How PCOS Can Affect Your Skin and Hair, and How to Overcome It

Amongst some of the harder to live with side effects of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) are those which affect your hair and skin. The knock-on effects that many of us will experience when our hair and skin are not behaving are multiple but, perhaps most importantly, our confidence can falter as a result. The confusion surrounding hormones that your body experiences can cause excess hair growth, hair thinning, increased oils in the skin, acne and a variety of other issues, all of which can stop you from feeling your best. If you’re looking for ways to overcome these issues then read on for some suggestions that may help to improve things for you.

Hair Loss & Hair Gain

PCOS causes hair loss and/or gain due to the increased production of male hormones called androgens (which include testosterone). These hormones play a significant role during puberty and help to generate the extra hair growth we all begin to experience in our armpits and pubic regions during that time of life. This sudden influx of androgens in a woman’s body can cause excess hair to grow in places it wouldn’t normally: face, neck, stomach, and chest. Equally, they can cause hair to thin too – most notably at the front of the head which is known as female pattern hair loss.

Overcoming this can be tricky as there is a huge range of products which promise the Earth. However, your first port of call should be to speak to your GP as there are a range of medications which can improve these situations for you. More important than masking the problem is attempting to treat the root cause and, so, many doctors will recommend the use of birth control pills which help to re-address the hormonal balance. They may also recommend medicines or treatments which specifically stimulate hair growth. Of course there are plenty of home remedies which may help day-to-day or whilst waiting for the medication to work efficiently: different hair styles which include shorter, more layered looks that help to create density to your hair; parting your hair in different places; powders and partial wigs which can offer temporary solutions; or even just using volumising shampoos can be enough to bolster your hair in places.

Oily Skin & Acne

In much the same way as androgens increase hair growth as during puberty, they also increase the likelihood of typically teenage problems such as oily skin and acne. These can be enormously troubling when they hit during adulthood as it can throw a real spanner into the works with regards to skincare and make up routines. Addressing which products you’re using is a good starting point for managing these issues: are you relying on oil-based products or serums, for example? Try to use mattifying make up to help to prevent the look of oily skin build up throughout the day. Using blotting paper is another handy tool in the battle against an oily face as they are designed to soak up the excess oil without dislodging your make up.

Retinoid products are often helpful in combating acne but, for PCOS-related acne, it’s best to speak to your doctor again who can prescribe medical-strength options. Equally, anti-androgen drugs can be prescribed which will assist in balancing your body’s hormones again, as will the use of birth control pills. Over-the-counter products are unlikely to assist with PCOS-related skin complaints but making sure your everyday products are increasing the development of oils on or in your skin is a good place to support the more specialised drug solutions.