This condition is called "sebaceous hyperplasia," and it is either solely caused by, or mostly caused by, excess of the androgen hormones in the body. Those of us who use retinoids with success have this condition. I am one such individual.
One of the most effective treatments for overactive or hyperplastic sebaceous glands are retinoic acids.
Retinoic acid causes sebaceous glands to decrease in size and reduces their growth rate, resulting in dramatically decreased sebum production. In some cases, treatment with retinoic acid can decrease the production of sebum by up to 90%.
That is astounding. It can reduce sebum production by up to 90% and yet I still have oily skin. Imagine how oily our faces would be if we stopped using retinoids. I can't even imagine. My face would nearly be dripping with oil...that is scary...
And if you think that is scary, wait till you read this part, which I have never heard about until now:
The most troubling side effect of retinoic acid is its effect on the developing fetus. Retinoic acid dramatically disrupts normal embryonic development and leads to severe birth defects. For this reason, retinoic acid treatments are tightly controlled in many places, particularly for women.
Tightly controlled, especially in women...hm... As a woman who has been using Tretinoin cream for over a decade, I must admit that I don't recall ever having been told this by a doctor or a pharmacist before. This has me very worried now. Anyone care to comment on this?
And this brings me to my next question. Doctors always seem to want to treat the symptom instead of the core problem. You have overactive sebacious glands, so lets treat the symptom--acne. But why don't we address the underlying issue: the overactive sebacious glands? What is causing them to be overactive in the first place? Research suggests that excessive androgen production plays the leading role. Well, ok, why does the body produce too many androgens? During adolescense, hormones are imbalanced because the body is maturing, but diet and other stressors probably exacerbate the problem. I don't know what people can do to successfully bring their hormones into balance during adolescence--perhaps someone out there has the answer to that one. Or perhaps a high-glycemic diet and sedentary lifestyle fuel the hormonal imbalance.
During adulthood, however, if the body is still making too many androgens, there is a problem. Research suggests that adults who produce too many androgens either have a cancer that is causing it, or their diet is too rich in high-glycemic foods, which spikes insulin and triggers the body to produce too many androgens. Women have even more to be concerned about because we often use birth control pills, which interfere with our body's natural hormone levels and causes imbalances.
The well documented increase in acne rates that occurs during adolescence, particularly in males, is due largely to hormonal changes. The high levels of androgen hormones that begin circulating during male adolescence stimulate the growth of the sebaceous glands. Women with elevated androgen levels can also experience problems with androgen dependent sebaceous hyperplasia. Excessive levels of androgen hormones can be treated with androgen inhibitors, which suppress their effects. Sebaceous glands also appear to respond to non-androgen hormones, like Insulin Growth Factor (IGF), a hormone that has been loosely tied to milk consumption.
Another strike for milk (darnit, I love milk!) So you don't have to be allergic to milk to have a problem with it; it can worsen your acne just because it has IGF in it.
What do you guys think about retinoic acids causing birth defects? Have you ever heard that before?
Edited by Seeking2012, 11 December 2012 - 02:56 PM.