't go to school for 7+ years to study. This is especially apparent when you consider the philosophy behind naturopathy, treating the body as the interconnected system that it is. Not a la carte "spot treatment". Lots of times I will bring something up to her, and she will take 10 minutes to explain why the thing I spent 3 days researching isn't true in my case. I use her as further education, not as the final word though.

Like I have been saying, the treatment for my depression in a round-about way is causing my acne. I eat well, my digestion is good, I have a low toxic environment, but I am on progesterone. I guess alternativista's research doesn't conflict with what my doctor says, but conflicts with itself (if I am understanding it right):

PMS issues and irregular cycle may be indicators of estrogen dominance. It's about a possible excess of estrogen relative to a possible deficiency of progesterone. And acne and other symptoms occur with the monthly fluctuation of progesterone.


So I have estrogen dominance. Not high estrogen, just not the proper balance of estrogen to progesterone, which can cause acne. But fluctuation of progesterone can also cause acne? So the cure is also the cause!?

Symptom of estrogen dominance: acne.
Side effect of treatment: acne!

It reminds me of a Simpsons quote: "ALCOHOL! The cause of and solution to all of life's problems." Why do I see women on the org that say their acne cleared up by treating estrogen dominance when progesterone causes acne? What am I doing wrong?

In the end, treating my depression is more important than treating my acne. And it has helped me, I just wish there was a way I didn't have to choose. I'm trying to do the right thing and balance my hormones, but instead of it being the magic bullet, it's causing more skin problems. I've been on Maca for about 9 months, I don't think it's done much to balance my hormones. If it did, my doctor could have decreased my progesterone slightly without sending me into a tailspin. Also, theoretically it would have helped my acne if it is hormone related. I can see if my hormones are balanced on Monday when I get my tests back, but the proof is in the pudding. How I feel is the real test.

Thanks for the encouragement about the lifestyle changes. It's been 2 years since we've been on the right track, so I don't think about it too much anymore. All our friends think we are crazy though Posted Image

#10 4Fours

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 06:41 PM

Are you taking oral contraceptives? Are you taking a thyroid hormone? If so, when did that start and/or has the dosage changed?

So sorry, I missed these questions:

No oral contraceptives, been off of those for about 2.5 years.

Yes, I am on a very low dose of nature-throid at the moment. I was taking 1/2 of a 3/4 grain (which is 28.5 mcg T4, 6.75 mcg T3), but I was getting hyperthyroid symptoms so I have started a 1/4 dose (7.12 mcg T4 and 1.68 mcg T3). My levels are now within the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists levels. (Don't follow Quest's reference ranges, they are outdated and not correct). I will probably ween off soon, or keep on this micro-dose.

I started the thyroid about 18 months ago, first I was on compounded thyroid... which was synthetic but vegan. I was overshooting my levels too much though, so now I am doing the nature-throid which is from pigs (I'm not crazy about that part). I changed over to the nature-throid about 6-8 months ago, no difference in acne that I noticed.

I know there is a link between acne and hypothyroidism. However, getting my thyroid on track has not been the answer for me. Is acne a side effect of thyroid meds? Is this another thing where the symptom is also the side effect? Please, don't let it be so!

Edited by 4Fours, 23 February 2012 - 06:53 PM.


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Posted 23 February 2012 - 09:13 PM

Wanted to mention that there are different types of iodine--it's important to take the right kind. Nascent Iodine is a good one, and I believe Lugol's is as well.

What type of maca have you been on? I hear there is the raw maca and then the royal maca, which is slightly cooked I think.

It sounds like you have found a really great naturopath--that's a blessing!

#12 alternativista

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Posted 24 February 2012 - 09:29 AM

Yes, I am on a very low dose of nature-throid at the moment. I was taking 1/2 of a 3/4 grain (which is 28.5 mcg T4, 6.75 mcg T3), but I was getting hyperthyroid symptoms so I have started a 1/4 dose (7.12 mcg T4 and 1.68 mcg T3). My levels are now within the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists levels. (Don't follow Quest's reference ranges, they are outdated and not correct). I will probably ween off soon, or keep on this micro-dose.

