Does Low or High Estrogen Cause Acne? – Natural Solutions to Rebalance our Hormones
We, women, have many treasures inside us. Just like estrogens. Sometimes, they become wild and that’s when we have to tame them back. Sometimes, they rebel and do what they want. Does low estrogen cause acne? Does high estrogen cause acne?
We, women, are wonderful and powerful warriors. Let’s not worry about estrogens. Let’s know more about them, so we can submit them and make them our allies, not our enemies. Let’s get back in touch with our wonderful, feminine nature and reclaim what is ours once again.
Acne from Inside Out
Many of us, women, are so desperate to get back our pretty, smooth skin we had before ACNE that we are inclined to spend a lot of money on expensive (and sometimes dangerous, harmful) treatments. Sometimes, these are worse than acne – they can be dangerous, toxic, and can turn even more our beautiful organism upside down, with a hormonal imbalance.
Spend no more on fake promises of so-called “treatments” that dry our pockets out, and let’s treat our acne from inside out. Step by step, we will turn towards inside and learn our body better. So we can give it what it needs.
Our acne roots deep down inside of us, deeper than our superficial layer of skin, in the hormonal factory. Let’s see what’s up with those powerful hormones of ours, first.
Estrogen – The Feminine Power within Us
Estrogen is our most important sexual hormone. Estrogen gives us our female physical and biochemical features, and the power of creation - reproduction.
The Importance of Estrogen
· Governs and regulates the menstrual cycle
· Controls cholesterol levels
· Influences our brain, bones, heart, skin, tissues
· Increases serotonin levels in the brain
· Regulates endorphins production (the feel-good neurochemicals in the brain)
· Protects nerves
Skin Related Estrogen Functions
Estrogens only act on cells containing estrogens receptors. We find a high number of estrogen receptors-cells on the face, breasts and thighs skin.
Estrogens are very important for skin. They:
· Participate in collagen production
· Stimulate skin thickness
· Stimulate the microcirculation under the skin
How Does Estrogen Work in Your Body?
Ovaries are the main source of estrogen production in our bodies, followed by the adrenal glands, breasts, liver and fat cells.
Estrogens are very curious and adventurous little molecules and looove to travel around through our body. Literally everywhere.
No wonder we, women, have curious natures and love to go and look everywhere – sometimes, it’s called shopping, other times is called walking in nature, hiking, or looking through our beloved’s smartphone. You can’t blame us – it’s our estrogen (wink)!
Getting to more serious aspects of estrogen, know that they are steroid hormones, and they have the capacity to easily diffuse through the cell membrane. Hence, the high mobility property. When they enter a cell, they activate estrogen receptors which then modulate the expression of genes.
Our wonderful body creates 3 amazing types of estrogens:
1. ESTRADIOL – produced in adult age
2. ESTRIOL – present during pregnancy
3. ESTRONE – the menopause estrogen
Everything pink and pretty so far. Can anything go wrong with our wonderful estrogens? Well, let’s see, yes!
Too little or too much – this can happen.
“La donna e mobile”, a famous Italian saying expresses our feminine nature: change.
“Change is the only constant in life”, Heraclitus, an ancient Greek philosopher once said.
Do these words match our woman nature? Yep. Starting from estrogens to moods, the truth is here, within us.
Estrogen levels change throughout the month – it’s our menstrual cycle. They reach a peak in the middle of the cycle (triggering ovulation), decrease quickly after ovulation, and reach a low during your period. Tired they get in our 50’s, as estrogen levels drop drastically at menopause.
Check Your Estrogen Levels
To know your estrogen levels, you have to take a simple test of blood or urine.
The DUTCH urine test measures all 3 types of estrogen levels and how your body is detoxifying the estrogen (one is healthy, the other two can lead to cysts, fibroids, and cancer).
Knowing that you know which treatment to undergo. Just check with your doctor.
