Progesterone Helps Acne that Varies with the Cycle
If the acne varies with menstrual cycle, then there is a hormonal component to the acne. If the acne appeared in the late 30's or early 40's, then there is a hormonal component to the acne. It may also be possible that xenoestrogens and other hormonally active chemicals and herbs put on the skin may cause a shift in the hormones in a woman to androgens like testosterone.
From "What Your Doctor May Not Tell You about Menopause", by John Lee, MD:
"Acne is common in men especially around or just after puberty. However, acne does not happen in eunuchs (castrated men). Androgens (testosterone and others) are involved in Acne. Scattered throughout the skin, but common around the hairline, nose, and ears, are little skin sebaceous follicle that make an oily wax know as sebum.
Sebum keeps the skin smooth and supple. Extra androgens stimulate excess sebum production. Drying sebum blocks pores the gland outlet at the skin surface, causing retention of sebum. A common benign bacterium (Corynebacterium acnes) multiplies in the incarcerated sebum, causing low grade inflammation.
Vitamin A deficiency can aggravate acne and make it more difficult to heal. Vitamin A or beta carotene and zinc aid resolution of acne. Many dermatologists prescribe tetracycline antibiotic because it inhibits bacterial growth and thus reduces inflammation. Tetracycline does not cure acne; it merely reduces inflammation. It also kills friendly intestinal bacteria, leading to a "leaky gut" syndrome and yeast overgrowth known as candida.
When a woman in her late 30s or early 40s develops acne, I suspect increased androgen production. In almost all adult female patients with this condition, supplemental progesterone clears the skin. My hypothesis is that ovarian follicle depletion leading to progesterone deficiency results in increased adrenal production of androgens.
When progesterone is resupplied, androgen production goes down and the skin clears. The same hypothesis does not apply to men. But in women, topical progesterone does wonders for acne."
In my experience, cutting out xenoestrogens and phytoestrogens, and taking progesterone cream helps acne that varies with the period. If the acne varies with the period, then there is a hormonal component to the acne.
Ask any dermatologist, and he will tell you that diet does not make any difference in acne. However, I looked at the original dermatology studies myself and found that the conclusions of the study was not well thought out.
One study used college students and made them eat a pound of chocolate every day for month. After a month, no difference in acne was seen. However, they did not evaluate what other things the college students were eating.
I have observed in myself that if I eat avocados and lamb, these two foods make me have acne. I am sure there are other foods, but I have not spent the time to investigate this fully.
After the age of 35, a woman becomes more Estrogen Dominant with anovulatory cycles and sometimes will develop acne. Progesterone helps with acne that occurs in the late 30's and early 40's. Also, if the acne varies with the period, elimination of xenoestrogens (environmental estrogens) and phytoestrogens and taking progesterone cream helps with this type of acne as well.
Again, it is VERY IMPORTANT to cut out xenoestrogens and phytoestrogens when taking progesterone to help with cyclical acne. If you do NOT cut out xenoestrogens and phytoestrogens, and take progesterone then your acne will get temporarily worse for several days. Stopping the progesterone will make the acne go back to the normal baseline in about 3-4 days.
It is the additive action of your own estradiol and the action of xenoestrogens and phytoestrogens that are creating the acne. So the answer is to cut out xenoestrogens and pyhtoestrogens. Also the answer is to take progesterone to oppose the remaining xenestrogens that you could not cut out. Doing both of these things usually results in clear skin. However, if you are not willing to cut out xenoestrogens and phytoestrogens, I can't help you because that is what is causing the acne that varies with the cycle.
If the acne varies with the menstrual cycle, then there is a hormonal component to the acne.