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Acne, androgen and insulin resistance connection

Updated: Nov 7, 2020

PCOS and acne are both connected with higher androgen production in our bodies, androgen excess is the main characteristic of PCOS. Around 6-10% of women suffer from PCOS during childbearing age.


What is androgen? Androgen is steroid hormone which is primarily produced from cholesterol in our bodies, mainly in ovary (in women) and adrenal glands. The main androgens in our bodies are testosterone, DHEAs and androstenedione. They can be elevated for women with PCOS.


Among of the reasons for hyperandrogenism there is growing evidence that insulin resistance plays really a strong role in it, even though the exact mechanism is still unknown. There is however evidence that balancing sugar and insulin level has been a successful support for women with PCOS.


Insulin is the hormone that controls blood sugar levels. It allows cells to take up glucose from the bloodstream into the fat and muscle issues. For women with insulin resistance their cells don’t respond very well to the insulin message so there is more need to produce insulin in order to keep blood sugar levels stable. And if the diet is rich in carbohydrates (especially simple ones) the blood sugar can elevate easily leading to further desensitisation of insulin receptors.


The excess insulin can cause the ovaries and adrenals to produce more androgens than normal. The excess androgens then interfere with the production of the hormones that develop and ovulate an egg each month what is leading to longer periods or amenorrhea.


Androgens play also role in skin, they increase skin cells formation, overproduction of sebum and prevent a normal skin exfoliation – these both then contribute to acne.



So what can we do to reverse insulin resistance naturally?


  • regulate blood sugar level: avoid eating simple carbs, sweets, or meals which contain almost 100% carbohydrates, follow the low GI diet

  • have fibre rich products in every meal – the simplest is just to have a lot of veggies with every meal

  • -adding protein sources to the meal what slows down the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream

  • reducing trans and saturated fats in your diet

  • eating meals regularly

  • make sure you have adequate level of vitamin D – the deficiency might accelerate the pathogenesis of insulin resistance

  • make sure you have adequate level of magnesium, it is also great for HPA axis, sleep improvement, supporting progesterone, curbing sugar cravings, and reducing inflammation

  • sleep well, maintaining a healthy circadian rhythm is a great way to improve insulin resistance

  • exercise – exercise improves insulin sensitivity in the muscles , you can try aerobic exercise or resistant training

This is one of the strategies to keep your PCOS and acne at bay. Despite the fact that there are other fields which would need to be addressed , improving insulin sensitivity is a great start.


If you are looking for natural acne, PCOS and insulin resistance support please check out my latest 12 weeks program, you can always book a free complementary discovery call where I can present the details of my therapy.

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