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Member Since 30 Sep 2013
Offline Last Active Sep 28 2014 09:19 AM

#3401054 Estrogen Or Progesterone Causing Oily Skin/clogged Pores?!

Posted by jlcampi on 15 December 2013 - 04:58 PM

Looking for advice from anyone who might understand which hormone is most likely to relate to overly oily skin and clogged pores! Tonight is the night I'm going to be starting the Ortho Cyclen! I'm doing some research on which hormone relates to overly oily skin and clogging- and I keep coming across Estrogen dominance. How people with too much bad estrogen will see in increase in sebum and therefore skin issues. Is it possible at all that the increase in estrogen from the Alesse(0.2) and Seasonale(0.3) is what's causing my issues? Or is this even possible because they are both considered " Low estrogen pills". I'm trying to figure out if it's that or the progestrin with high androgen levels in both those birth controls that is causing the issues? I'm also reading that progesterone with high androgenic activity increases DHT levels- which increases oily skin too.
Please share your knowledge on how hormones work and which one it's most likely to be :( So confused, and I don't want my skin getting even worse with Ortho Cyclen being (0.4) in estrogen if that's what it is! Help!!

Elevated Free testosterone increases sebum production and is exacerbated by insulin.

The endocrine system attempts to maintain balance among the various hormones. When a particular hormone increases or decreases it can cause an imbalance of several other hormones.

Estrogen neutralizes testosterone
Progesterone neutralizes estrogen
Cortisol neutralizes DHEA
Progesterone can amplify the effects of testosterone.

In females, the primary source of free testosterone is DHEA  

It's best to do a complete female hormone panel and include 8 am cortisol to understand the problem.
If you do, make sure you go to the lab on day 21 of your cycle.

#3400238 Hormonal

Posted by jlcampi on 11 December 2013 - 10:11 AM

Why are you taking DIM and not something that lowers your testosterone instead? 
I don't think they should affect your fertility if they help raise free testosterone in your body. 

im not sure , i just read that DIM supplement helps control hormones and then i started taking it then i havent gotten any acne since then
so im confused why dim cleared my hormonal acne if it raises testosterone ?? also what are good hormonal supplements that actually work for getting rid of excess testosterone or andogens ? and is hormonal acne in male causes by excess estogen or androgens ?? kinda lost
Acne is primarily caused by elevated free testosterone and secondarily by elevated insulin.

DIM is a metabolite of indole-3-carbinol (i3c).  High quality i3c is unstable and must be constantly refrigerated to maintain potency. Most people use DIM as it's more cost effective and easier to manage.

Both of the supplements I just mentioned are found in cruciferous vegetables and are thought to reduce the incidence of prostate and breast cancer. Estradiol (E2) is a potent form of estrogen that metabolizes to several species. DIM and I3C positively change these ratios by metabolizing toward the more protective estrogen metabolites. Without this you may have a tendency to metabolize estrogen toward the inflammatory species of estrogen.

As far as i know the mechanism for reducing acne is not well understood.

#3399788 Sudden Adult Acne On Right Side Of Face

Posted by jlcampi on 09 December 2013 - 11:12 AM

Thank you all for responding!  I am very happy that I joined this site.

Environmentally you could be reacting to foods...sometimes even foods you have always eaten.  Although a one-sided reaction usually does not happen because of that.  More likely is a reaction to a new detergent or make-up or lotion.

I have been trying to see if anything is different in my environment, since I did recently move and started a new job.  It's the 2nd time I've moved in 2 years and to be honest, this move was a relief!! Before I was terribly stressed because I had to move back into my childhood home after grad school.  I've been using the same detergent, makeup, and products.  My apartment has carpet (that I shampooed 4 times) and no visible mold.  I've even had the water tested! No notable changes there.  
I am a vegetarian and I work out regularly.  I've been racking my brain trying to find something around me that would cause this change in my skin but I can't seem to find anything.  I am hoping it is stress related, but I would be surprised if it was.  The biggest source of my stress lately has been my skin :-/
Hopefully you are right and it will clear up on its own.

You need a female hormone panel, testosterone, cortisol 8 am, and DHEA sulfate to determine what's going on.
If you do blood testing make sure it's on day 21 of cycle with bleeding starting on day 1.  Day 21 is when progesterone peaks...
If you think you have PCOS make sure you get both Estradiol and Estrone.

