How rich would you be if you had a nickel for every time you heard about some kooky acne cure? Was overcoming constipation included in that list? While, clinical studies of the relationship between acne and colon health are lacking, medical research does lend validity to the possible link. For example, regular bowel movements help maintain hormonal balances that are critical to clear skin.
There is overwhelming evidence that constipation and acne do affect significant number of people. Just this past march, a survey in Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics interviewed over 500 people. And of this sample group, at least 96% used laxative treatments and of those, 47% were dissatisfied with their constipation relief. Similar to constipation, acne affects people from early adolescence and can mysteriously reappear in the adult years.
Overlapping cases of acne & constipation
Even though numerous people suffer from constipation and acne, this does not validate the link between the two conditions. However, findings from the American Dietetic Association do make the connection.
According to the American Dietetic Association, a fiber rich, and therefore constipation-preventing diet, lowers blood cholesterol levels and helps normalize the blood glucose and insulin levels.
Cholesterol & acne
Moreover, research studies have implicated both insulin resistance and cholesterol in the development of acne. To illustrate, a report in Journal of Investigative Dermatology points out that the skin can actually use circulating cholesterol to make the hormone androgen.
Androgens can provoke acne lesions by increasing the amount of oil secretion on the skin. With regular bowel movements, the hair follicles and oils glands do not have excess cholesterol floating around the skin that can be used to create zit-promoting androgens.
Insulin resistance induced acne
In addition to cholesterol, insulin resistance can provoke a pimple invasion. Insulin resistance, acne, excessive hair and obesity are just a few of the traits that characterize the endocrine disease called polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Convincing evidence has linked a jump in circulating androgens in PCOS patients to insulin resistance.
An excess amount of the hormone androgen in women promotes facial hair growth and can lead to infertility. Additionally, surplus androgen boosts facial oil secretion. This extra oil can cause more clogged pores and acne.
Medical Treatment for Insulin Resistance Treatments for PCOS include the drug metformin. A study published in Gynecological Endocrinology found that treating women with metformin reduced the symptoms of PCOS because the treatment lowered the patients’ fasting blood sugar level and testosterone levels. Testosterone is a member of the androgen family and can likewise lead to acne lesions.
In brief, acne is a multifaceted skin condition that can be triggered by a number of variables including hormonal shifts, nutritional changes or immunological weaknesses. Constipation undeniably influences the body’s endocrine system in measurable ways. A backlogged bowel can increase circulating cholesterol levels and increase the chances of developing insulin resistance. Both of these hormonal changes can generate excess androgens, surplus facial oil secretion and ultimately more acne outbreaks.
Johanson, JF and J Kralstein. Chronic constipation: a survey of the patient perspective. Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics; Mar 2007, vol 25, no 5, pp 599-608.
Kazerooni, T and M Dehghan-Kooshkghazi. Effects of metformin therapy on hyperandrogenism in women with polycystic ovarian syndrome. Gynecological Endocrinology; February 1, 2003, vol 17, no 1, pp 51-56.
Thiboutot, Diane, Sami Jabara, Jan M McAllister, Aruntha Sivarajah, Kathyrn Gilliland, Zhaoyuan Cong and Gary Clawson. Normal Sebocytes, and an Immortalized Sebocyte Cell Line (SEB-1). Journal of Investigative Dermatology; June 2003, vol 120, no 6, pp 905-914.
Wijeyaratne, Chandrika N, Adam H Balen, Julian H Barth, Paul E Belchetz. Clinical manifestations and insulin resistance (IR) in polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) among South Asians and Caucasians: is there a difference? Clinical Endocrinology; September 2002, vol 57, no 3, pp 343-350.
Copyright (c) 2007 Naweko Nicole Dial