PCOS and Acne

PCOS and acne are often found together, with other symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome including hirsutism, alopecia, menstrual and fertility problems, and weight gain. This endocrine (hormonal) disorder, if not properly managed, can also lead to diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Polycystic ovary syndrome affects 5-10% of females of childbearing age (Morgante et al., 2015). People with PCOS tend to have increased levels of inflammatory molecules and problems with glucose metabolism. Insulin resistance in particular is often seen in people with PCOS who are obese. Insulin resistance can lead to hyperinsulinemia, and both are related to the hyperandrogenism, reproductive disorders, acne and hirsutism associated with PCOS.

PCOS may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease in the long-term. People with PCOS often have altered lipid profiles (such as high cholesterol and triglycerides), as well as elevated blood pressure.

PCOS and Acne

Many of you will already know, particularly if you’ve read Eat to Beat Acne, about the links between inflammation, poor blood sugar control, and acne. Managing PCOS well can help decrease acne symptoms in addition to supporting overall health.

Lifestyle and dietary changes play an important role in attenuating the long- and short-term consequences of PCOS. Exercise, for instance, is an excellent way to support healthy blood sugar regulation and metabolism. Exercise also supports healthy circulation and immune function, which can enhance skin health and healing.

Over the next few pages, we will look at how a number of nutrients, including zinc, selenium, chromium, and calcium and vitamin D, might have benefits in PCOS.

First, though, let’s look at medications for PCOS and acne. References for this series can be found here.