You may or may not have heard of androgens; a group of steroid hormones made from cholesterol by the adrenal glands and the ovaries. The most common being testesterone, which is produced by all genders and needed for reproductive function.
Some of the functions of androgens include stimulating the onset of secondary sex characteristics like hair growth under the armpits and pubic area during puberty.
That being said, problems can arise for all genders if they are experiencing either high androgen levels (hyperandrogenism) or low androgen levels (hypoandrogenism).
Some of the symptoms of both levels are as follows:
High Androgen levels Symptoms
- Weight gain
- Escessively oily skin
- Irregular periods
- Hirsutism (facial and body hair)
- Insulin resistance
- Amenorrhea (absence of a period)
- Alopecia (thinning of the hair on head)
Causes of High Androgen Levels
- PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome)
- High blood pressure
- Insulin resistance
- Heart disease
Low Androgen Levels Symptoms
- Low libido (low sex drive)
- Bone loss
- Mood swings
- Hot flashes
Causes of Low Androgen Levels
- Early meonpause
- Post menopause
- Birth control/hormone therapy
- Adrenal insufficency (Low adrenal levels)
- Ovaries removed
So, how do androgens affect one’s skin health? Well, androgens are known to overstimulate the sabecaus glands, which produces sebum – the body’s natural oil – causing dirt, oil and dead skin cells to get trapped and become inflamed in the hair follicles.
If you experience persistent acne, excessively oily skin, facial and body hair along with deepening voice and irregular periods, or any of the other symptoms above, it’s definitely worth talking to your primary care provider or naturopath about possible hormonal testing and treatment.
Ways to lower androgens naturally
- Eat reishi mushrooms
- Consume a high fiber diet
- Take red clover
Remember, as with any health issue, always consult your primary care provider for diagnostic testing and consultation.
Dixie Lincoln- Nichols is a biological science educator, certified health coach and entrepreneur. Her work has been featured in media outlets like, Oprah Mag, SELF, Yahoo, Redbook, Natural Health, Instyle, Working Woman, Huffington Post, Essence Online, Tampa Tribune and more. She is currently the Chief Self-care Connoisseur and founder of I. O. Beauty Market, where she curates products that are free of toxic, harmful ingredients.