Acne that Varies with the Cycle
If the acne varies with the cycle then there is a hormonal component. This is the end of the story, period. If the acne varies with the cycle, there is a hormonal component. Thus, hormone therapy will help with the acne. Usually, the acne starts just before the period, or the acne gets worse just before the period. Natural progesterone cream can help lessen the severity of the acne, or completely eliminate the acne by balancing out excess estrogen in your environment.
If you have acne that varies the cycle, this is due to too much estrogen. Too much estrogen has been labeled Estrogen Dominance. And where is this excess estrogen coming from? It is coming from chemicals or herbs in the environment that mimic estrogen. These chemicals and herbs are coming into the body mainly through the skin rather than what is being eaten. It is counterintuitive. Anything on the skin is 10 times in potency than what is eaten orally. Just like estrogen patches and nicotine patches, lotions, shampoos, laundry detergent, cosmetics, toiletries, and deodorant all are put on the skin and go directly into the body. However, anything eaten orally is 90% first pass metabolized by the liver. Thus, anything on the skin is 10 times in potency than what you take orally.
Chemicals are now under scrutiny by the FDA, EPA, and US Geological Survey for the disruption of hormones. Recently, in 2012, the US geological survey finished an evaluation of all the major watersheds in the United States. They found that many of the fish were feminized. For instance, 40% of the male bass in the Potomac River were producing eggs. Woodling , a field biologist in Colorado, found that white sucker fish above the sewage outfall were 1:1 male to female. However, below the sewage outfall there were nine females to one male with 10% hermaphrodites. Hermaphrodites, also known as intersex are individuals that are caught between male and female. Something in the sewage was feminizing the fish. One experiment raised baby trout in an aquarium. A small amount of mild laundry detergent was added to the water. It was found that all the male trout grew up looking like females. Someone detergents contain alkyl phenols, and these alkyl phenols fit into the estrogen receptor quite well. The alkyl phenols acted like estrogen. You must remember though that alkyl phenols are not estradiol. They are strange estrogens that have estrogen like effects but are not at all like estradiol. They may cause breast cancer, menstrual cramps, endometriosis, and many other female conditions.
You can see US Geological Survey page on hormone disruption here.
The common chorus I hear from my patients is that “I’m using natural organic products and I'm not taking any xenoestrogens.” Just because something is natural and organic does not mean it is safe to use. For instance, would you eat mushrooms growing in your yard? Of course not, some of those mushrooms even though they are organic and natural could be poisonous.
Similarly, some natural organic herbs have estrogenic effects.
For instance, Bloch, MD, a pediatric endocrinologist, had three young boys with gynecomastia or man boobs. He noted that their parents were giving them lavender oil and tea tree oil put on the skin topically. He took away the lavender oil and tea tree oil, and three months later the man boobs disappeared. He tested the boys own endogenous hormones. He found that the boys hormones were normal. He suspected that the lavender oil and tea tree oil were acting like estrogen. He next took the lavender and tea tree oil separately and put them into breast cancer cells in a test tube that were sensitive to estrogen. The found that both oils made the breast cancer cells proliferate. This meant that lavender oil and tea tree oil separately mimicked estrogen. Furthermore, he took lavender and tea tree oil separately and put them with breast cancer cells in a test tube that were sensitive to testosterone. He found that both lavender and tea tree oil blocked the action of testosterone. Therefore, these young boys were getting it both ways. There are being stimulated by estrogen to become a woman, and also their testosterone was being blocked by lavender and tea tree oil.
My patients with acne that varies with the cycle typically get much worse if they are using a lavender or tea tree oil product. Is it possible that there are other herbs that also mimic estrogen? Of course, and I have listed them in our product literature along with a list of products that seem to be safe.
In about 40% of all women (off the top of my head) that have acne that varies with the cycle, taking progesterone cream will result in the acne becoming worse. So, a very common complaint that I receive from women taking progesterone cream to relieve their acne varies with the cycle is that: "I took the progesterone and my acne is getting worse!'
Why does taking progesterone cream in 40% of women make the acne worse?
It turns out that these women hoping to get better and taking progesterone are also simultaneously taking large amounts of potent xenoestrogens.
What is happening here?
Chronic xenoestrogens exposure causes your estrogen receptors to down regulate. It's as if your estrogen receptors have become "sleepy." This is a normal biological response. It's like going to a noisy rock concert. Initially, the rock concert seems very loud. Then, after half an hour, the rock concert is not very loud anymore. Your ears have become less sensitive to noise. Your ears have down regulated their response to the noise by becoming less sensitive.
Now, by taking progesterone you wake up the estrogen receptors. Now, it seems you're getting more estrogen even though the estrogen intake is not changed.
So if you take progesterone cream and the acne gets worse, don't blame it on the progesterone. Blame the worsening acne on your increased normal sensitivity to estrogen.