Signs of Low Estrogen
- Irregular or absent periods
- Hot flashes (sudden feeling warm wave through our body)
- Night sweats
- Insomnia or trouble sleeping
- Dryness of vagina
- Reduced or low sexual desire
- Mood swings
- Dry skin
- Migraine right before menstruation
Reasons Why You Get Low Estrogen
· Ovarian problems (hypogonadism)
· Underactive pituitary gland
· Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
· Eating disorders (anorexia)
· Heavy and extreme training
· Certain medication (clomiphene)
· Pregnancy failure
Signs of High Estrogen
- Weight gain in waist, hips, thighs
- Too light or heavy bleeding during periods
- Increased premenstrual syndrome symptoms
- Depression and Anxiety
- Fibroids in the uterus
- Hair loss
- Cold hands and feet
- Swelling and tenderness in breasts
- Fibrocystic breasts
- Absence or lower sex drive
Reasons Why You Get High Estrogen Levels
· Weight gain or obesity
· High blood pressure
· Ovarian or adrenal tumors
· Certain medication (steroids, ampicillin, tetracycline, estrogenic drugs, phenothiazine)
· Synthetic Estrogens (endocrine disrupters) - You get them from BPA-containing plastic, petroleum-based cosmetics, detergents, cosmetics, furniture, carpets, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, etc.
The Guardian of Your Hormonal Galaxy – the Liver
You’ll be surprised, maybe, to hear that the root cause of your acne is in your… LIVER. Yes, you read right: acne starts in your LIVER. Not, under your skin, not in your endocrine glands, but in your Liver.
Your liver is an AMAZING DETOXING POWERHOUSE FACTORY with multiple functions. It works daily, 24/7, as your
- power engine
- food processor
- protein synthesizer
- recycle bin
- hormonal, fat, digestion and circulation master regulator and metabolizer
All good until the incoming load of toxins overcomes the liver’s capacity to break them down. Your liver becomes heavy, slow, overloaded, and intoxicated. The metabolism rate is very low. Then, trouble starts.
You suddenly get allergies, strange and disturbing sensitivities to chemical, substances, and environment, weight gain, constipation, skin problems, and, acne.
What happened? Due to decreased metabolism, the liver can’t break down the excess estrogen. Liver can’t eliminate excess estrogens through bile and urine. The unmetabolized estrogens re-enter in the bloodstream, being recirculated throughout the body.
This condition is called Estrogen Dominance.
Women on Top - Estrogen Dominance
Estrogen is not acting alone. It takes two to do the tango and two different hormones to keep the sexual hormonal balance: estrogen and progesterone (in women) or estrogen and testosterone (in men). Hormones work in ratios and balance each other harmoniously when you’re perfectly healthy. When this balance is broken, problems start.
Estrogen dominance can occur when you have:
· high estrogen and low progesterone levels
· normal estrogen and low progesterone levels
· high estrogen and normal progesterone levels
The Good vs. Bad Estrogen
The Liver metabolizes estrogen in two different pathways:
1. The 2-hydroxy pathway results in “good” estrogen metabolites. They are released into the bloodstream and do all the good things that estrogen need to do.
2. The 16-hydroxy pathway produces “bad” estrogen metabolites. They misbehave like a bunch of rebels, creating chaos in your body and causing many health problems, including acne.
When you have this pushy, unruly army so-called “bad estrogen” running through your body, all over, testosterone (the primary male androgen) just can’t stand behind. It needs to catch up with estrogen.
Have you ever seen a man sitting with arms crossed when the woman rises up? Nope, he is very competitive. So, testosterone will begin to rise its levels, maybe not for competition’s sake, but to keep the balance. Well, maybe to keep up with the female hormones, ok.
But, of course, it’s not the good boy testosterone (the fun loving, charming, sensual one) who rises, but the bad guy, the bad testosterone. Did mom tell you that bad girls attract bad boys? Well, it’s the same, as the bad type, misbehaved estrogen will call for the bad type of testosterone, DHT, the testosterone that triggers acne, the troublemaker.