I think you are right.  I will ask to have my hormones checked out at my next appointment.  Even though I am focusing only on my acne right now, it's best to know what is going on with my body.    
I feel you! You case sounds so similar to mine except that I am 26.. and had no insurance to see a doctor.. I got painful acne on my right side too which happened right a particularly stressful event in my life! I was wondering what I did wrong especially because I ate clean and exercised regularly. It was mostly through trial and error that I found out what worked for me - a cocktail of vit A, vit E, chelated zinc, borage seed oil capsules and DIM. I know it sounds like a lot, but within 3 weeks of diligently taking this my breakout stopped and the acne healed quickly too. Also I stopped drinking regular milk now and switched to almond milk. I do continue eating yoghurt on and off that hasnt caused a problem! I use Cetaphil cleanser every day and a salicylic acid peel every 2 weeks to help with the scars. If I do see an occasional breakout during the time of my period I use colloidal sulphur and it has really helped! I hope this helps you out! Good luck and keep your chin up :) 

Dairy can significantly contribute to acne. The Milk Industry made a huge impact on the American diet when they convinced us than an UNHEALTHY product "does a body good".

Milk is only acceptable when non-pasteurized and whole from heifers that are grass fed, free range and organic.  We generally won't find that palatable.  It's also difficult to find a source like this.

From an overall health and in particular an acne based perspective, it's best to avoid all dairy.

#3397192 Vitex (Agnus Castus) And Saw Palmetto

Posted by jlcampi on 26 November 2013 - 09:48 AM

Hi Wishclean.
No I'm not a doctor. I am familiar with endocrinology, in part, because the subject area interests me.
There is zero chance hirsutism is caused by elevated estrogen. It's only caused by unopposed DHT. As I mentioned you need to understand the testosterone source to come up with the best treatment plan. It could be adrenal (but may not be) based on your last comment. You mentioned melasma in your last post. That could be caused by a cortisol deficiency.
Cortisol is the most important hormone in the human body. If levels drop low enough it becomes a medical emergency and without intervention death can occur. This hormone is responsible for regulating blood pressure, regulating the immune system, fighting inflammation, increasing dynamism and regulating glucose. It's incredibly important to have this hormone regulated if you are correcting thyroid hormone, IGF-1. growth hormone or melatonin.
A few common signs of cortisol deficiency are - fatigue, excessive negativism, feeling like you are a victim, low stress tolerance and periods of yelling and screaming. The latter is caused by an increase in ACTH attempting to stimulate cortisol production by the adrenals. Since this isn't occurring, adrenaline is produced instead.
8 am cortisol should be around 20.
Hormone testing:
The female hormone cycle is well known. Depending on what the complaint looks like we may want to test on a day other than day 21, however testing on a day when progesterone and estradiol just dropped to relatively low concentrations isn't going to provide AS MUCH information. It isn't useless.
Generally, the best lab testing is to combine serum (blood) with urine. It depends what you are looking for though. Saliva testing has some benefit, however it's diagnostic value is low. So why don't we like it? You end up with a free hormone value (free hormones fluctuate substantially throughout the day) and a reference range for the analyte that is large. This makes interpretation more difficult.
You can test for testosterone just about any day of the month (slight increase at ovulation). Best tests to order for testosterone are:
Total testosterone
Androstanediol Glucoronide (fist metabolite of DHT)
Of course we need the adrenal androgens, female sex hormones, fsh, lh, etc, etc.
I suggest you order the Array 1 panel from Cyrex labs. This is a saliva sample.
This test will look for a gluten intolerance. If it comes back positive, then try Array 4 next. This will test for cross gluten sensitivity based on specific foods.

I would think that based on chronic stress and some mid-section weight gain, my cortisol is high, not low. Again, symptoms of high and low cortisol overlap, which makes it confusing. I'm not even sure they are testing my cortisol. The doctor's office didn't like the fact that I was asking too many questions about the blood test (bc I didn't think it would be that useful) so I didn't get a chance to see which hormones they are checking. I'm pretty sure though they are not checking for all testosterone, which is frustrating. 
Right now I'm betting on high androgens (or androgen sensitivity) and high estrogen, with low progesterone. I'm treating high testosterone with inositol, which has reduced my hirsutism, but I still get some breakouts around ovulation and my period. Not sure if I need to up my inositol dosage or not, because when I first started taking it, it minimized all those breakouts, even the ovulation ones. 

Hi Wishclean:

I'm not familiar with overlapping symptoms of cortisol deficiency/excess. They symptoms look very different. If you have chronic stress it may be that your adrenals are fatigued, leading to cortisol deficiency.

Extreme cortisol deficiency results in a vey thin sillouette.
Extreme cortisol excess results in muscle wasting (thin legs and arms), a large square-like torso, purple stretch marks on the upper body and a "moon face". Your face will look nearly round and very large.