The solution is to get rid of all the xenoestrogens on your skin, wait 1 to 3 months, and then try to take progesterone again. It takes one to three months for the topicals that you put on the skin to wash out of the body.
Because of the decreased xenoestrogen load, after 1 to 3 months, the estrogen receptors will slowly wake up. Then, the progesterone will work to decrease the acne that varies with the cycle.
Some patients extremely detailed and eliminate all xenoestrogens from their environment don't even need progesterone after a while.
1. You only use products that we recommend from the purple sheet. These products do NOT contain xenoestrogens. After a while, you don’t need progesterone. You live a healthy life and become normal.
2. You use products on the skin that have a weak xenoestrogens. You take progesterone. You feel better. You take progesterone for the rest of your life. You are one of my best customers.
3. You use one strong xenoestrogen on the skin. You take progesterone. Your acne gets worse. You feel lousy. You think I am lousy. The whole world is lousy. Life is lousy.
4. You ignore all the talk about xenoestrogens. You take progesterone. The progesterone “works” for the first 2 months. Then, the progesterone does “NOT Work” after the first two months.
5. You take progesterone with herbs that create miscarriage. Herbs that create miscarriage frequently, but not always, block progesterone at the receptor level. Progesterone stimulation is needed to maintain and keep the pregnancy. The progesterone does not work. The progesterone does not affect you bad or good. It seems as though nothing is in the bottle.
I was taught in medical school that food does not cause acne. However in practice, I found this not to be true. I married a girl from Taiwan and she told me that acne is caused by food. I of course, repeated the dogma to her that I was taught in medical school. Food was not related to acne.
She said, “Let’s do an experiment. Try some avocado and lamb and let's see what happens.” So, I dutifully ate the wonderful lamb and avocado, and soon I had acne on my face. I was humbled, and I went to review the original literature which fed me the dogma that food is not related to acne.
One article gave a pound of chocolate every day to each student in a small group of college students for a month to evaluate if acne would be affected by this diet change. The month-long chocolate diet did not affect their acne. Thus, the authors concluded that diet did not affect the acne. You can see what the flaw in this experiment was. The other portions of the diet were not controlled. This was a poorly designed experiment.
I began to review the cosmetic industry and ingredients they use in cosmetics. It is virtually universally known in the cosmetic industry that avocado oil increases acne. So everyone in the cosmetic industry knows not to use avocado oil in facial products. In fact, there is even a table which a rates vegetable oils by their pimple causing ability. There was a disconnect between the academic medicine scientific papers and the practical experience in the cosmetic industry.
See a partial list of cosmetic ingredients natural and synthetic that cause acne here. http://www.caryskincare.com/acnecomedogeniclist.html
Diet has been shown to affect acne. Dr. Otto Schaefer published a paper in 1971. Otto demonstrated that Eskimos living a traditional lifestyle and diet were acne free. However, once these Eskimos shifted to modern Western diet and lifestyle, the Eskimos developed pimples like everyone else in the Western World.
Loren Cordain, a professor at Colorado State University, also believes that a Western diet contributes to acne. Many non-Western populations never have acne. Cordain examined the Ache hunter-gatherers of Paraguay for four years. He also examined Papua New Guinea for seven weeks. In both populations, they could not find any acne. Cordain believes that although there is a genetic component to acne, he believes that the major factor in acne is diet.
Cordain believes high glycemic foods create a hormone cascade finishing in elevated insulin creating acne. Insulin is a known growth promoter and acne encourager.
Cordain observed the tribes ate no processed foods and animal foods. They did NOT eat high glycemic carbohydrates. Non-Westerners do NOT eat processed foods, cereal grains, dairy products, refined sugars, and refined oils. They eat fruits, vegetables, lean meats, seafood, and fish.
Cordain believes that eating low glycemic carbohydrates may have a therapeutic effect on treating acne because of the change that the diet would do to the endocrine system. Cordain thinks that processed meats have been shown in a number of studies to affect glycemic control. Eating fish rich in omega-3 oils lowers fasting glucose levels and improves glycemic control. Omega-3 oils are anti-inflammatory and may help heal acne.
So what are low glycemic foods? Just eat unprocessed foods. Eat fresh unprocessed foods, like fresh foods and fresh vegetables, lean meats, beans, and nuts. Grass fed beef is good because it is high in omega-3 oils. Don’t eat high sugar foods.
Dairy foods? Dairy is not high glycemic. But dairy may have a component that make acne worse. Some think that you should try cutting out dairy and see if it helps.
In my opinion, oily foods such as avocado and lamb creates acne from personal experience.