I started the thyroid about 18 months ago, first I was on compounded thyroid... which was synthetic but vegan. I was overshooting my levels too much though, so now I am doing the nature-throid which is from pigs (I'm not crazy about that part). I changed over to the nature-throid about 6-8 months ago, no difference in acne that I noticed.

I know there is a link between acne and hypothyroidism. However, getting my thyroid on track has not been the answer for me. Is acne a side effect of thyroid meds? Is this another thing where the symptom is also the side effect? Please, don't let it be so!


I don't know about the meds, but both hypo and hyperthyroid can affect acne. Did any of the med changes coincide with changes to your acne?

And have you considered your adrenal health which affects thyroid function as well as progesterone production?
Good things for thyroid function: http://www.acne.org/...ost__p__2592507 Good things for adrenal health: http://www.acne.org/...ost__p__2579438



Where you diagnosed with having low progesterone? High estrogen? Where are you applying the progesterone? And have you tried DIM or broccoli pills which help flush away excess estrogen? What about phytoestrogens which might help by being weaker so they have less of an affect when they bind to receptors? How is your digestion? Did you try taking the zinc with food to prevent the nausea?

And I'm only going on anecdotal evidence gathered from discussions with many people here (and my personal experience) but your breakouts sound like allergic reactions to me. And those do not take 30 days to appear. They often appear within a day or two. I have a suspicion that most if not all cystic acne are inflammatory responses. And breaking out in the same spots over and over as well. I get cysts from most citrus and it appears all along my jawline, neck, temple and hairline. And it seems that different citrus cause breakouts in different places. I've been unwilling to test it on myself, but when I decided to try having a tangerine again after years of avoiding them, cysts appeared at my temples the next day. And for many years, I couldn't have key limes, I would seemingly randomly get cysts on my jawline and neck. Eventually I figured out it was from when I bought key limes to have in water, vs lemons or Persian limes which I don't have a problem with.

I recall others reporting cysts between their eyebrows from members of the Genus Prunus family.


I am going in for the new test results next Monday, but last time I was tested I have low progesterone. My estrogen level was normal. The progesterone is administered in an oral tincture that I take twice a day. I was using bio-identical progesterone cream about a year ago, but it made my acne very bad. I will find out exactly what she is using in the tincture for the progesterone supplementation and ask about the phytoestrogens, but wouldn't that be supplementing estrogen, not progesterone? I know I need the progesterone for my depression because when she tried to lower the dose in December, I became crippled with depression. I haven't tried DIM, I am just learning about anti androgens, but honestly I don't understand how it interplays with estrogen and progesterone. Or is mostly the male hormones that it suppresses? I was low on those too, which can contribute to depression, so that may not be an option for me. I am on a ton of supplements that are listed on the blog in my signature. Maca is one of them, that is supposed to help regulate female hormones.

I really think my acne is hormone related. Since my doc has found this balance with my progesterone for my depression, my acne has gotten worse and I am getting more cysts. I am really just wondering why treatment for estrogen dominance (progesterone) is making my acne worse when some women find that it cures theirs.


The DIM/Broccoli and phytoestrogens would primarily help with excess estrogen. And phytoestrogens (which plants are filled with, btw, so you are consuming them) can help or hurt. They usually help if you are low estrogen by adding some estrogen. And if you are high estrogen, they help by being weaker and binding to receptors so that the much stronger human estrogens can't.

Also, hormones don't get absorbed very well via the digestive tract. And some synthetic progestins are notorious for causing acne. you need to find out what you are taking. Progestins also inhibit seratonin production which would affect mood and as melatonin is made from seratonin it would affect your sleep. Melatonin is also a very important antioxidant.