At ovulation estrogen drops and testosterone increases. Since estrogen neutralizes the side effects of testosterone you get not only increased testosterone, but it's unopposed since estrogen declines.

Testosterone doesn't change at the end of the month but estrogen drops off. So, you seem to get acne when estrogen declines.

Would you be interested in posting your lab work?  

Lef.org is a great place to purchase lab work without having to nag the doc. You can order what you want and it's discounted if you are a member. They also have an annual sale that drops the pricing further.

Note that DIM is NOT an aromatase inhibitor, i.e. it does not inhibit the CYP19 enzyme.
DIM upregulates CYP1A1, CYP1A2 and CYP1B1 enzymes. This increases the speed at which you clear active estrogen from the body, or in other words converts estrone and estradiol (two types of estrogen) into estrogen metabolites. DIM generally gives you more "good" estrogen metabolites (2OH and 4OH) than "bad" estrogen metabolites.
However these metabolites that DIM promotes are still estrogenic. What is the benefit? Well, the metabolites are not as estrogenic as estradiol. So the hope is that you reduced your overall estrogenic activity a little bit. Here is where the effects of DIM will vary from person to person.
No reduction in estrogen from DIM can occur because:
1. In some, the increase in estrogenic activity from the increased estrogen metabolites is roughly equal to the reduction of precursors estradiol and estrogen. So DIM didn't do much for this person.
2. DIM requires certain cofactors in the body to work. We don't really know what all these cofactors are. DIM's results can vary from person to person without a clear answer why. 
Increase in free testosterone:
Increased estrogen metabolites from DIM can increase free testosterone by knocking them off binding proteins. Generally in someone with more bad metabolites than good, adding DIM will increase good metabolites but will also increase free testosterone. However...
Decrease in free testosterone:
Some people already have high levels of "good" estrogen metabolites, or 2OH and 4OH. Raising these levels further with DIM creates negative feedback on testosterone that outweighs the estrogenic effects of the estradiol and estrone you had before DIM. 
Now, as interesting as this all is, it's not an easy thing for the average person to determine if DIM will have the desired effect. 
In my opinion, DIM does not work very well if you are trying to decrease androgenic and estrogenic activity at the same time. If you don't care about a possible rise in androgenic activity (e.g. if you think you mostly have a progesterone/estrogen balance problem, not an androgenic problem), then go for it.
But for those of us who clear primarily on anti-androgens, DIM is a poor choice. Personally, it made me break out while still on 100mg of spiro after a very long time being clear. 
We can go on for pages and pages about all the possibilities here, but in the end, you can either spend a lot of time finding a practitioner who gives a shit, and has actually looked at research since they graduated from medical school, and then paying them an arm and a leg to take some tests. And hopefully between the two of you, those results will give you something that can be translated into take this drug -> clear your skin. 
Or you can take the cheap way and just try something, and record how you feel and how your skin fares. It's not terribly scientific, but it doesn't cost an arm and a leg, either. 
So what...
So if you just want to inhibit estrogenic activity, honestly I would go for an actual aromatase inhibitor, not DIM.
There are over-the-counter compounds that are supposedly aromatase inhibitors, if that's a route you're interested in going.
If you have estrogen dominance, though, it's worth noting that spironolactone is not the way to go either. Estrogen dominance is not going to be solved by taking an anti-androgen with some estrogenic properties. For estrogen dominance you're better off with progesterone supplementation.
Study on "natural" products as aromatase inhibitors
I also want to note that DHT itself inhibits aromatase. But I haven't seen conclusive evidence showing that inhibiting aromatase through other means (drugs, supplements) does the reverse and increases DHT.

Yep. I know of no well informed, competent doc that treats estrogen dominance with aromatase inhibitor or dim as first line treatments.

Progrsterone is always used to treat excessive estrogen in women. If testosterone is contributing to this through excessive aromatase activity and everything else has been tried, then possibly an aromatase inhibitor can be used caution.

This will sound arrogant and condecending, however after a decade or more of studying this material, I truley believe that the vast majority of physicians were not trained in endocrinology, are uninformed on the subject and  don't believe it has much relevance in the clinical picture.

Even more frustrating is this phenomena is not limited to the physician. It also extends into the research community.  Because of their ignorance they tend to design studies that are baseless (don't consider the full breadth of our understanding) and then end up with an erroneus conclusion.  A perfect example of this is a recent study indicating that Omega 3 fatty acids cause prostate cancer. Complete BS.