I was recently reading a book about the benefits of coconut oil. Most oils from animals and plants are very long chain oils. It means that the chains have lengths that are 14 to 18 carbons long. However, Coconut oil is predominantly a medium chain-link oil having most of its carbons chains that are 10 to 14 carbons long. The title of the book is “Coconut Cures”. Bruce Fife, N.D. claims that taking 3 to 4 tablespoons of coconut oil per day on the skin or orally will actually reduce acne. I really haven't tried this particular remedy, however, it may be worth a try. The complexion may get worse at first as toxins or are expelled from the skin, but will improve after about a month after continued application. Fife believes that the coconut oil is enabling the body to expel toxins. He suggests washing the face of soap and water and applying a thin level layer of coconut oil massaged into the skin every morning. It may be that the short chain oil is enabling and dissolving many of the toxins that the acne is trying to excrete.
Iodine reduces your sensitivity to xenoestrogens. Why? The estrogen dominance is due to the synergistic reaction of your own estradiol and xenoestrogens. You produce three types of estrogen, estradiol, estrone, and estriol. Estrone and Estriol is weak. Estradiol is strong. Xenoestrogens and the three estrogen that you produce compete for the same estrogen receptor. Think of the estrogen receptor as a baseball glove. Think of the different estrogens as different colored balls. The different balls are received by the same glove and tell the glove to do SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT estrogen like things.
Estriol being a weak estrogen goes up 100 times during pregnancy. Estriol goes into the estrogen receptor and blocks out all the other garbage xenoestrogens. It is thought that estriol may be one of the reasons why endometriosis gets better during pregnancy along with progesterone.
Jonathan Wright, MD of the Tahoma Clinic has found that giving iodine helped lower estradiol and lower estrone, but raise estriol in several hundred patients. He has never seen this written up.
Now instead of the stronger synergistic action of estradiol and xenoestrogens, you have the weaker effect of estriol and xenoestrogens. This means that when you take iodine, more weak estriol is created. You become less estrogen dominant. You feel better. Again the estriol is made out of estradiol and estrone. Estradiol and estone levels decrease.
The late Abraham, MD has used iodine for decades. Abraham, MD recommends using Iodoral or Lugols iodine. Lugols iodine and Iodoral both contain atomic iodine, I2, and ionic iodide, I-. Abraham, MD believes that you need both kinds of iodine. Some tissues take up iodide, I-. Some tissues take up Iodine, I2.
Lugols is cheap, but can cause stomach upset and stain clothes. Iodoral is expensive.
Brownstein, MD believes that more than 90% of Americans have an iodine deficiency.
The problem is that most of us, if not all of us are poisoned with bromine. Bromine is in the same column as iodine in the periodic table, and it is about the same size as iodine. So bromine can substitute for iodine in the body and receptors. This is major cause of hypothyroidism. Why? The bromine may substitute for iodine in the thyroid hormones, T3 and T4. The thyroid hormones are essentially “poisoned”. The thyroid hormone may not work, and you become hypothyroid.
When you take iodine, bromine is forced out of the tissue and you get sick from bromine. You are not sick from iodine. You are sick from the bromine coming out of your tissue. In fact, bromine can cause a bromine acne. Taking iodine will force bromine out of the tissue and the bromine creates an acne. So it is very important to start taking iodine VERY SLOWLY to minimize toxic bromine excretion.
The most common side effect from iodine forcing out bromine is heart palpitations, insomnia and vivid dreams. My wife and I both had insomnia and vivid dreams. My wife had heart palpitations. After 2 weeks of taking iodine, these side effects from taking iodine stopped. The bromine had passed out of the body. So these side effects stopped.
Bromine being forced out may cause a metallic taste in the mouth, increased salivation, headache, nausea, tingling in the hands and feet, frontal sinus pressure, irritability, depression, anxiety, mouth and tongue sores, lethargy, diarrhea, constipation, etc.
These side effects are NOT from iodine, but from bromine being forced out.
Bromine is from brominated vegetable oil put into soft drinks to keep the citrus oils mixed into the soda. Pepsi Co. quietly took out all the brominated vegetable oil from their soft drinks on March 2014. Coca cola is still trying to decide. The European Union banned brominated vegetable oil from the EU. The sodas in the EU do not have bromine in them. Bromine is also found in commercial bakery products. Bromine is found in sleep aids, brominated swimming pools, and some asthma inhalers.
1. Avoid xenoestrogens. Buy any product from us and get a recommended product list of products that are free of xenoestrogens. Only a small amount of xenoestrogens can torpedo all your efforts. Be very very careful. A single xenoestrogen in the shampoo or lipstick will sabotage all your efforts.
2. Take progesterone.
3. Take iodine. Take either Lugol’s iodine or Iodoral. Watch out for bromine toxicity.
1. Vajda, A.M., Barber, L.B., Gray, J.L., Lopez, E.M., Woodling, J.D., and Norris, D.O., 2008, Reproductive disruption in fish downstream from an estrogenic wastewater effluent: Environmental Science and Technology, v. 42, no. 9, p. 3,407-3,414.
2. Suzanne Badieozzaman, “The diet-acne connection: Eating food for better skin”, The Costco Connection, August 2016, Vol. 31, Number 8, p 67.