Speaking of which, do you try to keep as natural as possible circadian cycle (exposure to natural light/dark and sleep)? What about stress?

Edited by alternativista, 24 February 2012 - 09:46 AM.


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Posted 24 February 2012 - 12:53 PM

I'm glad you got off synthetic thyroid, because your thyroid can become dependent upon the synthetic stuff, whereas with iodine and the natural thyroid medications, you might eventually be able to repair your thyroid to work on its own.

Alternativista brings up a good point about synthetic vs. natural progesterone. I don't know a whole lot about it, but I know that Emerita is a brand that makes a really good natural progesterone cream (not made from yams...apparently, those don't work so great either). This website has some good information on it: http://www.nutrition...am-emerita.html

#14 4Fours

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Posted 24 February 2012 - 12:57 PM

I want to say that I really appreciate you two taking the time to answer my questions and try to help me. I am trying to arm myself with as much knowledge as possible when I go into my next appointment on Monday.

Wanted to mention that there are different types of iodine--it's important to take the right kind. Nascent Iodine is a good one, and I believe Lugol's is as well.

What type of maca have you been on? I hear there is the raw maca and then the royal maca, which is slightly cooked I think.

It sounds like you have found a really great naturopath--that's a blessing!


The multi with iron and iodine is Vital Nutrients, the iodine is potassium iodide: http://www.vitalnutr...uct.aspx?ID=104

The maca I am on is FemmenessencePRO Maca: http://www.rockwelln...ernational.html

FemmenessencePRO is an adaptogenic product that supports normal hormonal balance for all women from puberty. FemmenessencePRO does not introduce any hormones into the body, rather it works to support regulation of the entire hormonal profile through the Hypothalamus Pituitary Adrenal Axis.


I don't know about the meds, but both hypo and hyperthyroid can affect acne. Did any of the med changes coincide with changes to your acne?

And have you considered your adrenal health which affects thyroid function as well as progesterone production?
Good things for thyroid function: http://www.acne.org/...ost__p__2592507 Good things for adrenal health: http://www.acne.org/...ost__p__2579438

The DIM/Broccoli and phytoestrogens would primarily help with excess estrogen. And phytoestrogens (which plants are filled with, btw, so you are consuming them) can help or hurt. They usually help if you are low estrogen by adding some estrogen. And if you are high estrogen, they help by being weaker and binding to receptors so that the much stronger human estrogens can't.

Also, hormones don't get absorbed very well via the digestive tract. And some synthetic progestins are notorious for causing acne. you need to find out what you are taking. Progestins also inhibit seratonin production which would affect mood and as melatonin is made from seratonin it would affect your sleep. Melatonin is also a very important antioxidant.

Speaking of which, do you try to keep as natural as possible circadian cycle (exposure to natural light/dark and sleep)? What about stress?


There was no acne problems that coincided with any med change other than my tincture and the reintroduction of my foods. Taking out my IgG sensitive foods this time has not cleared my skin again.

My doc is supporting my adrenals with the Maca, as well as a Balanced HPA Formula called Contegra. This has also greatly helped my depression. If I try to decrease the dose by even one pill, I get sent right into depression-land. Here's the info: http://www.sanesco.n...onal-therapy/32

I will find out from my doctor what kind of progesterone is in the tincture. But knowing her and her philosophy, it's possible that it is a supplement/ herb that supports the body to make it's own progesterone. It might not be straight up progesterone, but a precursor for it. I doubt she is using a synthetic progestin, but that's good to know. I'll find out.

My sleep is good, fall asleep at the same time every night, wake up the same time every morning. 8+ hours of sleep in a dark room. My husband even sleeps in a separate bed most of the time because his sleep is so poor, he doesn't want to disturb me.

I don't really have a problem with excess estrogen, it's where it should be. Although my husband and I were doing some research last night and since I most likely have PMDD, it could be that I have a gene that is predisposed to being overly sensitive to hormones.

