First of all, i want to apologize for my really bad english, i'm not a native speaker. I'm glad i've found this site because i'm really, really lost with my hormonal problems, even if i've read like thousands of articles about hormones, acne relations and all this kind of things.
Let me tell you my little story, i hope somebody can help me, because doctors didn't seem to be helpful to my case. Sorry, it's really long and full of details...
First of all, i'm a 20 years old girl.
In my teenage years, i had very mild acne (and a little bit of oily skin) but nothing really awful. I just had once a year the visit of THE big cyst, always near my nose (and it always happened in summer) so strange haha. Except this f*ck*r, my acne wasn't really annoying.
At 16 y-o, i became a little bit more conscious about my physical appearance and wanted to make my little oily skin and little pimples disappear totally. So i went to a dermatologist, and he put me on Accutane, low dose. I wasn't aware of all the side effects of this treatment but fortunately, i only got dryer skin/lips lips. And no more pimples, my skin was perfect, hooray !
May 2010 - June 2012 : I took Accutane during two years, and i stopped it by myself little by little. During the last year i took Accutane, i was really really stressed, anxious, and i discovered many things :
-my upper lips became more hairy
- my eyebrows were growing faster after pulling them etc
- and my doc discovered me an hypothyroidism (Hashimoto's disease in my case).At the moment, i had no symptoms, so i didn't take any Levothyroxine, or something like that. Or i thought i didn't have any symptoms :
- i was more tired than before, but i blamed the finals, and i was also more sensitive to cold, but i blamed the real cold winter of my new town. - - not to mention my hair loss.
I also began to have digestive problems (they calmed down since i quit high school, it was probably stress-related.)
And then... the "nightmare" began, last year.
2 months after stopping Accutane (August 2012), little by little, i noticed :
- that my skin was more oily
- I had more and more little pimples and clogged pores
- 2-3 cyst on my face permanently
- redness on my skin, mostly on the cheeks/nose
The cysts were located most of the time on my forehead, around my nose and more rarely on the side of my jaws.
My nose was very oily and I had most of the little pimples there probably because of the excess sebum which clogged my pores.
I did some research and found something called "hyperandrogenism" with the same symptoms i had. Hair loss, acne, oily skin. But my periods were still regular, so i didn't look into PCOS.
During that period, i was eating crap everyday. My acne was never related to food, so i didn't think of changing anything and ate refined sugar all the time because of stress/anxiety.
I stopped washing it with water, and used (and still using) a soft micellar water and floral water i order to rinse it. My skin was a liiitle bit less dryer, but nothing more.
February 2013 : I decided to begin a more healthy diet and exercised everyday, alternating cardio and light resistance-training. No dairy, no refined sugar. But my skin remained the same. Pimples, redness, still oily. Still losing my hair.
March 2013 : Still following a healthy diet/exercising. I increased the intensity a little bit.
I finally had an appointment with an dermatologist, and he told me he think that i suffer from hyperandrogenism after seeing my hairy belly, my poor thin hair and my beautiful red pimples. I still had regular periods. He gave me an appointment for the next month and asked me to do some hormonal blood tests before giving any final diagnosis. The results are here :
- Ferritin : 18 ng/mL (labo normal values : 10 to 204 ng/mL)
- Testosterone : 0,34 µg/L (labo values : 0,10 to 0,61)
- DHEAS : 3,69 mg/L
(labo values : women before menopause : 0,70 to 3,00 mg/L / women after menopause : 0,20 to 1,00 mg/L)
- Vitamine B12 : 188 pmol/L (labo values : 141 to 488)
- Delta 4 -Androstenedione : 2,20 ng/mL (labo values : 0,70 - 3,50)
7,68 nmol/L (labo values : 2,44 - 12,22)
- 17 Alpha hydroxyprogesterone : 0,60 ng/mL
Labo values : Follicular phase : 0,15 - 1,10 ng/mL - 0,45 - 3,30 nmol/L
Luteal phase : 0,70 - 3,10 ng/mL - 2,10 - 9,40 nmol/L
Menopause : 0,08 - 1,30 ng/mL - 0,24 - 3,90 nmol/L
April 2013 : I went to the same dermatologist, he checked my blood tests and put me under something called "Androcur" (= cyprosterone acetate) and BCP. Didn't explain anything, said just the words "hyperandrogenism, hirsutism".