Meet DHT, Dihydrotestosterone, the Troublemaker
High estrogen and low progesterone increase insulin levels, which triggers excess androgens, which, in turn, increases testosterone levels and converts it into DHT, with the “help” of an enzyme called 5-alpha reductase.
However, when your estrogen-progesterone ratio is balanced, prevents this 5-alpha-reductase enzyme from converting testosterone to DHT. And this, dear ones, will prevent acne.
How Can You Stop and Repair this Hormonal Mess?
You need to focus your efforts towards re-establishing the balance between the hormonal pairs.
Taking steps to lower or rise your estrogen levels will make your bad gals from the bad estrogen team vanish and then, force the bad guys, from the bad testosterone (DHT) team to back up in retreat. Phew, problem solved! Acne is gone!
Sounds simple, but it will need some concertizing efforts from you, on multiple fronts.
First things first.
As everything starts in your Liver, it means that the first place you’ll need to clean up is the Liver. In order to have a beautiful skin, first, you need to detox your liver, so it can properly metabolize the hormones and do its job.
1. LIVER DETOX
Detox your liver and boost your metabolism to be able to break down the used estrogens into the good healthy estrogen that will stop the acne and get clear skin. Yay!
In the same time, help restore the natural balance of your hormones.
How to Accomplish That?
Support your liver with natural herbs to detox it and improve metabolism.
- Milk Thistle
- Green Tea
Make a tea with a mix of these herbs. It doesn’t matter of you don’t have them all. It’s enough to get 3-5 of them. Drink a cup of tea 3-4 times a day.
Liver Flush Citrus Recipe
- ¾ cup orange juice
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
Drink this powerful mix at least 2 times a day, once in the morning and once in the evening, on an empty stomach.
Liver Flush Lemon and Cayenne
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 2 cups warm water
- 1 teaspoon honey
- A pinch of cayenne pepper
Mix and drink in the morning, after you wake up, on an empty stomach. Drink slowly, without hurry.
2. Stay Cool on All Levels of Life
· Go out in the morning or evening, not when the sun is too hot, to cool down your emotions, mind and body.
· Eat regularly, at the same time every day, as possibly.
· Eat more fiber – you need 25 grams for women and 38 grams of for men daily.
· Include alkaline foods and exclude acidic foods
· Meditate or do yoga early in the morning or before going to sleep.
· Exercise daily, early in the morning, to put your blood and lymph into circulation, to make your liver and other organs active and dynamic, to get your system at work. Stretch, breathe deeply, move, do intense training exercises.
· Flush your negative emotions, too. Let your anger, irritability, indignation, envy go away. Stay centered, stay grounded. Emotions have a strong influence on our bodies and minds and the results can be devastating for our health. Suppressing these negative emotions will make then hoard and stagnate in your body, especially your liver.
· Take Magnesium supplements (magnesium plays an important role in estrogen metabolism in the liver)
· Antioxidant vitamins (Beta-carotene, C, E)
· Mineral supplements (Zinc, Selenium)
3. How to Reduce High Androgens Naturally
If you have high androgens you need to stabilize your blood sugar levels. As androgens are linked to insulin production, any insulin imbalance will release more androgens.
· Have a healthy, natural, low glycemic diet
· Avoid dairy (has it has the IGF-1 hormone growth. Similar to insulin, this hormone stimulates the production of androgens, which will lead to excess sebum production and unhealthy androgen conversion to DHT)
· Avoid junk food, processed foods, sugar, pastry, candies, etc.
· Limit caffeine intake
· Do moderate to intense exercises
· Take Saw Palmetto and other herbs that block the androgen to DHT conversion.
· Peppermint lowers androgen levels if you drink 2-3 cups daily for a long enough period of time.