Previously, research showed that women with PMDD have an abnormal response to normal hormone levels, and, thus, are differentially sensitive to their own natural hormone changes.

http://en.wikipedia....phoric_disorder

I don't think it's stress for me because when I was planning my wedding 2 years ago, and my husband was in the throws of his serious health crash and we didn't know if he'd be able to make it to the wedding... I was super stressed, my skin was clear. Granted, things are stressful now. My husband has chronic fatigue and has been out of work for 2 years. We are super broke, and both have health issues. But I definitely have been more stressed recently in my life and had no skin issues.

Again, these seem like hormonal breakouts and coincide with my hormonal tincture.
"Then why are you still on the hormonal tincture?"
Because it cures my depression, by treating estrogen dominance.
"But I thought treatment for estrogen dominance helps acne."
Me too, that's why I started this thread.

This is the "progesterone cured me" thread that vexes me so, lots of anecdotal evidence about progesterone cream curing acne. Remember, I was on a compounded, bio-identical progesterone cream before the tincture that made my acne even worse than it is now (on the tincture): http://www.acne.org/...gesterone-cream

Also, this wild-yam oil is being sold by a once active acne.org member on Etsy. Uses bio-identical progesterone just like I used to use, and claims to cure acne. With me, the progesterone makes it worse:
http://www.etsy.com/...t-vegan-natural

#15 4Fours

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Posted 24 February 2012 - 01:16 PM

I'm glad you got off synthetic thyroid, because your thyroid can become dependent upon the synthetic stuff, whereas with iodine and the natural thyroid medications, you might eventually be able to repair your thyroid to work on its own.

Alternativista brings up a good point about synthetic vs. natural progesterone. I don't know a whole lot about it, but I know that Emerita is a brand that makes a really good natural progesterone cream (not made from yams...apparently, those don't work so great either). This website has some good information on it: http://www.nutrition...am-emerita.html


Yes, the synthetic thyroid was my idea because I didn't want to be on animal products. Also, since it was compounded it could be specifically tailored to my needs. But it proved to be too strong for me, and the changing doses were becoming cost prohibitive.

That's interesting about the wild yam. I considered myself well researched in this topic. My mother-in-law attended Dr. Janet Lang's lecture about estrogen dominance (I know, my mother-in-law is great. She is a PT and general wellness expert. She's always going to these types of things). She passed along a series of CDs, that talked about thyroid, estrogen dominance, etc. Everything she said applied to me, and was very silmilar to the video of Dr. David Brownstein you linked. At the time, she seemed to think wild yam was the way to go, but did warn against what is known as the "progesterone spill" that happens when progesterone creams builds up in the fat tissue and dumps out all at once. Alternativista touched on it in this thread: http://www.acne.org/...am/page__st__60
I will have to check out her latest podcast (http://restorativeendocrinology.com/ if anyone is interested), and ask my doc. I don't think that is what I am on now, but thanks for the resource.

____
EDIT: Some additional info about my lifestyle: I don't smoke, rarely drink caffeine (maybe twice a month, unless I get a migraine in which case I take acetaminophen with caffeine), and drink alcohol maybe once a month, if that. I don't use plastics (no water bottles, no plastic leftover storage).

Edited by 4Fours, 24 February 2012 - 01:46 PM.


#16 alternativista

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Posted 24 February 2012 - 01:49 PM

At the time, she seemed to think wild yam was the way to go, but did warn against what is known as the "progesterone spill" that happens when progesterone creams builds up in the fat tissue and dumps out all at once. Alternativista touched on it in this thread: http://www.acne.org/...am/page__st__60


So where did you apply it?

#17 alternativista

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Posted 24 February 2012 - 02:06 PM

I guess alternativista's research doesn't conflict with what my doctor says, but conflicts with itself (if I am understanding it right):

PMS issues and irregular cycle may be indicators of estrogen dominance. It's about a possible excess of estrogen relative to a possible deficiency of progesterone. And acne and other symptoms occur with the monthly fluctuation of progesterone.


