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PCOS: How this hormonal disorder affects your skin and hair?

PCOS or Polycystic ovarian syndrome not only affects a woman's body on a hormonal level but can have effects on her appearance as well. Here's how it can affect hair and skin.

Written by Arushi Bidhuri |Updated : March 15, 2021 12:00 PM IST

PCOS or Polycystic ovarian syndrome is a complex condition that affects a woman's hormone levels. It causes a woman's body to produce more male hormones than woman hormones that cause them to skip menstrual periods, and makes it difficult for them to get pregnant. It is one of the most common conditions that affect women across the world. The imbalance can create problems in the ovaries, which can result in the ovaries developing cysts. While obese or overweight women are more vulnerable to PCOS, some women with normal body weight may also get affected by the hormonal condition. This other phenotype is known as lean PCOS. It is a condition which not only affects the body at a hormonal level but can also affect your appearance which can easily shake up your confidence.

PCOS Effects On Skin

While irregular periods is one condition that helps in the early detection and prevention of the disease, there are other problems too. The weird ebb and flow of your hormones can also take a toll on your skin and hair. Dr Vidushi Jain, Dermatologist Trichologist, Medical head of Dermalinks, told IANS the ways PCOS can affect your hair and skin.

Acanthosis Nigricans

This is a skin disorder characterised by the brown-black, hyperpigmentation of the skin with a thick, velvety texture. It affects the folds of the skin in the armpit, groin and back of the neck. Insulin resistance and obesity are two of the contributing factors that lead to skin condition. And in PCOS, the body does not respond normally to insulin, thereby increasing insulin secretion from the pancreas. Certain drugs and malignancies could also be the culprit. Losing weight and reducing insulin resistance with a low glycemic diet and regular exercise are believed to be the best treatments for acanthosis nigricans. Some cosmetic treatments like TCA peels can also help.

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Hirsutism

Also known as unwanted facial hair, hirsutism is a result of excess male hormone secretion, which is common in PCOS patients. The skin condition mostly affects the chin, chest, thighs and sidelocks. Weight reduction can help by controlling the serum sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG), which in turn will help control testosterone production and androgen level. Medication and surgeries like laser hair reduction can also help.

Acne And Pimples

Are you tired of the acne and pimples popping on your face? It could be PCOS. Women who have been suffering from acne since their teenage years or for the first time after 25 should consult their dermatologist and get evaluated for PCOS. PCOS induced acne generally appears on the lower part of the face, including the jawline, cheeks, chin and upper neck. There are several treatments available that can help get rid of the problem such as oral contraceptives, anti-androgen drugs, and retinoids. As for diet, try to include foods such as tomatoes, kale, spinach, almonds, walnuts, salmon, olive oil, berries and turmeric that contain anti-inflammatory properties.

Seborrheic Dermatitis

A common skin condition, seborrheic dermatitis, can cause an itchy rash with flaky scales. It affects the oil areas of the skin such as the areas around the nose, between eyebrows and behind the ears. It can also lead to oily scalp and dandruff.

PCOS Effects On Hair

Since the female body starts producing more androgens during PCOS, it can trigger puberty and stimulate unwanted hair growth. It can also lead to hair loss. Female patterned hair loss or hair thinning is the common hair problem faced by women with PCOS. You may lose hair in the crown and the frontal area. If left ignored, the condition could lead to greater damage. Timely intervention is required to kick the problem to its curb.

(with inputs from IANS)

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