4. How to Naturally Increase Estrogen levels
Natural High Estrogenic Foods
- Flax seeds
- Sunflower seeds
- Dong Quai
- Red clover
- Black Cohosh
- Dried fruits (apricots, dates, prunes)
The DIM Solution
DIM, or Diindolylmethane, is a natural concentration of I3C, or indole-3-carbinol, which is found in cruciferous vegetables and leafy greens. Research has shown that DIM preferentially stimulates the metabolism of the good estrogen (2-hydroxyestrone), thus regulating the hormonal balance in the body.
In the same time, DIM is an extraordinary plant-based androgen receptor blocker, that has an anti-androgen action and inhibits DHT (dihydrotestosterone) production.
You can take DIM directly from the cruciferous and dark leafy green vegetables, without boiling them. You can also take DIM supplements, in a dosage of 100-200 mg per day.
5. Increase Progesterone Levels Naturally
If your levels of estrogens are high and your progesterone is low, you can naturally try to increase your progesterone levels naturally and bring your estrogen-progesterone balance back to normal again.
1. First, stimulate your adrenal glands to produce more progesterone. How you do that?
· Increase intake of vitamin E, A, and B5 which help progesterone synthesis
· Consume foods that increase progesterone production: avocado, nuts, seeds, olives, salmon, tuna
· Take herbs that stimulate progesterone: Licorice, Vitex, Wild Yams, Dong Quai
2. Reduce excess cortisol (stress hormone)
· Stress turn your body to convert progesterone into corticosteroids, to help itself deal with the fight and flight situation. As progesterone is used by, an estrogen dominance installs in your body, causing anxiety, fatigue, and insomnia. Your adrenal glands are “milked” of progesterone again, and the vicious circle continues.
· Adaptogen herbs combat stress, boost the immune system, lower cholesterol, reduce anxiety and depression, stimulates and supports adrenal glands. These herbs are Ashwagandha, Rhodiola, Holy Basil, etc.
· Stop using the birth pill, as it raises estrogen levels and causes many health complications. There are other safer ways to control pregnancy.
· Sleep better – Sleep is very important for your hormonal levels. Search for different methods of sleeping well and sound: herbs, soothing music, relaxation, yoga, etc.
6. How to Reduce High Estrogen Levels Naturally
· Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussel sprouts) have a crucial important to detox your body from bad estrogenic molecules.
· Healthy Omega 3 fats, such as coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, avocados, nuts, seeds. They contain phytosterols that have anti-estrogenic properties.
· Sulfurous foods – garlic, onions, scallions, and chives contain sulfur amino acids and quercetin (antioxidant) that help detoxify and boost estrogen production.
· Aromatase-inhibitory flavonoids – Passionflower, chamomile have anti-estrogenic properties.
· Citric bioflavonoids – lemons, limes, grapefruit, oranges have powerful flavonones.
· Antioxidant herbs – sage, oregano, thyme, turmeric, berries have powerful antioxidant properties and help your liver to detoxify.
· Dark leafy greens – kale, collard, dandelion
· Chlorophyll – purifies your body of toxins.
· Fermented foods and drinks – contain antioxidants, enzymes, probiotics, organic acids that protect and stimulate your gut. These are sauerkraut, apple cider vinegar, Kombucha, and kefir.
· Resveratrol – red wine, black grapes
After this deep immersion into our own bodies, we now know more about ourselves and we got some answer, as well as solutions to our initial questions.
Does low estrogen cause acne? Yes, it does. Does high estrogen cause acne? Sure it does. Both low and high estrogen levels are abnormal situations that trigger acne. Estrogens don’t cause acne, but trigger it, indirectly, as we have seen.
But with this new understanding, we now have the solutions to rebalance our hormonal system naturally.
We, women, are wild, beautiful creatures. And we have wondrous, miraculous phenomena inside of us. Nobody can really understand them. Not even us, sometimes. One of them is called estrogens. Femininity is our nature. Let’s keep it balanced, harmonious, and tender, as it was meant to be.