So I have estrogen dominance. Not high estrogen, just not the proper balance of estrogen to progesterone, which can cause acne. But fluctuation of progesterone can also cause acne? So the cure is also the cause!?


No. That statement isn't saying that progesterone causes acne. Just that it fluctuates on a monthly schedule. And it's just a vague introductory statement that I guess could use some improvement. Some people break out when it's low rather than high. At ovulation rather than menstruation. It can however act like an androgen, especially certain synthetic progestins in many BCPs. Estrogen can also bind to androgen receptors. It really about having the right amount of hormones. Too much of anything causes problems. Just like both too little and too much iodine can cause hypothyroid.

Does your acne come and go with your cycle or is it constant?

Edited by alternativista, 24 February 2012 - 02:37 PM.


#18 4Fours

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Posted 24 February 2012 - 02:40 PM


At the time, she seemed to think wild yam was the way to go, but did warn against what is known as the "progesterone spill" that happens when progesterone creams builds up in the fat tissue and dumps out all at once. Alternativista touched on it in this thread: http://www.acne.org/...am/page__st__60


So where did you apply it?


To avoid the progesterone spill, I changed it up. Always applied to thin skinned areas like the inside of my arms, creases of the elbows, sometimes breasts and stomach. But that was over a year ago.

I guess alternativista's research doesn't conflict with what my doctor says, but conflicts with itself (if I am understanding it right):

PMS issues and irregular cycle may be indicators of estrogen dominance. It's about a possible excess of estrogen relative to a possible deficiency of progesterone. And acne and other symptoms occur with the monthly fluctuation of progesterone.


So I have estrogen dominance. Not high estrogen, just not the proper balance of estrogen to progesterone, which can cause acne. But fluctuation of progesterone can also cause acne? So the cure is also the cause!?


No. That statement isn't saying that progesterone causes acne. Just that it fluctuates on a monthly schedule. And it's just a vague introductory statement. Some people break out when it's low rather than high. At ovulation rather than menstruation. It can however act like an androgen, especially certain synthetic progestins in many BCPs. It really about having the right amount of hormones. Too much of anything causes problems. Just like both too little and too much iodine can cause hypothyroid.

Does your acne come and go with your cycle or is it constant?

Let's assume that I am not on a synthetic progestin (I honestly don't believe my doc would have me on anything synthetic, but like I said I will inquire) and I have been off BCP for 2.5 years. My skin was better when I wasn't on the progesterone supplementation. So I think I am the type of person to break out when progesterone is high, rather than low. I agree about having the right amount of hormones, which is what I am trying to do by taking regular hormone tests. I'm not playing a guessing game like many people on here. But the treatment to get me to the right amount of hormones seems to be making my skin worse. My acne and depression flare up right after ovulation, in the second half of my cycle. By the time my period actually comes around, I am recovering from the cysts and pimples, and rarely get new ones during my period. Sometimes I get pimples before ovulation, usually around my forehead, temples, between the brow and and the apples of my cheeks. The cysts and pimples around my chin and mouth come after ovulation.

Is the general consensus that it must be the type of progesterone that is messing me up? My worry is I am going to go in on Monday, ask what kind of progesterone I am on and get my test results, only to find out that the progesterone is natural, non-synthetic and my hormones are "balanced". Then where do I go?

___
EDIT: What if my progesterone is high when I get my results back? I can't lower it, any attempt made at that in the past has put me into a major depression crash. Then I am really stuck...

Edited by 4Fours, 24 February 2012 - 03:35 PM.


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Posted 24 February 2012 - 03:57 PM

Ugh!!! I had just written you a long reply with lots of links and was just about done with it and lost it all!!! Going to see if I can recall what I came up with....

