Antiandrogen Herb for Acne
If you are experiencing severe acne, you may have hormonal imbalances. Hormones called androgens can cause acne, states the Mayo Clinic website. Fortunately, your doctor may know ways to evaluate and balance your hormones. Ask her about your specific condition to find out what options are available. Medications are often used, but there are herbs that may be useful in reducing androgenic effects.
Androgens and Acne
If you have ever wondered why younger teens often have breakouts, it is because they are typically experiencing fluctuating hormones, states the book "Breaking Out" by Lydia Preston. Pores are actually called sebaceous follicles, and they secrete oil, or sebum. The book states that in terms of acne, the most significant androgen is testosterone. Testosterone is converted into dihydrotestosterone, or DHT, which can attach to sebaceous follicles. This action causes an increase in oil production and pore size. The larger pore allows for a higher chance of bacterial build-up. The Journal of the German Society of Dermatology featured an article by Zouboulis and Rabe in March of 2010 that states acne can come from overactive sebaceous glands or follicles.
An antiandrogen is a substance that somehow inhibits an androgen's functions. The German journal article also discusses antiandrogens. Their mechanisms of action can include blocking androgen receptor sites as well as affecting ovarial function, adrenal function, and pituitary function. For women, typical antiandrogen treatments include oral contraceptives, states the article "Antiandrogen Treatments," in the Annals of Endocrinology in February 2010. Another option is described in the book "Breaking Out." A medication called Spironolactone, a diuretic that can inhibit androgen receptor sites, can be used as well. Other medications exist, and each has different actions and side effects.
Saw palmetto is a natural option that has potential antiandrogen effects. Testosterone is converted into DHT by a compound called 5 alpha reductase. Excess DHT then attaches to the sebaceous follicle, promoting acne lesions. Saw palmetto can reduce the amount of 5 alpha reductase, thus lowering the levels of DHT. Advances in Therapy published an article by Pais in July of 2010 that states saw palmetto successfully inhibited levels of 5 alpha reductase II. Although promising, saw palmetto is not guaranteed to work for your particular condition. Discuss its use with your doctor before taking it for acne.
As if green tea did not have enough benefits, it also is used in skin care products. "Breaking Out" states that it, too, has the capacity to inhibit 5 alpha reductase, thus lowering levels of circulating DHT. When applied topically, it can also help to reduce inflammation and counter-act the damaging effects of ultraviolet light. A study conducted at the University of Chicago in Illinois investigated green tea's effects on 5 alpha reductase. Published in "Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications" in September of 1995, researchers Liao and Hiipakka discovered that green tea is effective in inhibiting 5 alpha reductase I, but not II. These results still suggest that green tea can have some impact on circulating androgen levels. Discuss your case with your doctor or dermatologist to determine if green tea might be helpful for you.
As stated earlier, acne can have many causes; therefore, it is best to discuss your acne with your doctor or dermatologist before beginning treatments, particularly of the herbal variety. Although saw palmetto and green tea show promise, their results are not guaranteed. Neither herb is regulated by the FDA, so research the best-quality products to ensure proper potency.
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