I never took them. Why ? The month before i saw the dermatologist again, my skin has totally cleared, smoothed, i had no more weird redness (or just a little bit). My dermatisis (nose, eyebrows) disappeared. I don't know how this magic occurred, but i know that at the same time i began to eat even more healty (I never cut the carbs, i think i was at 200-220 gr of carbs/day, mostly fruits, sometimes flavored soya yogurt, not always low IG (eating bananas), but NEVER refined sh*t).
Still eating some gluten (oatmeal at breakfast), but no dairy as usual.
I think sport has something to do with that because I increased the intensity of my workouts + I lost some weight.
But weirdly 1-2 month or so after, my skin became more oily again, i had little pimples all over my nose (i think they were clogged inflamed pores because of their tiny size), my hair was falling again. I think that it has something to do with adrenal fatigue, because I restricted my diet even more (dairy, soy, gluten-free) and was still working out a lot. Stress, stress, stress = bam adrenals ! I was feeling really tired but still working out... huge mistake.
During summer 2013 : I ate like crap once a week because I couldn't impose to my family my eating habits, stressed less about my food, worked out a little bit less and tada... My acne calmed down a litlle bit, and was less oily.
September 2013 : New town, new school, new boyfriend, new everything : I was a little bit stressed, ate not very well, but my skin was ok with just few liiiittle pimples not noticeable. I had a huge breakout after a stressful event, I didn't worried much about, and it calmed down after a week.
October 2013 : I went to my endocrinologist and he put me on Levothyroxine 50mg because of my extreme fatigue and my hair loss. He told saw some pimples on my cheek and told me that acne can be related to hypothyroidism, but nothing more.
November 2013 : I began to take a very low-dosed birth control pill. Did nothing to my body, skin and hair the same. spotting all the time. Still eating like crap, 0 hour of exercise. Still feeling more and more tired, losing my hair. Litlle bit more anxious and stressed.
February 2014 : I alternated between mild depression and little moment of happiness during those 4 months, but the end of the month i was mostly depressed and anxious. I began to eat healthy again since mid-February. I was still feeling tired as hell, still losing hair.
March 2014 : Still eating healthy.
- I took some spirulin during 4 days : breakout. Stopped it and my skin was ok again.
- Started jojoba to moisturize, and my skin was never that beautiful since April 2013, but I breakout one week after the first application.
- I noticed bigger pimples on my back, chest, and pimples on my chin (i never had pimples there)... They've disappeared since April. Why are they coming back again ?
Also stopped birth control pill this month, lowering the doses gradually in order to avoid a brutal drop in hormonal levels. I don't think it had any impact on my skin, since it never improved something... or am i wong ?
I also upped my Levothyroxine intake to 100/125 mg instead of 75mg. And had my first breakout one week after...
Now I have more time for myself, I'm also working on managing my stress, i don't think that much on my diet but eat really really healthy, it became a habit, trying to not think about my skin too, but... It didn't improved that much.
Soooo... (if somebody was brave enough to read that all !) i have some hypothesis, and i wanna have if possible your opinion :
- Is there a relation between stress/acne ? I know that in my family they all have clear skin, and my mom had only one huge breakout in her 20's after one big stressful event. My dad has some colopathic issue because of stress, (but clear skin even in his teenage years) so probably we are more sensible to the stress factor more than androgens/diet/etc... Because I'm really fed up to eat that healthy (my eating habits are close to an elimination diet, now for 2 months...) and not seeing results.
- I saw that my DHEAS levels where elevated and my testosterone levels normal... Can it be the cause of my hirsutism/acne/hair loss even if they are not that elevated ? I've read some articles talking about that too. Or probably it's more a problem in the adrenals area + my hypothyroidism ?
I think I'm gonna see my endocrinologist to talk with him about that and ask him a new hormonal blood test, with cortisol levels, estrogen etc etc. I'll have an abdominal ultrasound this week to check if i'm PCOS or not, i'll tell you if i have something new !
I'm also trying spearmint tea in order to lower my androgen levels... I don't know, i try.
Thanks for reading ! (and sorry for my really bad english again...)
Edited by Nailana, 07 April 2014 - 01:04 PM.