Your multi wouldn't be good for long-term, because it contains isolated Vitamin A, which many studies have shown to be dangerous. Instead, I would take a good trace mineral supplement like Cell Food, a high-quality green powder or food-based multi, a food-based Vitamin C, a food-based B Complex, Vitamin D-3, Magnesium Oil, and a mercury-free Fish Oil, like Carlson's brand.

I would also be sure to address your and your husband's digestive system, which is foundational to good health, with a variety of probiotics from good brands such as PB8, Renew Life, Enzymatic Therapy and Jarrows. Aloe Vera Juice is also very healing to the digestive track and might be a good idea to take. Plant-based enzymes can be helpful as well.

You guys might consider adaptogenic herbs, like Rhodiola Rosea (Eleuthero is one, and you're getting that in your Contegra supplement) , and Corvalen (d-ribose) is a supplement that has greatly helped many with chronic fatigue.

I don't remember exactly why, but the Iodine you're taking isn't the best kind for getting great results. Nascent Iodine is a really good one, and I would think it would be a good idea for your husband to take it as well, as he is most likely also deficient. I have found the best deal on it at Amazon. I'm an Amazon Prime member and save a ton on shipping. Iodine levels can be tested for about $50 from FFP Labs. 877-900-5556 OR 828-694-1144. If you're deficient, you may need about 50 mg a day for 6 months or more. I don't think the test is necessary though - most likely, you need the iodine. I would just look out for symptoms of too much iodine rather than spend money on the test.

The Contegra looks to have good things, but I'd want to choose the things that are in it, such as the Iodine. I don't know what types of B-Vitamins it uses. The Suntheanine it contains is also good.

Oh, and don't forget the Emerita progesterone cream. I'm wondering if the synthetic cream is what started your acne outbreak.

I forget if you said you're getting sunshine? What about doing any breathing exercises? A few minutes or this a day would be good as well as maintaining an attitude of thankfulness for all you have to be thankful for--our attitudes can greatly affect our health.

Do you and your husband get in any exercise? Some easy exercises would be walking, hula-hooping (with a 1.5 lb weighted hula hoop) and just lightly bouncing on a mini-trampoline (great for the lymph system, and in my opinion, the best exercise you can do). If you're going to do more than just bounce, a high-quality trampoline like a Bellicon, Jump-Sport or Cellerciser is recommended so you don't damage your joints.

If you have more funds down the road, you might look into a Chi Machine by Sun Anchon (don't get an imitator). There are tons of people online who swear by using it, and it can help with many different things, and it's like exercising but you don't have to do anything, haha. I think you can pick one up on eBay for about $200-300.

Okay...I think this is everything I had originally come up with. I'm sorry you and your husband are going through this. I know it's hard. It's wonderful that you have a supportive mother-in-law who understands the value of alternative medicine!! :)

#20 cvd

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Posted 24 February 2012 - 06:48 PM

I like zinc picolinate --- doesn't upset my stomach and zinc usually does. I take 50mg. Have you tried calcium citrate with Vit D to help with depression? My doc says Vit D is very important to help with stress and things like mood. Continued resistant acne can definately add to depression. I was taken off all antibiotics and since Oct am following doctor prescribed allergy diet like yours + suppliments and Oracea, Tretinoin Cream and Spiro since last month. Sadly I am flaring up badly despite all this good eating, etc. and it is significantly adding to my feeling of depression!

I hope you feel better soon. I too have wierd reactions to hormones. I can understand the progesteron not working. It may be that your system is especially sensitive to any added hormones or changes in hormones. This is what an endochronologist told me...she said my hormone levels were normal but I appeared to be ultra sensitive. So anything would set it off. In the past Spiro has helped me and my new derm put me back on it. It blocks androgen receptors which helps any other hormones in body to have a chance to balance out...and for the skin to not be overwhelmed by testosterone (androgens). Takes months to happen though.