Skin and Polycystic Ovary syndrome

Having recently before lockdown worked with a weight client who suffered from PCOS, It got me thinking about the effects this condition has on the skin.

What is Polycystic Ovary syndrome?

PCOS or Polycystic ovary syndrome is a common condition that affects how a woman’s ovaries work.

The 3 main features of PCOS are:

  • Irregular periods
  • excess androgen – high levels of “male” hormones in your body, which may cause physical signs such as excess facial or body hair
  • polycystic ovaries – your ovaries become enlarged and contain many fluid-filled sacs (follicles) that surround the eggs

What causes PCOS?

The exact cause of PCOS is unknown, but it often runs in families.

It’s related to abnormal hormone levels in the body, including high levels of insulin.

Insulin is a hormone that controls sugar levels in the body.

Many women with PCOS are resistant to the action of insulin in their body and produce higher levels of insulin to overcome this.

This contributes to the increased production and activity of hormones like testosterone.

Being overweight also increases the amount of insulin your body produces.

Skin and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

PCOS can also be associated with skin problems. This is a visible sign of the condition and can lead to other complex mental health issues. More than 1 in 5 women suffer from PCOS and being so common and without a cure is often trivialized by doctors (male ones I assume) as ‘Women’s problems’, however don’t be put off from seeking help as there are definitely things that can help. It’s now one of the most common health conditions facing women today so it’s no wonder that it has such an impact on skin health. Hormone imbalance causes several skin-related symptoms, including oily skin, adult acne, skin tags, and dark velvety skin patches known as acanthosis nigricans.

How to help your skin

There is no cure for the condition, but there are many ways to help to control the effects on your skin. If you have a PCOS diagnosis the best way forward to help aide your skin health is much the same when dealing with all skin issues regardless of the cause.

keep a check on your diet and lifestyle.

Eating a healthy balanced diet including plenty of vegetable and 2 pieces of fruit a day

keep hydrated 7-8 glasses of water per day

Take plenty of exercise (2.5 hrs a week). choose something you enjoy so you keep at it.

Make sure your skin is not reacting to skin care products or make up – use a series of elimination to make sure it is not something you are using that is causing spots or rashes.

change your pillow case often

Keep you hair away from your face

Keep your skin clean and moisturise twice daily

stay away from harsh products – Go natural or use products with simple ingredients

A beauty professional can advise treatments to suit you.

If your skin condition persists please visit your Doctor. Certain contraceptive pills can be prescribed to help a hormone imbalance and assist to clear bad skin caused by PCOS.

Further information can be found on the nhs website